Farm Team

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Farm Team VS. Town Team

Milking, haying, and planting leave Billy Baggs very little time for the thing he loves most--baseball. So when his mother suggests building a baseball field in their cow pasture and inviting the neighbors to play, Billy is willing to give it a try. After all, a farm team has to be better than no team...or does it?

With Gina Erickson in right field, Big Danny Boyer is left, and Skinner, the aging Labrador retriever, in ...

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Farm Team VS. Town Team

Milking, haying, and planting leave Billy Baggs very little time for the thing he loves most--baseball. So when his mother suggests building a baseball field in their cow pasture and inviting the neighbors to play, Billy is willing to give it a try. After all, a farm team has to be better than no team...or does it?

With Gina Erickson in right field, Big Danny Boyer is left, and Skinner, the aging Labrador retriever, in center, the team's lineup is a joke. But who'll get the last laugh when they play the big game--Billy, or his arch rival, King Kenwood?

With his father in jail and his mother working full-time, fourteen-year-old Billy Baggs finds himself in charge of running the family farm in northern Minnesota and having to give up the thing he loves most--baseball.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Weaver (Striking Out) combines wickedly sharp wit with a love of baseball and intimate knowledge of farm life to yield an emotionally satisfying tale. With a classic triumph-of-the-underdogs theme, simplistic resolution (all anyone needs to iron out his problems, it seems, is to play a little baseball) and cinematic climax, Weaver seems to be writing with Hollywood in mind-Lake Wobegon meets Field of Dreams. But the story is peopled with such acutely observed characters and, after its foreboding opening, infused with such joyous optimism that its well-worn ground poses few problems. In northern Minnesota, Billy Baggs, 14, has to forgo playing baseball to work the family dairy farm after his father, Abner, lands in jail. Determined to have fun despite-or rather because of-grim Abner's absence, mother Mavis circulates flyers inviting one and all to Friday night baseball, to be played on the diamond she and Billy make in a cow pasture. Almost magically the game unites the locals and raises their self-esteem, from migrant Mexican farmworkers to a slatternly teenage mother to Billy himself. In a good old-fashioned ending, our hero bests his nemesis (the town team's star player), earns Abner's grudging respect and wins the admiration of the girl who makes his heart sing. Ages 12-up. (June)
The ALAN Review - Jim Brewbaker
Will Weaver's Farm Team is a stylistically solid, occasionally powerful, fast read. Thematically, though, Weaver attempts too much. Billy Baggs, a fourteen-year old whose father is in jail, must run the family farm with Mavis, his mother. Billy rises to the challenge. Mavis decides that farm kids need a chance to play summer baseball; so she and Billy create a field. Before long, a team is formed out of a ragtag bunch that includes the stereotypical Aaron, a gifted Jewish boy, and two Mexican boys, sons of migrant workers. Skinner, Billy's dog, even gets into the act. A game between the farm team and townies concludes the story predictably. Weaver's blend of serious and lighter themes almost works, though Farm Team almost reads like two pretty good books. Weaver, one hopes, will decide which story he wants to tell before his next novel. If he does, young readers have much to look forward to.
Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
The Farm Team is exactly that-a team whose members are from farms. Weaver tells a riveting story that deals with adult despair, the social gap between rich and poor kids, and migrant labor-all woven together by that all-American game, baseball. Not for fans only, and not just a boy's story.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064471183
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/28/1999
  • Edition description: 1ST HARPER
  • Pages: 288
  • Age range: 11 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

In addition to his award-winning Billy Baggs novels Striking Out, Farm Team, and Hard Ball, all of which are ALA Best Books for Young Adults, Will Weaver is the author of two books for adults, Reed Earth, White Earth and A Gravestone Made od Wheat. He is the winner of both the McKnight and the Bush Foundations' prizes for fiction.

Mr. Weaver teaches English and creative writing part-time at Bemidji State University in northern Minnesota. Memory Boy, his latest book for young adults, was recently cited by ALA Booklist.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


Orange baseballs. A dozen orange balls flew between two lines of boysfacing each other. The balls smacked into leather gloves with a continuous sound like popcorn popping. Rubber-soled shoes chirped on the maple-wood floor as the voices of eighth graders laughed and echoed in the old gymnasium.

"Get good and warm," Coach Anderson warned the boys. "You'll need it today."

There were instant groans. It was March 28 at the Flint middle school--the first day of spring baseball practice--and nobody wanted to go outside.

One boy, arriving late, stopped in the doorway. Billy Baggs was a tall, skinny farm kid with yellow hair and patched blue Jeans. He stood exactly half in and half out of the gym, his blue eyes scanning the even number of boys, all paired. One of the closest boys spotted him; he pointed at Billy and whispered something to another kid, Billy's clothes were shabby and small on him.

"Billy Baggs is here--I told you he'd come!" another voice shrilled. It was Tiny Tim Loren, the ultimate pest.

The coach looked tip from his clipboard. Oswald Anderson was a round, middle-aged, bearlike man, and with the easy jog of a formerathlete he trotted over to Billy. The other ballplayers glanced toward Billy, then made it a point to look away. As, Tim hopped up and down and waved to Billy, an orange baseball whizzed and plunked him in the ribs.

"Owwww!" Tim croaked.

The other players cracked up with laughter.

"Watch the ball all the way into your glove, Tim!" the coach called back.

Tim scuttled after the ball, clutching his ribs.

Coach Anderson arrived at the doorway. "I waswondering if I'd see you today, Billy," he said with a smile.

Billy shrugged. "Thought I'd check it out," he mumbled. Because of his crooked top teeth, which this year had begun to jut out in front, he had developed a habit of keeping his mouth mostly closed when he talked.

"Glad you did, glad you did." The coach wrote down Billy's name on his clipboard, then picked up his own glove plus one of the orange baseballs. "Come on in. Let's loosen up the old hinge."

Billy stepped through the doorway. The coach pointed to a spot, and Billy got into line.

His first toss went high over the coach's head. The ball hit with a thunkagainst the heavy curtain of the auditorium's stage; dust puffed, and a darker spot remained on the old velvet.

"Easy does it," Coach called, heading after the ball. "Loosen up first."

"If you'd been here on time, you'd be warmed up by now," King Kenwood remarked. Kenwood was the ace pitcher. He didn't look at Billy when he talked--he didn't look much at anybody when he talked. Now he continued to throw with a round, easy motion, like a deer bounding, like a trout arcing out of the water and over a dam. King was shorter than Billy but strong in the shoulders and with darker hair, and looked older. He also wore a bright new San Francisco Giants warm-up jacket. That was because his older brother was a pitcher--a real pitcher-in Triple A ball. Billy ignored Kenwood. That was his personal goal this year. Ignore King Kenwood. Otherwise there would be trouble.

After a few more tosses the coach blew his whistle. "Okay, boys, everybody outside."

"Outside? Oh man!" There were loud groans and fake sobbing noises.

"Hey-thirty degrees is better than ten below zero," the coach replied, herding them out the door.

"You wouldn't make us go outside if it was ten below!" Tim Loren said.

"Try me," the coach said.

Outside there were snowbanks. Not snowbanks all over, for Flint was in northern Minnesota, not Alaska; however, where the sun didn't strike directly, there were thick, dirty piles of snow left over from the long winter. The sun was not shining at all.

Trotting, shivering, the boys crossed the street to the ball field. A few of the boys, among them King Kenwood, had put on cleats, which clattered sharply on the frozen asphalt. Billy had only his old, busted-out tennis shoes.

Arriving, they found the outfield fence buried in snow. Closer in, in short center field, withered brown grass showed through the frozen crust. The infield was bare, but the areas around the bases were frozen pools of mud. This was the freezing-thawing-freezing time of year in the upper Midwest.

"We can't play here--the field is lousy," someone muttered. It sounded like Kenwood.

"Who said that?" the coach called.

Everybody looked around; nobody snitched.

"Good. I didn't think I heard anything," the coach called. "Come on-shake a leg-spring is here, boys!"

There were more groans.

"I don't believe in gymnasium baseball, nossiree," the coach said as they inspected the frozen field. "First, you can't see the ball in the fluorescent lights. Second, baseballs are tough on the hardwood basketball floor, And third, baseball is an all-weather game, boys."

"You call this weather?" Doug Nixon muttered.

"Cold is the Minnesota advantage," the coach said to his shivering team. "It works for the Vikings, it works for the Twins, it's gonna work for the Flint Sparks, right?"

There were a few half-hearted cheers.

"Outfielders take your positions, infielders find your bases. I'm going to hit a few. Catch and throw home to Butch or King."

That was Butch Redbird, the regular catcher, and of course King Kenwood, who acted like some kind of assistant coach most of the time.

Jogging in place, booting, their breath puffing in the chilly air, the boys lined up. Billy took a spot in right field. Tiny Tim Loren, at the end of the line, began to make snowballs and goof off.

Farm Team. Copyright © by Will Weaver. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2008

    a great book for all ages

    This book tells of a young boy named Billy who has to take care of his dad's farm after he goes to jail. Billy also loves to play baseball but had to quit his highchool team to care for the farm. So Billy and his mom build a baseball field on the farm and after practicing for about three weeks with their team challenge the towns youth baseball team at the farm. I liked this book because its easy for me to relate to because my father is constantly in and out of jail and I feel like I am like the man of the house when he is not there just like Billy did

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2008

    Farm versus Town Battle

    Farm Team is a book that revolves around a redneck boy named Billy in the spring and summer of 1971. Billy is the son of Mavis and Abner Baggs. He was born and raised on the farm. Billy wants to play baseball for the town team but his dad has him too occupied on the farm. Then, a car salesman named Randy Meyers sells Mavis a piece of junk car that stops running. Old Abner was mad. To get back at Meyers, Abner destroyed all of his cars and his business with his farm machinery. All that did was get Abner put in jail, leaving Billy in charge of the whole entire farm. You would think that would make it even harder for Billy to play ball. However, Mavis and Billy found spare time to make a baseball field in their pasture and organize a farm team. The greatest battle to occur in Flint for many years was the Farm Team versus the Town Team. To find out who wins, I guess you¿ll just have to read the book yourself. I really enjoyed reading Farm Team, written by Will Weaver. The book was about baseball, and it also had a very unique main character. One thing I didn¿t like was how the story ended. It should have talked more about what happened after the game. However, the book always had something interesting going on in it. I would recommend this book to more guys than girls. If you are any person who likes baseball, boy or girl, this is a good book to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2008

    Billy's Field

    During the summer of 1971 Billy Baggs went through a crazy time. Billy¿s father (Abner) got mad at the car dealership fro ripping off Mavis (Billy¿s mom), so he went into action. He took his Caterpillar and crushed almost every car in the lot. The cops came and took him to jail where he had to serve sixteen months. Abner¿s bail was set at $6,000, so he told Billy to go to the bank and have them order $6,000 dollars in dimes. While Billy was doing things for his father he had to run the family farm and wanted to play on the Town Team baseball team. He wasn¿t able to so Mavis and Billy made a baseball field in the cow pasture. They put out flyers so that people would know to come watch and play in the games. Only enough people showed up for one team so they called themselves The Farm Team. They wanted to set up a game with the Town Team, so Coach Anderson (town team¿s baseball coach) set up a game. You¿ll have to read the book to find out what happens next. I thought that this book never really had any slow or boring points. Throughout the book there was always something going on. Farm Team is the first in a three book series about Billy Baggs, and his baseball adventure¿s. It doesn¿t really matter what order you read them in there¿s just some details that you don¿t know but they aren¿t any real important details. Farm Team and the movie Field of Dreams are alike because in both of them the main character builds a field on a farm, and people come and watch the games. I think that anyone who read this book would like it. The Billy Baggs novels are very good books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2007

    Baseball and Farming: how to manage both

    Billy Baggs lives on a farm twenty miles from the town of Flint. He is a fourteen year old boy who enjoys playing baseball but rarely can play because he always has farm work to do. When his father gets put in jail all the farm work is left for Billy by himself. Coach Anderson, the town baseball coach, wants Billy to play baseball on the town team, but he can¿t because he has to much work to do. So how can Billy take care of the farm and still play baseball? I don¿t know, you¿ll have to read and find out. I liked this book because there was so much action in it. There was always something happening throughout the whole book. I also liked that it was so realistic because farm kids usually don¿t get the chance to play baseball because they are always busy on the farm. This book is part of the Billy Baggs series. There are three books in the series and this is number two. It helps if you read them in order because it gives you a lot of background information in the earlier books. I think this is more of a book for boys because it is about baseball, farming, and most of the characters are guys.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2007

    A Farm Boys Life and His Love for Baseball

    Billy is a fourteen year old boy who lives in Flint, Minnesota. Billy has to run the farm by himself since his dad went to jail. Billy does a good job with the farm, but it is hard work for a fourteen year old boy to do by himself. Billy also has to give up baseball, a sport he loved and was very good at. Then one day his mom came home from work and she asked Billy if he wanted to throw a baseball with her. Billy said yes, and while they were throwing, they decided to make a baseball team with the farmers and neighbors in their area. I really enjoyed this book, and didn¿t really think anything was bad or confusing about it. The narrator pretty much stays the same the whole time so it is not confusing. I also loved how I could relate to the book, because Billy loves baseball and the farm and so do I. The book starts out pretty exciting and then it slows down a little and then picks back up until the end. You are also left wondering a lot of the time what is going to happen next. I am pretty sure this book is part of a series, but it can be read without reading the rest of the series because I never read the other books and I understood it fine. This book doesn¿t remind me of any movies or T.V. shows I¿ve seen before. I think guys who like baseball and farming will really enjoy this book. I also think if you enjoyed books by Dan Gutman or Gary Paulsen you will like this book by Will Weaver. I really enjoyed this book but I guess it is because I really enjoyed the topics, farm and baseball. I think this is a great book and people should read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2007

    Farming or Baseball?

    Billy Baggs is in trouble this because he has no time for the thing he loves the most, baseball. He has to work on the farm all the time due to the fact his fathers in jail. Billy¿s father, Abner, was mad at Randy Myers, a car dealer, for selling his wife a junk car. So Abner crushed every car Randy was trying to sell, and he went to jail for it. Billy is now on his own with running the farm with a little help from Mavis, his mother, once in a while. Billy is pretty forlorn about not being able to play baseball. He plays a little catch with his dog, Skinner. One night, Mavis decides to go play some catch. She thinks they should build a ball field for a team. Mavis starts making flyers for people to come to the farm on Friday. Billy starts making a field with bases, a fence, and a pitchers mound. Friday came and a Mexican family who spoke little English joined them. They had two boys who were really good, Raul and Jesus. The Erickson sister showed up as well as Big Danny Boyer. They soon realized they had no one to play but Billy said they could have the Farm Team versus the Town Team. Billy will face his arch rival King Kenwood. Who will win? I liked this book because it was about baseball. Baseball is one of my favorite sports. So if you like Baseball this is for you. I also liked that it was a good book that was hard to put down. This book has almost no flaws. It was very good. This book is apart of the Billy Baggs series and you should read them in order. This is the second one in the series. This series is very good and all baseball lovers should read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2001

    Great Sports and Friendship Book!

    This book is about a boy named Billy Baags and how he makes friends with this boy Aaron Goldberg. It is also about how the farm team plays the big city league team. This is a challenge between the two teams to see who is better at baseball, a big good city team and a farm team with not so good players. I really enjoyed the book Farm Team, by Will Weaver. This is a very good book to read if you love sports and friendship books. Jessica G.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2000

    Farm Team

    From the beginning, I wasn't interested in this book, but the interesting cover drew me into it. By the end of the first chapter, I knew this was a book that I would enjoy. From Billy's humorous father, to his lovable dog, Skinner, this book had a great number of events, which were all exciting. This book isn't just for baseball lovers, any one can read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2000

    Farm Team

    I wasn't sure about this book at first, but the interesting book cover drew me to it. As I read the first chapter, I could see that I would like this book. It is about baseball, but if you don't like baseball, you could still like the book. There were so many different events, that tied in with baseball. Billy's family humored me throughout the book. His father was quite a character, and my favorite member of the family was Skinner the dog. All in all I say this book was one of the best that I ever read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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