"Stats" Pagano may have been born with a heart defect, but he lives for three things: his family's hot dog stand right outside fabled Fenway Park, his beloved Red Sox, and any baseball statistic imaginable. When the family can no longer make ends meet with the hot dog stand, life becomes worrisome for Stats. Then the Sox go on a long losing streak and the team's ace pitcher--and Stats's idol--becomes ...
"Stats" Pagano may have been born with a heart defect, but he lives for three things: his family's hot dog stand right outside fabled Fenway Park, his beloved Red Sox, and any baseball statistic imaginable. When the family can no longer make ends meet with the hot dog stand, life becomes worrisome for Stats. Then the Sox go on a long losing streak and the team's ace pitcher--and Stats's idol--becomes convinced the famed Curse of the Bambino has returned. Stats just has to help . . . but how? As the Sox faithful sour on their team, Stats forms a plan that ultimately unifies an entire city and proves that true loyalty has a magic all its own.
In honor of Fenway Park's 100th birthday, baseball novelist John H. Ritter delivers an inspiring tale for the sports fan in each of us, regardless of team allegiance.
Gr 5–8—It is the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox, and everyone is excited for a great season, except their star pitcher, Billee Orbit. The Red Sox have finally broken the Curse of the Bambino, winning two World Series, but Billee believes there is a new curse. To help him work through it, he turns to his young friend Alfredo 'Stats' Pagano, of Papa Pagano's Red Sox Red Hots hotdog stand, a staple at Fenway since Alfredo's grandfather opened it when he arrived in America. Billee and Stats try to figure out what could have caused the new curse and how to counter it. They look into all possibilities, including the ballpark's history, Chi, ley lines, and pyramids. This discussion of mysticism could be confusing and turn off readers. Stats has other problems. He was born with a weak heart, which keeps him from playing baseball, but it can't stop his love for the game, and he is facing a difficult surgery that could help him or be fatal. On top of that, his father is facing some financial difficulties and may have to sell off the hotdog stand. Reluctant readers may lose interest in the story due to the slow pace and lack of action.—Erik Carlson, White Plains Public Library, NY
Beneath "all the festivity and hooplicity" for the 100th anniversary of Boston's Fenway Park looms a calamity no one seems to notice, but a 12-year-old fan and an oddball starting pitcher step up to the plate. The Curse of the Bambino, the 86-year curse that kept the Red Sox from winning the World Series until 2004 and again in 2007, is back. Early in the 2012 season, the Sox have gone from four games in front of the Yankees to one game back, in just 10 days. "We're not that bad of a team, Stat Man. Something else is going on," says pitcher Billee Orbitt to Stats Pagano, a young hot-dog vendor and statistics guru. There's always enchantment at Fenway Park, but there's more than magic afoot, or afloat, in Ritter's life-affirming and tear-jerking new baseball novel. Ritter is a master at capturing the nuances of the game and infusing its magic into his tales. Here, Billee figures out that "It's not the ball park that's out of whack. It's not even the team. It's the balance of nature. It's the chi," and Billee and Stats set out to restore the proper lines of energy through the sacred grounds of Fenway Park and make the Red Sox winners again. A surefire winner, full of energy and wonder. (Fantasy. 9-14)