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How Baseball Works

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Overview

Does a curveball really curve? How do hitters swing with such zing? What makes the great players great? And how can you become one of "the greats"? How Baseball Works answers all these questions and many, many more. Packed with legendary tales from the pros, fascinating "Quick Hit" facts, insider tips to help you perfect your own game, and all the dazzling science behind the sport, How Baseball Works covers baseball from every exciting angle.
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Overview

Does a curveball really curve? How do hitters swing with such zing? What makes the great players great? And how can you become one of "the greats"? How Baseball Works answers all these questions and many, many more. Packed with legendary tales from the pros, fascinating "Quick Hit" facts, insider tips to help you perfect your own game, and all the dazzling science behind the sport, How Baseball Works covers baseball from every exciting angle.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
New titles offer tips and information for budding athletes. How Baseball Works by Keltie Thomas, illus. by Greg Hall, details some of the history and how-to regarding America's favorite pastime. Chapters explain baseball gear and the ways the game has evolved over time, with hints and anecdotes related in sidebars such as "Legends of the Game," "Quick Hit" and "Try This." An explanation of basic rules and a glossary keep readers game-ready. Each spread is divided into small bites of information, and humorous cartoon illustrations (such as a caricatured Green Monster at Fenway Park) and photos add to the visual appeal. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
With a more active and busy format but quicker step-by-step direction than The Baseball Book (Firefly, 2003), this book tells readers plenty about how to improve their game, but concentrates more deeply on the history of baseball, the many "whys" and "hows" of the game (making of bats and gloves, the sweet spot on the bat, tricks in pitching), and some of the folks who make or made the game great. Double page spreads are information-packed with sections like "Tips," "Quick Hits," "Try This," and nifty "Legends of the Game," which profiles Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, "monkey business" that rallied the Anaheim Angels, Satchel Paige, the catcher's hocky mask pioneered by Toronto Blue Jay Charlie O' Brien, and the spitball pioneer Ed Walsh who's bad habit was foiled by manure. You can start anywhere in this book because there are fascinating facts everywhere, but the opening chapters lay out how baseball works and the making of baseballs and a history of their changes over the last 150 years, how freezing a ball deters homeruns (but not why), some secrets for gunking a ball, and the resulting rule that only new balls are used for big league games. This book will undoubtedly be quoted aloud to other interested baseball players, kid or adult alike: "Hey, did you know that in 1887, batters could just tell the umpire what kind of pitch they wanted, and the pitcher had to deliver it?" Photos, archival material, cartoon art, diagrams, stats and how to understand them, artificial turf versus grass—it's all here. This is a perfect book for coaches to quote from to give the game more heft for young players who think it is all about hitting the ball. Now, if you can just get those who are immuneto the charms of boys and girls of summer to read this, you might just create another lifelong fan of the game. 2004, Maple Tree Press, Ages 9 to 14.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-This attractive volume is filled with snippets of facts and trivia. Thomas starts with a description of the ball: what it's made of, how it's used in the major leagues, and how it has changed through the years. This is followed by a fascinating discussion of the "sneaky science of doctoring the ball," which includes recipes for "Gourmet Pitches," such as spitballs, scuffballs, and mud balls. Ensuing chapters serve up an introduction to various facets of the game: equipment, training, hitting, pitching, keeping statistics, and major-league ballparks. Four simple experiments are presented, and each section includes a brief anecdote about one of baseball's great players. One memorably gross yet hilarious example involves spitball pitcher "Big Ed" Walsh and legendary manager, Connie Mack. This book provides a fun overview of the game and the eye-catching graphics and color photographs add much to its appeal. Lawrence Ritter's The Story of Baseball (Morrow, 1999) and Dan Gutman's The Way Baseball Works (S & S, 1996) provide more comprehensive treatments of the topic for both hardcore fans and novices.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Biting off far more than she can chew, Thomas crams mini-disquisitions on baseball's history, gear, play, rules, strategies, physics, statistics, jargon, stars, stadiums, and more into arrays of variously sized and colored boxes, supported by a mix of unevenly informative photos and cartoons. Though language and visuals are carefully nonsexist, the resulting barrage of superficial information not only occasionally swerves into misinformation-fastballs do not "shoot toward home plate in a straight line"-but leaves a few bases uncovered too, such as the ins and outs of pinch-hitting, the screwball pitch, the Hall of Fame, and the role of the Closer. Thomas supplies no sources for further information, and doesn't carry her tale beyond the 2002 season. Young fans won't encounter much here that they don't already know; non-fans will simply be bewildered. (Nonfiction. 9-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781897349212
  • Publisher: Owlkids Books
  • Publication date: 3/28/2008
  • Series: How Sports Work Series
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 810,432
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 1060L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.28 (w) x 8.18 (h) x 0.21 (d)

Meet the Author

Keltie Thomas, a seasoned science writer and life-long sports fan is the former editor of OWL magazine and developer of the award-winning web site, Owlkids.com.

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Table of Contents

How Does Baseball Work? 4
Legends of the Game: The Year of the Bat 6
Chapter 1
That's the Way the Ball Bounces 7
Legends of the Game: Too Sick to Lick 14
Chapter 2
The Tools 15
Legends of the Game: How Baseball Got a Hockey Mask 22
Chapter 3
The Complete Athlete 23
Legends of the Game: The Wizard of Oz 30
Chapter 4
The Science of Explosive Moves 31
Legends of the Game: The Splinter's Hitting Science 36
Chapter 5
Pitcher vs. Batter 37
Legends of the Game: Few Could Outmatch Satch 44
Chapter 6
Playing by Numbers 45
Legends of the Game: Jolting Joe Does the Impossible 50
Chapter 7
Take Me Out to the Ballpark 51
Legends of the Game: Winning Monkey Business 60
Rules and Regs 61
Baseball Talk 62
Index 64
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Introduction

How Does Baseball Work?

Fans, players, and inquiring minds everywhere want to know!

What makes baseball such a great game? Why is the ball so flighty? What makes bats perform so smashingly? Do pitchers really have the edge over batters? What are the tools of ignorance, and why is baseball such a mind game? Just how do players' stats add up? What makes major-league grass greener? Does a curve ball really curve? How do pitchers get a grip...on the ball? How do hitters swing with such zing? How do pitchers and hitters work the count to psych each other out? And what exactly is the count, anyway?

Well, just like everything else on earth, it all comes down to science (plus a few things science hasn't managed to explain yet!). And if you think that makes baseball sound boring, you'd better check what planet you're on. But, hey, why don't you turn the page and check out the world of baseball in action for yourself. It doesn't matter whether you play baseball, softball, T-ball, or even none at all. If you want answers to those burning questions, tips on becoming a better player, the scoop on inside information, or just to have a blast with the game, this book's for you.

Legends of the Game: The Year of the Bat

Crack! The tell-tale sound of a home run repeated over and over throughout 1998. Sluggers Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire were smacking, whacking, and racking up long balls in the most explosive home-run race major-league baseball has ever seen.

At first there wasn't much of a race at all. McGwire had 29 homers at the end of May, while Sosa had just 13. But then Slammin' Sammy began closing in on Big Mac in a big way. He blasted 21 home runs in30 days on a record-setting hitting streak. Soon the two sluggers where neck and neck, chasing Roger Maris's 37-year-old record of 61 home runs in a single season. Then, in the middle of August, Sammy belted out his 48th round-trip-per, moving ahead of Big Mac for the first time. But not for long. Later that day, Big Mac hit two homers.

In September, in a game the sluggers played against each other, Big Mac smashed the record. Slammin' Sammy hugged Mark in celebration and Big Mac lifted him off his feet. But the race between them kept on. By the end of the season, Slammin' Sammy hit 66 home runs, and Big Mac sped past him, cranking out a record-setting 70. And fans everywhere were left wondering, "Just how do they do that?"

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