Out Standing in My Field

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Overview


A funny, insightful, and poignant story about a Little League loser whose tyrant father is the team coach, by one of Scholastic Press's favorite talents.

Ty has been named for baseball legend Ty Cobb, but the hero of Jennings' wonderful new novel isn't living up to his namesake's reputation when it comes to The Game. He loves baseball; he just isn't great at it, despite all the efforts of his coach and father, who himself once dreamed of playing in the majors. To complicate ...

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Overview


A funny, insightful, and poignant story about a Little League loser whose tyrant father is the team coach, by one of Scholastic Press's favorite talents.

Ty has been named for baseball legend Ty Cobb, but the hero of Jennings' wonderful new novel isn't living up to his namesake's reputation when it comes to The Game. He loves baseball; he just isn't great at it, despite all the efforts of his coach and father, who himself once dreamed of playing in the majors. To complicate matters, Ty's younger sister Daisy is a baseball whiz (as well as the school genius). In this sharply witty, deeply poignant all -American novel, Ty has to figure out just who he's trying to please -- his father, his teammates, or himself.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

VOYA 6/1/05 Fifth grader Ty Cutter loves baseball and plays right field for the Babylon Brewers Pee Wee team in Arizona. His father, a stubborn, insensitive, former big-league player who never made it, insists that everyone call him The Professor. He coaches the Brewers with the premise that winning is everything. Unfortunately Ty is not a very good player and regularly disappoints his demanding father. On top of that, his math-whiz, year-older sister, Daisy, is an outstanding player. She allows her name to appear on the team roster but refuses to actually play, preferring to keep tabs on team statistics. Their city manager mother is supportive and spends time embarrassing Ty by waving from the stands and calling him sweetheart. The book is essentially a chapter-by-chapter, inning-by-inning description of the last game of the regular season, which Ty hopes the team will lose to end things once and for all before the tournament. The background and character development of Ty's family, interspersed within the details of the game, blend adequately with the baseball action. Readers may be puzzled by The Professor's final behavior and wonder about his problems with alcohol. Ty's first-person narrative often lapses into terminology that transforms his voice into that of a teenager rather than a preteen. Nevertheless diehard baseball fans would appreciate this story filled with plenty of sports jargon and an abundance of humor.-Diane Tuccillo
SLJ 4/1/05 Gr 4-7-Ty Cutter loves baseball, but he is just not cut out to play the game. He is awkward and tentative and totally unlike his sister, Daisy, who excels at anything she tries. Worse yet, he has been forced to play every inning during the Pee Wee League season while the more talented players warm the bench because his father, "the Professor," coaches the team. This novel takes readers from the top of the first inning to the wrap-up of a humiliating playoff game. Ty tells his story in between the play-by-play and converses with the only teammate who will speak to him-Daisy, the scorekeeper. Runs are scored, runners are called out, balls are caught while the siblings banter and discuss their father's bullying behavior and their views on life. The book is funny, poignant, and deeper than one might think at first glance. Its deceptively uncomplicated plot makes it a great choice for reluctant readers and certainly for baseball players and fans.-Denise Moore, O'Gorman Junior High School, Sioux Falls, SD Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Booklist 3/15/05 Gr. 3-5. Told over the course of the last Pee Wee baseball game of the season for the Brewers of Babylon, Arizona, Jennings' novel lays out the inglorious career of narrator Tyrus Cutter. Although he has been named for Ty Cobb, 11-year-old Ty doesn't yet have the playing skills of his namesake, and he sees himself as a huge disappointment to his father, who is also his coach. Instead, Ty has mastered self-deprecating humor, which he delivers alternately from the dugout and right field. He distracts himself from suffocating heat and impending embarrassment with visions of Alaska, prayers for a rain-out, and conversations with his sister. Jennings captures both the petty tyrants some coaches become and the great drama of one baseball game, even at the Pee Wee level. On the field, Ty still trips on baseballs, but he gradually comes to understand what his wise, independent sister has been trying to tell him. The Brewers don't triumph in the last inning, nor is every strand of the story neatly resolved; but, as Ty Cobb used to say, baseball is not pink tea, and neither is real life. --Abby Nolan Copyright 2005 Booklist

PW 2/7/05 Jennings (The Beastly Arms) once again demonstrates his versatility with this novel for baseball fans and for those who are more comfortable in the stands than on the playing field. The author uses the span of a single Pee Wee League game to mine the dynamics of 11-year-old Tyr

Publishers Weekly
Jennings (The Beastly Arms) once again demonstrates his versatility with this novel for baseball fans and for those who are more comfortable in the stands than on the playing field. The author uses the span of a single Pee Wee League game to mine the dynamics of 11-year-old Tyrus Raymond Cutter's family. Narrator Ty quickly reveals that he was named for Tyrus Raymond Cobb by his father, who insists that Ty call him Professor (that's what Cobb called his dad). Though the boy loves baseball, he's no good at it; he bats ninth and plays right field. Unfortunately for Ty, his father ("a grouch with a punctured ego") is also the coach of his team and has made his son captain, earning Ty the deep resentment of his teammates. Ty's appeal is his self-deprecating humor, the way that he takes in his situation and fantasizes about a way out. His 12-year-old sister, Daisy, who sits on the bench (keeping score) and can hold her own against their dad, inspires him to take action. Jennings reveals much about their mother through her cheering from the bleachers, her interactions with her kids after the game, and a judicious use of Ty's memories. Even the Professor emerges as a fully developed character (his claim to fame was one game in the majors, in which he hit a Ron Guidry fastball into a triple play). A final curve ball precipitates an epiphany for Ty. Fans often say that baseball is a metaphor for life; Jennings here proves the adage's truth. Ages 9-12. (Feb.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From The Critics
On the surface, this novel appears to be a play-by-play account of a little league game. However, the main character, Ty Cutter, hates how his father forces him to play baseball. The baseball game just turns out to be a backdrop for Ty's life, as he deals with a younger sister who is smarter than him, a father who is an emotionally abusive alcoholic and a mother who is in denial. Young men will enjoy this novel, whether or not they like baseball, since it deals with many issues that boys struggle with every day. The story also features a strong female character in Ty's sister. At first I read this novel thinking it would be a tedious account of a baseball game, but I discovered it was a captivating, first-person, present-tense recounting of the life of a young man who strives to discover who he is aside from his parent expectations. 2005, Scholastic Press, 165 pp., Ages young adult.
—Kenan Metzger
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-Ty Cutter loves baseball, but he is just not cut out to play the game. He is awkward and tentative and totally unlike his sister, Daisy, who excels at anything she tries. Worse yet, he has been forced to play every inning during the Pee Wee League season while the more talented players warm the bench because his father, "the Professor," coaches the team. This novel takes readers from the top of the first inning to the wrap-up of a humiliating playoff game. Ty tells his story in between the play-by-play and converses with the only teammate who will speak to him-Daisy, the scorekeeper. Runs are scored, runners are called out, balls are caught while the siblings banter and discuss their father's bullying behavior and their views on life. The book is funny, poignant, and deeper than one might think at first glance. Its deceptively uncomplicated plot makes it a great choice for reluctant readers and certainly for baseball players and fans.-Denise Moore, O'Gorman Junior High School, Sioux Falls, SD Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Ty Cutter is expected to live out his father's dreams of baseball glory. Having had an unsuccessful "cup of coffee" in the major leagues, Ty's father is now a bitter, angry coach of his son's Pony League team. But Ty has absolutely no skill at the game he loves. He lives in dread of every fielding play and of every at-bat. So he survives via a wildly unique stream-of-consciousness narration of the game and its surrounding events. Ironically it's his sister Daisy who's the skilled baseball player. She's also a whiz at math. She uses her eccentric, mathematically based philosophy to score the games and to help Ty understand his father and reach some decisions about their future relationship. Jennings has crafted an unusual father-son story that goes far beyond the typical baseball novel. Humorous and insightful. (Fiction. 10-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439465816
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/28/2005
  • Pages: 176
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 730L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.62 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Patrick Jennings was born in Crown Point, Indiana in 1962; He graduated from Arizona State University in 1985 with a bachelor of fine arts. He has taught preschool and English as a Second/Other Language to adults. In 1993 he lived in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico where he taught English as a Foreign Language to students, ranging in age from preschoolers to adults. Afterwards Patrick moved to Bisbee, AZ where he worked afternoons in the library, dedicating the rest of his working time to writing and doing activities (readings, storytimes, art activities) with children. One of his goals in visiting schools is to help children realize the value of their education and creative potential. His daughter, Odette, was born in April 1999, and he has happily been dividing his time between caring for her and writing.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2006

    Out Standing in my Field

    The structure of this book is unique and interesting. Each inning of the game is a chapter. At first, one might predict the book would be boring because the whole book is about one game. But, Jennings manages to keep the story moving. He doesn¿t make the whole book about baseball, either. He adds more details into the story, as well. These details make the book more appealing. It is nice learning about Ty¿s life outside of baseball. People who aren¿t big fans of sports and baseball can relate to and connect with this book. Some children may have demanding fathers and may need to find some courage to stand up for themselves. Ty¿s life is portrayed accurately. There are many kids out there who are as clumsy as Ty and have the pressures of others to do well. It may not necessarily be a father who is the pressure but there are certainly others, like students, teachers, and relatives, who can be just as much pressure as fathers. Fortunately, Ty had help gaining enough courage to talk to his father. His sister gave a great deal of support and understood that Ty did not want to play baseball. Children could possibly realize that there is someone in their life who wants to help as much as she did with Ty.

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