World Series book

October 21, 2014

A few weeks ago, I reflected on the beginning of the year. I realized a stumbling block to my reviewing books and decided I didn’t like it. The realization sparked a plan to change. Taking a personal day, I took two bags of books, my sticky notes, and computer to the nearby Starbucks. Books laid out, pen in hand, I wrote. I had so much fun. I laughed at books, trying to hold my chuckles in. (I’m sure the groups of men around me wondered what I was up to.) I found a system I can manage and am happy.

In the height of the World Series, one Giant’s player needs to be highlighted: Willie Mays. He is one of the best all around baseball players.  In You Never Heard of Willie Mays?! Jonah Winters shares how Willie’s hero, Joe DiMaggio, inspired Willie to play hard. His natural talent mixed with determination and fatherly coaching, Willie worked at perfecting his baseball skills. By age 15, his career in the Negro Leagues began.

In 1951, Willie Mays was drafted by the Giants, rejuvenating the team with his intense effort. In the 1954 World Series, Willie made an incredible catch  – and was viewed by millions of people on TV.

“You could fill a whole book with all the jaw-droppin’ plays Willie made, all the homers he hit, all the bases he stole.”

View the amazing catch:

Savorings for reading and in writing for You Never Heard of Willie Mays?!:

  • Explode the moment – the catch, the throw
  • Quotes – radio announcers
  • Repeating line – “He was the kid who…
  • Voice – draws the reader in
  • Ticket inserts – informational text highlighting the history and stats behind the story



SOLC: Baseball from A to Z

March 26, 2012

Baseball season has officially begun for the Whitko Wildcats. With it being Wesley’s senior year, my calendar is filled with each game being a priority. Sitting in the stands, I hope, cheer, and have a twisted-tight stomach.When Wesley pitches, I’m on the edge of my seat, clutching my pitch-count notebook. I also scribble baseball lingo and try to craft it. Tonight, I am sharing some of my favorite words in baseball: atta-kid, burner, change-up, double-play, hop-up, pick-off, slider, two-seamer. Learn of others in the book Baseball from A to Z. Below is a quick taste of what I feature on Book Savors the other eleven months of the year. (Savorings is my word for lingering in a beautiful text to find the craft of writing.)

In Baseball from A to Z , each letter has one vocabulary word with a simple definition. Macky Pamintuan’s illustrations make you smile and feel a part of the game. He states on the book jacket that he loves baseball. The illustrations are action packed and introduces specific terms used in baseball. This book could be a mentor text for kindergartener students or first graders for an All About Unit of Study.

At the end, Michael Spradlin encourages the reader to find other baseball words at the ball park. Read an excerpt from his book on the website.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Baseball from A to Z:

  • Alphabet practice
  • All About Unit of Study
  • Baseball lingo
  • Word choice
  • Definitions

SOLSC: “Don’t You Think Someone Should Go?”

March 20, 2012

Our oldest is a senior with college fastly approaching. He is asked, I am asked, “What’s Wesley’s plans?” “Has he chosen a college yet?” “What does he want to major in?” Wes has the answers, well most of them, but honestly, the plans will not be finalized until May, toward the end of baseball season.

You see, Wes LOVES baseball. He has since he was young. To play in the major leagues, even for a brief time, is his dream. I know, I know, you say, “Ya, but how many baseball players actually make it?” I don’t know. What I do know is that Wes wants to play baseball in college and take it from there. I also know that I want to provide and support my son in his dreams. What college Wes goes to depends on playing for a baseball team.

A couple of weeks ago, a nearby college baseball coach called and asked Wes to tryout for their team. I really had not thought Wes would attend there. I guess I just envisioned him to be away. Tomorrow is the tryout. “Don’t you think someone should go with you?” I asked Wes that day. He shrugged. “I’m just going to pitch.”  (AKA, I’ll be fine.)

I spoke with my husband about it later. “Don’t you think someone should go with him?”

“I have to work,” was the reply. He felt Wes would be fine, maybe even wanting to be independent. This I frowned at. (I am his mom, you know.)

“Yeah, but don’t you think someone should go?” My question resonated. Wait. That someone means me.

Last night, after baseball practice, I asked Wes. “What’s the plan for Wednesday?” to which he then said he was meeting at eleven o’clock and pitch.

Today, we headed to an appointment and I had him trapped in the van for an hour. Lucky me. We began talking about tomorrow.

“Don’t you think someone should go?” I nudged.

“Why? I’m just going to throw,” was his matter-of-fact-confident-I-can-do-this reply.

“Yeah, but don’t you think someone should go?” This question seemed familiar.

“What are you going to do?” Wes replied.
“I don’t know. I probably will just be sitting there, watching.” (And praying and cheering silently and… learning to let go). “I just think someone should go just in case there are questions or I have questions. I could be there.” My mind was thinking about several synopsis, and the unknown had me wondering more than anything.

At this, Wes turned toward me, smiled, and said, “If it will make you feel better, you can come. I’m fine with that.”

I think my son figured out that his mom is trying to support and not be too pushy, be loving while realizing he’s becoming an adult. He’s figuring out that this mom needs to be there just because she has been there all the time.

I love you, Wes.

SOL: Baseball Lingo

May 10, 2011

As I sit watching my sons play baseball, the baseball chatter catches my ears. I began to write down comments the coaches, the players, the opponents were saying. From the simple, batter up to keep firing to know what you want, Ah take a step to round it lookin. It is rather amusing. For me, my listening comprehension has been challenged.  Last year, I wrote a slice as a poem. How many of the following baseball lingo do you know?

Box ’em up

Atta kid

Squeeze the zone

Eat it!

Bear down

Another step

Level swing

Let’s go, 2-1!

BASEBALL code at it’s best!

Slice of Life: Baseball Banter

March 29, 2010

As I was listening to my son’s baseball game, one player’s voice seemed to rise above the rest.  His pitch added to the resounding boom of his words.  Naturally, I heard our players add in their rebounding comments.  In a strange way, the talk struck me as poetic, like a symphony of phrases.  Baseball has its own language. 

I grabbed my notebook and began to write as quick as I could.  I wanted to capture the vocal canter happening on the ball field.  In one way, the baseball banter was a two-, or possibly three-, voiced poem.  I’m not sure if I can scribe what I heard, but I want to try with at least one batter.  I scribed 5 pages worth and only made it through the first inning.  My hand could not keep up with the lingo that was happening.  I think I have a fun challenge ahead this season, as I know that my ear will be tuned in to the banter of baseball.

Balls in!

Let’s go Boggs; come on, Kurt                  Let’s go Justinnnn

Go 2-2                        PLAY BALL

                                       Strike                      Good pitchn babyyyyy;

                                                                         Let’s go babyyyyy

Let’s go Kurt                                               Come on 10; Good job,

                                                                         Will; Routine throw

Let’s go 12                   Strike                      Keep firing;

                                                                         You’re all right

Know what you’re looking for              Keep firing, babyyyyyy


                                          foul ball; 1 ball 2 strikes

Let’s go 1-2                                                    You’re all right; Don’t worry about it.

Box it up

Move him over                                             Yre still on top;

Do a job now, kid                                         You’re all right 10;

                                                                          Relax 10; Fire it in

Let’s go kiiiidd.


Run it out. 


Atta Boy, Kid!

Slice of Life: Baseball Morning

March 27, 2010

Sleeping in seems to be a lost art for me.  My internal clock triggered me awake at my normal school-time this morning.  Our oldest has his first baseball game today, so he was readying for the game.  Even though W is able to dress himself, I was up making breakfast, double checking that he had everything he needed for the day.  W had prepared last night, equipment packed and uniform laid out.  I guess my motherly instinct nudges me to care.

Now I have some quiet time as the others sleep.  I inhale a long breath, savoring the peace.  These few quiet moments spread a calm before the active day.  I’ll read, reflect, plan, and then begin.  Today is going to be a smiling day.

Slice of Life: Baseball Cards

March 18, 2010

One way to delight my oldest son is to mention baseball cards.  His whole being lights up.  “Yes, baseball cards!” and off he goes with a box to open.  To Wes, the baseball cards are new found treasure.  “Mom, each pack could have an autograph card in it.  You never know what you might get,” he adds with excitement.  The hobby demands intensity and wonderment.

My husband collected baseball cards during his single life and even through our first married years.  When Wes came along, diapers demanded more of his cash than cards, so the hobby was placed on hold.  I remember trying to help my husband organize the cards.  My eyes went cross-eyed after looking at the small detail numbers.  The hobby demands time and patience.

“Be careful!” I’m instructed.  “Only hold them from the sides, like this,” my son proceeds to show me the proper way to hold the baseball cards.  A small piece of colored cardboard becomes the most precious possession.  The hobby demands procedure and precision.

Today my friend handed me several bags of old baseball cards her ex-husband had left.  She held out a Nolan Ryan card.  “I think this might be worth something, but I’m not sure.”  I knew my son would be able to look at the player and year and be able to estimate an approximate worth.  He snatched the opportunity to work with the baseball cards.  The hobby demands loving the moment.

Wes seizes any opportunity to work with a hobby he enjoys.  It fulfills him.

Isn’t teaching like that?

It demands the best from you.