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The Big Field [Paperback]

Mike Lupica
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Feb. 10 2009
Playing shortstop is a way of life for Hutch?not only is his hero, Derek Jeter, a shortstop, but so was his father, a former local legend turned pro. Which is why having to play second base feels like demotion to second team. Yet that?s where Hutch ends up after Darryl ?D-Will? Williams, the best shortstop prospect since A-Rod, joins the team. But Hutch is nothing if not a team player, and he?s cool with playing in D-Will?s shadow?until, that is, the two shortstops in Hutch?s life betray him in a way he never could have imagined. With the league championship on the line, just how far is Hutch willing to bend to be a good teammate?

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About the Author

Mike Lupica is one of the best-known and widely read sports columnists in the United States. He began his newspaper career with the New York Post in 1975, at the age of 23, covering the New York Knicks. In 1977, he became the youngest columnist ever at a New York paper with the Daily News, where he currently writes four syndicated columns a week. He has also worked for New York Newsday and The National. Since 1987, Lupica has written "The Sporting Life" column for Esquire magazine. His work has also appeared in Sport magazine, World Tennis, Tennis, Golf Digest, Playboy, Sports Illustrated and Parade. Lupica is also a regular on ESPN's Sunday morning show, "The Sports Reporters."

Lupica has written or co-written four previous nonfiction books: Reggie, the autobiography of Reggie Jackson (Villard, 1984); Parcells, an autobiography of former Giants and Patriots coach Bill Parcells (Bonus Books, 1987); Wait 'Till Next Year, co-written with novelist and screenwriter William Goldman (Bantam, 1988); and Shooting From The Lip, a collection of columns (Bonus Books, 1988). In addition, he has written four novels: Dead Air, Extra Credits, Limited Partner and Jump. Dead Air became the CBS television movie "Money, Power, Murder," for which Lupica also wrote the teleplay. G.P. Putnam's Sons will publish Lupica's new book, Mad As Hell, in October 1996.

Mike Lupica lives in New Canaan, Connecticut with his wife, Taylor, and their three sons.

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4.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too May 7 2008
Keith "Hutch" Hutchison, the hero of sportswriter Mike Lupica's latest young adult sports novel, loved playing shortstop for his baseball team in Florida. Then Darryl Williams came along and took over at short, forcing Hutch to move to second base.

Worse than the sting of losing his old position, though, is the hurt Hutch feels at the absence of his father from his games. A former baseball player who saw his dreams crushed, Hutch's dad can barely bring himself to watch his son play. So when Hutch sees his father giving Darryl some playing tips, he has a whole new reason to dislike his teammate.

During a summer when their team is fighting to win the state championship and the chance to play on TV, Hutch's rivalry with Darryl threatens the team's chances, and he must come to grips with his father and his teammate to be the team player he needs to be.

While THE BIG FIELD doesn't bring anything new to the sports genre, this is an engaging read. Mr. Lupica throws in plenty of references to current baseball players, which brings even more realism to the story. The characters seem very true-to-life, and anyone who's ever played a sport or just loves baseball can relate to it.

Reviewed by: Katie Hayes
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  34 reviews
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
By Rick Shaq Goldstein - Published on
Keith "Hutch" Hutchinson is a 14 year old boy who lives in Florida, but you'd be more accurate to say he lives in a world of baseball. Hutch eats, sleeps, drinks and plays baseball. And he prides himself on being "OLD-SCHOOL"! Nowadays kids wear two batting gloves at a time, Hutch doesn't wear any, and he also wears his red stirrup socks high, all strictly "OLD-SCHOOL". Other kids perform dances that would shame Terrell Owens after a good play or big hit. When Hutch hits a homerun he quickly runs around the bases so as not to embarrass the other team. Hutch is definitely "OLD-SCHOOL"! "Hutch knew he loved baseball more than anybody he knew, on his current team, or any team he'd ever played on, loved the history of it, loved the stats and the numbers and the way they connected the old days to right now." (NOTE: Take Hutch's name out and put my name in when I was 14 and you wouldn't have to change a word!") This story is built around the Boynton Beach Post 226 Cardinals American Legion Team and their quest for the opportunity to play for the state championship, which would enable them to play on "THE-BIG-FIELD" at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, where the St. Louis Cardinals and Florida Marlins play their spring training games.

There are a number of sub-plots in this wonderfully written homage to young American boys whose dreams of playing baseball invade every thought they possess. I know how accurate the author's descriptions are since my entire childhood through adulthood was filled with these very same dreams. Hutch, until this summer season was always the star shortstop on every team he played on, but the Cardinals had a player by the name of Darryl Williams, that played shortstop, and batted like the almighty himself had created him specifically for this task, and every motion at bat or in the field were almost an effortless success. For the good of the team, Hutch moved to second base despite the fact that shortstop was his pre-ordained position. Carl Hutchinson, Hutch's Father, had been the greatest boyhood shortstop in the town's history. Carl had signed a big league contract out of high school and played minor league ball in the Atlanta Braves farm system, but he never made it to the big leagues and the reason was an untold story in the family. Because of this there seemed to be an unspoken wall between Father and son. As circumstances present themselves during the Cardinal's run at the championship, Hutch feels pangs of alienation with his Father, and one of the greatest lines in the book, which I believe every Father and every son have probably said, thought, or felt, a number of times during their lifetime: "BEFORE HUTCH WALKED OUT THE FRONT DOOR HE LEANED AGAINST IT, CLOSED HIS EYES, AND WISHED HE COULD HAVE SPENT JUST ONE DAY WITH HIS DAD WHEN HIS DAD WAS YOUNG."

This book is almost prose to anyone that not only played baseball but "LOVED" baseball. Another wonderful thing about this book is that I highly recommend it to kids from ten-years-old to kids of one-hundred-years-old. It is a perfect gift for a Father to give to a son, and a perfect gift for a son to give a Father.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For the love of the game Oct. 13 2008
By J. Green - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Fourteen-year-old Keith "Hutch" Hutchinson loves baseball, and he loves being the shortstop, the guy in the middle of all the action. Unfortunately, he's been moved to second base to make room for Darryl Williams, a kid with tons of talent but not the best attitude. But Hutch is still the team captain and he takes baseball seriously. He's a good team player, he works hard and doesn't show off, even when he hits a home run. His dream is to attend a private baseball school up north and make it to the major leagues. His father was a star player in his day as well, but he missed his chance and doesn't offer Hutch any encouragement, not wanting his son to put all his hopes in one long-shot basket. It bothers Hutch that his father isn't more involved with him, but it's too much when he shows up early for practice one day and finds his father coaching and giving pointers to Darryl.

My son who loves baseball and I read this together. Even though Hutch's passion for baseball is obsessive, there was plenty to relate to here. My hope was that it would give my son an idea of how a baseball player should *think* on the field, but while the story is heavy on jargon it's a bit light on fundamentals. It's also pretty long (or at least *felt* that way) and not always the most interesting read. The conflicts with his father and with Darryl offered some fairly interesting plots, and some of the scenes during games were quite exciting and dramatic, but overall it felt kind of formulaic and like it just wasn't a very substantial story. We both liked it, but it wasn't real high on our list.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Take it from me Jan. 1 2013
By Taylor - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a great book. Actually made me tear up a little but I definitely recommend buying this book. The story line inn it is great and deserves attention to be read
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A genial, fast-paced adventure that should interest young sports fans Aug. 11 2008
By KidsReads - Published on
Mike Lupica, the veteran sports columnist for the Daily News in New York, is not content to rest on his laurels. In addition to his adult audience, he's reaching out to younger readers, trying to teach them lessons on the field that can be extended to everyday life. His previous works in the genre include HEAT, TRAVEL TEAM, SUMMER BALL and MIRACLE ON 49th STREET.

His latest offering is THE BIG FIELD, the story of Hutch Hutchinson, a star shortstop for his American Legion team who is displaced by Darryl "D-Will" Williams, a better player with a questionable attitude.

Despite the natural misgivings, Hutch is willing to take one for the team, giving way to Darryl and moving over to second base. The parallel to Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez is unmistakable. So is the tense relationship as the two 14-year-olds vie for dominance. Darryl has his mind set on being the "next big thing," already attracting the notice of scouts and the media. Hutch, on the other hand, is content to live in the here-and-now, with the sole goal of playing for the regional championship at the minor league venue of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Hutch is joined in his quest by Codey, his best friend and affable sidekick. It's not too far a stretch to think of the trio as a less dangerous version of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Draco Malfoy, with bats replacing magic wands.

As the team moves through the rounds of competition to put them in the big game on The Big Field, Hutch must deal with several issues: his continuing resentment of his rival, his perhaps over-consuming love of baseball, and his relationship with his father, himself a heralded player who still has trouble dealing with his failure to make it to the major leagues.

Lupica does an admirable job of presenting the drama of the games, which, with the attention to strategy, often feels more like a chess match. But several elements fall into the area of cliché: Hutch's team is obviously talented, but they're considered underdogs since they are in the low age range, 14- and 15-year-olds competing against players up to three years their seniors (the player pictured on the dust jacket seems more like 10 than 14). And although Hutch does have a couple of momentary setbacks, he nevertheless comes through when it counts, a baseball savant --- wise beyond what should be his ken --- who seems to have no other interest than to excel at his game.

The fact that everything works out to the good despite the blips is also somewhat unrealistic, but hey, this is fiction.

Overall, THE BIG FIELD is a genial, fast-paced adventure that should interest young sports fans.

--- Reviewed by Ron Kaplan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars July 9 2014
By trey - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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