Kristy at Bat (RS#129)

Original Publication Date: 1999

Ghostwriter? Yes, Ellen Miles


Kristy and Watson are attending a weeklong father-daughter baseball camp in Delware run by a former MLB star who happens to be one of Watson's favorite players, Bill Bain. Kristy's excitement is overshadowed by learning that she's going to be on the second-string SMS softball team instead of first-string as she'd anticipated (and was...last year...which was still eighth grade...). She's put out in left field too, which is either a sign that Coach Wu doesn't have a lot of confidence in Kristy or does, since outfield positions see less action than infield positions and left fielders don't need to have as good throwing arms as other spots, but outfielders also need to be able to pay attention to everything and react quickly to make good catches and left fielders are more likely to get the ball than right fielders.

Anyway. Kristy still wants to make the best of camp, especially since Watson's so excited. And she does get into it for a while and has a fun time. She does have some trouble shaking the thought of having to play second-string, and is also dealing with conflicting thoughts wondering what her father would think of her sports talents now but feeling disloyal to Watson for it. Watson himself has a bit of a let-down when his sports hero turns out to not be very involved in the camp and rarely makes an appearance. But he's still enamored with the man enough that when Kristy calls Bain out on his neglect of the camp he gets angry with Kristy for being rude. He doesn't hold a grudge though, and is even more over it the next day when Bain shows up for the big game between the campers and admits Kristy was right. Kristy and Watson both do really well, including sharing a double play. After the game, Bain makes himself available for autographs. There's an awards ceremony and one of the several given out is to Best Coach, to Kristy for her help with organizing things when Bain was absent, which helps her realize that enjoying baseball and softball is more important than being the best at it. She and Watson end up with some really good bonding time out of the camp, too.

Back in the 'brook, David Michael gets seriously into collecting baseball cards and spends a few afternoons trading cards. But since he doesn't know the value of all of them, he find himself taken advantage of by a more knowledgeable kid. Abby steps in to show that a card's worth isn't limited to monetary terms, and that some might have sentimental value or other attributes. David Michael continues trading, but with a more relaxed group of kids.

Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: Doritos

Foul: Chapter Two claims Anna's hair is longer than Abby's.

The cover correctly depicts Kristy in a left-handed batting stance.

Abby talks more about her dad in this book than any other (well, during a conversation; obviously he was mentioned in her Portrait Collection book). She has a rare baseball card that he gave her shortly before he died, of his favorite player.

Their Families:

According to Kristy, Emily Michelle doesn't talk as well as most two-and-a-half-year-olds, but she talks better than my two-and-a-half-year-old. My daughter understands most of what's said to her, but just doesn't seem too interested in talking. She picks up sign language really well though, and is starting to say the words as she signs them. Kids develop at different rates; one of my uncles didn't talk until he was three (probably couldn't get a word in edgewise being the youngest of four born in under than five years). My daughter can communicate, which is what matters.

David Michael gives Andrew a few of his baseball cards that he has doubles of. At some point Andrew needs to learn that life isn't fair, but he's only four now and this was very kind of David Michael. He's a good big brother. And really, since Andrew ends with only five cards to David Michael's dozens and he's appropriately grateful, he probably gets it on some level that he doesn't need everything of his to be the same as everyone else's and he can be happy with what he does have.

Wow, Watson hits a triple. That's really hard to do, because you have to hit the ball far enough to run three bases while the other team is trying to get you out, whereas with a home run the ball goes out of the field and you don't have to run as fast to make it to home plate (there are in-the-park home runs, but they're rare; Kristy also hits a triple during practice but she's younger and faster).

The Club (and clients):

Abby is president while Kristy is away. Considering how well that went last time, I wonder why no one suggested Claudia, as vice-president, take over, perhaps under the guise of being fair and sharing.


The SMS softball team only practices a couple days a week. When I coached cross country, I handled the middle school and high school programs at the same time. High school practiced Monday through Friday and middle school practiced Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, with the option to come on Wednesday. Saturdays were optional practices if we didn't have a meet (middle school races were held at the same locations about an hour before high school races so this was feasible). We also did four days a week when I myself was on the middle school soccer and track teams.

PSA Time:

I do think it's great to play through the pain, but listen to your body if the pain is bad. Not that I played soccer on a torn meniscus long enough to ensure I'd earn a varsity letter or pole vaulted with a probably broken wrist for a few weeks and still have a sore knee or occasionally drop things randomly from that hand or anything...


This is Kristy's last regular series book.

My copy of this book appears to have once been sold at a used bookstore for $2.25.

Back to coaching...I am so glad I coached cross country and track and field rather than other sports (well, I did help with a third-grade soccer team once, but just to train goalies). I would have a tough time deciding who was varsity and who wasn't. With the sports I dealt with, it's obvious, because you can clearly see who runs faster, throws farther, or jumps higher. I admire coaches of more subjective sports who work hard to make those tough calls.

That "'Put Me In, Coach' song" is called "Centerfield" and it's by John Fogerty; Kristy should know the title if not the artist. It's a very fun song to listen to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04KQydlJ-qc

Yay! My Seattle Mariners get a mention! It's brief but I'll take it.

The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 11

Halloweens in 8th grade: 6 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 4

Winter holidays in 8th grade (that BSC members celebrate in the plot of a book, not just reference): Christmas-5, Hanukkah-2, Kwanzaa-3

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 5

St. Patrick's Days in 8th grade: 1

Summers after 8th grade: 11

BSC Fights: 13

SMS Staff and Faculty: 68

Students (other than the BSC): 216: 122 8th graders (not including Amelia Freeman, who is deceased), 30 7th graders, 48 6th graders, 15 unspecified. Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation tells us that SMS has about 380 students.

Clients: 38 families

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 144

Mary Anne-2

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