Now that the official beginning of summer is upon us, my thoughts turn to baseball, that most summertime (summery? summerish?) of sports. I’ve gotten a reasonably good baseball education since starting to work here. I’ve spent quality time with Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Hank Aaron, Ichiro Suzuki, and Derek Jeter, among others.
Of course, I knew a little about baseball even before I worked on those books. Do you remember the first major league baseball game you went to? I do. I was about nine years old when I first went to the Metrodome to see the Minnesota Twins. I was on a softball team that summer, so I brought my mitt to the game, certain that I would catch a ball. As it turned out, our seats were in the upper deck and no baseballs came anywhere near us! But seeing a baseball game in person was still a lot of fun.
This spring Millbrook released Play Ball, Jackie!, a picture book by Stephen Krensky with illustrations by Joe Morse. In this book, ten-year-old Matty Romano and Matty’s dad go to see the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. It is Jackie Robinson’s first game in the majors. It may not be Matty’s first-ever major league game, but it is definitely a rare treat for him to see a baseball game from inside Ebbets Field.