Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Review of "Travel Team: Power Hitter," by M. G. Higgins

Review of

Travel Team: Power Hitter, by M. G. Higgins ISBN 9780761383246

Five out of five stars

 Sammy Perez is a talented baseball player determined to sign a pro contract and elevate his family to a higher standard of living. His family has sacrificed a great deal to outfit him in his quest and he is playing on the Roadrunners, a team based in Las Vegas that travels to tournaments. Sammy has traditionally been a power hitter, but things have recently changed.

 In order to get the players more accustomed to what they will be facing when they become professionals, it has been decided that the Roadrunners will play in a tournament where they will be using wooden bats rather than their usual aluminum. With a smaller hitting surface and a different weight balance, this creates adjustment problems for the hitters, none more so than Sammy.

 When the story opens, Sammy is engaged is some serious self-pity, asking why the team cannot stay with aluminum as his hitting is really suffering. This creates problems between him and his teammates and coaches, for Sammy is concerned only with his performance rather than the overall benefit of the team. It is well known that there will be many pro scouts in the crowd during the tournament.

 There are threads of the internal dynamics of a team, both in terms of skill level as well as socio-economic status. Unfortunately, the possibility of Sammy using performance enhancing drugs is raised, which is unfortunate, because the option is raised from a source that simply should not have done it.

 Yet, the story ends well, for Sammy demonstrates other characteristics that impress the scouts and he does not have to rely on any form of cheating to do so. This makes it an excellent book for young people, pointing out that scouts are looking for character as well as skills. Character cannot be taught, while many of the skills can be developed by proper instruction.

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