By Collette West
The ABCs of Baseball with Sasha Roberts and five-year-old Taylor Landry a special guest feature at TheQueenOfDiamonds.com
Taylor: “What do all of those letters mean after my dad’s name in the newspaper?”
Sasha: “That’s what’s called a box score.”
Taylor: “Is it like a sandbox?”
Sasha: “No, more like a report card.”
Taylor: “Does my dad get all As?”
Sasha: “Sometimes he does, and sometimes he doesn’t.”
Taylor: “How do you know?”
Sasha: “I look at his ERA which means earned run average. That’s the number of runs he gives up to other teams. If it’s low, it’s good. If it’s high, it’s bad.”
Taylor: “So he doesn’t want to get a hundred?”
Sasha: “I don’t think he’d have a job if his ERA was a hundred. Most pitchers would like them between one and three.”
Taylor: “What about you? Did you have an ERA too?”
Sasha: “No, I had an OBP, or on-base percentage. This one goes in reverse. The higher the number, the better.”
Taylor: “So you had to do your bunts to make it go up?”
Sasha: “Only if I was able to run hard and make it to first, but if the pitcher couldn’t throw a strike between the letters on the front of my uniform and my knees and it didn’t catch any of home plate, then I could draw a walk and get on too. It’s like a free pass when a pitcher throws four balls before he can throw three strikes.”
Taylor: “So it’s like playing Go Fish? You ask for balls. The pitcher asks for strikes. Whoever gets what they want first, wins.”
Sasha: “Something like that. A good OBP is anywhere between .300 and .400. It’s like a batting average, only it’s usually higher because it includes walks, not just hits.”
Taylor: “You made my daddy go crazy during your first game. Did he throw a wild pitch?”
Sasha: “He almost did, but thank goodness he didn’t. A wild pitch is one that bounces before it reaches a catcher like Pedro and he can’t hold on to it. It comes in where he doesn’t expect it to be. A passed ball is one that doesn’t bounce before it gets by him.”
Taylor: “Did it hurt when you got hit by a pitch? How fast do pitchers throw?”
Sasha: “To make it to the Majors, like your dad, most guys throw at least ninety miles per hour, some faster if they’re power pitchers, some slower if they rely more on curveballs, otherwise known as breaking balls.”
Taylor: “They break the ball? How do they do that?”
Sasha: “The ball itself doesn’t break. The path it takes into the catcher’s glove does. It dips down. A master pitcher can move the ball all over the plate and put it wherever he wants it.”
Taylor: “How come more guys don’t bunt, only girls?”
Sasha: “Well, guys do bunt from time to time. A lot of them just aren’t that good at it anymore. They’d rather hit a home run than learn the basics.”
Taylor: “So it’s something even a kindergarten baseball player should be able to do?”
Sasha: “Exactly. A lot of people think it’s a cheap out, but moving the lead runner around the bases helps score runs too, especially in a tight game when the pitcher is shutting down your hitters.”
Taylor: “How come Brooks doesn’t have a base?”
Sasha: “Because he plays shortstop, the spot between second and third. A lot of balls are hit in that hole, and it takes an athletic player to field that position. They’re usually young like Brooks.”
Taylor: “Are they as cute as him too?”
Sasha: “Usually. Chase Whitfield was pretty easy on the eyes. Taylor, now you’re making me blush!”
Taylor: “Why does Terry want you to come back as a DH? What’s that?”
Sasha: “It’s called a designated hitter. In the American League, the pitcher doesn’t bat like in the National League. The DH is usually a home runner hitter who can drive in a lot of ribbies. DHs are usually a little older too and have played for quite a while.”
Taylor: “What’s a ribbie? A frog?”
Sasha: “No, a ribbie is an RBI or run batted in. They’re important because, if runners get on base, you want to bring them around to score. A guy with a lot of RBIs is able to do that. If you have over a hundred in a season, that’s terrific.”
Taylor: “I like you, Sasha. You know your stuff.”
Sasha: “Thanks to my father and my brothers. They taught me everything I know.”
Taylor: “I’m gonna get my daddy to teach me everything he knows too.”
Sasha: “Sounds like a plan. Maybe we’ll see you, Nan Whitfield and this baby in my tummy up in the big leagues someday. How cool would that be?”
Taylor: “Super cool!”
Meet Collette West:
Collette West grew up as somewhat of a jock-nerd hybrid. Entering the world three weeks premature, her dad nearly missed her birth because he had seats behind the dugout for a sold-out, highly-anticipated match-up between two of baseball’s biggest rivals. Not to be outdone, her book-loving mom taught her how to read by the time she was three. A love of the game coupled with an appreciation for the written word were instilled in Collette’s impressionable brain from a young age. No wonder her characters believe in the philosophy: sports + romance = a little slice of heaven. Splitting her time between the Pocono Mountains and Manhattan, Collette indulges her inner fangirl by going to as many games as she can from hockey to baseball and downloading every sports romance novel in existence onto her iPad. When she’s not clicking away on her laptop, she enjoys walking her dog in Central Park, satisfying her caffeine craving at the Starbucks on Broadway and keeping an eye out for Mr. Right. But above all, she loves dishing with her readers.
Collette West’s Web Tracks:
Collette West on All The Things Inbetween:
Tongue Wagger – Night Games by Collette West
He Said, She Said – Hearing Voices: Belle of the Ball Game; How This Female Fan Snagged One of Baseball’s Hottest Commodities – A Glimpse Inside The Locker Room.
Collette West’s Books:
Night Games Synopsis: The moment Grey Kelleher locks eyes with All-Star shortstop Chase Whitfield, she’s a goner. For years, she’s watched him play on TV, and now she’s gazing at his hard, lean body across a bar in her hometown.
Grey’s crush on Chase goes all the way back to his rookie season. So when she approaches him for an autograph, she’s startled by what a jerk he can be.
Chase is no mood to humor his fans, even one as alluring as Grey. He’s in the last year of his contract and stuck having to prove himself on a minor league team. He’s only there to rehab an injury, nothing more.
But when Grey tells him off, Chase realizes her fiery spirit may be just the distraction he needs to take his mind off not being in the majors. His heart is safe. No one’s going to break his streak as baseball’s most eligible bachelor. Not even someone as irresistible as Grey.
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Game Changer Synopsis:
Young, rich, and unaware of how seriously hot he is, Brooks Davison is tearing it up as the latest shortstop for the New York Kings, despite his tendency to blush whenever girls scream his name.
When a health scare forces his best friend, Kyle Roberts, off the team, no one can stomach the thought of replacing him, especially so close to the playoffs.
Until Kyle’s sister, Sasha, steps in, convincing management to let her take his place. The idea of signing the first female player in Major League history proves too tempting for the Kings to resist.
Nevertheless, Brooks doesn’t want any part of it. Sasha is Kyle’s little sister, not some sideshow.
Yet when Kyle takes a turn for the worse, Brooks promises to do everything in his power to help Sasha win a championship for him. Because there’s no way he’s letting either of them down. Not now, not ever
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