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Danny Connolly is a back-up pitcher with the Dulaney Orioles. He knows what that means. Backup translates into: not good enough to start. And when he does get into games, he hasn't exactly been the shut-down reliever the team needs. To make matters worse, he's playing in the shadow of his older brother, Joey, a lights-out high school lefty with a 90-mph fastball who's attracting lots of attention from college recruiters and major league scouts. It's bad enough that Danny's parents seem to fawn over Joey and barely talk about what Danny does in his games. But now, as his big brother's mound exploits draw more and more attention , Danny's starting to get the why-aren't-you-as-good-as-Joey? comments from the Orioles, too. The pressure to live up to Joey's success is stifling. Lonely and frustrated, Danny embarks on a secret project designed to make his family and teammates sit up and take notice. Aided by a mysterious stranger with an uncanny knowledge of the aerodynamics of a thrown baseball, he attempts to learn a new pitch - a pitch no one has ever seen before. The clock is ticking on Danny as the O's try to repeat as league champions. But if his audacious plan works and he can master the magical fluttering pitch known as "The Terminator," he'll soon be the talk of the league -- and the dependable closer the Orioles desperately need.
Robbie Hammond is the hardest throwing pitcher in the Babe Ruth League. But what good is all that heat when he can''t seem to find the plate? With Robbie struggling, the Orioles are suffering through a nightmare season, still looking for their first win. Robbie''s teammates are whispering that the only reason he''s even pitching is because he''s the coach''s kid. They''ve even given him a new nickname: Ball Four. What the other Orioles don''t know is that Robbie is still haunted by a fastball that got away from him and injured a batter in last year''s All-Star Game. Now, with the pressure mounting, he''s willing to try anything to get his control back, including listening to a mysterious boy who just might hold the key to helping Robbie-and the Orioles-save their season. This third action-packed book in Cal Ripken Jr.''s All-Star series will have readers on the edge of their seats as they root for Robbie''s comeback.
Connor Sullivan is an All-Star shortstop on his Babe Ruth team, the Orioles. He can hit and field with the best of them, but he's got one big problem: his temper. When he strikes out or makes an error, he's a walking Mt. Vesuvius, slamming batting helmets and throwing gloves. His teammates are starting to avoid him, even his best friend Jordy. His coach is ready to kick him off the team. To make matters worse, things aren't much better at home. His dad is having trouble finding a new job after being laid off. Money is tight. Connor's dream of attending the prestigious Brooks Robinson Baseball Camp this summer seems like just that now - a dream. When the sports editor of the school paper threatens to do a big story on his tantrums - complete with embarassing photos - Connor realizes he has to clean up his act. But can he do it in time to regain his teammates' trust and help the Orioles win the championship against the best team in the league?
Mickey Labriogla is the best catcher in the league. He's got a cannon for an arm, calls a great game and blocks the plate like a bulldozer with shin guards. But when a hotshot new pitcher joins the Dulaney Orioles, Mickey wonders if it isn't time to find another position - or maybe another team. Zachary "Zoom" Winslow lets everyone know he's just back from the Elite Arms All-Star Camp and knows more about pitching than any kid on the planet. His fastball hums, his curve breaks from somewhere near the parking lot and his first words to Mickey are: "I pitch. You catch and stay out of the way. End of story." Zoom's the most arrogant player the Orioles have ever seen. But even Coach Labriogla, Mickey's dad, seems in awe of the kid's talent and willing to overlook his insufferable behavior. When Mickey and Zoom find themselves rivals for the attention of the mysterious Abby Elliott, who works the concession stand and bills herself sarcastically as "Sno-Ball Maker to the Stars," any chance the two teammates can get along goes out the window. As the Orioles head to a seemingly-inevitable showdown in the new "Super-Regional" against Zoom's old team, the powerful Laurel Yankees, the clash between Mickey and Zoom threatens to break the team apart - and derail a championship season.
The greatest relief pitcher of all time shares his extraordinary story of survival, love, and baseball. Mariano Rivera, the man who intimidated thousands of batters merely by opening a bullpen door, began his incredible journey as the son of a poor Panamanian fisherman. When first scouted by the Yankees, he didn't even own his own glove. He thought he might make a good mechanic. When discovered, he had never flown in an airplane, had never heard of Babe Ruth, spoke no English, and couldn't imagine Tampa, the city where he was headed to begin a career that would become one of baseball's most iconic. What he did know: that he loved his family and his then girlfriend, Clara, that he could trust in the Lord to guide him, and that he could throw a baseball exactly where he wanted to, every time. With astonishing candor, Rivera tells the story of the championships, the bosses (including The Boss), the rivalries, and the struggles of being a Latino baseball player in the United States and of maintaining Christian values in professional athletics. The thirteen-time All-Star discusses his drive to win; the secrets behind his legendary composure; the story of how he discovered his cut fastball; the untold, pitch-by-pitch account of the ninth inning of Game 7 in the 2001 World Series; and why the lowest moment of his career became one of his greatest blessings. In The Closer, Rivera takes readers into the Yankee clubhouse, where his teammates are his brothers. But he also takes us on that jog from the bullpen to the mound, where the game -- or the season -- rests squarely on his shoulders. We come to understand the laserlike focus that is his hallmark, and how his faith and his family kept his feet firmly on the pitching rubber. Many of the tools he used so consistently and gracefully came from what was inside him for a very long time -- his deep passion for life; his enduring commitment to Clara, whom he met in kindergarten; and his innate sense for getting out of a jam. When Rivera retired, the whole world watched -- and cheered. In The Closer, we come to an even greater appreciation of a legend built from the ground up.
Danny Connolly is a back-up pitcher with the Dulaney Orioles. He knows that "back-up" means "not good enough to start." When he has gotten a chance to pitch, he hasn't exactly been the shut-down reliever the team needs.To make matters worse, he's playing in the shadow of his older brother, Joey, a lights-out high school lefty with a 90-mph fastball who's attracting lots of attention from college recruiters and major league scouts. It's bad enough that Danny's parents fawn over Joey and rarely talk about Danny's games. But now, as his big brother's mound exploits are drawing more and more attention, Danny is starting to get the why-aren't-you-as-good-as-Joey? comments from the Orioles, too. The pressure to live up to Joey's success is stifling. Lonely and frustrated, Danny embarks on a secret project designed to make his family and teammates sit up and take notice. Aided by a mysterious stranger with an uncanny knowledge of the aerodynamics of a thrown baseball, he attempts to learn a pitch no one has seen before. The clock is ticking as the O's try to repeat as league champions. If Danny's audacious plan works and he can master the magical fluttering pitch known as "The Terminator," he'll soon be the talk of the league--and the dependable closer the Orioles desperately need. PRAISE FOR HOTHEAD:". . . just the ticket for readers who've worked their way through Dan Gutman and Matt Christopher but are still a little shy of Matt de la Pe a and Carl Deuker. "--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books "Written with Ripken's obvious knowledge of the game, Conor's story rings true, with plenty of good baseball action. If Conor's not always in good spirits, the novel is, with likable characters, lively baseball action and the usual dreams of playing in the big leagues-in Conor's case, at Camden Yards. Ripken and Cowherd, like Conor and his Babe Ruth League Orioles, make a winning team. "--Kirkus
Mickey Labriogla is the best catcher in the league. He's got a cannon for an arm, calls a great game, and blocks the plate like a bulldozer with shin guards. But when a hotshot new pitcher joins the Dulaney Orioles, Mickey wonders if it isn't time to find another position--or maybe another team. Zoom's the most arrogant player the Orioles have ever seen. But even Coach Labriogla, Mickey's dad, seems in awe of the kid's talent and willing to overlook his insufferable behavior. When Mickey and Zoom find themselves rivals for the attention of the mysterious Abby Elliott, who works the concession stand, any chance the two teammates can get along goes out the window. As the Orioles head to a seemingly-inevitable showdown in the new "Super-Regional" against Zoom's old team, the powerful Laurel Yankees, the clash between Mickey and Zoom threatens to break the team apart--and derail a championship season. Praise for Hothead ". . . just the ticket for readers who've worked their way through Dan Gutman and Matt Christopher but are still a little shy of Matt de la Pe a and Carl Deuker. " --Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books "Written with Ripken's obvious knowledge of the game, Conor's story rings true, with plenty of good baseball action. If Conor's not always in good spirits, the novel is, with likable characters, lively baseball action and the usual dreams of playing in the big leagues-in Conor's case, at Camden Yards. Ripken and Cowherd, like Conor and his Babe Ruth League Orioles, make a winning team. " --Kirkus Reviews

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