Saturday, October 1, 2016

“Trust Claudia to believe a handful of chips can change your outlook on life.” BSC #129 Kristy at Bat (1999)

It’s softball season again, and Kristy goes to tryouts for the SMS team. Since she was on the team ‘last season’, she figures she’s made in the shade and doesn’t give it her all. Kristy is embarrassed that she is then placed on second string. Meanwhile, Watson has signed him and Kristy up for a fantasy baseball camp. The camp in run by Bill Bain, Watson’s baseball hero, and Watson can’t wait to meet him. Only the camp is disorganized and Bain barely even shows up. Watson’s miserable about Bain, Kristy’s miserable about second string—and thinking about her bio-dad a lot—and the team’s not coming together like they should. Kristy winds up telling off Bill Bain and he learns his lesson and coaches their team to victory! Or something.
In the B plot, the kids are all swapping baseball cards, and David Michael gets ripped off. It’s as boring as it sounds.
Interesting Tidbits
I find it really interesting that Kristy didn’t join the school softball team until book #74, which had to be at least the fifth time she’d gone through eighth grade. And then she’s not mentioned being on the team again until this book. I guess that it takes up too much of her Krusher/sitting/being an idea machine time?
Kristy thinks Watson is handsome, if you like balding types. If I had a stepdad, I wouldn’t even stop to think if he was handsome or not. Far too Oedipal for me.
“I dress like a seven year old boy. Except for the Spiderman underwear.” This is much funnier if you take it to mean that she wears Spiderman underwear, not David Michael.
The Brewers have a minivan. I love how more and more minivans (and even SUVs) show up in these later books, while everyone had a station wagon in the early days.
Fun fact: Bill Bain played for the Orioles.
We’re introduced to the BSC members by what fantasy camp they would want to attend. Some of them are obvious: soccer camp for Abby, ballet camp for Jessi. But Kristy thinks that Mary Anne would probably want to attend needle point camp. I’m picturing needle craft fantasy camp and it’s hilarious. Meet world famous needle-pointers! Be a smocking rock star!
Mistake: Kristy says Anna’s hair is longer than Abby’s, when the opposite is true.
My middle school didn’t have first and second string as is standard; instead we had “A” and “B” teams. I think the idea was to soften the stigma of being second string by calling it B team? But it’s not like anyone didn’t know they were the same thing. (This is also a school that wouldn’t let us play dodgeball, so we played bombardment instead. It was the same exact thing.)
I like this a lot: Kristy’s more upset at herself for not trying her hardest than she is at the coach for putting her on second string. It’s very mature, and that’s not a word you get to use for Kristy too often. I also like that she admitted it to everyone and didn’t try to keep it a secret. It’s the opposite of, say, Abby’s behavior in #110.
The title quote comes from everyone trying to make Kristy feel better.
Ha! Dream camp is in Delaware. Glad to know there’s something in Delaware.
Watson is all kinds of stalker-y about Bill Bain. He knows his middle name, his parents’ names, all his stats and when he was on Johnny Carson. Kristy guesses that he knows his shoe size, too. (I can’t help thinking that if Watson and Elizabeth had those lists of celebrities they have permission to cheat with, Bill Bain would right at the top of Watson’s…the way Justin Timberlake is at the top of my brother-in-law’s. [Don’t ask. Please don’t ask.])
Claudia spelling: Mickel (Michael), corse, Bary (Barry.) She also uses your for you’re and pore for poor.
How you know it’s not 1986 anymore: Emily Michelle has a play date with a little girl named Dakota. I think it’s funny to compare the kids introduced early in the series (Alan, Pete) to the kids introduced later (Josh) in terms of names. Of course, there are exceptions: Logan was introduced long before that name became super-trendy like Stacey’s clothes.
Interesting. I can’t decide if this is a mistake or just an attitude held by the kids. Claudia sees Jake and Laurel Kuhn among the kids who are trading baseball cards with David Michael. She says that Mrs. Kuhn and ‘their baby sister Patsy’ are nearby. But Laurel is six and Patsy is…five. I know Laurel thinks Patsy is babyish, but Patsy is most certainly not a baby.
Another mistake: “Also, even though she’s a year younger, she much taller than me.”
The characters all get a pep talk from one of their coaches, Gloria Kemp, who played on the Georgia Peaches (as seen in A League of the Their Own.) Reading that now, all I can think is how old she must be. My grandparents were in school during the war, and they’re now in their eighties. I realize this story takes place 17 years ago, but if Gloria Kemp was 22 when she was playing professional ball, she would have been 78 in 1999 and would be 95 today. (That is, if she played on the 1943 team.)
The third coach, Matt, played for the White Sox.
Kristy waxes nostalgic about the first time she went to Shea stadium with her dad and older brothers. But isn’t that where she was almost born? I can see her dad not wanting to take her until she’s old enough to enjoy the game (or, given that he wasn’t much of a parent, until she was old enough to not need diaper changes and be distracting), but you’d think they’d have gone other times. There’s also the whole thing in an early book about Kristy never having left the state of Connecticut. Did Shea Stadium come to her or something?
Matt says he’s high tech. He then pulls out a cell phone and ‘yanks up the antenna.’ Yeah, that’s real high tech.
Mary Anne doesn’t know Willie Mays from Michael Jordan. I know enough about sports to know that those two played two different sports…for the most part….
The David Michael subplot is so boring that I didn’t even want to bring it up. But this was interesting. The whole plot is that DM—and his friends—originally just liked the cards because of the player stats, or what they knew about the players. (Laurel, for example, was trading to try to get every player she could that was named Joe.) But this kid Barry knew the value of all the cards and was really into trading and making his collection more valuable. He tricked DM into trading him a card that was worth a lot for a couple of cards that weren’t worth squat. DM was upset about it, until Abby pointed out (my paraphrase): “Look, he got that card fair and square. It’s not his fault you left your value guide at home, and you agreed to the trade. Suck it up.”
Kristy spends a lot of time thinking about her dad, as he’s the one who gave her her love of baseball. But she’s idolizing him a couple of times, especially when Watson’s upset with her. It’s kind of obnoxious, because there’s no way her father would ever have taken her to a fantasy campy like this one, but it seems pretty realistic for a teenager who grew up without a parent to romanticize what their relationship would be like.
And, to be fair, she does say she feels disloyal to Watson when she thinks like that. And says that even though baseball will always make her think of her dad, it will now always make her think of Watson and the game they played together. Awww!
The staff makes up a special award for Kristy to win at the end of the book, and it’s such bullplop. I really wished they’d ended with Watson and Kristy hugging at the end of the game instead.
New characters
Vicki Sahadeven (12)—29
Next: #130

1 comment:

  1. The books are so inconsistent with Kristy's childhood travels. She's never been on a plane or out of the state until the first Super Special, but previously she'd been to Disney World (could have driven, but definitely out of state), and more...