I recently finished reading the book Heat by Mike Lupica. This 220 page realistic fiction novel released in the year 2007. This isn’t the only sports book that Mike Lupica has published. Some of his other amazing stories consist of Travel Team, Million-Dollar Throw, QB 1, The Big Field and many many more. One of the Main reasons I chose to read this book was that I always wanted to read it, and my friends had read it and said that it was a great story.
In this book there is a 12 year-old boy named Michael Arroyo who lives with his 17 year old brother, Carlos, in an apartment in New York. In the beginning, he plays Little League baseball and has a cannon of an arm. And don’t think that he won’t use it. He is arguably one of the best pitchers in Little League, and he is not afraid to prove it. But, there is something that is happening outside of his baseball life that is holding him back a little. And that is his father, but it isn’t what you think.
Michael’s best friend Manny is walking to the field just outside Yankee Stadium to practice. When they get there they find a pleasant surprise. There are other boys there that they know from their school, and they play a pick up game. When Michael is pitching, he looks over to the hill and there is a girl standing there watching. Though he is pretty far away, he can still see that she is very beautiful. Michael realizes that he has two strikes on the batter that he is facing, and a chance to impress. He started his windup with the high leg kick, as usual, and gives everything he’s got. The ball went right down the middle and the batter whiffed. His friend Manny was catching, and he had fell over due to the force of the ball. Michael looked back over at the girl and she was laughing. Michael couldn’t figure out why. that was when the game ended, and she started to walk over. They introduced their selves. The girl’s name was Ellie. And at that moment, a new light had stepped into Michael’s life.
Carlos and Michael’s father died from a heart attack months ago. But to keep the authorities from knowing, they came up with a lie that their father was in Florida visiting an uncle. If the authorities found out that their father was dead, they would be put into the foster care system, and could possibly be separated. To add another problem, Little League coaches are questioning his date of birth, and are demanding the paperwork along with the birth certificate.
Soon after Michael met Ellie, he figured out that she was keeping a secret. Michael discovered that she was the daughter of the famous Yankee pitcher, El Grande. Later in the book, Michael waits for El Grande outside of Yankee Stadium. Then when Michael is coaching third base in the district semi-finals, El Grande and Ellie show up, with something very special. This was a very good deed on the part of El Grande.
I was surprised when Mike Lupica revealed the fact that Michael and Carlos’ father had been dead for months. This surprised me, along with the fact that they had gotten away with it for that long
I liked the way the author worded things, especially in the last couple pages of the book. I liked how he said that “The cheer inside Yankee Stadium was for him.” Now that I have read this and actually been inside Yankee Stadium, I can really imagine what it is like having an entire crowd of people cheer for you.
I rate this book a 7 out of 10.
“The umpire yelled, ‘Play ball!’ Michael turned his back to the plate, rubbing the brand new game ball up. As he did so, he saw a subway train, a number 4 probably, rumble by, past the opening in right-center Michael had only ever seen from River Avenue. The sound of the train was much quieter in here. He thought of all the ghosts El Grande had talked about now, the ones who were supposed to be smiling tonight as they watched him, knowing those ghosts had been joined by one more tonight: His father. Heard his father saying, Now you’re pitching, Michael turned back around. The Fordham Road lead-off man was already in the batter’s box, bat held high. Michael went into his windup and threw strike one. Now the cheer inside Yankee Stadium was for him” – Page 220
This passage REALLY struck me because Michael is a kid who has lived, and played baseball near Yankee Stadium all of his life. And to hear the cheer of the crowd from outside, is a lot different than hearing it from the inside. But to have all of that cheering for you, now that’s a whole different ballpark.