Fan Mail Wednesday #2

In what I hope will become a recurring feature — Fan Mail Wednesday! — I’ll take comments and questions from actual fan mail and include my responses here.

Aundrea S. writes via email:

Dear James Preller,

Hi, well I thought that your book was really good. It was full of excitement and thrills. Also since I have played on a girls and boys baseball team and a softball team I was the one to read your book. I thought that you put a lot of thought into making this book sound and feel real. I’m wondering if you were like Sam in the book whenever you were a kid? Or were you the one that sat on the bench? Or were you one of the best players on the team? I mean if you ever were on a baseball team. But I’m pretty sure you were because if you weren’t you must be a really good thinker. I also think you shouldn’t make the book go on and on and on and have a little bit more action. But it was really good. My fav parts were when Clemente the big guy messed up on a pitch.

Wow, Aundrea, thanks for reading Six Innings. If it seemed authentic to you, that’s because I’ve spend a lot of years playing baseball and coaching Little League; I’m very familiar with that world. As a boy, I played on many Little League teams. I was a good player, but not, alas and alack, a star (despite desperately wishing it were so).

My mother was the big baseball fan in my family — even today, she always seems to have the New York Mets on the radio, nervously chewing on a piece of ice, fretting when a dangerous hitter comes to the plate, rejoicing in victories — and I followed right along in her footsteps. Me and Mom, rooting together. In fact, we saw the 5th game of the 1969 World Series together at Shea Stadium, and I remember it as if it were yesterday. The truth is, when I think of baseball, I always think of my mother. They are forever linked, baseball and my mom, to the point where I suspect that my love for one is just a confusion of the other. I mean to say, maybe I love baseball so much because it reminds me of my mom.

Cheers, JP

P.S. Next book I’ll try not to go “on and on and on” so much! Ha! But in a way, that’s baseball. It’s not all action. As I wrote in the book: “To love baseball, to truly love the game, you’ve got to enjoy those empty places, the time to think, absorb, and shoot the breeze. A ball, a strike, a grounder to short. The slow rhythm of the game, a game of accumulation, of patterns, gathering itself toward the finish, like the first few miles of a marathon, not dramatic except for what it might mean later in the race.”

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