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Center Field by Robert Lipsyte

Center Field

by Robert Lipsyte

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Not as riveting as Raiders Night but still great storytelling. Will definitely appeal to boy readers. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
A high school baseball player is torn by hero worship of a Yankee star, a scheming coach, a possibly illegal alien teammate, good pals, bad pals, along with working parents and a girl from the "nerds" he likes.
The plot twists are predictable and the ending is a little to happy for my sense of reality. The strength of the novel is how well it lays out the competing and interlating forces that affect all teens. ( )
  mckall08 | Jul 9, 2010 |
Lipsyte, Robert. Center Field. 2010.

All Mike Semak wants to do is play center field. Then,a new player from the Dominican Republic moves to his school and gives Mike a run for his money.

"Why did I lose it today? My ankle? The Dominican kid? I'm supposed to keep my cool. It's what ballers are trained to do. You don't let yourself get distracted, thrown off your game." The theme of this story is to stick to your goals, do not get thrown of course when obstacles are thrown your way. And to be open minded when it comes to other people, just because they do not have the same interests or background as you. Andy learns to appreciate the cyber club members after spending time with them.
  vpliving | May 1, 2010 |
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

Mike Semak's dream is to play center field. His idol is Yankee centerfielder Billy Budd. He lives and breathes any advice he can find from the great Billy Budd.

Mike's focus is directed at playing his best, which means clearing his mind of anything that is not baseball. He tries to steer clear of too-serious relationships with girls. He avoids involvement in his parents' latest project - opening a new floor covering store - and he pushes the problems of his sister, a single young mother living in New York, and his older brother, a championship cello player, to the back of his mind.

Unfortunately, Mike comes up against several distractions that may threaten the intense focus on his goal. One obstacle standing in his way is a new player named Oscar. He is a new kid from the Dominican Republic who shows up and looks to be a challenge for the center field position. Coach Cody lets them both know they will have to prove themselves to earn the position.

All the pressure Mike is feeling about baseball comes to a head in a silly incident with a notorious school geek named Zack. In a moment of lost control, Mike shoves Zack and ends up regretting it when, as punishment, he finds himself helping the Cyber Club provide Saturday computer instruction at the local senior center. Having the little computer nerd boss him around is almost more than he can take. The only highlight about the community service becomes another distraction for Mike's center field dreams - Katherine Herold.

Kat is a track athlete with an interest in photography and filming. Her membership in the Cyber Club surprises Mike, but he's glad to have a chance to get to know her. As people notice them together, word gets back to his cheerleader girlfriend, but Mike never thought of their relationship as particularly exclusive and his fascination with Kat seems worth the price he might pay with Lori.

Complicating matters even further is Coach Cody. Mike has always looked up to Coach, so when the man approaches Mike with a request, it is natural that Mike wants to help. Cody wants Mike to infiltrate the Cyber Club in an effort to bust them for hacking into the school computer system. Problems arise when Mike begins to suspect that Coach is using him in exchange for the center field position. Even more suspicious is the fact that as Mike begins to become friends with Zack, he learns that Coach Cody might not be exactly who he says he is.

Robert Lipsyte has filled CENTER FIELD with more than just baseball action. Mike's performance on the field is illustrated in excellent play-by-play narrative, but there is much more to this novel. There is intrigue as Coach Cody uses Mike to investigate the possible computer hackers, and additional suspense comes from new member of the team, Oscar, as well as the not-so-perfect Kat and her intoxicating power over Mike. CENTER FIELD has a little something for everyone. Readers who are not sports enthusiasts should not shy away from the title or cover art. It is definitely an entertaining read. ( )
  GeniusJen | Feb 14, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060557044, Hardcover)

Mike has his junior year well under control. He's got a solid group of friends. He's dating Lori, one of the hottest girls in school. And Coach Cody has all but given him the starting spot as the Ridgedale Rangers' varsity center fielder. And then Oscar Ramirez shows up. Oscar is an amazing ballplayer, as talented at the plate as he is in center field, and it's not long before Mike loses control. He's on the bench, he's getting into fights, and he finds himself in weekend detention with Katherine Herold, the most mysterious, abrasive, alluring girl in school. Mike is lost, confused, and looking to Coach Cody to help him get back on track. But the coach has his own set of rules for Mike to play by, and the decisions Mike makes are going to impact more than just the starting lineup.

Robert Lipsyte, one of the most celebrated writers in young adult literature, has crafted a subtly intense tale of adolescent struggle, a sports story about much more than sports—one that shows us how the moves one makes off the field matter even more than the moves one has on it.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:02 -0400)

Mike lives for baseball and hopes to follow his idol into the major leagues one day, but he is distracted by a new player who might take his place in center field, an ankle injury, problems at home, and a growing awareness that something sinister is happening at school.… (more)

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