It's springtime, and for Kristy, that means one thing: baseball. And softball. So, I guess springtime actually means TWO things for Kristy. :) Anyway, Watson has signed up the two of them for a weeklong stay at Bill Bain's Baseball Dream Camp, and they're both excited. Kristy can't wait to get out on the field, playing with and being coached by former major leaguers. Watson is particularly excited to meet Bill Bain himself; Bain was one of Watson's childhood heroes. Before camp, though, Kristy has tryouts for the SMS softball team. She's a bit rusty when she gets out onto the field, but even so, she doesn't really put her best effort into showing what she's got. Kristy knows that Coach Wu likes her and is familar with what she can do, and she doesn't really feel like she has to try as hard as the other girls. Then, when the team lists are posted, Kristy gets two nasty surprises. Not only is she playing in the outfield, but she's been demoted to second string. Coach Wu explains that there were a lot of other girls who tried MUCH harder than Kristy did at tryouts, and even though the coach knows that Kristy is a good play, she really couldn't give her a first string spot over them. Kristy is disappointed, but she knows she deserves what she got. Then, she starts to question herself. Maybe she wasn't rusty at all; maybe second string is the best she can do. Suddenly, she's not so sure about Dream Camp anymore.....
Since Watson is so excited about going to camp, Kristy goes ahead with it. Before long, she's actually having fun. Everyone in camp is placed on one of two teams. The coaches of the team that Kristy and Watson are on are Matt Adamec (former major leaguer), Gloria Kemp (former women's baseball player....think A League of Their Own), and Mr. Bill Bain himself. Bain doesn't actually show up that first day, but Kristy really enjoys getting to work with Matt and Gloria. She even helps them get a little more organized, once the teams are out on the field, working on their skills. Bill Bain even makes an appearance...but it's not a long one. He doesn't really interact with the campers at all. Then, at lunch, Watson tries to approach him for an autorgraph, and gets totally shut down. Kristy can tell that Watson is upset, and from then on, Dream Camp doesn't seem to be living up to its name. Kristy herself still isn't playing up to her usual level, which is making the whole experience less fun than it initially was. She just can't get it together.
Bill Bain continues to be a standoffish jerk, and things kind of come to head one day during practice. He shows up and starts telling Gloria off for her coaching style. That's when Kristy really lets him have it. She's actually pretty polite, but she points out that people are not too thrilled with his behavior, especially since his name is associated with the camp itself. Bain leaves without really responding, and everyone there is proud of Kristy for having her say. Everyone, that is. except Watson. In spite of the way that Bain's treated him, Watson still sees him as a hero, and is not happy with Kristy for talking to his hero that way. He doesn't stay mad long, though. By the next morning, they're talking again.
Kristy's little lecture actually did some good. At the next practice, Bain is there, ready and waiting to coach his team. He apologizes for being a jerk, and from then on, he's actually a pretty nice guy and a good coach. Kristy and Watson's team wins the final camp game, and Kristy even gets a "Best Coach" trophy for all the help she gave organizing peopleduring the week. She also comes to see that being on second string won't be so bad; playing the game is what counts.
Subplot: David Michael has joined a sort of informal baseball card trading club. At first, all he cares about are collecting the cards of players he likes, and he's fine with keeping them all in a shoebox. Then, when he sees how seriously some of the other kids take their trades, he gets much more serious about it. He buys a fancy collecting kit, and starts to get concerned with how much each card is worth. Then, he gets taken for a ride by a kid who knows a LOT more about values than he does, and ends up disappointed. The BSC members (particularly Abby) help him to see that collecting cards for fun is WAY more important than caring how much they're worth.
Thoughts and Things
- Patsy Kuhn, who's supposed to be five, is described in this book as Jake and Laurel's baby sister. If the Kuhns hadn't been used much in the series, I could forgive that more easily. They were the focus of at least two books, though.
- The food at Dream Camp sounds fantastic...and that's the last time that I'm probably going to be able to comment on that before the end of the series! :(
- Even though Bill Bain acted like a jerk, Watson shouldn't have approached him during a mealtime for an autograph. Celebrities have a right to eat in peace, too.
- Normally, I don't like Kristy's softball books, but this one was pretty enjoyable.
- In case anyone's curious, I don't think any of the "former major leaguers" mentioned in this book are actually real people. :D