When baseball and books collide
The Los Angeles Dodgers may have been on the road yesterday in New York, but there was still an all-star lineup on the field of Dodger Stadium. Noted children’s authors Judy Blume, Louis Sachar, Polly Horvath, Christopher Paolini, Kate Klimo, Marjorie Priceman, Marc Brown, and Judy Sierra participated in Random House Children’s Books Saturday night cocktail reception for the BEA.
The authors camped out at tables spread along the beginning of the outfield grass: They signed autographs on specially designed Random House baseballs for various members of the book publishing industry. The signing of baseballs was a first for the authors--it was nice to see them sign something other than books for a change.
The highlight of the night was the special introductions given to the authors in front of a crowd of about 400 people. All eight authors sat in the Dodgers dugout before the PA announcer called each of them onto the field with a special introduction. Among the interesting baseball nicknames given to each writer, there were: Judy “the scooter” Blume (left), Marc “the big unit” Brown and Louis “Sluggo” Sachar. The authors gave each other high fives and lined up, waiting for the next author to be introduced.
The atmosphere was youth-spirited all the way down the line from the most senior author (Blume is 70) to the youngest (Paolini is 24). The legendary Blume, whose famous books include “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” and “It’s Not the End of the World,” couldn’t resist the energetic atmosphere. Blume grabbed the mike and announced to the crowd that her husband’s birthday was Saturday. Moments later she led more than a handful of people in a rendition of “Happy Birthday” for her husband who was in attendance.
Paolini, who is best known for the novel “Eragon” (the next volume in his "Inheritance Cycle" is "Brisingr," which will be published in September) wanted to be able to say he had played baseball on the field of Dodger stadium. So, the author grabbed a baseball and, with a friend, began a game of catch on the field. The baseball-themed event was embraced by all the authors, some of whom even wore baseball caps. Brown wore a Boston Red Sox hat (his home is on Martha’s Vineyard); Sachar wore a San Francisco Giants hat, which made several people laugh. Why? He explained that he just couldn’t resist wearing his favorite team’s hat in the stadium of its worst rival.
(Blume photo credit: Sigrid Estrada)