Tag Archives: baseball

My Latest Scholastic News Articles on the Little League World Series

31 Aug


Hello blogosphere!

I wanted to let you know that my latest Scholastic News Kids Press Corps article(s) are out! I got to cover the Little League World Series (LLWS) in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. It was a fun ten-day tournament and a very exciting final game.


I have one on the Kids Press Corps site about the “behind the scenes” at the LLWS – click HERE!

There is a video of some interviews I did – click HERE!


And an article on the main Scholastic news site about the final game! Click HERE!

MidWestPlayers IMG_1623

Hope you enjoy them!

Creative Kid Thursday! Matt Nadel – Author, Baseball Historian, Blogger

9 Apr

Have I got a Creative Kid for you! Matt Nadel is a 16-year-old baseball historian who has written his own book about baseball!


Meet Matt!



Matt Nadel, age 16, is MLB.com’s youngest baseball history Pro Blogger. He was appointed a Pro Blogger in 2012 by MLB’s official historian, John Thorn. Matt blogs mainly about baseball history and his favorite era is the 40s and 50s.  His favorite team today is the Yankees.  Matt started blogging about baseball history back in April 2012, because he was finding that many of his friends knew very little about it, and he thought that a blog would be a fun way to teach kids and even some adults about it. He knows a lot about baseball history including every World Series winner (going back to 1903) by heart.

Matt’s has written almost 350 posts, in addition to a book, Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers: An Introduction To Baseball History. He has appeared in TV and in many newspapers. He hopes to one day be a baseball historian, journalist and broadcaster.

Matt has agreed to an interview with me about him, his book, and baseball. Enjoy!

Erik: There is a TON of baseball information you put forward in this book. As a book reviewer I am impressed at how clearly and well-presented it all is. Do you keep all this stuff in your head or do you have to reference your own book in remembering some of these stats?

Matt: I do know a lot of what’s in my book, but I do reference it from time to time if I’m not too sure about a specific moment, player, or team.

Erik: Makes sense – the book is a great reference! What do you feel your biggest accomplishment is – outside and unrelated to baseball?

Matt: My biggest accomplishment outside of baseball is assisting at the special needs karate class at the karate studio I used to go to for lessons, Hwang Martial Arts in Springfield, New Jersey. It really warms my heart to see those kids punch a bag or do a form. It’s really inspirational. 

Erik: That is rewarding! I help teach a younger kids class at my Dojo too. I enjoy it very much. It is awesome that you are donating your profits from the book to The Jackie Robinson Foundation, the ALS Association, the National Baseball Hall of Fame Foundation, and the Turn 2 Foundation. What was your motivation for writing the book?

Matt: I had been doing the blog for about a year when the idea for the book came to me. Basically, I wanted to put every single thing that is important to baseball’s history into one little children’s book. I wanted the book to teach kids about baseball history and I think it accomplishes this. 

Erik: It is a great book for kids to learn about and appreciate the great players in baseball history. I am a Philly guy and the Phillies are my hometown team.  In my opinion, there is nothing better than to go to an afternoon game. I’ve found that when I can’t physically be at the ballpark, I prefer to listen to the game over the internet/radio rather than watch on TV. Maybe it’s because of the announcers (Scott Franzke, Larry Anderson and Jim Jackson) and how they describe the action. Who do you think are some the best play-by-play broadcasters?

Matt: Right now in the MLB, Eric Nadel (no relation) for the Rangers and Greg Brown for the Pirates are probably at the top of my list. Of course, I have to include the legends, like Vin Scully, Bob Uecker, Mel Allen, Ernie Harwell, Red Barber, and Harry Caray.

Erik: Lets not forget Harry Kalas. 😉 Do you play organized baseball?

Matt: I play for my school’s varsity team, the Golda Och Academy Roadrunners. Last year, I was placed in the outfield due to injuries, so I’ll probably be in the outfield again this year. 

Erik: I am a baseball fan and I learned a lot from your book. The text is written very well and even someone who is only a casual fan will appreciate the history in it. Name the most surprising thing you learned from doing the research for your book.

Matt: Some of the stuff on extra innings jumped out at me, like the minor league game that featured future Hall of Famers Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken Jr., but probably the most surprising thing a learned was the backstories of all the greats and how they progressed through their careers. Pure statistics don’t tell the whole story. It doesn’t talk about the lives of the legends before they entered the game and to me, that stuff is so intriguing.

Erik: Thanks for taking time to answer my questions Matt!


Now I’d like to tell you a bit about Matt’s book.

aaronAmazing Aaron to Zero Zippers

By Matt Nadel

112 pages – ages 10+

Published by Summer Game Books on March 23, 2015

Goodreads Summary

Matt Nadel is a 15-year-old baseball historian whose blog and media appearances are fast-propelling him to national prominence. Matt has written a thorough and accessible book on the biggest stars, greatest games, and most amazing feats in baseball history. Richly illustrated, the text includes bios of Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson, and many others; descriptions of classic ballparks like Fenway and Wrigley and great franchises like Brooklyn and the Yankees; a section on the Negro Leagues and other professional leagues; and the expert lowdown on stolen bases, perfect games, triple crowns, and even the baseball uniforms!
Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers is the go-to resource for anyone looking to learn everything important about the history of America’s greatest game, and learn it in a fast, fun way. Filled with incredible, classic photos from the official Baseball Hall of Fame Archives, it is a primer for baseball beginners, a resource for developing fans, and a treat for long-time devotees who will love having so much essential baseball knowledge in one convenient place.

What I thought – This was a well-written resource for anyone interested in baseball or history in general. It is organized and flows well which is  quite a feat considering the amount of information packed into the book. The text is easy to follow and is referenced well. The reader can tell there was a lot of careful research done for the book. I liked how Matt not only included baseball stats but also glimpses into the lives and personalities of the players. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone will be writing a book about Matt in a few years! 

Five out of five bookworms! fivebooks

Want to learn more?

Check out Matt’s book on Summer Game Books website – click HERE.

Follow Matt –

Baseball with Matt – Blog

Twitter- @BaseballwMatt

PPBF! You Never Heard of Willie Mays?! by Jonah Winter

22 Feb

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because I never heard of Willie Mays before I found this book in a bookstore! Plus, February is Black History Month and I thought this was a good choice to end the month. 🙂

willieYou Never Heard of Willie Mays?!

by Jonah Winter

Illustrated by Terry Widener

40 pages – ages g+

Published by Schwartz & Wade on January 8, 2013

Theme/Topic – nonfiction/sports/history

Opening and Synopsis –

“You never heard of Willie Mays?! THE Willie Mays?! Oh, geez, where to begin? How about… Birmingham, Alabama. 1941. A kid with his ear glued to the radio.”

This book tells the story about how young Willie wanted to be “the next Joe DiMaggio” and practiced VERY hard. When he was growing up, African-Americans were treated unfairly and weren’t allowed to play in the National League. They had to play in the Negro League. The thing is, a lot of the Negro League teams were better than the National League teams, but the African-American players weren’t allowed to play. Willie started to play in the Negro Leagues at age 15 with the adults until “the major leagues ended their stupid rule barrin’ black guys“. Willie was signed to play with the New York Giants and lead them to the World Series! He could do it all, bat, run, throw. He became the best player of his time and he was a nice person.

Why I liked this book –  Well, first off, just LOOK at these illustrations! They’re MARVELOUS! –


I like the way the story is narrated, I love the ‘voice’ of the book! I can totally hear someone telling the story! The message is totally awesome – I hear the message “with great power comes great responsibility” in the story… oh wait that was Uncle Ben in Spiderman. Well, you still get that message in this book. Mr. Mays had great powers and he used them for good. The story says that if you work hard, you get great rewards even if you are up against tough things! There is a baseball glossary in the back of the book and all of Willie Mays statistics. I like how there are little fact boxes spread all throughout the book to tell you different facts about baseball at the time Willie Mays was playing. I think kids 6+ will enjoy this book!

Activities and Resources –

If you can’t visit the baseball hall of fame in real life, you can visit the website by clicking HERE and learn about Willie Mays. There are video biographies about Mr. Mays.

You can also visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum to learn more about the history of African-Americans in baseball – click HERE.

Check out all of Willie Mays baseball statistics HERE!

How about going out and playing baseball with your kids or taking them to a game (I suggest the Philadelphia  Phillies 😉 ) ?

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog  HERE!

HEY Batta Batta Swing! : The Wild Old Days of Baseball

19 Jul

HEY Batta Batta Swing! : The Wild Old Days of Baseball
By Sally Cook and James Charlton
Illustrated by Ross MacDonald
Published in 2007 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
56 pages – Ages 4-9

First I have to say I REALLY like baseball (GO PHILLIES!), so any book about baseball really interests me. This book is different from other books I’ve read about baseball because it tells about baseball in its early days. It tells about the history of baseball in a way kids would find interesting. It compares how the game was played when it was first invented and how it is played today. Like did you know that the players used to wear uniforms that showed what position they played rather than what team they played for?!? It also tells about how some of the players tried to cheat a bit like cutting the strings on a baseball to throw a good curve or hollowing out a bat and filling it with cork to make the bat lighter. You can also learn a lot of baseball terms too like “can of corn”  and “heater” and about the original teams and players. The book explains how baseball used to be played in a fun and interesting way and even if you aren’t too interested in baseball, its neat to learn how a game like baseball changes over the years. The illustrations are great and funny. Even if a kid can’t read yet it is a good book to read to kids and if you can read I recommend it!

I give the book 5 out of 5 book worms!

See the comment section below to learn how to enter weekly contests to win prizes from the authors of Hey Batta Batta Swing!

PLAY BALL!! It’s Opening Day!

31 Mar

To celebrate the opening day of the 2011 major league baseball season here are some baseball themed books for you to consider.

BUT FIRST some baseball jokes!

Did you hear the one about the pop fly?

        Never mind -Its over your head!

 What baseball player knows how to make the best flapjack?

           The BATTER!

Why did the campers take the baseball player with them?

           To PITCH the tent!

OK now seriously here are some baseball themed books you may like –

“Pecorino Plays Ball”

Ages Pre-K by Alan Madison and illustrated by AnnaLaura Cantone




Ages 4-8 by Lisa Wheeler



“Baseballs Biggest Bloopers: The Games that got Away”

Ages 9-12 by Dan Gutman




“Freddy and the Baseball Team from Mars”

Ages 12+ by Walter R Brooks and illustrated by Kurt Wiese



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