Thursday, December 2, 2021

Engineering a Perfect Baseball Player --- Born For The Game Earns Another 5-Star Review

Reviewed By Grant Leishman for Readers’ Favorite

Born For the Game by Mike DeLucia is a sports novel that focuses on baseball but it doubles as a comedic, somewhat poignant at times farce. Phineas Stone had been through it all; as a four-foot five-inch dwarf, he had been rejected by his parents and had spent his younger years within the state’s foster-care system. This did not rattle Phineas at all though and he was determined that even if he didn’t possess the physical attributes to achieve his dream of playing major league baseball, he was still going to revolutionize the sport by producing the world’s greatest baseball player ever – period. Linking up with his long-time friend and karate master, Ito Hachi, as well as an ex-major league pitcher with an extensive gambling addiction, Rollie Rollins, the trio sets about putting in place Phineas’ plan to genetically engineer the greatest baseball player of all time. Raising the young Ryan themselves, they taught her everything they knew over the next eighteen years until finally, she was ready to set the world on fire and display her undeniable talents to Phineas’ beloved club, the Los Angeles Greyhounds. 

Born For the Game is one of those sports novels that seem simple and straightforward enough but it is much more than it appears on the surface. The idea of not only engineering a perfect baseball player was one thing but then to have the resultant offspring turn out to be a girl was what gave the novel the extra X-Factor that lifted it above the pack and author Mike DeLucia is to be congratulated for this. 

To have Ryan become the first woman Major League Baseball player was not only inspired but it added a whole extra dimension to the story. The author’s rather offbeat sense of humor shone through every page and I constantly found myself chuckling aloud at some of the exploits, especially of Rollie and Phineas. 

More than comedic, though, the story is also movingly poignant at times and the author manages to infuse these characters with more emotion and purpose than just the one-dimensional portrayal we often see. I particularly enjoyed the jealousy, treachery, and bitterness that can accompany massive amounts of money and fame, which every athlete handles differently. 

This is a truly inspiring and fascinating read that I can honestly say delivered way more than I initially expected from what appeared to be a run-of-the-mill sports novel. I can highly recommend this read.


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Born for The Game: 5-Star Review from Readers' Favorite --- An Original and Compelling Story


Reviewed By K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite

Born For The Game is a work of fiction in the sports genre. It is suitable for readers from mature young adults upward and was penned by Mike DeLucia. 

The book follows Phineas Stone, an impoverished dwarf, who grabs hold of the opportunity to rise out of his meager background and establish himself as one of the richest people on earth. One dream eludes him despite his wealth; to play baseball for his favorite team. Refusing to accept defeat, Phineas begins a plan to create the perfect baseball player. A plan that is as rife with genius as it is teeming with questionable ethics.

This story certainly manages to transcend being the sporting underdog story that I was expecting from the initial chapters. Instead of choosing to open the floor to eugenics and ideas straight out of science fiction, Mike DeLucia is a master of mixing and matching concepts from vastly different genres to create an original and compelling story. The result is a devastating yet compelling exploration of parenthood pushed to an incredible extreme, a story on controlling someone’s nature and nurture to shape your offspring to your will rather than rely on chance. There are huge ideas on the table in this book and the author routinely demonstrates a gift for breaking those issues down and building a dynamic narrative with the pieces. The result is Born For The Game; a sporting story that goes well beyond baseball and asks the audience to define the things that make them human, that make them their own person. A must-read for fans of impactful, meaningful narrative.


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Friday, November 26, 2021

The Plan to Create Ryan, the Greatest Baseball Player of All Time: Born for The Game


The mansion’s conference room is located on the second floor of the east wing. It has large windows on the exterior wall with views of beautifully trimmed trees and a flowing brook saddled with arched bridges. The rectangular room has a long table with ten chairs on each side and Phineas’ telescoping chair at the head. Today, however, Ito, Rollie, and Phineas are the only attendees. Phineas stands on a platform approximately fifteen feet from the conference table. Behind him is a large screen displaying an image of Babe Ruth. Phineas gestures to the image. “And then there’s Babe Ruth… the greatest of them all.” Phineas clicks a remote and Ruth’s statistics appear. He reads them aloud:

714 home runs
342 batting average
2,873 hits
94-46 pitching record
2.28 ERA

Phineas continues, “Ruth was the greatest in the game, but Ryan will be better.”

The Writing of BORN FOR THE GAME: A New and Exciting Sports Fiction from Mike DeLucia

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A blind man knocks himself unconscious by tripping over his dog’s bowl and smashing his forehead into a radiator. He is awakened by his dog licking the blood off of his face…When he opens his eyes, he could see! 

At least that’s what my brother, Joey, told me when we were kids in the 1970s. I believed him because it made complete sense. Firstly, I witnessed people, besides Fonzie, punch broken machines to life again. Secondly, it was common knowledge that humans only use 10% of their brain capacity (another 1970’s myth). And most importantly, my brother had sworn to it, after all. While I can’t say for certain if the story is the truth or a myth, it is, however, the inspiration for this book.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Best Amazon Reader Reviews for Madness: The Man Who Changed Basketball

Gregg S. Lima

5.0 out of 5 stars A Childhood Memory Revealed & Retold

Reviewed in the United States on November 13, 2019

I recently read the latest book by author, Mike DeLucia. Although I am not a basketball fanatic, I was drawn to this story based on a series of conversations that I had with my now deceased father, Phil. He imposed in his children a commitment to hard work & a passion for competitive sports. However, my father, who always had the "gift of gab," was a great story teller although, at times, I questioned the veracity of his words...

Literary Reviews for Madness: The Man Who Changed Basketball

Miles Ryan Fisher, Italian American Magazine

Before there was Bob Cousy, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan, before there was the three-point shot, slam dunk, and alley-oop, the game of basketball was simple and on the cusp of many changes. Author Mike DeLucia takes us into how this evolution began, honing in on one player by the name of Angelo "Hank" Luisetti. 

While Luisetti is far from a household name, DeLucia's story shows just why he should be. Born to Italian immigrant parents, Luisetti grew up in San Francisco, where he was introduced to basketball by a local high school coach who later teaches him the one-handed shot, the precursor to the jump shot. This revolutionary shooting style and Luisetti's pure ability take him to Stanford University, where he becomes College Player of the Year in 1936 and is eventually inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. 

BEING BROTHERS - As refreshing for the kids of the 1970's, as Grease was for the kids of the 1950’s


5.0 out of 5 stars 

This book is as refreshing for the kids of the 1970s, as Grease was for the kids of the 1950’s.

Reviewed in the United States on February 10, 2021

Pamela Dunne:

I purchased Being Brothers as a holiday stocking stuffer for my dad. He grew up in the Bronx and has told me dozens of stories about growing up there, so I thought he'd like it. As I leafed through the book, I found myself getting caught up in this tale of sibling rivalry. Being a teacher and having siblings allowed me to easily immerse myself in a story that was just as relatable to me, a child of the suburbs, as it would, had I grown up where my father had. Long story short, my "quick skim" through the first chapter ended on page 87 with the main character (Jackie) being targeted by the school psycho and getting invited to a spin the bottle party. Had wrapping presents and holiday obligations not intervened, I'm sure I would have finished this "must read" adventure in one sitting.  

As I reluctantly wrap this book/script for my dad, I look forward to seeing how this intoxicating trip down memory lane ends right after the holidays.

Pam's Dad

I received Being Brothers as a Christmas gift from my daughter with her verbal caveat, "Read it quick and give it back to me as soon as possible." After reading this joyous trip down memory lane I can see why she wanted it back so quickly. If you grew up in New York City or just wished that you had, this book was as refreshing for the kids of the 1970s, as Grease was for the fifties. 

Catholic school, baseball cards, little league, first kiss, the nuns, the baseball players, the daily mis-adventures, the music, it's all there to remember and enjoy. 

Being Brothers is a great read for anyone, young or old. At its core it's a love story for anyone who has ever been a part of a family and remembers the highs and lows, as well as the good times and bad. It's funny, irreverent and touched my heart in ways I hadn't imagined. It was by far my best Christmas gift and my daughter is finishing it as I write this, probably with a lump in her throat and a few tears in her eyes. I urge you to read this book as soon as you can!


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