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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