Welcome to the Storyline Online, brought to
you by the SAG Foundation. I’m Kevin Costner. This is . . . Jillian Estell. We’re gonna
read to you a book today and it’s called . . . you might wanna show them the book,
what’s it called? It’s called Catching the Moon by Crystal Hubbard, illustrated by Randy DuBurke. And it’s a story of a young girl’s baseball dream. Marcenia Lyle loved baseball. She loved the
powdery taste of dust clouds as she slid through them. She loved the way the sun heated her
hair as she crouched in the outfield, waiting for fly balls. And she loved the sting in
her palm as a baseball slammed into it, right before tagging a runner out. If there was anything in the world better
than baseball, Marcenia didn’t know what it was. She dreamed of growing up to be a
professional ballplayer, so she could play all the time. “I wish I knew why you liked baseball so
much.” Mama sighed as she gently washed Marcenia’s hair. Marcenia shrugged. Mama often questioned Marcenia’s
interest in baseball, particularly when washing field dirt from her hair. “It’s just fun,” Marcenia said, giving
her mother the same response she always did. “Playing dolls is fun,” Mama said. Marcenia blew a puff of lather from her palm.
“Not as much fun as baseball.” After Marcenia crawled into bed, Papa appeared
in the doorway. “What did you learn in school today?”
he asked. “Ummm…” Marcenia thought for a moment.
“Some history?” “hmmm”, Papa crossed his arms. “And
how did your team do in the game after school?” “Harold got a triple in his first at bat,
and Clarence tagged out two runners,” Marcenia said eagerly. “I struck out my first time
at the bat, but then I caught a deep fly ball that would have scored the tying run for the
other team if I’d missed it. We won, 11-10.” Marcenia’s smile gleamed like the noonday
sun as she shared the details of her victory. “We won the game,” Marcenia said once
more. “And you also ripped another dress,” Papa
said, dismayed. Then he kissed Marcenia’s cheek and turned off the light, leaving her
alone with the moonlight and shadows and her dream of becoming a baseball player. The tiny house was still. Marcenia could almost hear her mother’s needle and thread moving through the fabric as she sat at the kitchen
table mending Marcenia’s dress. After a while Marcenia heard Papa’s voice. “I wish she would think about school as much as she thinks on baseball.” “She wants to be a ballplayer when she grows
up,” Mama said with a sad chuckle. “I just want her to be happy.” “She’ll be what every other girl in this
neighborhood will be,” Papa grumbled. “A teacher, a nurse, or—“ “A maid,” Mama said softly. “I’m going to score three runs tomorrow,” Marcenia promised the darkness as she clapped her hands over her ears. “I’m going to hit a home run too.” Then next day after school, Marcenia went
to the playground. The other girls stayed on the hardtop to play hopscotch, jump rope, or jacks. The boys were huddled at the mound, talking quietly. They cast excited glances at the man who was watching the field from the bleachers. “Do you know who he is?” Harold asked
Marcenia as she joined the group. He tipped his head toward the man. “That there is Mr. Gabby Street. He’s
running a baseball day camp this summer.” Marcenia knew about Gabby Street. He was the manager for the St. Louis Cardinals. He had led his Cardinals to the National League pennant in 1930, and the Cardinals had topped that the next year by winning the 1931 World Series. “What’s he want?” Marcenia asked. “Kids for his baseball camp,” Harold said.
“It’s going to be right here on this field every day except Sunday. Sundays are game days.” “What is the cost?” Marcenia asked. “It’s free! It’s free!” said Clarence. “All you need is your own glove and baseball
cleats,” Harold added. Marcenia could hardly contain her excitement. She would do anything to be one of the players in Mr. Street’s camp! That afternoon Marcenia played with purpose. She scooped the grounders, catching them into her body to make sure they didn’t bounce away. She slid into second, keeping so low she wouldn’t be tagged. She kept her eyes on each pitch, waiting for a good one to send over the fence. She scored three runs just like she wanted
and hit a homer. When Mr. Street approached the players after the game, Marcenia crowded in close so he could see her. “I just saw some good ball,” Mr. Street said, smiling. “Who wants to come to my
baseball camp and really learn to play this game?” Every hand went up. Mr. Street shook them all. He shook Marcenia’s hand last. “You’ve got a good arm, little miss, and you run fast,” he said. “But I don’t take girls in my camp.” Marcenia looked down so no one would see her disappointment. She began striking dust from her dress. “Hey, Marcenia’s been playing ball with
us since we were little kids,” Harold told Mr. Street. “She’s the only player we got who ever
steals bases,” Clarence said. Marcenia was pleased that her friends had
come to her defense, but Mr. Street didn’t change his mind. As she walked home, she thought
about how those very same boys had teased her when she first started playing baseball
with them. Then when they saw she could run, hit, and throw as well as they could, the teasing stopped. They had let her play. Marcenia decided to give Mr. Street a reason
to change his mind. Everyday Marcenia played baseball, and everyday
Mr. Street refused to invite her to his camp. Then came a day when Marcenia got tired of hearing him say, “I don’t take girls in my camp.” That day, when she was on third
base in the ninth inning of a tie game, Marcenia decided to take the biggest chance in all
baseball. She decided to steal home. When the pitcher drew back his arm to throw the ball to Harold, Marcenia launched into motion. The catcher snared the pitch in his glove
and ran toward Marcenia to tag her out. Marcenia doubled back toward third. When the catcher
threw the ball back to the third baseman, Marcenia turned and bolted toward home plate.
As the ball sailed above her head, Marcenia pumped her arms and knees harder. With the ball speeding toward home, Marcenia
dropped her weight and slid into home plate. She had stolen home and scored the winning run! While her teammates celebrated their victory, Marcenia planted her hands on her hips and faced Mr. Street. “I am a baseball player,” she said. “I
want to learn to play this game as well as I can. May I come to your camp?” “Well, little miss, if you can steal home,
you can probably do anything you set your mind to,” Mr. Street said. “You can come to my camp as long as you have your own equipment.” When Marcenia told her parents the good news about the camp that evening, her father was not pleased. “I don’t like you acting like such a tomboy,”
he said with a snap of his evening paper. “Besides, you know we don’t have money
to spend on—“ “The camp’s free!” Marcenia said excitedly. “Equipment isn’t free,” Papa said. “I have a glove,” Marcenia said. “Harold
gave me his old one.” “You’ll need cleats, and we don’t have
money for those,” Papa added. “So unless you’re prepared to get them yourself, I think you’ll have to forget about that camp.” With another snap of Papa’s newspaper, Marcenia
felt her dream move out of reach. Mr. Street was at the field the next time
Marcenia played. Before the game, she mustered all her strength to keep from crying. “Mr. Street,” she said, “I can’t come
to your camp. I don’t have cleats and my father says we can’t afford them. But thank you for inviting me.” Although she was sad, Marcenia played as well
as she always had. She loved baseball too much not to play with all her heart. Unable to sleep, Marcenia gazed through her
window at the full moon glowing in the sky. It was so round and bright, like a brand new baseball. She reached to the floor and took up her baseball glove. She put it on and punched the pocket, as if the moon would drop into it like so many fly balls had before. Marcenia wondered sadly if Papa was right.
Maybe girls didn’t grow up to be ballplayers after all. But playing baseball was her dream,
and Marcenia couldn’t imagine doing anything else. The next day after school Marcenia was the first one at the playing field. Mr. Street was already there, and he waved Marcenia over. “You’re a good ballplayer, Marcenia,”
he said. “I want good ballplayers for my camp.” He handed Marcenia a box, and he watched as she opened it. Her eyes widened as she pulled out a shoe with each hand. These weren’t
just any shoes. These were real baseball cleats! “Thank you, Mr. Street!” Marcenia was
so excited she could barely squeeze out the words. She hugged the shoes to her chest.
They were even better than stealing home! “Don’t you have a game to play?” Mr.
Street said, nodding toward the field. “Yes, I do!” Marcenia replied happily. Her fingers flew as she unbuckled her street shoes and laced on her new cleats. They fit perfectly. She ran in them. She jumped in them. She caught and slid in them. And she
hit a home run in them. After the game they boy rushed to Mr. Street, talking over one another about the game. Marcenia lingered at home plate. She stared at her feet, proud of the new scuffs and smudges on her shoes. They had been a little stiff
at first. But now that she had played a good game of baseball in them, the cleats were
exactly the way she wanted them to be. Mr. Street excused himself from the crowd
of boys. “I look forward to seeing you in camp,” he said to Marcenia. She gave him a hopeful smile, but Marcenia
knew she still had one more person to convince before she could officially accept Mr. Street’s invitation. She ran home and waited anxiously for her
father to return from work. As soon as her father arrived, Marcenia showed
him her new cleats. “Now, Marcenia, where… where did you get
those…where did you get those shoes?” Papa asked sternly.
“Mr. Street gave them to me,” Marcenia said. “He wants me to come to his baseball camp.” Papa looked down at Marcenia’s baseball
cleats, which were already scuffed and dusted with field dirt. “You must be a pretty good ballplayer for an important man like Mr. Street to buy you those shoes,” he admitted. Then he smiled. “You know I don’t like charity, but I
reckon we can’t give those shoes back in this state. I’ll have to thank Mr. Street for his generosity when I take you down to that baseball camp.” Marcenia could hardly believe her ears — Papa had agreed! Her chest filled with joy and she threw her arms around her father, hugging him hard. “You’ll see how good I am!” she cried. Marcenia felt as proud and happy as if she reached right up in the sky and caught the moon in her glove. She was on her way to becoming a real baseball player. She would make her dream come true. Good story. It’s a great story. You know what’s great about this story is it’s also, it’s also true. This little girl is real and grew up to be a professional baseball player. Dreams are, dreams are important.
And sometimes you can find dreams in books. That’s what makes this story so special,
you know. It’s important to dream. You can be a lot of things in your life, not just a baseball player, but you can also be the person who wrote this book someday. You can be a doctor. You can be a lot of things. That’s what I love about books, you know, they take us to a place. We can read them in a car. We can read them in our room. You know, books can take you around the world and you never leave your house. When I think of a lot of the great things that have come to be in my life, a lot of them have come from books just
like this. I think if you start reading as young as you guys are, you’re gonna have a really great life.