|A lot of terrific books have been written about baseball.
At MTSU, literacy and America’s pastime come together in a couple of ways, including a special event on campus in April, and now a chance to watch the Blue Raiders and pick up a book at the same time with free tickets to home games at Reese Smith Jr. Field.
The free tickets come from a new program at Linebaugh library that started last week.
A couple of weeks ago, the library and a couple of MTSU baseball season-ticket holders, Doug Malan and Jimmy White announced a partnership, in which readers could receive a free ticket to a Blue Raider home game, if they have a library card, are at least 18 years old, and are good standing with Linebaugh.
“Each ticket will be good for four people,” Linebaugh librarian Carol Ghattas said in a press release.
Here is how the program works, all a patron has to do is request the ticket at the front desk a week before the MTSU baseball home game with their library card. Also, one will be given out as a prize during Linebaugh’s Winter Reading Program, which ends on March 9.
Malan is a 1998 graduate of the school, and he currently lives in the state of Connecticut in which he has written a children book, “Let’s Go to the Ballpark,” which will be the library’s book of choice during the children story time during the spring season.
“The book introduces children to the sights and action of a professional baseball game,” Malan said in an email on Feb. 22. “My idea was to write a story that parents can read to children to build up anticipation for that first trip to the ballpark or to help parents and children relive their ballpark experiences. I have two little boys (ages two and five) and I was always looking for a good baseball book that introduces basic elements of the game while providing a glimpse into what happens at a ballpark on game day. I never found one, so I wrote one.”
Malan grew up a St. Louis Cardinals fan, while living near the city. He became a Blue Raider baseball fan 20 years ago, when he first visited the campus. He has been a fan ever since, and while he was studying at MTSU, he spent a lot of time at Linebaugh reading books.
For those reasons, Malan wanted to give back to the program, and it helped develop the partnership between both sides. Later on, his friend and classmate White decided to donate some tickets, also.
“I received a call from Mr. Malan about a month ago,” Ghattas said. “He shared with me his history in Murfreesboro and how as a student at MTSU he loved coming to Linebaugh to study. He wanted to do something special to give back to the library and show his love for MT baseball at the same time. It was not until we had worked out the details of his donation of the season pass that his friend Mr. White also wanted to donate a pass. Malan has shared with White about what he was doing, and White was so excited about the idea that he joined in.”
Malan talked about the friendship built White, because of their love books and baseball.
“This really came together on a whim,” Malan said. “Jimmy and I are great friends who attended MTSU at the same time and we’re both big sports fans and passionate supporters of all Blue Raider athletics. He had encouraged me to rejoin the Blue Raider Athletic Association. It’s a great decision because it allows me to reconnect with my alma mater in a way.”
The duo along with Linebaugh hopes with the program, more people will visit the local library and support the Blue Raider baseball team at the same time under new head coach Jim McGuire.
Besides this new free ticket program, MTSU also has another tie-in with baseball and literacy with its annual Baseball in Literature and Culture Conference, which this year’s event will be on April 5 at the James Union Building.
MTSU English Professor, Warren Tormey and the rest of the department do an incredible job each year of bringing literature and baseball together in a very informative and fun way. This year will be no different, as the event’s special guest will be former Major League pitcher and celebrated author, Jim Bouton.
Back in 1969, he wrote the book, “Ball Four,” which broke new ground in terms of giving fans inside access of what players went through both on and off the field in their own words. Over 40 years later, it is still one of the best baseball books ever written about the sport.
Here are a couple of chances for baseball fans and readers to enjoy both at the same time.