For Ages
6 to 9

Ballpark Mysteries Super Special #3: Subway Series Surprise is a part of the Ballpark Mysteries A Stepping Stone Book collections.

Batter up! It's an NYC-themed Super Special! Ballpark Mysteries are fun, accessible early chapter books that cross baseball action with puzzling whodunits!

Catch a baseball mystery--in New York City!

Mike and Kate are in for an extra special treat! Two hometown baseball teams in one city! A Subway Series is when the New York Mets play the New York Yankees, and Mike and Kate can't wait to watch all the action! But someone is playing pranks at both ballparks! And when Mike and Kate hear mysterious mumblings at the famous Whispering Gallery at Grand Central Terminal, they just might be able to catch the culprit before the series ends.

A longer story, plus bonus backmatter and NYC trivia, makes Subway Series Surprise a truly Super Special addition to the Ballpark Mysteries.

An Excerpt fromBallpark Mysteries Super Special #3: Subway Series Surprise

Mike Walsh and his cousin Kate Hopkins stood on the sidelines of the Brooklyn Cyclones minor-league baseball game. It was the seventh-inning stretch, and they had an important job to do.

“Bring out the hot dogs!” said a man standing near the pitcher’s mound. He wore a straw hat and bright blue jacket. “It’s Mets fans versus Yankees fans in the Subway Series Hot-Dog-Eating Contest!”

“We got ’em!” Kate called back as thousands of fans in the stadium cheered. Kate and Mike rushed across the Cyclones’ infield, carrying huge trays of Nathan’s Famous hot dogs.

They were headed for the two long tables on either side of the announcer. Behind each table were three Mets or Yankees fans chosen from the crowd.

Kate ran up to the table on the left. Two women and a man, each wearing blue and orange Mets shirts, sat behind it. At the front of the table was a big banner that read GO, METS! Kate placed ten hot dogs in front of each competitor. “Good luck!” she said to the three contestants. “Try to eat fast! I want one of the
Mets fans to win!”

“And I want a Yankees fan to win!” Mike called from the other table. The sign on that table read GO, YANKEES! Mike had placed ten hot dogs in front of each person on his side.

The contestants were each wearing pin-striped Yankees jerseys. The crowd cheered.

Mike and Kate met near the third-base line to watch. It was Friday afternoon, and they were in New York City for a big Subway Series between the Mets and the Yankees that started that night. The teams would be playing each other three times in the next three days.

The games were called a Subway Series because fans could reach both the Mets’ and the Yankees’ stadiums using the New York City subway. Before the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants moved to California from New York in the 1950s, they had also played the New York Yankees in Subway
Series games. Kate’s mom had driven Mike and Kate down to New York City from their homes in Cooperstown, New York, the day before. She was a sports reporter and was in the press box

Mrs. Hopkins had arranged for Mike and Kate to be part of the Cyclones’ hot-dog-eating contest.

The Cyclones were a minor-league team for the New York Mets. Their stadium was right next to the ocean, in the neighborhood of Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York. During the summer, lots of people in New York City went to Coney Island for fun. Nearby was a wide wooden boardwalk with rides, games, and food stands. Roller coasters zipped back and forth just beyond the stadium’s outfield wall, and waves broke on the sandy beach outside the ballpark. The announcer running the contest waved his straw hat in the air. “Whoever eats the most hot dogs wins four front-row seats to all Subway Series games!” he said.

Mike nudged Kate with his elbow. He rubbed his stomach in a circular motion. “I’ll bet I could eat the most hot dogs if they’d let me,” he said.

Kate shook her head. Her brown ponytail bobbed back and forth through the hole in her blue baseball cap. “It’s only for adults!” she said. “But let’s buy some hot dogs when we’re done!”

Ball boys and girls finished bringing out bottles of ketchup, mustard, and relish and placed big jugs of water on the tables. According to the rules, the contestants could eat the hot dogs plain or with condiments, but they also had to eat the buns. Behind the tables, the contestants prepared to eat. Some took swigs of water. Others slathered their hot dogs with mustard or relish. One woman rolled her head from side to side and made chewing motions with her jaw. A man rubbed his belly and took deep breaths.

Mike glanced at Kate. “I’m rooting for the Yankees fans to win,” he said. “Because Babe Ruth played for them.”

 “Well, I’m rooting for the Mets side because my father likes them,” Kate said. Her parents were divorced. Kate’s father lived in Los Angeles. 

“Why not root for the Yankees, like your mom?” Mike asked. 

“Because my dad works for the Dodgers!” Kate said. “After both the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants moved to California in the 1950s, the Yankees were the only baseball team left in New York. So when Major League Baseball created the Mets in 1962, they wanted to honor the memory of the Giants and the Dodgers.”

Kate pointed to a Mets logo on her program.

Under the Cover