There's more to The Only Game than a story about sports. The first half of the book sets up the story quite well, with the star pitcher quitting the team after his brother dies in an accident. The reader questions the reason for his quitting the team, as do his teammates, and his new friend - a girl who stars on her softball team. His new position on the sidelines gives the main character a different perspective than he had before. Another character, an unlikely fellow student who is not physically fit and is often bullied, rounds out the story.
The second half of the book reads too much like a play-by-play radio broadcast and doesn't feel like part of the story that Lupica started to write. The play-by-play always shows up in Lupica's books and often moves the story along, but in The Only Game it got in the way. There was just too much of it.
From the publisher's website:
Jack Callahan is the star of his baseball team and seventh grade is supposed to be his year. Undefeated season. Records shattered. Little League World Series. The works. That is, until he up and quits.