Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

While the theme of “Summer League” focuses on the loneliness and lack of identity of a young Chicano immigrant seeking importance by means of the great American mythic sport of baseball (Romero uses softball because it is a diminutive of hardball, just as Tiny League is even smaller than Little League), the subtle way in which Romero communicates the thematic significance of this seemingly insignificant story places it within the modern short-story tradition of lyrical realism.

In the tradition of Anton Chekhov, the great late nineteenth century Russian short-story writer, Romero knows that it is better to say too little than too much. “Summer League” is written in an economical and straightforward narrative style, with no exposition, explanation, or commentary. What readers know about Michael’s situation, they infer from the apparently realistic details of the story. They guess that Michael has no father because no father is ever introduced and because Michael goes to his mother for what he needs. They know that his search for a heroic father figure in the league meets with failure because Mr. Gomez, who should provide an image of the surrogate father as coach, is merely a stereotype of a sloven drunk.

Other details in the story subtly suggest the strife and tentativeness of Michael’s life as an immigrant. A brief scene in which a group of black children taunt a Latino snack truck vendor by calling him a “honky-ass” and the...

(The entire section is 491 words.)