LITTLE LEAGUE CONFIDENTIAL: One Coach's Tale of Survival by Bill Geist

LITTLE LEAGUE CONFIDENTIAL: One Coach's Tale of Survival

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A wry look at the perils of coaching Little League baseball in suburban New Jersey, this sporadically funny report by CBS correspondent Geist is a composite of ten seasons with unpredictable eight-to-ten-year-olds, rabid parents, and knavish rival coaches. Describing the March tryouts, when boys and girls are rated by the often conniving coaches, and the eight-team league draft, held in Commissioner ""Barney Foozle's"" family room, Geist reveals the chicanery and double-dealing that go into putting together the best team. Not everyone, it seems, thinks the kids are out just to have ""good, clean fun"": some coaches believe that they should learn ""sound values""; others think that winning is essential to the players' emotional development and future careers. And still other coaches ""picked kids with the best-looking mothers."" Geist, a former New York Times columnist, showed his savvy by picking a kid with a pool in his back-yard, perfect for the postseason party. To Geist, playing for fun ""is a value,"" and he sees to it that his Curl Up N' Dye Hair Salon team has a good time beating teams like the Victoria's Secret Wildkids and the Stool Concepts. His players include his own son and daughter; Emily Change, whose leadoff hits demoralized opposing pitchers; hotshot Byron ""Bad Ass"" McCarthy; and Anand, whose family shows up wearing sarongs and saris. Game by game (one is won on a homer by a young lady still in her ballet-class tutu), Geist's charges march to a showdown with Coach Knavery's Chem Lawn team, win on a late-inning, sugar-induced rally, and proceed to the Ridgewood (N.J.) World Series, where they lose a heartbreaker. Mildly amusing but more often strained or contrived; for a more serious, detailed look at Little League coaching, see Paul B. Brown's My Season On the Brink (reviewed above).

Pub Date: May 1st, 1992
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Macmillan