Richard Dixon (?) used to pitch for the Cincinnati Brewmasters, even won a World Series for them and fame for himself. Now he's in San Lorenzo, a ""licentious little puddle"" south of the border, and free-associating like mad. Pregnant Mexican bride, ubiquitous in-laws, local beisbol among the cacti. But a ""porous, unwieldy"" past overwhelms the sweet and stifling present. So Dixon remembers pathetic old Dad, And ex-wife Lorraine, adulterous and irresistibly threatening. A mistress who died, one who didn't, pennants won, and friends lost. Also: bullfighting, gay rancheros, the expatriate community, and a metaphor-fantasy finale that offers Life as the Ninth Inning. Dixon's arias (and a mammoth one on adolescent sex from Lorraine) teem with literary and locker-room allusions, with gritty, on-target images, and curiously detailed scene-painting. Masterful wordplay, maybe even masterful enough to compensate for a glut of themes and an angst-ridden American Hero who talks a good game but whose story has little grab. A blatantly talented first novel sure to be appreciated where Sports Illustrated and Paris Review circles intersect.