In a style a little too rich, a little too studied, sportswriter Pat Jordan continues the losers' streak log he began with the likes of Chase the Game (p. 174) and A False Spring (1975). In fact, one of the seven mostly oldish pieces collected here is an excerpt from the latter: a self-absorbed, over-detailed account of how he intellectualized away his pitching talent in minor league baseball and never made the majors. Jim Bouton appears just long enough to say that he'd relinquish the sportscasting in a second if he could go back to major league pitching; ex-racing car driver Phil Hill shakes his head and intones that the racing way of life is the way of death. The other figures are purely idiosyncratic choices: an ever-so-careful black football coach in a North Carolina high school c. 1970; ""wasted"" baseball talent Bo Belinsky, mistaking hedonism for individuality; a pool hall scion who kept Jordan and his 1960s pals from getting into more serious trouble than hustling pool. Jordan goes for the obvious, the pat, the unperceived tear in the eye; he writes self-consciously about ""the crash of dollar bills fluttering to the felt"" and suchlike, until the waste or decline of human talent seems, in the end, trivial.