The amusing and thoroughly silly history of a major-league shortstop who ``comes out'' against his better judgement--and discovers that there's more to life than baseball. TV- writer/second-novelist Lefcourt (The Deal, 1991) adds a lively pace--and little depth--to a genuinely clever tale. Apart from the fact that he makes millions a year playing baseball, Randy Dreyfus seems in every respect a normal man: Married to his college sweetheart, he has twin daughters, a large dog, a suburban home, and several cars. In truth, he hates the dog, but everything else is fine until he suddenly realizes (in the shower) just how attractive his second baseman, D.J. Pickett, really is. Fortunately for Randy, D.J. is gay; eventually they become lovers, and inevitably the world comes crashing down around them. An opportunistic baseball commissioner (Fritz Esterhazy), a crusading sportswriter (Milt Zola), a venal franchise-owner (Frank Anatolia), and a dim-witted Quayle-like president fill out the plot, whose allusions are pretty obvious from the start. It will spoil no one's surprise to say that justice triumphs, although its course is far from smooth. The obligatory World Series finale provides a bit of tragedy, but the resolution is thoroughly happy, without a loose end in sight. If this all seems a bit fantastic, it helps to remember (as Fritz Esterhazy does) that ``Baseball is not a sport''--it's an American fantasy, and fantasies produce fairy tales. Good characters, good tempo, good dialogue, and good narration--all sadly marred by a Message more intrusive than Randy's Dalmatian, and as difficult to tame. Lefcourt bangs the drum so relentlessly over homophobia that he fails to notice that sanctimony, rather than sex, is the most offensive element of his plot. A nice drive that goes foul by inches.