From Publishers Weekly
More a sociological study than a book about sandlot baseball, Coyle, senior editor of Outside magazine, takes us inside Cabrini-Green, the nation's second-largest housing project in one of Chicago's most crime-ridden neighborhoods. We enter a society whose pecking order is determined by guns and crack and where status is marked by Air Jordans. The Near North Little League/African-American Youth League came into being because of the efforts of white Bob Muzikowski, a former drug addict turned Christian insurance executive, and African American Al Carter, who worked for the city's Department of Human Services. Between them a sometimes cool political alliance existed as they strived to help the project's 8- to 12-year-olds. We meet the Kikuyus team: Calbert, the earnest, asthmatic, junk foodie; Freddie, a 44, 100-pound butterball with a great fastball; and Maurice, who always called "I got it. I got it," but seldom did. Through the imprisonments, shootings and AIDS deaths that mark the ghetto, we see the Kikuyus coalesce as a team. This heart-wrenching tome offers little hope as crack and guns continue to control the project, but as Maurice says: "It ain't really so bad, living here. In summertime, we play baseball." BOMC and QPB featured alternates; film rights to Paramount.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Hardball , a chronicle of Little League baseball in Chicago's Cabrini-Green housing project, adeptly illustrates the harsh realities of inner-city life. The story quickly shifts from the action on the diamond to descriptions of sniper fire or gang brawls. Coyle examines many of the players' backgrounds and family lives and how their upbringing reflects on their attitudes toward baseball and the mostly white coaches. At times the book focuses too much on the politics of the league, but almost every Little League is plagued by the interference of adults. Ultimately, the game of baseball touches all of the participants, as when Coyle describes a player receiving his uniform: "Rufus chose number 1, the smallest jersey. He didn't say anything, just hugged it to his chest and trotted away to show his mother." For most collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert. LJ 9/15/93.
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- Jeffrey Gay, Bridgewater P.L., Mass.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.