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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

on November 6, 2014
One of the best, most engaging and heartfelt books I have ever read. Told with humor and honesty, this book should not be missed!! A true find. A wonderful story.
I rarely read a book twice. This book I shall read again.
To Daniel Coyle - thank you for such a great story.
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on January 8, 2015
Got it as a gift for a family member that says it's a great read.
May be a bit bias because the author is connected to our family.
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on December 23, 2015
Great book. Used but good condition
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on March 15, 2000
I enjoyed this excellent piece of writing to the utmost degree. The insight, intensity, and development of characters submerses one in the tragic surroundings of the inner city of Chicago and depicts the valiant efforts of indefatigueable volunteers to lift young boys from the throes of poverty. The writing style is almost poetic; this writer has a unique talent for making characters come alive --- he's one to keep an eye on in the future. I can't wait for his next book.
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on June 28, 2004
This book is such a great find. Unlike the movie, this is the non-fiction account of a group of volunteer's attempts to organize a little league team in Chigago's Cabrini Green project, possibly the most infamous in the country. Don't expect any Keanu Reeves ex-gambler coaches to show up. Do expect great candor from the kids and an unmistakable affection from the author (who never appears in the book) for the players. Despite all the news stories you'll ever hear about urban decay, public housing and gang violence, it will never have the impact that some of these stories do (3 players lose their fathers during the season, one's is incarcerated, others can identify a gun's calibre by sound.) This story isn't unremittingly grim though and never is it preachy. Coyle's gift is to just let the children and the coaches speak as the story of the Kikuyus journey to the championships unfolds. There are so many sweet funny moments in this book: Louis' Star Search audition, the trip to the Iowa baseball camp (where hillbillies are more terrifying that gang bangers), Jalen's "Rude Dude" bat. Despite the fact that there are no sudden changes of heart, the players never quite permanently comes together as a team, and the league's two founders end up as mortal enemies, this is nonetheless an uplifting story. Some of the kids have potential, some don't, the odds are against most. Maybe a summer of baseball can't save them but as one of the League's founders poignantly notes, "If we save one, then this League is a success."
The best news is that while Cabrini itself is being razed, the Near North League continues. It's a shame this book is out of print. It is definitely worth seeking out.
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VINE VOICEon March 31, 2008
This is a story that is more frightening than anything Stephen King has ever writter. It's a realistic 'The Bad News Bears' that will make any reader with an ounce of empathy feel like crying. The harrowing life that the children of the Cabrini projects must endure in their day-to-day existence is a bleak background of violence, drugs, and society gone wrong. The fact that Little League baseball can serve as a beacon for these kids is almost as amazing that a society like ours can let projects like the one depicted in this book exist.

A powerful, important novel, and one that should be read by anyone interested in learning about the differences that exist in our society.
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on August 26, 2011
I'm kind of shocked to see how many people liked this book. I'm the perfect audience for this book; I'm a baseball fan, I live in Chicago and I'm interested in youth programs that deal with inner city kids. But Hardball: A Season in the Projects just didn't do it for me.

First of all, it was aggravatingly overwritten. Coyle added plenty of details, I assume in an attempt to paint a full and vivid picture. What resulted were paragraphs of overly flowery, dull and pointless prose that did nothing to further the story. As he tried to add dialouge and mimic the `street kids' language, he just sounded like every other uptight white guy who's awfully proud of himself for spending time `in the projects'. I was a little embarrassed for him.

The pages and pages of play by play baseball business were pointless. As I said, I'm a huge baseball fan. But reading chapter after chapter of moment by moment commentary on a strike out is boring - no matter how much you like baseball. Yes, I cared how the kids did and yes I wanted to know who was struggling and how their games turned out, but I didn't need this much detail.

Writing aside, I had some issues with the author's clear bias against Al, the man who actually founded the league. Al was from the projects and was an African-American man. Initially he was portrayed somewhat sympathetically but eventually he was reduced to being some crazy guy who, and I'll quote, "must have been called a [n-word] once." Based on the information in this book it seemed clear that Al wanted control of his league and had trouble letting some of that control go to the volunteer coaches. It also seems somewhat understandable to me, that as a man who'd lived in the projects all his life, there would be some resentment of a bunch of rich, white dudes coming in and telling him how to run his league and how he could best impact these children's lives.

Overall I did not like the writing and I did not like the angle the author took. I did learn a few things about Cabrini-Green but you could shave 200 pages off this book and still get as much out of it.
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on October 17, 2001
... should make this book available again now that the movie HARDBALL has hit the screens. I read this book about three years ago or so when it first came out and thought it was a great read. I gave it to a fellow baseball fan, who is a supervising probation officer in our county. For those who feel that youth baseball (and youth sports) can often be more than just a game, this book is for you. Watching the movie last week brought back thoughts of this book. The movie does some Hollywood license on the story line (they win the title in the film) but essentially is well done and gives the essential message the author sought to convey.
This book and the film should be required viewing for suburban Little League teams which have as "must have" items the latest version $250 bats, batting gloves and all the new fangled gear that passes for "essential" baseball equipment these days.
In the film one of the kids is asked by the coach character as the kid returns to his housing project home full of problems and malingerers "What do you do for fun?" The kid responds: "I plaky baseball for you....." Ain't baseball great. This book plus the a little too sappy film shows us all why.
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on October 23, 2012
'Hardball' is one of those rare books that not only will you read multiple times, but you'll find yourself hoping that magically there will be more chapters the next time you read it. If you are a fan of 'The Blindside' I think that not only will you love this book, you'll be blown away by it. My only wish is that Disney didn't get its hands on the movie rights to this excellent book and produce such a substandard movie. The book, and this story, deserved better.
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on October 28, 2002
Coyle gave a great story. He was very descriptive. His writing had the affect to make me able to visualize every character and setting. I've spent time in the projects on many occasions' with friends who stay there and I see these things all the time, except children are growing more love for basketball and football. Yet they still show the heart on the court and gridiron as they did in this story in the diamond.
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