Troon McAllister, Author . Doubleday $23.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-385-50337-2

Thriller writer Lee Gruenfeld's latest pseudonymous sports novel (after golf-centered The Foursome and The Green) is a mildly amusing baseball comedy whose abundance of clever language doesn't quite make up for its lack of plot, action and character development. The Des Moines Majestyks are a pretty hopeless lot: their inexperienced owner has spent their entire budget on one superstar, and the remainder of the team is low on talent. Enter Marvin Kowalski, who's just out of high school, headed for MIT and lacking any real athletic acumen—except that he has a marvelous eye for balls and strikes, he can foul off pitch after pitch and can wangle a walk each time he comes to bat. Needless to say, Kowalski leads his ragtag team to the World Series. One-liners and malapropisms, many of which have been attributed to Yankee great Yogi Berra, dot the pages: "Luckiest damn pitcher I ever seen," a coach says of Hall of Famer Bob Gibson, "guy always pitched on days the other team didn't score any runs." McAllister lines up too many characters and offers too much play by play, but doesn't always give his readers enough reason to care who wins a game between two fictional teams. And when Kowalski reveals that he has plans for his life beyond the diamond, his arguments for giving up a billion-dollar baseball career are not very convincing. This is a vaguely comic yarn, but it's too simplistic for knowledgeable baseball fans.(Apr.)

Reviewed on: 04/01/2002
Release date: 04/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 203 pages - 978-0-385-50530-7
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-7679-0912-9
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