What Helen and Staughton Lynd were to Middletown, Bill Geist is to Little League. Except, of course, that he’s funnier. A former columnist for The New York Times and now a correspondent for CBS News, Geist is a master of the shiv, the one-liner, the double take. For the last decade he’s been coaching Little League, and he’s obviously taken good notes.
Geist’s central theme is American Dadhood. The dads of the Ridgewood, N.J., Little League, while professing devotion to the ideals of sport, the rules of the game, etc., roast their 10-year-old charges in their own competitive fires. Fortunately, these dads don’t do any lasting harm, and Little League Confidential is edged with the romanticism of a true baseball sentimentalist. There’s something comfortably anachronistic about all those dads, diamonds, and knotty-pine rec rooms. They hover, like baseball itself, in the mist of America’s semimythic pastoral past. If you draft them, they will come. B+