Kostya Kennedy
October 24, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Long before there were soccer moms, there were Little League dads. And anyone who’s been around kids’ baseball — or who’s seen the ”Bad News Bears” movies — will recognize the coaches whose philosophies clash in this endearing play by Richard Dresser (”Below the Belt”). Don (Robert Clohessy) is a jock who spits a lot and believes having fun translates to ”one word…winning.” Dweebish Michael (Matthew Arkin) wants to give the kids a ”place of nurturing.” The characters are simply drawn and the acting is best when they engage in snappy baseball-as-metaphor banter. The play becomes less compelling, even maudlin, when real life creeps in (woman trouble, a rebellious son). All in all, as Michael says of a ball game, ”win or lose, it’s not a bad afternoon in the park.”

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