Picks and Pans Review: Squeeze Play

updated 05/14/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/14/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Jane Leavy

There hasn't been a good baseball novel since Mark Harris's series of books about southpaw Henry Wiggen. Until this one.

Leavy, an ex-sportswriter for the Washington Post, has written a lively, bawdy book in the form of a journal kept by a woman covering a mythical expansion team, the Washington Senators, over the 1989 season. And this is not just a diamond fantasy but a real novel, with digressions into journalism, politics and religion (the Senators' owner is a TV evangelist).

Baseball—or whatever you want to call it when a team goes 43-119—still lies at the center. Actually, Leavy focuses on players' high jinks before and after the games in a way that might make Jim Bouton blush. There's a symphony of flatulence, the microwaving of a cat in the clubhouse and a sex scandal that, as a buxom participant puts it, "makes Wade Boggs and Margo Adams look like small potatoes in bad vichyssoise."

Raunch-wise, Leavy shoots her wad in the first 100 pages, but she's up there taking her hacks all through this fun read. Her book will have you singing a rousing chorus of "Take Me Out to the Locker Room." (Doubleday, $18.95)

From Our Partners