Guide to Baseball Novels: L

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SF novella that asks the question: what constitutes performance enhancement, and why do we fear it?

One of Avalon's "Career Romances" series, which proceed in fairly typical paths toward a romantic resolution, while maintaining a strong interest in the professional success of the heroine.

This one collapses under the weight of its own clichés, which it offers with no apparent irony. Notable for having the largest body count (9 corpses) of any non-mystery baseball novel.

The Series is described in much detail, though it is mere background. Competent crime fiction with interesting historical and geographical material.

A long, drawn-out team-of-misfits novel with way too much detail; the kind of book where every player on the team has a quirky character note and an impossible name.

Step by painful step.

A thin attempt to be a feel-good book about gay romance; its humor is forced.

Actually I'm sure the idea has occurred to Marlins owners more than once. In this fictional version, ace Miami detective Stanley Starfish tries to uncover the skullduggery.

A fantasia, narrated by Levine with counterpoint from the ghost of Babe Ruth. Nice evocations of 1920s New York help along a self-consciously familiar story.

Low-key novel with themes of rejuvenation, love, and interracial harmony.

Gauzy romance features the two main characters kissing, pulling away, circling in plot arcs for another few dozen pages, kissing more intensely, and so on, till Matt announces to Julie that he wants to marry her and have children with her: "I've been committed to baseball for so long that it was hard to believe that someone else was becoming more important to me" (185-186).

Numinous significance floats just beyond the reader's grasp in this peculiar magical-realist tale. Read more about The Man with Two Arms at lection.

A realistic comic novel that is sometimes too true to be funny. Lorenz's portraits of men giving up direction of their lives in everything except ballplaying are beautifully telling.

Unfunny and notably foul-mouthed, riddled with ethnic stereotypes, this novel is stuck in a time-warp of clichés and plot formulas.