Lets get a few things out of the way first: you will be disappointed if you think this entire novel is about baseball. And also those who have never played the game and know the feeling when you step over those chalk lines onto the field may be less inclined to like it. I believe the gents will be giving this book higher ratings than the ladies. In other words you don't have to know about baseball to read this but it helps.The story revolves around 5 characters who are well written and defined. Oddly, the main character was the weakest to me. He seemed more a foil for the other characters actions. They all go through a variety of tribulations. The author gives them a lot of baggage, especially near the end. And one player takes a thrown ball in the mug. But it's not all gloom and doom.Some parts of the book stretch plausibility to near the breaking point. And it's one of those it could've been 100 pages shorter books. But the writing is strong here which more than makes up for minor imperfections. You will wind up caring about the characters. Considering this is a first novel it's a big league effort. Sorry, I had to make at least one baseball pun. It'll be interesting to see what the author comes up with next.