If you have a kid playing any kind of organized youth sports then you know all about “daddy ball” — the practice of father/coaches giving preferential playing time and prominence to their own children. You may be guilty of it yourself or you may be its victim (really, your kid is the real victim but we know how sports parents think it’s all about them).
If you fall into the latter camp, then immediately get yourself a copy of Matthew S. Hiley’s Baseball Dads.
“Sex. Drugs. Murder. Children’s Baseball.”
That’s the book cover’s tagline and, like a list of ingredients on a food package, it sums up the dark comic novel’s content in pretty much the order of most to least appearances. I say “pretty much” because, damn, these horny bastards do a lot of drugs. Not on that list is “funny” which should be because once you suspend belief, Baseball Dads will take you for a joy ride of hilarious proportions.
The story centers on landscaper Dwayne Devero. He has bills to pay, a social climbing tramp of a wife, and a talented ballplayer for a son who has his playing time limited by “daddy baseball.” With the help of three others fathers whose kids are also riding the pine, they put a plan into effect that leads to a trail of dead bodies, Jedi warriors, raunchy sex (but not graphically written in the book) and even some wins for Alex’s team.
Baseball Dads is a ripe, ripping social satire and take on the extremes parents will go to get their kids ahead in sports. While its hero’s actions are extremely over the top, Baseball Dads will make you wish there was a little bit of Dwayne Devero in you the next time your child is yanked for a pinch hitter.