Published in 2010, Ball Crazy: Confessions of a Dad-Coach is about my personal odyssey in navigating the treacherous waters of 12-year-old youth baseball. Chapters alternate between my childhood sandlot version of the game with pine trees as bases, and my son's hyper-organized summer all-star season. What I found is that there's plenty of good in both versions, and a baseball fits the hand of a 12-year-old as well as it does the hand of a father.
"Alternating between a season on the road with his 12-year-old son's traveling baseball team and the improvised pick-up games of his own Florida childhood, first-time author Jacobs distills the experience of youth baseball into a handful of slim chapters as supple and expansive as good short stories.
"A long-time journalist, Jacobs deploys a reporter's efficiency and eye for detail in the service of a wide range of ideas--baseball as home and healer, punishment and addiction, mistress and terrorist cell--but resists the temptation to follow any one metaphor down the rabbit hole.
Instead, he sticks to the action, following the 2004 Decatur Hills Bulls through the PONY league tournament, parsing the nuances of joint pain, and negotiating outside obligations (his son's and his own); intriguing vignettes from the author's childhood give the proceedings heft and purpose: 'How did youth baseball evolve from sandlot games to weekend tournaments that require the logistics of a Special Forces operation?'
"A chronicle sure to resonate with any parent involved in youth sports, and illuminate its joys and frustrations for any parent who isn't, Jacobs's narrative takes hold in the mind much like the game itself."
Publisher's Weekly starred review, August 2010