A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist follows an embattled Little League team in inner-city Newark, revealing the complex realities of life in one of America's most dangerous cities.
When Rodney Mason, an ex-con drug dealer from Newark's rough South Ward, was shot and paralyzed, he vowed to turn his life around. A former high-school pitching ace with a 93-mph fastball, Mason decided to form a Little League team to help boys avoid the street life that had claimed his youth and mobility.
Predictably, the players struggle - they endure poverty, unstable family lives with few positive male role models, failing schools, and dangerous neighborhoods - but through the fists and tears, lopsided losses and rare victories, this bunch of misfits becomes a team, and in doing so gives the community something to root for.
With in-depth reporting, fascinating characters, and vivid prose, Jonathan Schuppe's book is both a penetrating, true-to-life portrait of what's at stake for kids growing up poor in America's inner cities and a portrait of Newark itself, a struggling city that has recently known great hope as well as failure.