Running the Bases: Definitely Not a Book About Baseball


120 pages
ISBN 0-385-66147-9
DDC jC813'.54






Reviewed by Dave Jenkinson

Dave Jenkinson is a professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba and the author of the “Portraits” section of Emergency Librarian.


Well-known for his high-interest, low-vocabulary books, Kropp also
writes mainstream young-adult fiction, and while Running the Bases is
aimed at male teens, adolescent females will appreciate this amusing but
ultimately tender look into a young guy’s horny psyche. The book’s
subtitle, plus the bare female midriff cover illustration, underline
that Kropp is not writing about Abner Doubleday’s creation.

The bases Kropp is talking about are those used by adolescent males in
describing how far, in sexual terms, they have been able to get with
girls—home plate or intercourse being the ultimate destination. Simply
put, the book’s central character, Alan Macklin, 17, wants to get
laid, a lofty goal for someone yet to experience his first date.
Alan’s best friend, Jeremy, a self-proclaimed stud, volunteers to
project manage Alan’s sexual undertaking. After Jeremy’s directions
fail to secure Alan a date with even “desperate” Maggie, the school
brain, Alan enters into a contractual arrangement with Maggie whereby,
for a monthly fee, she will provide him with dating advice from a
girl’s perspective and a money-back “get laid by summer vacation”
guarantee. In contrast with Jeremy’s recommended blitzkrieg approach
to sexual conquest, Maggie’s written instructions are of the go-slow,
romantic variety.

Alan’s two Maggie-arranged dates end disastrously, albeit humorously
for readers. But independently, he secures a date with Rochelle, a girl
encountered in a coffee shop, before discovering she attends college.
Alan’s amusing ongoing subterfuge to pass himself off as another
college student allows him to continue romancing Rochelle until he must
confront that common adolescent question, “Are my feelings love or
lust?” While Alan ultimately gets caught in a double play, Kropp
promises him another at-bat. Highly recommended.


Kropp, Paul., “Running the Bases: Definitely Not a Book About Baseball,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 16, 2024,