Beltway Confidential

Author Harlan Coben recalls playing baseball with Chris Christie in New Jersey

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Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., and author Harlan Coben will be inducted into the Little League Hall of Excellence on Sunday, August 25.  The pair grew up together in New Jersey and even played baseball on the same team.

Coben spoke with the Washington Examiner about what it was like playing Little League baseball.

Coben recalled that Christie was a “very outgoing, very engaging” kid who came up and introduced himself to Coben when he first joined the team.

Christie was a catcher and Coben was a first basemen and outfielder, playing as teammates in the Livingston American Little League in the mid-1970s.

Playing baseball in New Jersey at that time, he explained, was very typical of many people’s memories across America.

“It was pretty idyllic,” he said. “Little League baseball is always the smell of cut grass, the smell of the oil in the mitt, it’s the gravel in the parking lot, it’s the concessions stand, cheeseburgers, it’s leaning on the chain link fence with your friends, the crack of the bat all those kinds of things, that’s kind of how Little League was.”

Christie, Coben recalled, approached baseball with the same heart and passion that people see today as a governor.

“Chris doesn’t do anything half-hearted,” he said, adding that he had known the governor since he was eleven years old. “He was a good baseball player.”

Coben said Christie’s father Bill was actually the coach of the team, describing the elder Christie as “very, very calm” and “very positive.”

When asked if he would be comfortable with Christie as the next president, he agreed whole-heartedly.

“He’s smart, he’s dedicated, he’s passionate, he loves this country, he wants to do the right thing, and those are all good qualities,” he said.

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