Glen Bailey is a 28-year-old pitcher for the Lorton Reformatory baseball team. We asked Bailey to review "Break-out," thestory of Ron LeFlore's ascent from a life of crime to baseball stardom with the Detroit Tigers. There are parallels in the lives of Bailey and LeFlore. Bailey, who grew up in Southcast Washington, was convicted for armed robbery, the same crime that sent LeFlore to the State Prison of Southern Michigan. Bailey is serving six to 18 years and will be eligible for parole next year. Sports are a big part of their lives. LeFlore discovered his baseball talent behind bars. In addition to pitching, Bailey has played on a championship voooeyball team and coached basketball and football. Both men reached turning points in prison -- their talents were discovered and nurtured, offering the hope of better things beyond the wall. THE BOOK "Breakout" by Ron LeFlore is the story of a guy who came out of jail and went on to be a baseball star for the Detroit Tigers. It's a story of accomplishment. It's a story that many young blacks can relate to as a dream come true. It offers inspiration. As I read the book, I compared LeFlore's life to my own, and often I felt I was seeing my life reflected in the pages. For instance, there was LeFlore's life in the streets, with escapades that were parallel to some of my own. Ron talks about his life as a young kid growing up in a tough neighborhood and how he felt he had to outdo the rest of the kids in order to show them he was tough and the best at everything he did, whether it was playing baseball or stealing out of stores. Well, I can remember thinking I was though and had to prove to my buddies that I was better than they were, regardless of what we did. A lot of times I succeeded in being the best in sports like baseball, football and running track. But I also cheated a lot if I felt things were not going my way. Trying to be No. 1 got me into a lot of trouble with my parents and the law. I was always calling home from the police station pleading to my parents to come and get me. LeFlore mentions that his grades were always good but that he went to several different schools because his attendance was so poor. I have to wonder about that. I went out for the junior varsity football team when I attended Phelps Vocational High, but failed to make the team because my grades were low, which was attributed to the fact that I hung around the poolroom all the time when I should have been in class. LeFlore's experience in prison is typical of what goes on in most prisons around the country. The feeling of needing to rebel against authority is always there, and I could feel his frustrations when he first went behind bars. The lonely feeling that creeps over you when the cell door is locked at night is awesome. Only some avenue of escape will ease that tension. For LeFlore that escape was baseball. For me it turned out to be a targedy and academics. When I first entered Lorton, I had nothing on my mind except jailing the best way I saw fit. I got caught up in a vicious cycle that involved narcotics and extortion, and I spent a time in the hole (solitary confinement) for not working, just as LeFlore did. But then a close friend of mine was killed in a fight over a sandwich. It made me realize that life is of little value here. For LeFlore, the turning point came when it was discovered that he had major league baseball potential. For me, it came when I saw these two schoolteachers I knew from earlier days here. As we talked, I thought to myself, I might as well go to school to kill time. The teachers, Jimmy White and Alex Theriault, made you learn the material, even if they had to stay past their regular working hours, which they often did. Their devotion paid off for me. I took the high school equivalency test and passed in style. I knew then I had the potential to take college courses if I could get out of maximum security. I concentrated my efforts on getting out of max. I met Mike Farrelle, a lawyer, who helped me and several others start a legal aid program for residents here. By participating in several self-help activities and keeping my nose clean, I was let out of maximum security and allowed to pursue higher education. I am now in my second year of a college program sponsored by the University of the District of Columbia. It will allow me to get an associate arts degree in media technology. The avenue I pursued was as important to me as the one LeFlore took. Although his was in sports and mine was in academics, I felt that they were comparable, since both helped us realize our potential.There is no telling where I would be now if I hadn't pulled myself together. Reading about LeFlore leaving prison to become a baseball star left me a bit more optimistic about my own situation. It provides inspiration for me. It also reminds me how much talent there is locked up in prison. And that talent is in areas not restricted to sports. There are brilliant minds here at Lorton -- artists, and so forth. LeFlore's experience tells me that someone here at Lorton might catch a lucky break as he did and succeed overnight. But I don't want to foster and perpetuate what could be false hope. I would rather encourage goaland future-oriented behavior as a key to future success for most people in my position. Big breaks depend on a host of variables. Being at the right place at the right time and being seen by the right person -- as LeFlore was -- can be summed up as pretty lucky. CAPTION: Picture 1, Glenn Bailey, By Linda Wheeler -- The Washington Post; Picture 2, Ron LeFlore