Wow, how about that baseball?!
It’s been quite a postseason. Not only has there been a simply astonishing level of play, but none of the biggest names in baseball are in there, with the arguable exception of the Dodgers. And after that heinous hard slide by Chase Utley that broke Ruben Tejada’s leg, all I have to say is, “Let’s Go Mets!”
But seriously, wow! The Royals, The Mets, The Blue Jays, The Astros, the Rangers—and THE CUBS! Who would have ever put most of those teams in the playoffs, not to mention all of them?! Very exciting and really fun, and sort of a breath of fresh air for baseball.
Now, you may remember that I’m a Royals fan, so yesterday’s game made me very happy. It will be a repeat of the 1985 American League Championship that ultimately led to the Royals winning the World Series, so I’m crossing my fingers.
Really, though, aside from people with favorites, aren’t most people going for the Cubs? It might be fun to see Back to the Future II actually be prophetic.
Since I’m a huge postseason baseball fan (especially when the Royals are in the mix), I thought I’d check in with some of my favorite baseball romance authors—though there are more of them than there are teams in the playoffs, so I couldn’t get to them all. But I did manage to catch a few, with some surprising results!
Jennifer Bernard’s Love Between the Bases series features the Kilby Catfish, a Texas Triple A minor league team. The first title, All of Me, came out in May, which will be followed by Caught By You on Dec. 29.
Bernard created a strong fan base with her smart, sexy firemen series, and they definitely approve of her new baseball heroes. The conflicts simply sizzle, and seriously, who can resist a baseball player?
But when Bernard and I had a quick call for this post, she surprised me: “Before we talk about books or playoffs, I have to tell you about this incredible exhibit I just saw in Anchorage!”
Bernard lives in Homer, Alaska, and since she’s a big baseball fan, she was enthralled to learn about the history of baseball in her state. “It’s so fascinating! People were really starting to settle into Alaska around the same time that baseball was getting started. The late 1800s and the early 1900s. So there are these amazing stories of how people played baseball in the great, cold North. There are pictures of people using snowshoes to play, and anecdotes about whalers getting stuck in Alaska at the first freeze, not being able to leave until July. So one of the things they did was spread ash onto sea ice so they could play baseball. Who knew?” she told me.
Indeed, who knew. Included in the exhibit was information on some revered players who made appearances in The Last Frontier, like Satchel Paige and Roger Clemens. I admit it, I’m intrigued. You can learn more of the story at the Home Field Advantage: Baseball in the Far North exhibit page. And if you’re in Alaska, visit the Anchorage Museum.
But back to Jennifer’s take on baseball in the here-and-now:
“First off, in my lifetime, I’ve been a fan of half the teams in the playoffs. I was originally a Cardinals fan. My dad introduced me to the game, and my childhood memories with him revolved around the Cards. But we moved around a lot, and I have been at different times a fan of the Dodgers, the Astros, the Mets and the Cubs. However, I think this year, I have to go for the Cubs. It’s been so long and they’ve been playing so well. And, well, it’s the Cubs. Now they’re fighting for the pennant! Go Cubs!”
The next author I talked with is Kate Angell, who writes the fun Richmond Rogues series. Her new Barefoot William titles have a baseball connection, too. I can’t wait for the next one in the series, No Breaking My Heart, which releases in April. (This year’s title was No One Like You, which featured a matchmaking Great Dane.) Kate had this to say:
“Fall is my favorite time of the year. Love the colorful, changing leaves, all-things pumpkin, and the World Series. I'm a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan. There's a bonding energy that flows between loyal fans and their team. What a great post-season! Getting through the Wild Card, then winning the National League Division. I try to convey that nerves-on-edge, heart-stopping race for the pennant in my Richmond Rogues baseball romances. Cheering for my Rogues while working at the computer isn't nearly as exciting as being at Chicago's Wrigley Field. Still, I'm there in spirit.”
Next, we have Mindy Klasky’s Diamond Brides series. It’s another baseball-themed hit series to recommend, and not surprisingly, Mindy also loves the playoff season:
“There’s something about the crisp fall air, the slanting autumn light, and the fire of competition that brings out the romance inherent in America’s Pastime. Great romances are built around conflict, and the baseball season—all 162 games of it, plus the playoffs for those lucky and skilled enough to make it to the postseason—has enough conflict to fuel dozens of heartwarming stories!”
You’ve also likely heard of Jaci Burton’s Play-by-Play series, which is more sports-themed than solely about baseball, but her August release, All Wound Up, features a sexy pitcher.
“First, I’m a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan so I was jazzed to have my Redbirds in the post season this year even if they didn’t go far! Second, one of the most exciting things to me about the playoffs is that no matter how any of these teams have performed during the regular season, anything goes during the pennant race. It’s always one of the most nail-biting times of the year for baseball where the unexpected can, and often does, happen. I always try to catch as many games for as many of the teams as I can. Always such an exhilarating time. I love October!” Jaci said.
Finally, Pamela Aares’ Tavonesi series is a must-read series for baseball fans, and I’m really looking forward to her December release, A Very Daring Christmas, which peeks at the culture of baseball in poverty-stricken “Dominia,”which we can guess reflects the baseball-mad Dominican Republic.
Aares is married to a bona fide baseball All-Star, so she has the inside track on all things baseball: “The 2015 post-season will be remembered for the breathtaking performances these teams are leaving on the field, as well as for that one stunning illegal slide a veteran player chose to make, taking out a young player for the rest of the season, and possibly ending his career. The best and worst of baseball. There’s a code of honor in baseball; it’s something I’m very attracted to and try to write into my characters. That code was broken this week, and I think that choice may change the game—or at least the rules.”
I didn’t have the chance to connect with every terrific writer who has a recent baseball series, but check these titles out too:
Lori Wilde’s Stardust, Texas series features the fictional Dallas Gunslingers baseball team. Lori Wilde and baseball! Yum! And perfect for the playoff season! Rules of the Game released in May.
Before Vanessa Kelly’s alter ego V.K. Sykes introduced us to Seashell Bay (which has some baseball threads), we met the Philadelphia Patriots. One of the titles, Fastball, is free right now as an e-book. I love Kelly/Sykes.
And finally, if you’re as baseball romance fan, be sure to check out Melanie Scott’s Lawless in Leather (and all of the New York Saints titles). Fun and sexy and all about baseball!
Happy October! (Go Royals!)