This week for Sports Sunday, I’m bringing you a review of a novel that’s a great introduction for people new to sports romances! Not a baseball fan? Check out my About the Sport section after the review, for an intro to my favorite sport!
The Windup, by Kate McMurray
Series: The Rainbow League, Book 1
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: April 24, 2015
Ian ran screaming from New York City upon graduating from high school. A job offer too good to turn down has brought him back, but he plans to leave as soon as the job is up. In the meantime he lets an old friend talk him into joining the Rainbow League, New York’s LGBT amateur baseball league. Baseball turns out to be a great outlet for his anxiety, and not only because sexy teammate Ty has caught his eye.
Ty is like a duck on a pond—calm and laid-back on the surface, a churning mess underneath. In Ian, he’s found someone with whom he feels comfortable enough to share some of what’s going on beneath the surface. The only catch is that Ian is dead set on leaving the city as soon as he can. Ty works up a plan to convince Ian that New York is, in fact, the greatest city in the world. But when Ian receives an offer for a job overseas, Ty needs a new plan: convince Ian that home is where Ty is.
Sports Romance (Baseball)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
This book was pretty great. I enjoyed that it was a low-stress, minor angst book about two guys getting to know each other. The baseball was a small part of it apart from them playing in the Rainbow League, so don’t let that deter you. If you do like baseball there are enough Easter eggs in there to spark your baseball feels.
This is also a good book to read if you enjoy reading books that feature New York City. Lots and lots of places in NYC are featured very lovingly in this book. I have “only” been three times, and I recognized a lot of the places they visited.
The biggest reason why this got low stars from me was the lack of chemistry between the two characters. Sure, they were sweet, and I enjoyed reading about them going from a sex-only relationship to something more. However, even though I knew they were holding back from each other, there should have been more tension. Especially since we get POV shifts between them. It was like McMurray held them back too much, and then at the end they were in love, and it was kind of not built up. It was more tame than it should have been, but since the two characters were so likeable I still enjoyed reading about their sort-of bland love affair.
I didn’t have a problem with the POV shifts between the two main characters, but I am super confused as to why Nate and Mason had POVs in this book? Save that for their books! I am try to get into Ian and Tyler, and these guys are interrupting!
I would recommend this to fans of low stress/fluff books, but not to people looking for high chemistry, steamy, or angsty books. McMurray’s writing makes this book incredibly easy to read and enjoy despite the issues I may have had with it.
I enjoy reading well-written books, so for me this book was a diamond in the rough. I am planning on reading the rest of the series even though I gave this one a lower star rating. Sometimes flawed books are the ones we enjoy the most!
Because this is my favorite sport, I’ll have to reign it in so I am not drowning you guys in information. Let me preface this entire explanation by saying that I am most familiar with American baseball and mostly Major League Baseball (MLB). While The Windup features an amateur baseball team, the sport is essentially the same as what you’d find on TV.
On to the basics!
There are nine position players which are referred to by number when you are doing score-keeping during a game (which I love to do): in order, you have the pitcher, catcher, 1st base, 2nd base, 3rd base, shortstop, left field, center field, and right field. On top of that there is a backup catcher and the bullpen (relief/closing pitchers).
Technically there are 9 innings to a regular game, but if there is a tie there can be anywhere from 10 to 33 innings (the longest game on record). The longest game I have been to was 14 innings, which brought the existence of the 14th inning stretch to my attention. There is an unspoken agreement among hardcore baseball fans that if your team is playing you stay to the bitter end!
The breakdown of basics of in game play: you have two parts of an inning. The top of the inning where the away team is at bat, and then the bottom of the inning where the home team is at bat. This gives the home team the advantage, because if they are winning a game after the top of the ninth the game is over, or it gives them a chance to tie or win the game.
A lot of people think baseball is boring, but I would make the bold claim that deep down baseball is a sport for smart people. Before you yell, let me clarify: it is the nerdiest sport because it’s a numbers game at its heart. You have base percentage, ERA (Earned Run averages), RBIs, etc.– all are what sabermetrics nerds (like myself) use to judge how a game is going or how a player is doing. (This was what the movie Moneyball was based on.)
If you aren’t a numbers nerd you can still get into the game, because the players, the big plays, watching a pitcher get an out, and the entire atmosphere at a ballgame are very addicting. Give it a chance and see if you like it! If not then I hope this helps you understand the game in books a bit more.
Hopefully this post was informative, and on the next one about baseball I’ll go a little more in depth! So make sure you tune in, and I’ll link to previous posts to remind you of the baseball explanation narrative!
ate McMurray has been writing stories since she could hold a pen. She picked up her first romance novel when she was thirteen and has loved the genre ever since. She started writing gay romance after reading a book and thinking there should be more love stories with gay characters. Her first published novel, In Hot Pursuit, came out in February 2010, and she’s been writing feverishly ever since. She likes stories that are brainy, funny, and of course sexy, with regular guy characters and urban sensibilities.
When she’s not writing, Kate works a nonfiction editor. She also reads a lot, plays the violin, knits and crochets, and drools over expensive handbags. She’s maybe a tiny bit obsessed with baseball. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with a pesky cat.
You can find more about Kate here: http://www.katemcmurray.com/