PJ Nolan has convinced himself he can get through one last year. That changes when he arrives for the first day of spring training and his teammates think it’s funny to mock the one night that made him feel alive. They don’t realize those pictures are all he has left of Nate Kendricks.
Nate knows nothing about baseball, but agrees to a spring training road trip with his twin brother. He’s not thrilled about the prospect of seeing PJ Nolan, the man who’d haunted his dreams since the night of the charity auction. Nate thought their chemistry was undeniable, but after that night, he never heard from PJ again.
Once they reunite, PJ’s certain of one thing: he’s not going to let Nate slip away again. As he gets closer to joining his dad in the record books, he feels Nate slipping away. What will he choose if forced to pick between new love and a lifelong dream?
Home Runs series and Line Drive features gay baseball players. Why baseball, a sport that has remained relatively heterosexual when others sports have had players start to come out of the closet? Or is that important? Is it enough to just love the game?
When I started writing the series, I didn’t factor in whether or not there were any active gay players in MLB. While many of my stories have seeds in current events, they rarely dictate what I’m going to write in a fictional book.
That being said, I started Wild Pitch in 2014, which was the same year MLB announced Billy Bean as an ambassador for inclusion. Once I began researching, I read his memoir to see what closeted gay players have faced in the past. It was an absolutely tragic story, which had my muse begging to write a happier ending.
Last year, professional baseball did see their first active player come out to surprisingly little fanfare. When I read the story about David Denson (who, ironically enough, plays for one of the Milwaukee Brewers’ farm teams) I briefly had hope that the future of gay players rested in the farm system, because it seems like younger adults don’t hold the same prejudices as older players. Sadly, news later came out about Tyler Dunnington, who had a much different experience in the minors. He retired after one year because of vile comments he was forced to hear in the locker room.
The latter inspired part of PJ’s story in Line Drive. The change in clubhouses won’t happen overnight, but we have to hope that, in time, everyone will be welcomed wherever they go.