A few months ago, I rented "Bull Durham  " to see if its Big 80s allure held up over time.  And by allure I mean, was the chemistry between Costner and Sarandon as keen as I'd thought back in the day -- and were those Bulls really as charmingly randy as we as a nation were coming to believe was the average pro-baseball team.

I'm happy to report the image of Tim Robbins in naught but panties remains peachy keen.  Yet for some women like me, baseball flicks never will be about whether that mixed-up-bunch-of-hearts-o-gold misfits home team finally gets respect, or whether guys get right with Dad by building a corny ballpark in the corn.

Frankly, it's about how hot those boys look in tight pants.

Except in the case of Roy Hobbs.  Now there was a romance hero.  Robert Redford brought to the screen a strapping, Midwestern corn-fed-‘n-wide-eyed "natural", who left the farm full of promise, only to be side-tracked by pride and almost more lust-fueled naïveté than is believable.

I suggest almost because "The Natural  " is a baseball film as well as a (Secret Baby!) love story, and a gorgeous one on both counts.  Yet the 1952 Bernard Malamud read it's based on ( The Natural ) featured a Hobbs probably a little closer to what a real-life ballplayer might be like: a little more tarnished and a lot less likely to bust the heroic choices for our HEA satisfaction.

Still, Robert Redford looked hot in the pants. And a chick can be a baseball fan today and not even really dig the sport; she can just sit back in the bleachers and enjoy the show.  She might, hypothetically, say, bring along a book or two as I - a "you can love the team and not adore the sport" Red Sox fan - did recently when my husband dragged me to check out the boys at  Wrigley Field:

"Double Play  ," by Jill Shalvis -- Phenom Pacific Heat pitcher Pace Martin is running a little scared, and not because hot little ace Internet reporter Holly Hutchins is assigned to the team to score a "gotcha!" story. Pace's thinking an injury's gonna' ruin his career, but maybe not before Holly.  Because even though she's starting to give him something to think about other than his baseball obsession -
something wicked hot and a little too close to heartwarming for comfort -- she could be the insider leaking ugly rumors to the media-at-large.   On-field and off, action is authentic.  It's hard to beat Shalvis for reading time well spent, or extremely sexy love story and lovin'.

"Sliding Home  ," by Kate Angell -- Hard. Rough. Unyielding.  Pretty much sums up Richmond Rogues' Kason Rhodes.  He returns after a team road trip to find a feminine someone's been sleeping in his bed, and has taken over his double wide.  Feisty/sexy tomboy Dayne Sheridan isn't convinced Rhodes owns the dump, and he's kinda jazzed she doesn't know he's a big-contract pro.  Yet her trying to get him to let her stay by offering up homey treats -- and his snarling Doberman's love-struck defection to her camp -- swipes Rhodes off his personal game'n has him wondering when he started goin' soft.  Angell's

Rogues are competitive guy's guys, which makes the baseball fun.  Off field, the love story's for Girl's Girls: super-sensual, with plenty of satisfying emotional tugs and turns on the way to HEA.

Just like in baseball, romance readers look forward to the Series.  So look for the next in Shalvis' Pacific Heat series, "Slow Heat," and three in Angell's Rogues series on the shelves w/more to come. 

Romance: The All-American Pastime.  Got a nice ring to it.

What are some of your fave baseball romances?  What are your fave baseball flicks?

Message Edited by Michelle_Buonfiglio on 08-14-2009 11:09 AM
by Moderator becke_davis on ‎07-27-2009 10:05 AM

My favorite baseball flicks are The Natural, Field of Dreams and (#1) A League of Their Own. Now, I loved that because it was a great movie, not because of tight pants - mainly because it starred a lot of women in skorts.


Thanks for mentioning the Jill Shalvis book - I'm a big fan of hers and I missed that one. 

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎07-27-2009 11:36 AM

I'm hepped on Shalvis, also, becke, and have loved her from the first I read of hers, "Her Sexiest Mistake."  Great opening scene. Hawt.  You may be familiar with her category romance? Categories are the slimmer paperbacks released monthly, in case anyone's new to the term; you may also know them as "series" romances, because they're numbered and released 'serially' and only out for a few weeks, then pulled from shelves. 


Anywayz, I like her trade paperbacks (which are the physically larger books, like about 8 x 5.25 inches, guys, not that size matters, but sometimes th4e content of 'trades' tends to be hotter or more erotic, ya know? 

But I like "Double Play" a lot cause it's really good ol fashioned romance: great love story, hot sex (but not erotic romance level), nice conflict, excellent set up of next book/s in series.  Actually, a little too excellent set up, cause it makes it hard to wait...

by amyskf on ‎07-27-2009 12:01 PM

Both books sound great. I love -- love -- LOVE baseball. I love the Twins, my hometown team, I even love some of the other teams, and I even like to watch...the game.


The fact that my son's baseball team just took 2nd overall is icing on my ongoing-love-of-the-sport cake.


Bull Durham is one of my all time fave movies. I'm constantly telling people to "breathe through your eyeballs," it helps calm them down. But, I don't think I've ever read a baseball romance, I'm pretty sure that's gonna change soon.

by Author JShalvis on ‎07-27-2009 12:19 PM

Michelle, thanks so much for mentioning my book!  I'm so glad you enjoyed it.  I just finished up the sequel, Slow Heat, which comes out 2/2010.


Love this blog, thanks for spreading the word on romances, which not to be biased or anything, are The Best books to read.  :smileyhappy:

by Author Miranda_Neville on ‎07-27-2009 01:47 PM

Thanks for reminding me of Bull Durham. I haven't seen it in years but a trip to the video store may be in order... Love the bathtub scene.


My favorite baseball books are those by Mark Harris - The Southpaw and Bang the Drum Slowly. The latter was made into a great film with Robert de Niro. Incredibly sad and touching.


But I've never read a baseball romance but, like Amy says, I will now. Strangely for a Brit girl I'm quite the baseball fan. Tight pants yes, Michelle you bad girl, but better than football because you get to see their cute faces too.


by Moderator becke_davis on ‎07-27-2009 02:21 PM

I've read a lot of Jill's category novels, but this series is my favorite:


Strong and Sexy

Superb and Sexy

Strong and Sexy 


I thought I had four books in that series, but I'm only finding three on the shelf. 


Also - Trouble in Paradise, Get a Clue, Aussie Rules, and Seeing Red! 

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎07-27-2009 02:26 PM

Great point, Miranda!  About the faces, that is, because I'd never want to objectify my sports hero romance heroes.  I tried this a.m. to explain to my husband why there are so many football and hockey heroes but not many baseball guys and really couldn't.  Not aggressive enough?  hmmm. And, you know, since you Brits gave us Beckham, we've gotten pretty hot for the footballers.  I may have mentioned I'm fairly fond of Fabio Cannavaro... 

Oh, and I like the kid baseball flicks, like The Sandlot, etc, but -- ok, this is terrible for a romance lover -- I find a lot of the adult ones kind of sentimental.  Maybe I should watch em again now that I love romance, cause I haven't seen em for a lot of years.

Far be it from us to think anyone'd be biased about romance round these parts.  So glad you stopped by so we can fawn a little. And so cool you've got the next in the series ready to go.  It would be shameless to begin asking for early copies at this point, I'm sure, and I'd never stoop to that lever.  However...


Congrats on your son's team, amy!  Being able to bring sports-movie lines to life is very impressive.  Not a month goes by in our home when someone doesn't cry out, "The Annexation of Puerto Rico!"  Of course, "Little Giants" was a football flick, so that doesn't count today...

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎07-27-2009 02:27 PM
She has a hot series w/ small-plane pilots, right becke?
by Moderator becke_davis on ‎07-27-2009 02:32 PM
That's the series with "Sexy" in the title -- soooo good!
by Author MonicaBurns on ‎07-27-2009 03:32 PM

Hands down, A League of Their Own. A true feminist flick, but with memorable moments like "Crying? There's no crying in baseball." It was about women breaking the mold and how men tried to push them back into the box after the war.


I'm not one for sports flicks. Now Kevin Sorbo as Hercules (bare chested) or a buffed up Arnold  as Conan the Barbarian...yeah, I'm there chickadee. Right there drooling. LOL

by Author AnnaDeStefano on ‎07-27-2009 04:29 PM
I have to say, Costner got me in "For Love of The Game." It was the ending, where he realized his perfect life wasn't perfect without anyone to share it with. The progression of that character arc was amazing ;o) And as a lifelong competitive athlete, the sports metaphor really worked. "Leave it all on the field" vs.. "My game/career is my life." Balance...and yummy good looks and testosterone and power and control. Grrr... The ending scene was HEA at it's best!
by Caffey on ‎07-27-2009 11:14 PM

Hi Michelle and all!!

I'm remember some Blaze books with the baseball theme! One being Kristin Hardy and SCORING!  I know there is more too! Wished I kept a list.


Joanna Rock has one coming out this August too with SLIDING INTO HOME from the Blaze line too! This is where I mostly have found the baseball theme romances!  But too seeing those of Jill and Kate's they're on my list too!  I just got all 3 now finally of Jill Shalvis's SEXY Brava series and so going to devour them! 


Thanks on all the other recommendations too!

by amyskf on ‎07-27-2009 11:53 PM

Jill, not to judge a book by its cover, but, (and no pun intended) that's a great cover. Can't wait to read it. And now that Becke and Michelle have waxed on (and off) about some of your categories, I'll have to try to find those too.


The Sandlot -- again, one of my favorite movies..."You're killin' me Smalls!" I watch it at least once a year. But, Miranda, rent Bull Durham again, it won't dissapoint.


Monica, we use that line a lot around here as well, sometimes with modifications...there's no crying in the garage. Plus Tom Hanks is one of my all time favorite actors.


Michelle, maybe the difference in the sports figures as heroes is, baseball and golf are methodical games with lots of time in between plays, while football and hockey are action games, action, action, action. So I guess it depends on your mood.

by amyskf on ‎07-27-2009 11:57 PM

Anna, how did I miss "For Love of the Game?"  Was it made a while back? Back when we all adored Costner. I'll have to rent it, 'cuz you gave it a "grrr."


So, Caffey, you say there are quite a few baseball themed romances in the Blaze line? That's good to know.



by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎07-28-2009 12:48 AM

Hi, Caffey! Great to see you here.  I didn't know about the Blaze baseball romances, but, man, hot romance and baseball.  Talk about major league.  Oh, ok, that was lame.  But for anybody who hasn't read the Harlequin Blaze line, you can count on em to be super-hot, the hottest Hquin line.  I'll be lookin for that Joanna Rock. Thanks for the rec!

WAit, wait, amy.  There's actually a golfer romance hero i love! No, really. Not based on Davis Love III or Tiger. It's, oh, shoot, she writes woman's fictiony Southern comedy-ish stuff now...Linda Lee Francis! That's it. First in her "Simply" series about three girlfriends who hook up w/great guys.  But a couple of the young golfers, specially those europeans, would make hot heroes. 

But, Monica, those really are sports flicks in a sense, no?  ANd if we think of romances based on the ancient Olympics, well, we get some really awesome ideas for love scenes...


Anna, I'll have to check that one out.  Costner doesn't usually get me too jazzed, but, sheesh, if he's got you growling, I probably should check it out.

by Moderator dhaupt on ‎07-28-2009 09:17 AM

I love A League of Their Own also, great film about some great women. Love those, but really don't have any favorite baseball novels so I'll just cruise the ones suggested here and do some shopping.


by Moderator becke_davis on ‎07-28-2009 10:55 AM

I'm going to have to check out that golf series (I've read Nascar, hockey and football series I loved, so I might as well add golf!). I also missed For the Love of the Game, which is some kind of miracle since my niece is an obsessive Costner fan and used to drag me to a lot of his movies. (It wasn't exactly a hardship - my faves were No Way Out and Tin Cup).


I'd forgotten The Sandlot -- my whole family loved that one! 

by Moderator Melanie_Murray on ‎07-28-2009 10:56 AM

Michelle - Bull Durham was just on our cable a couple of weeks ago, and my husband and I stayed up until two in the morning watching it. It really holds up and is by far one of the sexiest sports movies ever. The image of Tim Robbins in those girly panties is making me laugh as I type.


As for The Natural, that movie is one of my all-time favorites. I watched it for the first time when I was much too young, and it's shaped my life in really odd ways. Like, it was the first time I ever heard about Homer. And I still can picture Glenn Close in her white outfit, standing alone among the fans to inspire Roy Hobbs. And whenever I accomplish something I thought I couldn't, I tend to hum - out loud -  the theme song. No joke.


I have to watch a lot of baseball. My husband's a huge sports fan and a Yankees lover to boot, which allows me to indulge in a Romeo and Juliet fantasy about our relationship. I am, after all, from Massachusetts and a family of rabid Red Sox fans, so our marriage is a triumph over cultural differences! Anyway, my point: I enjoy watching baseball with him because of how the "boys" fill out the "pants."


In other news, I'm making that Katie Angell cover my screensaver.

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎07-29-2009 11:41 AM

You have me laughing, Melanie. I think that's Nathan Kamp, semi headless, on the Angell. Very pretty.  And I applaud you indomitable spirit in bridging the Yankee/Sox divide. Not many are so brave of heart.  My husband was a long-time BoSox fan who jumped ship when we moved to MN.  The year the Sox won the Series!  I was so disappointed in him. I remember looking at him at a Twins/BoSox game and making hte folks around us laugh cause they heard me say, "I don't even know you anymore." 

I love your story about the Natural, and can totally believe it. It was very inspiring and had so much heart.  I need to go back and listen to the them song. We all should have soundtracks to our lives. :smileyhappy:



by Moderator dhaupt on ‎07-29-2009 11:45 AM

BTW I forgot to say Go Cardinals!!!!!!!!!!


by Moderator becke_davis on ‎07-29-2009 12:07 PM
Isn't Nathan Kamp the model on Anna Campbell's Tempt the Devil? Hmmm. Didn't realize I had favorite cover models! So who are the models on Erin McCarthy's latest books -- do tell?
by on ‎08-06-2009 11:58 PM
You know I've never cared for Bull Durham. It just too badly based on my hometown and hometown team.
by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎08-07-2009 12:01 PM

Well, becke, since we only see those models from the neck down, I'm not really sure... But yes, that's nathan kamp on Anna's TTD.  He's still my fave.


Hey, TiggerBear!  You know, i never thought of it from that angle.  I'm sorry you've had that experience.  I grew up near Allentown PA, and I remember when the Billy Joel song came out, lots of folks were unhappy about it, going, 'hey! that's, like, Bethlehem, not Allentown!"   And I wondered how the folks inBethlehem felt about that...

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎08-07-2009 12:22 PM
I forgot, Michelle - you did an interview with Nathan Kamp once, didn't you -- you lucky dog? And then there was your rendezvous with Fabio . . .
by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎08-08-2009 09:50 AM

yes, becke, they both wanted me and I felt pity for them.  No, I can't write that w/a straight face. 


Kamp has a cool new project,  hot webisodes about cooking and food, and being young and hanging w/friends and gorgeous wife in NYC -- no, really, they're wicked appealing -- at NathanLivesToEat.com


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