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?