Out in the Field

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Title and Link: Out in the Field
Author: Kate McMurray
Cover Artist: Ginny Glass
Publisher URL: Loose Id
Amazon Buy Link
Genre: Contemporary M/M/ interracial
Length: novel/70K words/238 pages
Rating: 5+ stars out of 5, DIK

 

Review Summary: Brilliant! Moving! A wonderful romance and homage to baseball.

THE BLURB

Matt Blanco has had a Hall-of-Fame-worthy career as the first baseman for the legendary Brooklyn Eagles, but age and a knee injury are threatening to end it. That’s when rookie Ignacio Rodriguez walks into his life. Matt has a policy of not getting involved with anyone for fear that they might share his secret with the world: that he’s a gay professional athlete. But this new rookie has him wanting to throw that policy out the window.

Iggy Rodriguez just got everything he ever wanted: a position in the starting lineup of the Brooklyn Eagles, his favorite team since he was a kid. Even better, he’s playing alongside his idol Matt Blanco. A locker room encounter one day reveals that he and Matt have even more in common than he would have guessed.

When Matt and Iggy fall for each other, they have a hard road ahead, their path to happiness blocked by injuries, trades, and the New York media hungry for a scandal. Fate has pitched them a game-winning run, but will the choice between love and baseball make them with a no-hitter instead?

THE REVIEW

Matt Blanco, first baseman for the Brooklyn Eagles had been with the team for 13 years. He was in his late thirties which is old for a baseball player and in addition his knee was wrecked, something he was hiding from the team officials because he didn’t want to be traded. 25 year old Ignacio (Iggy) Rodriguez had just been acquired by the Eagles as the new third baseman, and when Matt saw Iggy on the field he was taken with him because he was exactly the kind of man he liked -  young and Latin.

Matt had been Iggy’s hero for at least a decade and meeting the future Hall of Famer in person was a dream come true, but there was a dynamic he didn’t expect when they met for the first time alone in the locker room – they realized that they were both gay. They were screwed, literally, if the press, fans and their teammates discovered their sexual orientation, but that didn’t stop them, even though initially Iggy tried not to get involved with Matt. Every time Matt made a move on him and he thought they had something going on, Iggy would disappear, but they were drawn to each other “like lightning to a rod” and eventually they connected.

Despite the great sex Matt wondered if Iggy was just star struck and if so, could his initial hero worship turn into something deeper even though they were worlds apart in age (10 years), major league experience and future outlook and prospects. Iggy was a rising star and Matt was facing retirement sooner rather than later if his knee didn’t heal. He was realistic about how little time he had left to play the game he loved; baseball was his life and he had given it his all, but Iggy was becoming just as important to Matt, maybe more essential than the game. Was their burgeoning love worth the risk of being outed and losing the job they both loved?

I loved the romance between Iggy and Matt because it was so believable. The sex was all emotions and textures, rough and tender, and oh so hot it could scorch the paint on the walls if not make it go up in flames. Iggy made Matt feel alive, something that had never happened before since he didn’t have relationships, only friends with benefits or one night stands, but he wanted to give up control to Iggy during sex because he was falling for him. He needed to believe that what he and Iggy had was real and not a hook-up, and the intensity of their sexual encounters made him feel it was more than sex for Iggy. As for Iggy he, too, wanted more as very quickly his feelings for Matt became so strong he needed to be closer to him than just being his secret boyfriend – he wanted to share his life in every way. But Matt was very protective of him and didn’t want to jeopardize Iggy’s career by having their relationship leak out to the press, so he resisted committing to the closer bond that Iggy was seeking.

Sooner than expected they had to make the decision neither wanted to when Matt was traded to Dallas. They recognized that living apart 7 to 8 months of the year during spring training and the season wouldn’t work, so they said goodbye. Then Matt was injured in Dallas. Could this be the end of his baseball career and what would it mean to his and Iggy’s relationship?

There is so much to this book and you will experience all the nuances, from the romance which was delicious and unpredictable, to the games that made the story resonate and gave it a layer of excitement and brought so much colour to the story and to the vicissitudes of their relationship. Out in the Field is so much more than a book about baseball, it’s also a love story for the ages. It’s about life and how both Matt and Iggy dealt with their complex relationship and the stresses of being kicked in the teeth and lying to everyone about being gay. Could their intense love for each other be strong enough to withstand the impact on their careers of living a lie under the glare of the cameras?

I had been looking forward to this book for a long time and was afraid that I would be disappointed. As an ardent fan of the game I had read many supposed “baseball” romances where the authors knew absolutely nothing about the game and there was very little in their stories to make them credible. In America baseball is not just a game it’s the national pastime, a religion. Football, basketball, soccer, tennis etc. are all sports with legions of fans and I enjoy them but for me there’s nothing like the game of baseball, steeped in its statistics, traditions and history. Kate McMurray’s love of the game was evident throughout this book and I went “Yes!” so many times that I was afraid I would dislocate my arm. :) Her characters came alive on the page and I kept looking around, thinking I would see them sitting on the couch watching me read their story. There is nothing so pleasurable as reading a book by an author who is obviously on top of her subject matter and does not need to do any research, or at least very little, to keep it real. There is no doubt that baseball was another character in this story. Best of all there was very little angst and nothing was over the top. :)

There may be comparisons between Out in the Field and The Dreyfus Affair written by Peter Lefcourt in 1993 which I reviewed here, although Peter wrote about a different baseball era. Both Kate and Peter demonstrate a deep love and respect for the game and its traditions, with TDA taking a more humorous approach and OITF being more contemporary and realistic, but in each book the baseball sequences were wonderfully crafted. However, make no mistake, Out in the Field is not just another thinly disguised baseball romance, it’s about two men who loved deeply and were prepared to give up the fame and fortune for each other.

You may wonder whether you would enjoy this book if you didn’t care about or knew nothing about the game of baseball. Absolutely! Baseball just adds a special nuance to the story, and the game sequences give it an intensity and authenticity that push the prose to greater heights, with the excitement of the fans as a backdrop. The story was incredibly complex and the MCs had to deal with some major challenges such as coming out and its implications, as well as expectations (theirs and others) but thankfully, not about race. The characterizations were outstanding, not just Matt and Iggy but secondary characters like pitcher Roger May, Matt’s best friend; Manuel Cruz, the Eagle’s short stop; and Cary Galvin, Iggy’s best pal and a sports reporter. Although they didn’t have a lot of on-page time, Matt’s parents were standouts and his mother was very funny.

In Out in the Field Kate McMurray demonstrates what a terrific writer she has become. She cares about her characters and it shows. This book should be a best seller in print, it’s that good.

In case I wasn’t clear, I highly recommend Out in the Field. :) Great job!

34 thoughts on “Out in the Field

  1. oilsparky

    Wonderful review, Wave! I am off to purchase. This is one of those times I am so glad that you have the buy link on the site!! :cool:

    1. Wave Post author

      Hi Oilsparky

      Thank you. It was a real pleasure to write a review for a book I loved as much as this one. I hope you enjoy Out in the Field even half as much as I did. The *buy* link was the suggestion of another reader who was too impatient to look it up. :lol:

  2. Raine

    Thank you for already answering the baseball question Wave. I love sports books, but probably baseball is the one I know very little about. At least I studied American football on “Friday Night Lights”….

    I’ve been waiting on your review for this book, as usually Kate McMurray is now a must buy. Thanks…..sold to the ignorant Brit. :grin:

    1. Wave Post author

      Raine

      Baseball, although very much a part of this book, never eclipsed the romance which was front and center. You don’t have to know anything about batting averages, strikeouts, or ERA (earned run average) because the romance is what makes the book so memorable.

      I enjoyed it tremendously and I think that Kate is a very “intelligent” writer which is why I enjoy her books. Please let me know what you think after you read Out in the Field.

  3. Larissa

    Hahaha baseball, that is right up your alley!
    I’m not much into sports, unless it involves cowboys, but i might give this a try!

    1. Wave Post author

      Larissa
      I wouldn’t normally recommend a sports book to you, but if you’re looking for a wonderful romance that’s not like the run of the mill books we discuss frequently, you can’t afford to pass this book up. You will love Kate McMurray’s characters.

  4. Sirius

    Yeah, what you said and more – loved this book so very much and didnt you like the conversation when they are both angry with each other and that did not result in the ridiculous break up? And I may actually go and finally see some baseball LOL.

    1. Wave Post author

      Sirius
      Baseball is an acquired taste. :lol: I get that it’s not everyone’s thing but for all the fans of the game and even those who aren’t fans this book is a must read.

      Yeah, no “big misunderstanding” in this book.

      BTW I saw your review on Amazon this morning – I sometimes check out the reviews there after I review a book.

      1. Sirius

        Totally, but this is the first book that finally showed me that baseball could be fun :), something that many people could not do for a looong time as I mentioned to you before :)

        I was reading that part and was ready to start groaning mentally and counting, one, two, three is he going to run out now or later. I was soooo pleased to be wrong.

        Oh, thanks. I always, always check the reviews after I review the book – too curious.

  5. Jaime

    Great review Wave…well I wasn’t as WOWed with it, don’t get me wrong I liked it but I was bored with it sometimes :sad: .

    1. Wave Post author

      Hi Jaime

      I think reading is always a matter of personal taste, like ice cream. I love chocolate but most of my friends prefer strawberry or vanilla. :) I’m glad you at least enjoyed the book. I already read it twice and loved it more the second time around. I think Iggy is really hot!!

  6. Shae Connor

    Ditto to everything you said. I’m a huge baseball fan, and I love Kate to bits, so I was doubly thrilled to read and enjoy this book so much. :)

    1. Wave Post author

      Hi Shae

      I’m always pleased to recommend a book I love to other readers and this one was special because Kate has become an exceptional writer. In addition, this was about such wonderful characters as Matt and Iggy playing baseball. I’m really happy you liked it as much as I did. :)

  7. Tom

    Wow, Wave, great review! Can’t wait to pick this up, though my TBR pile is getting a bit intimidating. :eek:

    1. Wave Post author

      Tom
      I’m going out on a limb here by saying I’m sure you will love this book. Let me know what you think after you read it please. :)

    1. Wave Post author

      I think you will love this book Lasha because it has all the elements you crave: well rounded three dimensional characters, eloquent prose and funny dialogue, no “big misunderstanding” and a plot to die for.

  8. Laura

    I just finished reading this book this morning. I completely agree with your review Wave. It was a great story.

    1. Wave Post author

      Hey Laura

      I’m really glad you enjoyed this book. It’s just great!! Thank you for stopping by. :)

  9. Deedles

    Wave, you’re killin’ me here! I absolutely loathe sports,especially baseball and golf. However, I love character driven stories so on your recommendation I’m gonna buy this one. It’s on your head! My husband bought me a kindle fire two months ago thinking it would save me money on books. I’m spending the same amount of money but getting two to three times more books! The reviews here are aiding and abetting my problem. Oh well, there are a lot worse addictions out there.

    1. Wave Post author

      Deedles

      I’m very sorry that your book budget is busted but it’s a better addiction than demon rum. :)

      I’ll tell the reviewers on the site to scale back the 5 and 4 star reviews. Next week we’ll try to help you out with a few 1′s and 2′s. :eek:

      The Kindle Fire is not available in Canada as yet so I had to buy an iPad. How cool is that rationale for downsizing? :lol: Of course I have 2 Kindle ereaders because I couldn’t fit all of my books on one. :)

      I promise you – you will love this book.

      1. Sirius

        Yes, I am the first one to volunteer Deedles, lol – out of necessity of course, but dont you worry, your budget is pretty safe next week on my side, at least less than usual :)

  10. Mary G

    Thank you for your eloquence. I’m a book reviewer but I was so wowed after I read it I couldn’t have explained it then.

    You said – the sex was all emotions.

    It was like the sex melded their body, mind & soul. Just so wonderful how the caring showed through the whole book. Gave me the warm fuzzies… Ok the hot fuzzies!

    1. Wave Post author

      Hi Mary

      The emotions between Matt an Iggy are part of the reason that I loved this book. They were palpable and believable and as you said, hot. :grin: Kate McMurray sure can write.

  11. Crissy M.

    I’m really excited to read this book. I’m gonna go ahead and order it now. I’ve heard great things about it, but your review has totally sold me. Besides who doesn’t like baseball…if you don’t care for the game, at least you can watch the players in the tight pants. :grin:

    1. Wave Post author

      If you like baseball Crissy that’s icing on the cake. The story is the romance and you will fall in love with Matt and Iggy and the supporting characters. Please come back and tell us whether you liked this book (or not). :)

  12. Gaycrow

    What a great review, Wave! I could feel your excitement and love for the book rolling off my computer screen in waves, he he. :wink:

    I really enjoyed The Dreyfus Affair, and I’m looking forward to reading this now, too.

    1. Wave Post author

      Hi Gaye

      I guess you could tell I was enthusiastic about this book huh? Sorry I’ll be more professional next time.

      It’s different from TDA which was a laugh a minute (although there’s lots of fun in OITF), but this book is all about the romance even though baseball is an integral part of it.

      I really hope you enjoy Matt’s and Iggy’s story. You have to come back and tell me what you thought about the book after you read it. If you hate it I’ll buy you another book. :)

    1. Wave Post author

      Hi Leslie
      Great to hear from you after such a long time. :)

      I guarantee you will love this book. Someone mentioned that TDA was out in Kindle format but I had no idea that it was only $2.99. I’m off to get it because the only copy I have is now tattered and worn.

      Let me know what you think of Out in the Field after you read it. I’m always interested in your opinion. :)

    2. Tom

      Thanks Leslie for posting the Kindle link for TDA. I’ve been wanting to re-read it but I misplaced my paperback copy. :grumble: I’ll do that right after I finish OITF. :grin:

      1. Leslie

        My pleasure, Tom! My paperback copy is in pretty good shape but I bought the Kindle version because now I can read it anytime I want. This is why I love ebooks!

        Hi Wave–I’ll send you an email to catch up.

        L

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