Two For The Show
Paperback: 220 pages
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
"I’ve developed a huge respect for Chris Paynter. There is so much to like about her simple, careful and well-conceived themes. . . ."
by Chris Paynter
Amy Perry’s dreams have come true: she’s the starting first baseman on a major league baseball team. Unfortunately, not everyone accepts an out and proud lesbian in the macho world of men’s baseball. In addition to adapting to life in the big leagues, Amy also has to learn to cope with harassment from many sources. Thank goodness she can count on her loving relationship with her partner, Stacy McCrady, and the friendship and support of sportswriter Lisa Collins, who travels with the team to report on every game.
Then personal tragedy strikes. Amy’s game suffers badly, but her union with Stacy bears the real damage. Help comes from some unexpected sources, including one of Amy’s male teammates and her former coach, as well as from Lisa, who has just been through a crisis of her own with her partner, Frankie Dunkin.
Chris Paynter’s Playing for First introduced Amy Perry and Lisa Collins to readers and gave them a taste of the excitement that could come from a female athlete breaking the “jockstrap barrier” and making it into a sport that only men have played. In Two for the Show, Ms. Paynter irrefutably demonstrates that baseball is really just a metaphor for the game of life. Step up to the plate and take your best swing. Two for the Show is sure to be a hit with long-time baseball fans and newcomers alike.
A scene from Amy's first road game since her return to the Reds
Excerpt, Chapter 5
Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Amy’s cleats clacked loudly in the tunnel that led up into the dugout. She emerged from the shadow of the tunnel and squinted as the sun greeted her full force.
Phil, the equipment manager, was laying out towels along the dugout bench.
“Hey, Phil, do we have shades?”
He reached behind him and grabbed a pair of sunglasses out of a container. “Here.” He tossed them over.
“Sweet.” She admired the dark mirrored lenses, then slid the glasses on and pushed them against her nose.
“Looks like you belong now.” Phil brushed past her to shove batting gloves into their corresponding shelves with the helmets.
She grinned. “I know. I’m a nerd.”
“Nah. You’re a rookie,” he said as he went back to his equipment.
Amy took infield practice before trotting in for her turn in the cage. Nick Sanders hit a long fly ball to left that bounced off the facing of the upper deck. He set his bat aside, took off his helmet, and stripped away his batting gloves.
“Try and beat that, Perry.”
He’d already jogged past her to third base before she could reply.
She hit line drives around the field while attempting to ignore the photographers, huddled as close as possible to avoid a ball striking them.
In the first inning, the leadoff and second place hitters flied out. On her walk to the plate, she ran through what she’d studied about the Cardinals’ pitcher, Bobby Tinders. Likes to come inside and jam right-handed hitters. Throws a slow curve when he gets ahead in the count. Teases you with breaking stuff in the dirt.
She was concentrating so hard that the roar from the sold-out stadium crowd didn’t register until she stood in the batter’s box. The pitcher paced behind the mound while the cheering increased in volume. Amy stepped away from the plate, unsure of what to do. When she’d been with the Reds last September, she’d received some cheers from opponents’ fans, but nothing like this.
“You’d better tip your hat or we’ll be here all night.” The umpire glared at her from behind his mask.
Amy barely raised her batting helmet before settling back into the box.
The first pitch was a high and tight fastball. She shifted out of the way. The next pitch caught the outside corner of the plate for a strike. Tinders threw her another hard fastball that she lined foul by third base.
Behind in the count. Time for the slow curve.
The next pitch dipped toward the outer half of the plate. Amy dropped her bat and lined it between first and second for a solid base hit. The crowd cheered again as she rounded the bag.
Tom Jeffries, the first base coach, put his hand on her shoulder and leaned in to tell her to watch for the quick toss from Tinders for a pickoff attempt. It wasn’t until Jeffries stepped away that she let it sink in she was standing next to Albert Pujols.
He put his foot by the bag in preparation for pick-off throws. “Nice hitting.”
She managed to stutter out her thanks. Get a grip, she thought. You belong here just as much as he does. She strayed off a few feet, but dove back in when Tinders flipped the ball to Pujols. He slammed his glove against her shoulder. Amy stood up and brushed off the dirt while watching for the sign from Pete Servace, the third base coach. She edged a little farther away from the base after getting the sign for the hit-and-run.
As Tinders started his move toward home plate, she took off toward second. She ventured a quick peek to see if Sanders made contact. He lined the ball toward the left field gap. Amy chugged around second and picked up Servace’s signal as she drew closer to third. He gave her the sign to keep on going by frantically pinwheeling his arm. The toe of her cleats barely hit the bag when she rounded it for home. The Reds player in the on-deck circle, Mark Roberts, tossed his bat aside, fell to his knees, and slapped the dirt, motioning to slide.
The Cardinals’ catcher loomed ahead with his body blocking the plate. The ball hadn’t made it into her periphery yet. She slid into the catcher’s shin guard, but on instinct, reached over and swiped the plate behind him before he tagged her shoulder.
“Safe!” the umpire bellowed.
The catcher jumped to his feet and fired the ball to third base, but Sanders slid in ahead of the throw.
Amy stood and limped toward the dugout. She took the congratulatory hand slap from Roberts as she passed him. Murphy smacked her hand when came down the steps. Most of her teammates greeted her with high fives. Only two players, both veterans, ignored her by remaining seated at the end of the dugout.