Tuesday, March 25, 2014

His Brother's Keeper

Our Hero: Max Scherzer

What You Need To Know: Born and raised in Missouri, he was drafted in the 43rd round (seriously the MLB draft is like 400 rounds) out of high school by the St. Louis Cardinals.  Max said thanks but no thanks and attended the University of Missouri where he was Big 12 Pitcher of the Year in 2005.  In 2006 he was drafted in the first round, 11th overall pick, by the Arizona Diamondbacks.  Max has talent oozing out of his pores, it's been a matter of consistency for him - and in December 2009 he was part of a three team trade that sent him to Detroit and my former boyfriend, Curtis Granderson, to the New York Yankees. 

It started out bumpy for Max in Detroit, and we actually optioned him to our Triple-A team in May 2010 to get him "fixed."  Well, fix him we did (wait a minute, that sounds not-so-good....).  He came back to the big club later that month and hasn't left since.  In 2013 he was the first pitcher to start the season 13-0 since Roger Clemens (boo! hiss!) did it in 1986.  He eventually won the Cy Young award.  Oh, and yes - his eyes are two different colors.

His Baggage: His brother.  Using this family tragedy as fodder for a fictional romance novel does give me serious pause, but in the end I'm including it because I think it's a story every family should hear.  Growing up in Missouri, Max had a younger brother, Alex.  They adored each other, Max being the "sporty kid" and Alex being the "smart kid."  Big things were on the horizon for Alex, who could go into finance or apply to law school.  Sadly though, it never came to pass.  Alex suffered from depression.  His parents got him into treatment - but as can sadly happen with people who suffer from it, depression is a harsh mistress not easily swayed.  In the summer of 2012, Alex lost his battle and committed suicide. 

Max immediately left the team and went home to Missouri.  Two days later, with his parents' blessing, Max made his start against the Pittsburgh Pirates.  The Tigers eventually went to the postseason in 2012, losing to the San Francisco Giants in the World Series.

ESPN ran a wonderful article about the Scherzer family - it's well worth a read.  Just be warned that it will tear your guts out.

Also, USA Today ran this nice article about Max and Mark McGwire leading up to Max being named starter for the AL team in last year's All-Star Game.

The Proposed Category Romance Plot: He's got all the talent in the world, but baseball hasn't always been easy for him.  The one person he could talk to about his game, the one person who was always just a text message away, was his younger brother - and now his brother is gone.  Our hero questions everything, did he miss the signs?  Was there something he could of done?  Haunted by his brother's death, struggling with the question of why, he turns into a machine on the field.  He pushes forward, doesn't look back, determined to do his job and block out the past, if only for a little while.  However there is one person in his life he's leaving behind, one person who desperately wants to be there for him but he keeps pushing away - his fiancĂ©e.

The Heroine: Everybody always tells them they make a lovely couple, the pretty girl-next-door and the professional baseball player.  They're the American dream couple.  And then one morning it all comes crashing down when her future brother-in-law is found dead.  Completely out of her depth, with no idea what to do, she spends her days checking in with her future in-laws, to assure them that the hero is doing alright.  He has good days, he has bad days.  But the more he shuts out his grief, the more he pushes past the emotional pain, the more he seems to be pushing her away - and she has no idea what to do - for him, for his family, and for herself.

What Category Romance Line?:  I know, you're all thinking a SuperRomance right?  Certainly that would work - but I'm going with the dark horse here and saying Harlequin Romance.  I know, it would seem odd if you don't read the line that much, but while HR can be bubbly and light?  There are a number of authors who have worked tragic, gut-wrenching stories into the HR world.  Also, I have yet to read a HR that didn't heavily play up the "emotional" elements in the story - honestly, sometimes the "no descriptive sex thing" can work to a story's advantage.

If you or someone you know suffers from depression, please - seek help.  Grab on to it with both hands and don't let go.  There are people who care about you.


Tracy Smith said...

That ESPN article was just heartbreaking.

Wendy said...

Tracy: I know, right? I read it back when it was first published and sobbed my eyes out.