Thursday, April 2, 2015

Tigers Meet Harlequin: The Texan's Redemption

The Hero: Ian Kinsler

What You Need To Know: Ian Kinsler might be the most determined (or most stubborn) hero to land on the Tigers Meet Harlequin squad.  Drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks out of high school, Kinsler declined his 29th pick status feeling he wasn't ready for big-time baseball. The problem was that no Division I schools recruited him.

After a year at Central Arizona College, he was recruited by Arizona State, he transferred and then found himself thrown over for Dustin Pedroia.  Frustrated, he caught the eye of the coach at the University of Missouri, where he posted a .335 batting average and 16 steals on 17 attempts.  In the 2003 draft Kinsler fell all the way to the 17th round where, after being convinced by their area scout, he was drafted by the Texas Rangers.  That scout knew something a lot of other scouts didn't - which was Kinsler had been playing on a stress fracture in his foot the previous season at Missouri.  Kinsler proceeded to make his presence known to Rangers fans, a three time American League All-Star at second base, he hit for the cycle (single, double, triple, homerun in the same game) and joined the 30-30 club (30 stolen bases, 30 homeruns) twice (2009 and 2011) and he currently holds the record for the Ranger's in stolen bases (172).

In 2014, in a trade that rocked, well, everybody - Detroit sent Tigers Meet Harlequin fan favorite, Prince Fielder and a boat load of cash to Texas in exchange for Kinsler.

The Baggage: Let's just say that Kinsler wasn't all that pleased with Texas in the end.  Things seem to have started to go south after they traded Michael Young (a rock star for the team) to the Phillies in 2012.  Then they requested that Kinsler move to first base to open up second base for hot prospect Jurickson Profar, which Kinsler declined.  Not thrilled with the changing dynamic in the clubhouse or the front office, the straw broke the camel's back when Kinsler found out he'd been traded to Detroit not by the team GM....but by a Dallas sports radio personality.  Ouch.

Prior to the start of Kinsler's first season in Detroit, he gave an interview in ESPN The Magazine and got his money's worth, calling the Rangers GM "a sleazeball" and saying he hoped the Rangers went 0-162 that season.  There was also a whole lot of talk on who "won" in the blockbuster deal with Detroit.  In the end?  Detroit.  So far at least, as poor Prince had to have season ending surgery on a herniated disk in his neck and ravaged by a slew of other injuries the Rangers went 67-95 in 2014.  Kinsler was once again an All-Star, although Detroit got their butts handed to them by the Baltimore Orioles in the postseason.

Proposed Category Romance Plot:  They say you can't go home again, and in his case they just might be right.  Upset and frustrated with the way he left the state of Texas and the former team he gave a lot of great years too, he's back.  The boos that rained down on him when his new team visited Texas last season were a pretty good indication that he'd burned a few bridges on his way out of town.  But after many years of remission, his mother's cancer is back.  Which means more chemo for a woman who isn't a spring chicken anymore.  So he's coming home to help take care of her, and will just learn to ignore everybody in town giving him dirty looks.  What he didn't plan on was the fact that his high school sweetheart is also back in town.  Oh dear Lord, please don't let her hate him.

The Heroine: They dated in high school, were homecoming king and queen, and if this were a storybook he would have opened a feed store in town and she would be teaching kindergarten.  But that's not what happened.  He left to chase dreams of baseball and not eager to stay in a town where she'd constantly be seeing his ghost, she left for New York to chase dreams of dancing on a Broadway stage.  She chased those dreams, did her best to avoid Yankee Stadium when Ian's teams were in town playing, and had some minor successes.  If you count appearing in a few off-off-Broadway productions and getting a gig in a chorus line for a major show that closed after one week "successful."  Burnt out, and with no desire to resort to doing soft-porn, she heads home to Texas.  Mom and Dad aren't getting any younger and they need help scraping by on what's left of the family farm.  It won't be so bad.  She's been over Ian for years now.  She's moved on.  And then she ends up literally running into him in the meat department at Thompson's Market.  Saints deliver her!

What Category Romance Line?:  That's right folks!  Making it's first appearance in the Tigers Meet Harlequin universe, I give you......Harlequin American Romance! OK, so Kinsler is from Arizona and not Texas, but hey - he played for the Rangers for a long time.  I say close enough!


Nicole Helm said...

Not to be weird--but I love you. :)

azteclady said...

There is never anything weird about loving our Queen Librarian of the Universe.

Kristie (J) said...

O.M.G. Wendy - This is HILARIOUS!! My stomach is weak from laughing. What a scathingly brilliant idea - giving the Tiger players their very own made up Harlequin romance story. I freakin' love it.

Wendy said...

Nicole: You just love me for the family farm :) And I find it interesting that the two plots you've liked best involve Prince Fielder and now Ian Kinsler - players who were swapped between teams. Uh, wait a minute. That sounds kinda dirty.....

That's a totally different kind of romance novel.....

Wendy said...

Kristie: See what you miss when you take time away? Wendy having the only brilliant idea she's ever been able to cook up ;)

liztalley said...

So last year I boycotted the Rangers. I loved Michael Young but I understood that move. But Kinsler was the heart of the team. No man loves baseball and makes it more fun to watch than Ian Kinsler. And so when they traded him and Murph, I put my foot down. I, who watched almost every Texas game all season long, would NOT pay money to watch them. And you know what, they sucked! Injury plagued and just meh. I called that karma.

I felt much this way when they traded Pudge Rodriquez but they brought him back for his last season to finished his career with Texas. It's my deepest hope they'll do the same for Kinsler and Young.

BTW, I've never done a baseball book, but after reading your plots, I think I might like to try it out :) FUN!

Wendy said...

Liz: Letting Pudge walk was purely a preemptive strike, I think. Texas didn't want to resign him to a big deal when he was getting "old." So then he goes to the Marlins, wins a World Series, and signs a nice contract with Detroit in the off-season. I was *slightly* obsessed with Pudge when he played for the Tigers. Not only because he was a high profile free agent that signed with the team when we were a joke (we had just lost 119 games!) thereby making us less of a joke - but he also had very lovely *ahem* assets.

At the time of the Kinsler trade I kind of scratched my head a bit - figuring it was nothing more than a money swap. I guess I didn't watch enough of the Rangers - because holy cow, SECOND BASE LIVES! Kinsler tailed off a bit in the second half last year, but he was dynamite for us. Yes, home runs are sexy, but Wendy digs defense almost as much.