Thursday, April 2, 2015
Tigers Meet Harlequin: The Texan's Redemption
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!