In early 2008, I completed Backstop: A Baseball Love Story In Nine Innings. Backstop is my fourth novel and now second to be published. This year, Second Wind Publishing, an independent press entering their second year, offered to add it to their growing list of titles.
You know Backstop. He plays the catcher’s position for any team in any city in America with a major league ball club. You cheer him when he delivers and boo him when he doesn’t.
I chose to relate the story in first person, from the perspective of the protagonist known only as Backstop. In what could be his last game after 14 years in the major leagues—the seventh and deciding game of the World Series—Backstop chronicles his rookie season, takes the reader to Chicago, where he finds romance and reveals the heartbreak he endured in the aftermath of his one indiscretion.
After making his dream to play in the major leagues come true, Backstop is driven to succeed, to prove himself to his father, who passed away the year before the Tigers drafted him. In his first season in the big leagues, he meets and falls in love with Darlene, a former lawyer turned business owner in Chicago.
After a season-long courtship, they wed, and 12 years of happy marriage ensue. However, when the Tigers make the playoffs for the first time in Backstop’s career, he goes out on the town to celebrate with several team mates and falls prey to the seductive overtures of a predatory younger woman.
Thereafter, his world comes crashing down when Darlene asks for time apart to consider their future together. Backstop plays the following season, leading the Tigers to the World Series, while trying to win back both Darlene’s trust as well as her heart.
Fellow Michigan writer and author of Landscape with Fragmented Figures Jeff Vande Zande writes of Backstop: “J. Conrad Guest offers an entertaining and instructive journey into both major league baseball and major league matters of the heart.”
Look for Backstop: A Baseball Love Story In Nine Innings in November, from Second Wind Publishing.
I hope you'll check it out.