Welcome to Kate McMurray author of Out in the Field! Thanks for dropping by and telling us a little about your story.
The Home Team
By Kate McMurray
New York City has no shortage of sports teams. I, in fact, live a few blocks from the Barclays Center, home of the Nets (basketball) and the Islanders (hockey). It’s not that there are intra-city rivalries per se, but every New Yorker is expected to have a particular team loyalty. Jets or Giants, Rangers or Islanders, Knicks or Nets, and of course Mets or Yankees.
Team loyalties are often based on seemingly arbitrary criteria. Sometimes it’s geography (Queens vs. the Bronx, Brooklyn vs. Manhattan), sometimes it’s kind of random (I went to the same college as former Knicks’ star Marcus Camby; I grew up in the shadow of Giants Stadium and a bunch of their players lived in my hometown), and sometimes it’s just whichever team imprints on you first. I was in elementary school when the Mets won the World Series in 1986, but I didn’t really get into baseball until my dad took me to a Yankees game when I was 12.
It is into this environment that I added the fictional Brooklyn Eagles baseball team in Out in the Field. New York used to be a three-baseball-team city, before the Dodgers and Giants moved to California, so it seemed plausible. Geographically, I imagined the Eagles’ stadium to be situated around where Ebbets Field (home of the Dodgers until 1958) once stood. In real life, the site is occupied by apartment buildings (also close to where I live, for what it’s worth).
Team loyalties can be random. One of my brothers, who has spent his entire life living in the northeast, roots for the Green Bay Packers. I went to college with a guy who grew up in Massachusetts but thought the Indianapolis Colts were the greatest. Sometimes it’s a particular player the fan follows—Peyton Manning, say—that determines his team loyalty.
In Out in the Field, Iggy Rodriguez grew up in Arizona, but he loves the Brooklyn Eagles. He worships Matt Blanco, one of the greatest players of his generation. So when he’s drafted and subsequently pulled up to the majors, it’s a dream to be asked to play for the Eagles.
I’ll admit, I always wondered about that. I imagine someone who loves baseball enough to play it professionally has a favorite team. Can you imagine being a Yankees fan and getting to play for the Yankees? (Or playing for a rival team? Maybe that’s a future book!) That’s part of the dynamic in Out in the Field. Iggy gets to meet his idol. And his idol likes him back.
When writing, I tried to imagine a New York with three baseball teams and how loyalties will be divided. I will admit to rethinking my basketball team loyalties after the Nets moved to Brooklyn, so how would I feel if there were a baseball team in Brooklyn, too? (I’d be at games every weekend, probably. I love the Yankees, but the Bronx is easily an hour away by subway.) Of course, this is also an alternate universe where Dallas has a baseball team (aside from the Rangers) to be Brooklyn’s chief rival.
And I tried to create a team the reader could root for. It’s a group of guys thrown together for one purpose, all of them extremely talented, but with different personalities, different home lives. Hopefully they come together to tell a compelling story.
Matt Blanco is a legend on the Brooklyn Eagles, but time and injuries have taken their toll. With his career nearing its end, he’s almost made it to retirement without anyone learning his biggest secret: he’s gay in a profession not particularly known for its tolerance.
Iggy Rodriquez is the hot new rookie in town, landing a position in the starting lineup of the team of his dreams and playing alongside his idol, Matt Blanco. Iggy doesn’t think it can get any better, until an unexpected encounter in the locker room with Matt proves him wrong.
A relationship—and everything it could reveal—has never been in the cards for Matt, but Iggy has him rethinking his priorities. They fall hard for each other, struggling to make it through trades, endorsement deals, and the threat of retirement. Ultimately they will be faced with a choice: love or baseball?
Kate McMurray is an award-winning romance author and an unabashed romance fan. When she’s not writing, she works as a nonfiction editor, dabbles in various crafts, and is maybe a tiny bit obsessed with baseball. She has served as President of Rainbow Romance Writers and is currently the president of the New York City chapter of RWA. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.