I used to like baseball. There was something about the excitement of going to the ball park, eating a hot dog and waiting to see if someone would hit a home run. But I live in Seattle, where baseball fans tend to be apathetic at best, and with the Mariners doing as shitty as they have the last few seasons, I stopped caring. I never got over my love of baseball players, though, and I do love me some yummy men in tight baseball pants.
I’d really like to see Tucker Lloyd in tight baseball pants.
In Pitch Perfect, Tucker’s just come off a year on the injured list due to surgery on his pitching elbow and all the rehab necessary to get his arm functioning again. At 36, he’s getting old, and this season is one of the most important of his career. He’s got to prove he deserves his starting spot in the pitching rotation for the San Francisco Felons, and that he’s earned the right to finish out his career with the only team he’s ever played for.
Then Emmy Kasper almost runs him over with her bike, and his concentration falters for a moment.
For her part, Em’s worked her ass off to get where she is-she’s the new head athletic trainer for the Felons. In a male-dominated sport, she knows she’s got to be on her toes if she wants to keep her job. Having a fling with one of the players would be a big no-no. Having a fling with Tucker Lloyd? Falls in the category of Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect Two Hundred Dollars.
From the start, the connection between Emmy and Tucker is a live, vibrant thing. Seeing these two dance around their attraction, each reminding themselves flirting is bad and acting on it is worse, is entertaining and real. Tucker needs to keep his head in the game. Emmy needs to keep her job. Oh, and not cheat on her boyfriend. Watching them develop a friendship despite their attraction only makes their relationship, when it does finally take off, feel more solid and believable. It’s sweet at times, deliciously filthy at others, and they find a balance between the two that makes you curious what’s going to happen next, if they’ll fall over that professional line or manage to keep their hands to themselves until the last player files out of the ball park.
The dialog is snort-laughing funny at times, and I had a hard time keeping the smile off my face whenever I sat down to read this book. When the action moves to the games, it reminded me of the fun I used to have watching the game, back when my home team was actually good, of the beauty and grace of Ichiro swinging a bat, Mike Cameron leaping for the ball before it went over the center field wall, wondering when they’d put Willy Bloomquist in and what position he’d end up playing.
Sierra Dean keeps the pace snappy and taut, giving us room to get to know the characters without rushing us on to the next big thing. And the climactic scene…I was turning pages as fast as my Kindle would let me. I was there in the hush of Yankee Stadium, in the dugout with Emmy and the rest of the team, eyes glued to the ball as it went from Tucker’s hand to the catcher’s mitt, and it was only when it was over that I remembered breathing would be a good thing to do. Seriously. My heart started beating in triple time when I realized, along with Emmy, what was happening out there on the field.
Pitch Perfect is a perfect summer read, a great way to escape for a few hours. It’s a fun start to a new series, and I can’t wait for the next one. Sun, baseball, hot athletes in tight pants…Yum. With a capital Y.