Major League Baseball has been crippled by yet another players’ strike, and the fans have had enough, tired of paying to see ballplayers with seven-figure egos but ten-cent work ethics.
When baseball’s commissioner floats the idea of enlisting the minor leaguers to keep revenues flowing, Lew Pearson, the aging player-manager of the Triple-A Indianapolis Outlaws, sees his chance to fulfill a lifelong dream. Having never had more than a “cup of coffee” in the big league, Lew leaves his wife and two young kids behind to play in the bigs, even though he knows he and his teammates will just be the pawns of the owners. Baseball runs deep in his blood – his father’s own professional dreams were trampled on many years before – and despite the big asterisk that will accompany every game, it’s an opportunity that beckons him.
But no one, including Lew, the owners and the striking Major Leaguers, could predict how fans would embrace these farmhands, who take the field every day not for their big paychecks but purely for the love of the game. At first the crowds are small, but as the fan frenzy takes root in ballparks across the country, both sides of the strike confront a new normal, and an audacious plan takes shape in board rooms to determine once and for all whether the Major Leaguers or the minor leaguers will get the privilege of remaining in “the show.”
Gary Frisch is a long-time sports fan with a special place in his heart for hockey and baseball. A lifelong writer and former journalist, he has contributed many articles and columns to a variety of newspapers and magazines. He was inspired to write Strike Four as a result of multiple player strikes and lockouts that marred baseball in the 1980s and ‘90s, during which the media frequently speculated that owners might bring up minor league players to fill the rosters.
Frisch works in the public relations field, and has owned his own PR agency since 2007. In 2015, he was named to Linkedin’s inaugural list of “Top Voices of the Year” for his contributions to the business networking site’s blog. He lives in Gloucester Township, New Jersey, with his wife and two children, and frequently writes under the watchful eye of his cat and two dogs.
Everyone goes into ruts, especially writers. Plowing on, particularly when you have difficulty seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, is what distinguishes successful writers from unsuccessful ones. The easy thing is to curl up in defeat, or passively wait for inspiration to strike. What's harder is sitting in front of a blank screen, for hours if need be, until you've put proverbial pen to paper and written a sentence, then a paragraph, then a page, and maybe even three pages. It doesn't have to be a polished piece of work...that's what editing is for later. But just writing what comes into your head is a tried and true way for overcoming that rut or block. It happened many, many times as I wrote Strike Four, but like my main character Lew Pearson, who's "settled into" his minor league playing-managing career, you can't let go of the dream. Motivating yourself will pay off.
Strike Four A Baseball Novel
“Now batting, Number Six, left fielder Lew Pearson!” boomed the static-filled public address system. Lew found it amazing that the fans could consistently understand the crackly voice, but apparently they could, as a chorus of “Loooooo” rained down on him from the sparse crowd. The fans did seem to appreciate him, and the noise was almost always there when he came to bat unless he had made some unforgivable error earlier in the game. Most of those who still cherished the ritual were the middle-aged, beer-chugging diehards who watched him in his so-called glory days shortly after coming up from Toledo of Double A, a hot-shot fielder with a “heck of a future in Major League ball.” Back then he could afford to be optimistic, to relish the quotes of local columnists, but as time wore on his high hopes ever-so-gradually dwindled. Lew didn’t know what to attribute it to. Maybe it was the broken wrist that shelved him half a season in his second year in Indianapolis. Or perhaps he just lost sight of his goals and got trapped in a rut when he took on a family. No. He found that theory difficult to believe. His family, the one thing he loved more than baseball, could not have been the cause of his present situation. Though after nine years on the same field it had become horrifyingly apparent that he was going nowhere. Triple-A was no longer a stepping stone to the Majors, as it was for all the younger players he managed; he had settled in and it had become a source of income, just another way to make a decent living.