Double Switch by T.T. Monday (Part I) – Johnny Adcock
is a 36 year old left hand specialist reliever for the San Jose Bay Dogs in
Major League baseball. A 14 year veteran he is brought into games, usually the
8th inning and often with runners on base, when the Bay Dogs are
facing a tough left hand hitter and the game is on the line. Adcock may work 10
minutes a night. In a busy week he works 3 nights.
field he clearly has lots of down time. Beyond some physical conditioning
Adcock has little to do in baseball after his half hour of work per week but he has spent a lifetime honing his
pitching skills and training himself mentally to be ready for those 10 minutes
of intense pressure in a game.
understand the above two paragraphs Double
Switch is a book for you. Monday, actually a pseudonym for Nick Taylor,
knows major league baseball and does not make the book a primer for baseball.
The subtleties of game action and preparation are skilfully described.
set their mystery in the world of sports face a choice in how to approach the
sport at the heart of their book.
keep the descriptions simple to allow readers with little or no knowledge of
the sport to be able to follow the story. They can minimize the actual sports
content of the plot and focus on the characters and the mystery.
Eli Sharpe series by Max Everhart there is little recall by Sharpe of his past
playing days and only modest portrayals of current game action for those characters playing the game.
exchange of letters Max explained:
When I originally began writing this series, I envisioned
the stories moving very quickly, so describing actual game
action was not something I felt I could (or should)
include. Too, while I love baseball and could discuss—at
great length—the endless subtleties and nuisances of the
game, I wanted (and want) the novels to appeal to more
than just baseball fans.
Alison Gordon wrote a series of mysteries with Toronto newspaper reporter, Kate
Henry, as her sleuth. Henry would touch on games played but not discuss them.
In the final book of the series and my favourite Saskatchewan mystery, Prairie Hardball, she sets a mystery
around the induction into the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame of the women
from our province who played in the All American Girls Professional Baseball
League. Beyond mention of the joy they had playing professional ball the games
are not discussed.
in Double Switch, has taken the third
approach of entering into the depths of the beauty and challenge of baseball.
He discusses the thought a professional pitcher puts into pitching in a tough
With the count 0-2, I want to play with him a little.
Eventually, Diggy figures out what I have in mind, and I
deliver: a slider outside, about a foot off the plate, that
bounces and sends up a puff of dust.......
I throw another slider in the dirt that Barrow takes for ball
I plant my left foot on the rubber and stare in. For the third
time, Diggy gives the signal for the changeup low and inside. I
shake him off, and then let him cycle through all the signs,
refusing them all one by one. When he returns to the change I
reminded of The Art of Fielding by
Chad Harbach. In that lovely book Harbach’s plot line includes wonderful
descriptions of game action. A powerful plot line involves the hero, Henry Skrimshander,
suddenly becoming unable to throw accurately from shortstop to first base. The
mind is interfering with the fundamentally simple skill of throwing the ball.
preference, whether the story features a lawyer or a ballplayer, is to explore
what is happening in court or on the ball diamond. I do not want plots brought
down to generic depictions. Not every reader will appreciate that the Double Switch, while appropriate for the
plot, is also the description of a managerial strategy in late inning baseball
games where the league involved does not have designated hitters. I believe
enough readers will grasp the baseball intricacies of the book.
not initiated into the game or simply uninterested it is a good mystery that
does not require the reader to know baseball.
post will actually discuss the story.