Abner Doubleday invented baseball. Jackie Robinson integrated it. Now Sister Mary Bernadette is out to redefine what it means to throw like a girl. The big league Washington Memorials grudgingly welcome a new prospect to 1994 Spring Training, a nun with a nasty knuckleball. She’s on a mission to make the club and use her contract to save her beleaguered hometown Church. She enters this world of men armed only with a tattered glove and a dream she thought was gone forever.
Sister Mary is chaste and virtuous -- a nun, but also an athlete who cannot be contained by her habit. She bonds with another outsider in this all male world, the team's beat reporter, Amy Springer, a temptress laced with vice but with secret dreams of virtue. Both are strangers in a strange world where they are not wanted and not welcomed.
Find out what happens when a team of pro baseball's best is forced to locker with a woman, who happens to be a nun. Nuns shouldn't be in locker rooms. Women shouldn't be in men's locker rooms. And young nuns shouldn't be on the rubber for game seven of a World Series. Maybe three wrongs do make a right!
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David Hanson lives in Shawnee, Kansas with his wife and two children. He has written several theater works including the librettos to Counter Melody and The Four Sensations. His play Clearance Sale at the Five and Dime was developed at the New Dramatists, Inc. and later enjoyed a two month run at Alice's Fourth Floor on Theatre Row in New York City. His work has been seen in Los Angeles, New York and in the greater Midwest. David is also the author of 101 Reasons to Hate Dennis Rodman, a sports humor book from Avon books. He has optioned two screenplays and served as an assistant editor for the fiction anthology The Southern California Review. David holds a BA in English and a Masters in Professional Writing.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
"So you said you had something to show me? Is the window it?" Moss asked.
"No," Father Michael said. "I asked you here to show you a miracle."
"All right, where is it?" Moss sighed more than asked.
Father Michael gently took Moss’s arm and led the large man to the back church door. "She’s right this way."
Moss Thompson did not have the opportunity to see a miracle every day. He wasn’t even a regular in the pew on Sunday in his local parish church. In fact, his first instinct was to shrink from believing that God had reached down and altered the universe on a divine scale right here in this tiny town on the open plains.
Moss knew that it was most likely an errant foul ball from the baseball field across the street, and not a message from on high that Father Michael had caught while praying. He was well aware that people had made far more out of far less in certain religious circles, but he never figured Father Michael for one of those types. It was abundantly clear to Moss, though, that Father Michael really believed he was taking Moss to see a miracle.
As the two men reached the back door and started down the stairs to the basement, Moss’s stomach began to tighten. It was the same feeling he’d had when he’d faced men on the corners with a good bunter up and fewer than two outs. The options would race through his mind. The outcomes would chase them around his stomach. He’d pop an antacid, make a sign and dream about which sportswriter would question the call if it didn’t work.
Father Michael led Moss across the dark back room toward the boiler. Moss noticed the rusty, worn pipes dangling from the ceiling. They didn’t look capable of carrying anything. They all needed repair. Moss knew he wouldn’t leave without making a small donation to the building fund. That’s when it hit him.
The pipe, that is. It was hung low. Moss was taller than Father Michael and hadn’t quite made it under the rusty, moist junction of two pipes. He rubbed his head, silently cursing his decision to even visit. The pain cleared his mind. Moss knew instantly what was going on. Father Michael had dragged him down here to show him the problem, so that Moss would come to his aid. There was no miracle, except perhaps that the toilets still worked.
Father Michael reached a back door and waited for Moss to catch up. Moss rubbed his head, trying to figure out how he was going to tell Father Michael that managers don’t make enough money to fix up churches.
"Are you ready?" Father Michael asked.
Moss nodded his head. He wished, however, that he was on his field in Florida working with the pitchers and the catchers.
Father Michael turned the knob and threw open the door. The room immediately filled with light, and Moss froze. The light grew in intensity, blinding both men momentarily. Moss instantly regretted every sinful thing he’d ever done, including those he’d enjoyed, fearing that he hadn’t prepared to meet his maker. Then the light abruptly dimmed.
Moss rubbed his eyes to clear the spots. When he opened them again, he saw Father Michael standing next to a slender young woman with short brown hair, wearing greasy overalls and holding a pipe wrench in one hand and a flashlight in the other.
"Peter Thompson," Father Michael began. "I’d like you to meet our miracle."
"I—" Moss felt stupid and underwhelmed and not at all sure what to say.
"Please forgive Father Michael," the young woman said. "He tends to exaggerate."
"I do not!" Father Michael said in a tone only obstinate men over seventy are allowed.
The woman stepped into the room. She looked to be late twenties, with the rough skin of someone who spent a lot of time outside. Moss noted both her quiet confidence and her deep, penetrating blue eyes.
"I’m Sister Mary Bernadette." She stuck out an oil-covered hand, which Moss took and shook.
"Nice to meet you," Moss stammered.
"I’ve looked forward to meeting you. Although I must admit, I am a little nervous. But don’t worry. I’ll get over it." Sister Mary Bernadette realized she hadn’t wiped her hand off before offering it to Moss. She retracted it quickly, wiping it on the leg of her overalls. She offered Moss a rag.
"Sorry about that."
"Don’t worry about it," Moss mumbled between his teeth as he snapped the rag from the woman.
"I’m all packed, and I just finished here. Let me get cleaned up and I’ll meet you out front." The nun exited before Moss fully heard the sentence.
"All packed?" the manager asked.
"Well, that’s the miracle." Father Michael smiled.
"The nun is the miracle?" Moss’s voice rose in confusion and impatience.
"Of course. She’s going to go to spring training with you."
Moss grabbed his head. "Father, it’s not that she isn’t welcome, but I have to concentrate on getting the team ready to play. I don’t have time to take care of a spectator."
Father Michael placed a knowing hand on Moss’s shoulder. "Peter, she’s not going as a spectator. She’s going as a pitcher."
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Book Description Ad Lib Books, LLC, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0975297600