Double Switch by T. T. Monday is the second book in the series featuring San Jose Bull Dogs Relief Pitcher, Johnny Adcock. He is well aware that he is far closer to the end of his career than the start as he moonlights as a non-paid private investigator to his fellow players. He’s helped more than one player out of a jam and keeps details to himself. That fact and a few other things means he has a bit of a reputation around Major League Baseball (MLB) among the players and the ownership.
Tiff Tate also has a reputation around MLB. She is what is known as a “stylist.” When having a certain look can make a player rich by celebrity endorsements, she designs a persona to fit the player on the field and off. She gets paid well. Very well in fact as she is reputed to earn mid six figures for each makeover she can well afford her private jet and other luxuries. She also can suddenly resurrect a struggling player’s career with a few tweaks. More than any other sport, superstition rules baseball and when her player makeover magic works it adds to her allure and mystique.
But, the stylist to the players has a problem she can’t solve on her own. It’s June and the Colorado Rockies rookie outfielder, Yonel Ruiz, is tearing-up the league. He can do it all from being on a record pace homer wise and driving in runs to throwing out base runners on the paths. He is also a media sensation because of his perilous journey out of Cuba.
What the public does not know is that Ruiz is being blackmailed by the Venezuelans who smuggled him out of Cuba. Tate has been told by Ruiz that his family is being held hostage in Havana. They want him to set up a deal where his salary of 50 million dollars paid over six years goes into an account the kidnappers’ control. He will be given an allowance so he can keep up appearances. Should he fail to agree to do this in the next two weeks. They will start killing his family including his daughter, wife, parents, siblings, etc.
Ruiz’s only contact is with staff of the Colorado Rockies and Tiff Tate, his stylist. The kidnappers won’t allow him to meet with others and most likely have operators in the area watching him. So, with the Bay Dogs soon headed to Denver to play the Rockies, Tate wants Adcock to try and find out who these Venezuelans are. Once he identifies them then Tate will try to work directly with them to resolve the problem. If MLB gets involved they will do what is best for the sport and not the player. She will resort to involving MLB if she has to, but intended to give Adcock a week to work the case.
While Adcock is well aware that he can’t do much, he agrees to do what he can. Ruiz isn’t the only one being threatened as Adcock quickly finds out. It is a far reaching mess that could have a huge impact on baseball in the future. It does not help that those at the upper reaches of MLB very much want Adcock to get out of the private investigator business and that is way before the bodies start dropping.
Double Switch builds on the events of The Setup Man in a strong way. Adcock is a year closer to the end of pitching in the majors and he very well knows it. A future beyond baseball is on his mind, but he isn’t about for one second to give up on what he loves which is playing baseball.
In addition to the complicated mystery, T. T. Monday brings readers well familiar with baseball or not at all right along for a ride through the clubhouses and the underworld of how Latin American players make it into the show. He has a rare gift of making baseball accessible to the novice as well as the experienced fan as part of the overall mystery. As he did with the first book, T. T. Monday shines a light into the less glamorous aspects of a sport he clearly loves.
Double Switch could be read as a stand-alone, but it really should be read after one reads The Setup Man. The sacrifices of family continue to play a role in Adcock’s life as do other elements carried over from the first book. Double Switch is a good read and an excellent sequel.
Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2016