Editor's note: This is NOT a post about baseball. Trust me.
As I noted last week, baseball season is back, and that means many things to me. One of the things sports fans love more than normal people is a good argument. What player is better than another. What would a player from the 1950s do against a player now. That sort of thing.
One of the favorites is to combine a Starting Nine in baseball. Name a player (from your team, from all teams; the rules vary) for each position and then argue about why you chose one over another. Fans are essentially crazy (it is short for "fanatic," after all), so you can get a whole evening out of a Starting Nine.
Well, I think I'll start an argument. The following is my personal Crime Fiction Starting Nine. Each position on the ball field is manned (or womanned) by a writer working today or some other day. And I've chosen mine carefully, based solely on personal preference and in some cases, who's a friend of mine. I get to choose any way I want. Feel free to post your Starting Nine below.
Crime Fiction Starting Nine
1. Leadoff hitter/center fielder (a player who is quick and agile, usually--not one of your big power people, but someone who can get on base so the sluggers coming up can drive him in): Ellery Adams.(Nobody quicker, more nimble.Will tickle you to death.)
2. Second base (a second hitter should have a little more raw power, but still get on base a lot, field well and understand his role): Chris Grabenstein. (Very high average, can always get the story going in a hurry.)
3. First base (usually the best hitter in your lineup all around--can hit for average, hit home runs and hopefully field the position): Dashiell Hammett. (Find someone better. I dare you.)
4. Third base (power hitter, good fielder, the person you want up in the pressure situation): Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.(Invented Sherlock Holmes and had the good sense to invent Doctor Watson to buffer him from the reader.)
5. Right field (definitely some power in case #4 doesn't get the homer; strong throwing arm, drives in runs): Robert B. Parker. (A heavy hitter, not lots of finesse but plenty of power.)
6. Left fielder (run producer, but probably higher average, less power than 3-4-5 hitters; should be able to catch the ball): Donald J. Sobol. (Funny, brilliant, wrote more stories than everybody, inspired every crime writer since including me.)
7. Designated Hitter (I'm doing an American League lineup because I don't have a strong starting pitcher analogy--this hitter should do as much of it all as possible because, well, he's just hitting): Julia Spencer-Fleming.(Can do anything, but mostly does one thing very, very well.)
8. Catcher (someone who has to handle the pitching staff, know all the opposing hitters, and also hit pretty well while taking all the physical punishment of a prizefighter): Raymond Chandler.(Always thinking, and you can see it.)
9. Shortstop (not usually a huge power hitter, often someone who hits a lot of singles and can field the position): Let's say E.J. Copperman. (It had "Short" in the title.)
So. Who's on your Starting Nine?