Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Tigers Meet Harlequin: The Handyman Can
What You Need To Know: Mr. Fulmer was a standout pitcher for his Oklahoma high school and committed to play college ball for the University of Arkansas. Well, that is until the New York Mets drafted him in the first round of the 2011 Major League Baseball draft. Fulmer said farewell to Arkansas and joined the Mets minor league system. He kicked around the minor leagues until 2015 when, in one of his final duties as Tigers GM, Dave Dombrowski sent former Tigers Meet Harlequin All-Star Yoenis Cespedes to the Mets in exchange for Fulmer.
Turns out Dave totally did us a solid. Fulmer was optioned to Tigers AAA-affiliate, the Toledo Mud Hens to start the 2016 season. However, when starter Shane Greene got a blister, Fulmer was called up to make his Major League debut on April 29 against the Minnesota Twins. It was pretty much magic after that. Fulmer became the first Tigers pitcher since 1913 to allow one or zero runs in eight consecutive starts. He also pitched his first career complete game and shutout. He finished the season with an 11–7 record, 3.06 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, and 132 strikeouts in 159 innings pitched.
Oh, and he won the American League Rookie of the Year Award.
His Baggage: By all accounts, which is backed up by this feature in Sports Illustrated, Fulmer is an understated kind of guy. Even though he pitched his heart out once called up, he didn't allow himself to get too comfortable, realizing that the Tigers could send him down the minute Greene's blister was healed. He spent the rest of the season living out of a hotel room.
He's the kind of guy who, on the day after he found out he was drafted in the first round by the Mets, still showed up to help his coach with a Little League camp and his footwear of choice is a pair of beat-up cowboy boots his wife bought him.
But by far my most favorite Fulmer fact is that, in the off season, he works as a plumber. Seriously. A good friend's uncle needed some help at his plumbing company, and there was Fulmer ready to dig ditches, lay pipe, whatever. He likes it because it gives him something to do and allows him to not think about baseball for more than five minutes.
The Proposed Category Romance Plot: He's coming off a magical season. His first full season in the big leagues and he won Rookie of the Year? It's hard to imagine. His teammates are happy for him, determined to get him to go out and party like a superstar. But that's not really his style. He's looking forward to going home to Oklahoma. Maybe buy a new truck with the bonus he got. Maybe mend some fences on his uncle's ranch. Instead he gets roped into doing a solid for someone on the team's grounds crew. Well, the guy's sister at any rate. What the heck, right? Why not spend the off season staying in Detroit? It seems like a good idea, until he meets the sister. He knows she's still smarting over her divorce, and he does not need any added distractions. But dang, she's so smart and sexy and Lord her ex was obviously a complete idiot. He's there to fix the pipes, but he finds himself distracted by thoughts of bedrooms. Hey, how many bedrooms are there in this building anyway?
The Heroine: She should have known her rat-bastard ex was no good when the family dog didn't like him, but she never seems to learn. She worked in dive bars to help get him through college and spent too many nights alone while he was working his way up the corporate financial ladder. What she didn't know is that he was climbing that ladder with his secretary and hiding assets, preparing to dump her sorry butt when the timing was right. She found out before he could totally blindside her, but dang, he was good. Finally, just to be done with him once and for all, she takes a payout (which she knows is likely paltry) and an apartment building. She figures she can either flip the building or go into property management. Either way, she has options. Well, that is until she finally gets into the building and does a full, warts-and-all inspection. Good Lord, her ex was a slumlord!
What she needs is help, and fast. But with little capital, she needs people who will do quality work and not expect a whole lot in the way of salary in return. She's desperate, but not without connections. She puts out the call and luckily her brother totally comes through. For reasons she can barely fathom, the reigning AL Rookie of the Year has agreed to help her out and fix the mess that is the building's plumbing. But how is a girl expected to concentrate on resurrecting a wreck of a building and keeping her tenants from suing her when all she can think about is the handyman crawling under her ahem sink?
What Harlequin Line?: That beard, that blue collar attitude, a heroine who isn't dead below the waist but a little vulnerable? I want this to be a Blaze. Just think of how much trouble this couple could get into with all those ahem tools at their disposal?