A Major League Love – Domenic Melillo

by Adam Kluger

What is A Major League Love about?

This is my first love story. It is about the search for love and how we can be convinced by others that our own vision of what love should be is somehow wrong or misguided. It is about trusting that vision, walking the path to where it leads and then having the courage to trust another person with that vision even when that other person might not fit with other people’s concept of what is right for us.

What got you interested in baseball and how is this book different from other books on the subject?

My father who loved baseball, had me swinging a bat when I was 3 years old. I played baseball continually, Little League, High School, College, Summer Leagues and Senior leagues until I was about 35. So, I have a lifelong love of the game. This  is not a book about baseball, it is not a book about poetry. It is first and foremost a love story. Not a romance novel, a love story. But that love story is built upon and reinforced by the love for the game and the love of poetry. For Luca in the story, one cannot be separated from the other. They are all intertwined. I don’t believe that any other book has ever combined these three things in this way. I think that is a key part about what makes this book unique.

I’ve always thought there was a Zen-like quality that comes from watching a live baseball game, but you liken it to poetry -please explain

You are not wrong Adam, there is a peacefulness and gracefulness that the game and the environment exudes, especially as you descend the scale from Major Leagues down to the little league level. I address that in the book when Luca ruminates on his experiences playing ball before crowds in NY vs what he feels playing for the Durham North Carolina team. But, given Luca’s affinity for poetry, he sees the game through a different lens. For him, the movement, the rhythm, the sights, sounds and smells of the game are part of an artistic and emotional tapestry which spills out of him as poetry. And not just about the game. It is a source that colors how he sees everything else in life also.

Domenic Melillo

Who will this book appeal to- baseball players, fans?

Good question. This is a love story. It is not a romance novel, so it is very wholesome. It is set in the early to mid 1980’s and the world was a different place back then, simpler more innocent. If someone is expecting Bull Durham here in this book, they will be disappointed. Fans of Nicholas Sparks will be attracted to this story. Young adults will enjoy it. Fans of the Hallmark Channel will love it. The love story and poetry may appeal to women. The baseball aspects will make it enjoyable to men because all of that was inspired and informed by my own 30-year baseball career.

You can write authoritatively about baseball because you have played the game, but how were you able to speak through the female characters of the book so comfortably?

Another great question. There are more major female characters in the book than male characters, so this was critical. My publisher was concerned about that also and we actually discussed having me use a female pen name for this book. After he read the final version, he was much more comfortable that I had represented the female characters in a way that would appeal to women. I have a wife from the south, a southern mother-in-law, 1 athletic sister, 2 very athletic daughters and many female cousins and coworkers. I have taken a bit from all of them when crafting the characters, inner conversations. conflict and resilience exhibited and engaged in by the female characters in the story. The most enjoyable part for me was crafting the segments of the story written from the female point of view. Honestly, it really just flowed naturally. Not sure why that was. But it was great.

How does the poetry part fit in? Is it just a hobby for Luca? A point of view on life? Or is there something more that it adds to the story?

Poetry is a bridge in this story, a connector. It provides a window into the minds and hearts of the characters at any point in time. It provides self-enlightenment for them in some instances, while providing perspective to others. The characters are expressing their hopes and wishes, their dreams. It is an emotional outlet. It becomes a measure of emotional and romantic growth. Finally, it becomes a lifelong record and commentary on the couple’s relationship. They will someday look back on the collection of poems written over the years and it will tell the tale of their love.

I know that spirituality and family are both very important to you as a successful and popular writer – how does baseball fit in to all that?

You are right, my faith is the foundation of my life and all that I do and all that I am. Baseball fits into that in that I always felt that using a talent that was given to me by God, was a way of praising Him. It may not have been top of mind at all times ( like when I was yelling at an umpire or barreling over the catcher) but always after a game, I felt a great sense of gratitude and thankfulness for having the chance to play. The game never superseded my faith, but it allowed me to “dance before the Lord” in thankfulness and joyfulness like David did in the bible. It was also a way for me to connect with my dad and make him proud and for me to connect with my children, and hopefully may grandchildren.

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