Friday, April 20 , 2018, 4:26 am | Fair 52º


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Jane Heller Steps Up to the Plate with ‘Confessions of a She-Fan’

Book chronicling her devotion to the New York Yankees gets a pin-striped launch party at Hollister Brewing Co.

From left, Tab Hunter, star of the movie classic <i>Damn Yankees</i>, helps author Jane Heller celebrate her new book, <i>Confessions of a She-Fan</i>, with Hollister Brewing Co. owner Larry Kreider.” width=“540” height=“380” /><div class=From left, Tab Hunter, star of the movie classic Damn Yankees, helps author Jane Heller celebrate her new book, Confessions of a She-Fan, with Hollister Brewing Co. owner Larry Kreider. (Kate Schwab photo)

Local sports nuts, writers, a movie star and fans had a ball at the launch party for author Jane Heller’s first nonfiction book, Confessions of a She-Fan: the Course of True Love with the New York Yankees, at Hollister Brewing Co. last weekend.

Joining Heller to celebrate the new and timely release about her love affair with the Yankees was actor Tab Hunter, who appeared in the 1958 film classic, Damn Yankees. While confessing to not knowing much about the sport, Hunter mentioned that he’s played two baseball players in his career: Boston Red Sox outfielder Jimmy Piersall, and, of course, the fictional Joe Hardy in Damn Yankees. Hunter announced to the crowd, “I’m looking forward to reading Jane’s book.” After her introduction, Heller related the story of meeting Hunter the first time — as a young girl at Sardi’s in New York, she shyly approached the famous young actor with a request that he sign her menu.

Heller recounted the story of how her book came to life: after writing in The New York Times of her intentions to divorce her beloved Yankees in 2007, on the grounds of mental cruelty, Heller received blistering responses about being a disloyal fan. She and her husband hit the road, traveling to all the games the remainder of the season, to reconnect with her team, her marriage, and perhaps interview a player or two.

Also attending the launch party was Bill Pintard, coach of the 2006 and 2008 national champion Santa Barbara Foresters baseball team, along with assistant coach Dave Pintard, and former SBCC baseball coach Rusty Fairly. Local writers included novelists J.F. Freeman and Gayle Lynds, writer Kathleen Sharp, and celebrated jazz musician Charles Lloyd. Of course, Yankees fans were in great abundance, as well as fans of other teams.

“What could be better than baseball, beer and friendly people?” Heller asked. “Saturday’s book signing at Hollister Brewing Company was the most fun I’ve ever had at a book signing — and I’ve had plenty after writing 14 books. Having Tab Hunter, the original ‘Damn Yankee’ on hand, as well as Bill Pintard, the head coach of the SB Foresters, made the afternoon even more exciting. But most of all, I felt so lucky to see old friends and make new ones.

“Now if the Yankees would only win a championship I’d be really happy!”

Hollister Brewing Co., dubbed “the home team,” offered ballpark snacks such as popcorn, pizza, hot dogs and pulled-pork sandwiches. As part of a “She-Fan Beer Tasting,” owner Larry Kreider served up HBC’s Beachside Blonde and Irish Red Ale.

“It was great to see so many people who have never been here before,” Kreider said. “We loved being a part of this event — it seemed like such a natural connection, for a brew pub/sports bar.”

Heller, a Santa Barbara resident, is the author of 13 novels of romantic comedy, including Name Dropping, Lucky Stars and Some Nerve. Eight of her novels have been optioned for film or television. Locally, she has been a featured author at the CALM Book & Author Luncheon, as well as a keynote speaker at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference.

Click here for more information on Heller, or click here to read her New York Yankees blog.

Kate Schwab of Great Books Literary Services represents Jane Heller.

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