Professional baseball includes plenty of behind-the-scenes actors not featured on trading cards, to hear Matthew Kastel tell it.
Kastel, who lives in Monrovia, is manager of baseball operations and events for the Maryland Stadium Authority, Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles. He has worked in the front offices of both minor and major league baseball.
He has penned his first novel to introduce readers to the invisible professionals and staff who run the organizations. Kastel's "Nine Inning Murder" is based on "a lot of interesting characters I've met," he said.
"It concerns tales of the action that takes place off the field," he said.
He has worked in the offices of the Auburn Astros, Maine Guides, Williamsport Bills, Vermont Mariners, Houston Astros and Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies.
His story reveals the depth of people who may seem insignificant to casual fans, he said. A dirty groundskeeper may appear unintelligent, he said, but "underneath it all he's a very bright guy."
Kastel decided to promote his new book and recycle used volumes in collaboration with Goodwill Industries, to help raise funds for its job training programs.
"They're a fabulous organization," he said.
He checked with the Goodwill Industries of Monocacy Valley about hosting a used book drive to collect books for resale at the Goodwill store. When he contacted Goodwill, he discovered that the local chapter had already planned annual donation drives in collaboration with the Frederick Keys.
Leigh Sauter, Goodwill's director of marketing and development, and Kastel agreed a used book drive would be a perfect complement to the Goodwill donation drive May 13 at the Keys' stadium.
The annual drives hosted by the Keys collect all types of donated items, Sauter said. The team gives game tickets to Goodwill, which offers a ticket for each bag of donated items, up to four tickets per family.
"We have a great relationship with the Keys," Sauter said.
Kastel wants to save and recycle usable books and help Goodwill raise money, he said. He will not have his book for sale at the stadium, but will have a copy for people to see.
He plans to do the same on Aug. 21 with Horizon Goodwill Industries and the Hagerstown Suns.
Kastel fondly remembers his minor league days. The organizations and stadiums have become much more sophisticated than they were two decades ago, when he started in the business, he said. His story flashes back briefly to 20 years ago, and focuses on the main character's return to a team where he was blackballed.
"He goes back, facing a lot of unpleasant memories," Kastel said. "It highlights the people that work behind the scenes."
"There's a whole other world."
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