Image Credit: Lee Roth/RothStock/PR PhotosStephen King is a big fan of baseball, particularly the Boston Red Sox, as anyone who’s read The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon can tell you, and now he’s ready to take us out to the ballpark again. In the lead-up to Opening Day, indie publisher Cemetery Dance has just announced the release of Blockade Billy, a new baseball-themed novella from King. The work is the tale of William Blakely, a player long erased from the history books, who harbored a deep, dark secret. Knowing the author, I suspect it’ll be something a lot creepier than steroids or pine tar.

“People have asked me for years when I was going to write a baseball story,” King said in the press release. “Ask no more; this is it.” According to Cemetery Dance, Blockade Billy will be available to ship in a few weeks, but you can order a copy now via the publisher’s online store. The first copies will also come with a baseball card of the protagonist. (And those who don’t order online may be out of luck. As the Cemetery Dance website notes, “We’ll be filling direct orders first and then distributors, online stores, and the chains if there are copies left available after we’ve taken care of our regular customers.”)

It’s interesting to see one of the biggest-name authors in popular literature publishing through a relatively small specialty house like Cemetery Dance. The company kept news of the book quiet so it would be a surprise just in time for the upcoming baseball season. What do you think? Surprised? Any fans of both King and baseball particularly excited for this?