I could mention that Mike Lupica has a fiction career, too, but there’s enough suffering in this world already. The Columnists.com’s Stan Issacs has had enough of Don DeLillo’s great baseball jones (street). (thanks to Repoz for the link).
On the occasion of the recent opening of the new movie œGame 6 written by the acclaimed and defamed novelist, Don DeLillo, let me refer to a passage from the first chapter of DeLillo™s 1997 novel, œUnderworld. It revolves around the game that has come to be known as œThe Shot Heard ˜Round the World, Bobby Thomson™s home run in the 1951 Giants-Dodgers playoff classic.
FBI boss John Edgar Hoover was at the game, so DeLillo™s overly ripe imagination has Frank Sinatra, Jackie Gleason and the boorish restauranteur Toots Shor sitting with him in the Polo Grounds.
Immediately after Thomson hits the climactic home run, DeLillo pens this description:
œJackie [Gleason] utters an aquatic bark, it is loud and crude, the hoarse call of some mammal in distress. Then the surge of flannel matter. He seems to be vomiting someone™s taupe pajamas. The waste is liquidy smooth in the lingo of adland and it is splashing freely on Frank™s stout oxford shoes and fine lisle hose and on the soft woven wool of his town-and-country trousers.
As if that isn™t enough, he goes on later: œFrank persists in looking down. He allows one foot to list to port so he can examine the side of his shoe for vomit marks. And, œSays Gleason, ˜Don™t™ think you™re the first friend I ever puked on. I puked on better men than you. Consider yourself honored.™
If it is possible to desecrate the memory of a great baseball game, DeLillo has done it. As one who was at that game, who treasures the sight of Thomson hitting that home run as one of the dearest moments in an adult lifetime of covering sports, I am appalled by the juxtaposition of the celebrities fouling the pages and my memory. I say DeLillo is a blackguard, a wretch, a disgrace, a good-for-nothing miscreant and more than anything else, a fraud.
I™ll note that one critic has called DeLillo œThe great American novelist. And that another has described him as, œAmerica™s greatest unread author.
I don™t care what the critics think of him. I just wish he™d attend to his artistry without having to rely on the built-in interest of great baseball games to whet people™s interest.