Take Me Out to the Ballgame was the very first book I ever published, back in 1980. Let’s see what the world was like then. Our economy was faltering. The President was increasingly unpopular. Iran was our enemy. Baseball players made way too much money, resented by the regular working stiffs.
I was prophetic in this novel, with fan violence, greed. I even concocted the notion of baseball’s first cheerleaders, the Mattettes. Now let’s fast forward to the Era of President Obama. Some things haven’t changed all that much. Iran still hates us, though instead of holding 300 plus hostages, they support terrorism and threaten to exterminate Israel. The economy is crumbling beneath debt and government programs. Mr. Obama, buoyed by the most good will I remember an incoming President ever receiving, has sadly squandered a great deal of that affection.
Not so different.
I thought, what if I change the book to contemporary times? How cool is that for a writer to get to revisit and rewrite his own work? Thanks to publishing with Amazon, things like that are now possible. I wanted to return to baseball and blend in politics, my other passion, to see what happens when those two inflammable worlds collide. A Cinderella team, a baseball-crazed city like Buffalo, and an owner with political ambitions. Fans chanting “Where’s My Bailout?” as a rally cry. Mortgage Day instead of Ball Day. Baseball and bailouts, as American as apple pie. But the greed and immorality still infects the stage, whether 1980 or 2010. We still have ruthless and powerful people manipulating our citizens.
But I didn’t write this with an agenda. A novel should be balanced. I infuse my characters with divergent views. It’s up to the reader to decide. They might agree, disagree, grow angry. I only hope for a response. Indifference is poison to an artist.
Gary Morgenstein is co-host of the Purple Haze radio show, Thursdays at 9PM/ET at blogtalkradio.com/mediablvd. In addition to his dating and relationship book How to Find a Woman…Or Not, Morgenstein’s novels include Loving Rabbi Thalia Kleinman, about a divorced man who falls in love with a beautiful woman rabbi; Jesse’s Girl, a powerful story about a father’s search for his adopted teenage son, and Take Me Out to the Ballgame, a political baseball thriller, as well as the baseball Rocky The Man Who Wanted to Play Center Field for the New York Yankees. His prophetic play Ponzi Man played to sell-out crowds at the New York Fringe Festival. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, surrounded by lots of books and rock and roll CDs. He is Director, Communications, for the Syfy Channel.
Please visit him at gary.garymorgenstein.com.
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