Inspired by the 1979 Chicago White Sox, Harry Caray, Jimmy Pearsall and Disco Demolition Night, Ball Games is a not-so-far-fetched farce about a baseball team turned entertainment spectacle. Tabloid tycoon, Rufus Glutman’s motto is, “At the end of the game, the one with the most money wins.” During a major league baseball players’ strike, he buys the Chicago Cubs and replaces the strikers with eccentric, freakily gifted minor leaguers. His ...
Inspired by the 1979 Chicago White Sox, Harry Caray, Jimmy Pearsall and Disco Demolition Night, Ball Games is a not-so-far-fetched farce about a baseball team turned entertainment spectacle. Tabloid tycoon, Rufus Glutman’s motto is, “At the end of the game, the one with the most money wins.” During a major league baseball players’ strike, he buys the Chicago Cubs and replaces the strikers with eccentric, freakily gifted minor leaguers. His sultry, shifty PR maven, Mona McCloud, has the showmanship of P.T. Barnum.
Soon, anything “Chicago Cubs” is up for sale to advertisers, from NASCAR-style uniform advertising to logos on bases to Wrigley Field’s hallowed name. The PR sideshows, extreme players, even the two combative broadcasters wind up in a bid for the pennant with a startling winning streak and record butts in the seats.
Can an ex-con’s swinging Ninja Bat accidentally “brush” pitchers off the mound? Does Tourette’s excuse foul behavior? Can a six-fingered programmer pitch new tricks? Will Psychic Night play in Vegas? Can the two announcers just get along? Did Mona McCloud’s gossip spark a double suicide? Can the Smashing Pumpkins quell a riot while the Weinermobile flees the scene? In the end, can a shy nobody, Fred Finder, prevent Wrigley Field from becoming a shopping mall and save America’s pastime?
I grew up playing backyard baseball where if you hit it into the corn field, it was a home run - and often a lost ball. I’ve still got all my old baseball cards. (Thank you, Mickey Mantle!) I wound up writing electronics catalogs in Chicago and I often fell asleep on the job. But I got a great stereo system and tons of classic records cheap.
I became captivated by the most entertaining year of baseball I’ve ever experienced - Bill Veeck’s 1979 Chicago White Sox with announcers Harry Carey and Jimmy Pearsall. I even finagled my way into the broadcast booth to observe them as I contemplated this book. (During that game, Harry actually spilled a large full beer cup over the ledge to the seats below.) When Disco Demolition Night exploded I thought, “My gosh, no book can top all this.” I actually had to rewrite this book and subsequent drafts. Oddly, decades later another more serious book came out that echoed elements of Ball Games with its bottom line focus and unlikely team – Moneyball, the Art of Winning An Unfair Game.
I’m a compulsive writer. I began rhyming poems in sixth grade, fiction in eighth, tunes in tenth, and grade “A” creative writing in college. To make a buck, I’ve written ads for beer, tacos, guitars and grommets. I’ve also written several very odd songs, a novel about alien “Kronads,” and a sold-out marketing book, How to Sell More Stuff. For years I performed original music in Chicago bars. Drunks on dates actually listened to songs about wrestlers, time machines, apparitions, angst, bad jobs and classic monster actors. A producer once dubbed my group, “The Alice Cooper of Folk Music.”
I have a literature degree, but love dumb, fast farces like Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Airplane, Naked Gun and Scary Movie. And I love great dialog. (I.e., Casa Blanca.)
Now I’m back to just writing for fun, whether it sells or not. If you enjoy Ball Games, I hope you’ll pass the news on to friends who may also enjoy it. It’s self-published with no marketing budget. Any word-of-mouth support is greatly appreciated. And I welcome all comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe I’ll finally start tweeting – niatpaclevram (captain marvel backwards).