OUT AT THE OLD BALL GAME by Bernie Bookbinder

OUT AT THE OLD BALL GAME

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A slight but amusing satire of baseball and homophobia. Bookbinder, a former newspaperman who helped write the famous literary hoax Naked Came the Stranger, gives baseball a comic turn. For Scrappy Schwartzenberger, the owner of the New York Gents, the fun has gone out of the game. His team's attendance is down; they're perpetual losers. Just as he decides to sell the team and move to Florida, his one certifiable star, Dick ``Rootie'' Toote (known as Mr. Baseball), drops a bomb on him that threatens the value of his investment. Toote calls a press conference to deliver a message of three simple words: ``I am gay.'' Deciding to take a lemon and make lemonade, Scrappy outs a roster of players around the league that reads like the starting lineup at the All-Star game. Panicky owners rush to trade their gay players, and Scrappy picks up the pieces. Soon he has a contender. He also has the country's first all-gay ballclub. Arrayed against the Gents, however, are powerful forces. The owner of their crosstown rival, the Yankees, is determined to have the commissioner throw the whole bunch out ``for the good of baseball.'' New York Post sportswriter Stan Mann, once a good anti-McCarthyite liberal, now takes a leaf out of Tailgunner Joe's book as he relentlessly pursues his own journalistic survival. The Gents become a cause cÇläbre. Gay becomes ``in.'' Old stereotypes are dispelled as the Gents make it to the World Series against the damn Yankees. Will they win? Will they hang together to play another day? The pun of the title is about as subtle as the work ever gets (the Yankee owner is ``Donald Bigg,'' and players all have names like ``Rhino'' and ``Speedy Gonzalez''). With tongue firmly in cheek, Bookbinder attempts to skewer some of the most sacred cows of sports, with only limited results.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1995
ISBN: 1-882593-09-X
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Bridge Works
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1995