Friday, January 19, 2007

Deconstructing The Mick

Peter Golenbock is an acclaimed author of numerous sports book (Sparky Lyle's "The Bronx Zoo", Greg Nettles' "Balls"), so it makes one wonder WTF he was thinking when he decided to do his latest project, "7: The Mickey Mantle Novel". There have been many tomes written about The Mick, some with his input, some without. But never has there been one that is total fiction. While early reports of Mickey being a family man were definitely fiction, no prior book was ever intentionally fictional. Golenbock's latest book has changed all of that. He has put together a fictional account of Mickey's life, including a sexual encounter with another legendary icon, Marilyn Monroe (you think Joe D would have ever let that happen?).

The book had been lying relatively under the radar until yesterday's announcement that the publisher, Harper Collins, had decided to drop the project. The book was originally slated under Harper Collins' subsidiary ReaganBooks. But HC kicked ReagenBooks founder Judith Reagan to the curb after her ill-advised O.J. Simpson novel (What do you mean "if" you did it?) and closed up shop in LA, consolidating projects back to the parent company. All but Golenbock's latest work.

Golenbock was deeply disappointed, but felt he would have no problem picking up another publisher. “I love this book,” he said. “And Mickey would have loved it, too. A lot of the people who’ve said nasty things about it haven’t read it. But if you read it, I guarantee you’ll find humor and pathos and a real human being.”

Does Golenbock honestly think Mickey would have loved it? And what fan of Mickey Mantle's would want to read it? Mickey was already a tragic figure. Haunted by the deaths of his father, grandfather, and son, Mickey literally drank himself to death and never truly appreciated what a great player he was. He was self-admittedly a poor husband and father, and a poor role model. His sons turned to the bottle in order to spend more time with him. But his teammates and Yankees fans absolutely adored him. They didn't need him to be the bigger than life man he was, they just needed him to be The Mick. Apparently Golenbock has forgotten that.

Unfortunately, another publisher will put this book out. Here's to hoping no one "donates" to the proceeds.

No comments:

Post a Comment