Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Five Things You Need to Know about Take Me Out to the Ballgame

We have a special guest post by Gary Morgenstein, author of Take Me Out to the Ballgame (CreateSpace, $16.95).

Take Me Out to the Ballgame
is about baseball and bailouts, as American as apple pie. Weaving today's economic malaise with the powerful magic of a Cinderella baseball team, Take Me Out to the Ballgame is a political baseball novel for our times. The Buffalo Matadors haven't won a world championship in 37 years, a dying franchise. Until flamboyant Harry Witowsky, a 21st Century George Steinbrenner, buys them, vowing to do whatever is necessary to change the fortunes of the "Door Mats." Victories and attendance climb as Witowsky creates an Us versus Them mentality at the Stadium. The rally cry of "Where's My Bailout" replaces "Let's Go Mats." Buffalo's surprising surge resonates with a nation afraid of losing jobs and homes, shaken by terrorist threats, frightened for the future. The Matadors become America's Team.

Five Things You Need to Know about Take Me Out to the Ballgame
By Gary Morgenstein

In Take Me Out to the Ballgame, the Buffalo Matadors haven’t won a world championship in 37 years, a dying franchise. Until new owner Harry Witowsky, a self-made millionaire with a chain of plumbing supply stores, vows to do whatever is necessary to change the fortunes of the “Door Mats.”

Dump the high-priced veterans. Call up the kids. Hire sexy cheerleaders, the Mattettes. And incite the recession weary fans of Buffalo into becoming an unruly “10th Man” by encouraging them to do anything to help their team win.

As the Mats surge and sell-outs become the norm, the Us versus Them mentality intensifies, unleashing violent resentment whipped up by the all-seeing digital scoreboard. When Mortgage Day (where a lucky fan wins mortgage payments for a year) lands Witowsky in legal trouble, he becomes a political hero. A Tea Party on July 4th follows; Harry in 2012 signs flourish.

The rally cry of “Where’s My Bailout” replaces “Let’s Go Mats.” Buffalo’s surprising success resonates with a nation afraid of losing jobs and homes, shadowed by terrorism, frightened for the future. The upstart Matadors become America’s Team.

As the Mats battle for first place against the rival Indianapolis Racers, one long-suffering fan, Cal Fleisher, resents all the front-runners. He is the true Number One fan. And he’s determined to prove just how far he will go for his team.

Why did you write this book? I wrote Take Me Out to the Ballgame powered by a deep love and respect for baseball and through the prism of my fascination with politics and history. Our nation is buffeted by divisiveness and fear with greed the paramount enemy. What I did in this unique novel – a baseball political thriller is a rarity – was blend sports and politics to capture the rocky tenor of the times through a story of a Cinderella baseball team.

What do you hope to accomplish with this novel? Like any novelist, I want to entertain and make my readers feel and think. I hope they will identify or, at the least, empathize with the characters struggling to make a living and support their families, yet scared that the disconnect between their dreams and the political system is too vast, too disquieting.

Do you write from a political perspective or agenda? While I am a neo-conservative who has voted for both parties – though more often Republicans – as a writer my duty is to the story, not engage in political hectoring. Characters range across a wide spectrum of views and it is up to the reader to determine what resonates with them. They might get angry at some things. I hope so. That means I’ve touched a chord. Indifference is the mortal foe of a writer.

Which baseball team do you root for? I am a somewhat fallen Yankee fan. I grew up in the Bronx a fanatic fan, much like the main character of my novel, Cal Fleisher. When the players went on strike in 1994, a little of me died and it’s taken a while to recover from the shock of wow, this is a business. That offends the traditionalist in me which still believes the best way to experience baseball is by listening to the radio on a warm summer night.

Were you an athlete growing up? Yes and a pretty poor one. For my novel The Man Who Wanted to Play Center Field for the New York Yankees, I tried out for the Yankees as a promotional stunt. I was lousy at 13. Decades later, I didn’t improve any. But yet I stood with a bat at home plate at Yankee Stadium, just like the Babe and the Mick and Reggie and Derek. Except for the results!

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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