OT: Promising NEW BASEBALL MOVIE in development -- and unavoidable baseball movie POLL -- and ***BILLY BUTLER SELFIE!!!***


Billy Crystal was certainly Billy Crystal yet sometimes he Billy Crystal and one wonders why Billy Crystal and occasionally Dabney Coleman, but the guy really likes baseball. A lot. He's also in the business of making movies [directed 2001's made-for-HBO 61* which--incidentally--I just found out is somewhat good, so I guess I should watch it], so that brings us to this bit of potentially enticing news (from --

When I asked him if he wanted to tell another baseball story if he directed again, Crystal replied,

"We're developing one now of a book that I found in the mid 50's... it was written in the mid 50s that is a really wonderful unusual baseball novel that Chris Columbus sent me after he saw 61* that we've finally got the rights to, that we're working on now. It's a very small, little story, but it eventually involves the Reserve Clause and players in the 50s and the starting of the influx of Latin players. It's based on a true story of a player who took 17 years in the minors before he got to the majors, and plays in one game. It's a really unusual baseball story called MAN ON SPIKES, written by Eliot Asinof, who was a blacklisted writer. And we're writing the script now."

Eliot Asinof, it turns out, was also the author of Eight Men Out, which, in 1988, American film director John Sayles made into one of the best baseball movies ever. [You can stream it on Netflix here.]

Anybody read Man On Spikes before? has this to say about it:

One of baseball writing's best utility men, Asinof is justly famed for Eight Men Out, his masterful exploration of the tragic events that led to the surreal stain of the 1919 Black Sox scandal; it is a deservedly enduring work of baseball nonfiction. Asinof's first literary at-bat, though, was in the fictional league. Man on Spikes--long out of print until that egregious error was rectified with the debut of Southern Illinois University Press's Writing Baseball series--is about as unromantically clear-eyed a look at baseball as exists in the genre. Its hero is a journeyman ballplayer named Mike Kutner, based, intriguingly, on a real journeyman ballplayer named Mickey Rutner, who Asinof played minor league ball with, and who, in one of the game's cosmic jokes, winds up on the same page as Babe Ruth in the alphabetical listings of The Baseball Encyclopedia.

Kutner, like Rutner, is never quite good enough to stick in the Majors, but his dream of making it allows ownership to abuse and exploit his talent for the 16 seasons after he signs his first contract. Dreams die hard, and sports dreams die particularly hard; Asinof works this theme beautifully, until, in the end, Kutner can finally hang up his spikes and hold onto something more tangible than reverie: sustaining love. This is a novel bursting with passion, understanding, and the insight of someone who's played the game and can translate its feelings without filtering them through rose-colored flip-ups. -- Jeff Silverman

Almost sounds like somebody took a food processor, threw in (1) baseball movie and (1) Terrence Malick and then pushed "movify." Color me intrigued.

You know who read and really liked this book? None other than legendary Sci-Fi author Harlan Ellison:

"Like the glove work of Cal Ripken, Jr., which looks easy till you try it and fall on your can, the writing of Eliot Asinof looks so easy that you don't realize he has conveyed an entire milieu in the life story of a very ordinary man with one special talent and an all-consuming love for his sport. Then you discover that you're having trouble reading the page because of the mist in your eyes and the tension in your chest."Harlan Ellison, San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

{NEITHER HERE NOR THERE: Did you know that Billy Crystal's third role in a real Hollywood movie was...The Princess Bride? For some reason I's assumed he'd been in many comedic roles in the 70s and early 80s. Not so, says the internet.}*

* - I'm going to start using these '{' things just because it seems like nobody but mathematicians and calligraphists use them anyway, and why should they have all the squiggly fun?

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.

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