So what is the “great American novel” about? It’s about conspiracies. It’s about Communism. It’s about capitalism. It’s about watching America and it’s citizens getting the wool pulled over their eyes, and even when they see it happening, it looks like it’s for the best. But mostly the “great American novel” is about baseball. That’s correct again. It’s about our National Pastime. By the way, did I mention it’s a satirical novel?
From the back cover of the book comes one of the best ways to describe it.
Gil Gamesh, the only pitcher who ever literally tried to kill the umpire. The ex-con first baseman, John Baal, “The Babe Ruth of the Big House,” who never hit a home run sober. If you’ve never heard of them - or of the Ruppert Mundys, the only homeless big-league ball team in American history - it’s because of the Communist plot, and the capitalist scandal, that expunged the entire Patriot League from baseball memory.
The book takes place over the 1944 season, but chronicles events over the span of about 10 years. From ‘34 to ‘44. It follows what has become known (in the book) as the fall of America’s third major league, the Patriot League. The Ruppert Mundys play in Port Ruppert, New Jersey, and because the owners have sold off their stadium to the military, they must play every game on the road! Given their past, and the past of many players and owners, everything comes crashing together for a very funny story, even though it is strangely laid out. At times it goes down hard, needing something to smooth the flow. But the humor side of it helps make it worth it. And it helps being a fan of the great sport of baseball, too.
I have always been one to get ruffled when watching sports movies, because sometimes they can be so unrealistic it’s ridiculous. I can handle comedic movies better, because the whole idea is that what is happening is unrealistic. This book presented one of those situations. For the pure satirical and humorous story, the events made the story. And the fact that there was so much more then just baseball, made it much deeper then I expected.