That Mitch Albom-penned Ernie Harwell play is actually happening

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When it was first announced last fall I hoped it was like one of the many projects we hear about but which never come to fruition.  But no, it appears that Mitch Albom’s play about Ernie Harwell is actually happening.  It will officially be announced tomorrow, including introductions of the actor playing Harwell and some remarks by Albom himself.  The play’s description from the production company:

“Ernie” features a two person cast portraying “Ernie” and the “Boy”, a teenager who, on the night Ernie comes to Comerica Park to say goodbye to the fans, encounters his hero and asks him to give a very special broadcast – the broadcast of his life. The play will feature actual footage from historic baseball moments, famous Tigers players and Harwell calls.

Like I said last fall, I think a play about Ernie Harwell could be pretty cool. I just think that Mitch Albom is probably the least-equipped person on he planet to do it.  Albom’s famous books traffic in easy sentimentality and emotional manipulation. They’re feature elderly people who either behave like children or some kind of sage gurus and nothing in between.  His sports writing, while once somewhat fresh back before most of you reading this were born, is so hacky that hacks look at it and say “damn, that guy’s a hack.”  The idea of letting Albom combine is twisted sense of mortality and aging and sports in the form of an Ernie Harwell piece borders on the criminal.

Given that, in contrast to Albom’s works, Harwell was all about understatement, humility, self-deprecation and grace, I feel safe in saying that it’s not exactly a match.

(thanks to Brian Murphy for the link)

Masahiro Tanaka to throw off a mound this weekend

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Earlier this month Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka strained both of his hamstrings while running the bases in an interleague game against the Mets and was sent to the 10-day DL. Today it was announced that the beginning of the end of most DL stints for pitchers — throwing off of a mound — is in Tanaka’s immediate future.

Tanaka is scheduled to throw off a mound Sunday, which will be his first real (well, fake real) pitching action since the June 9th injury. Assuming the session goes well, Tanaka is expected to return to the Yankees’ starting rotation sometime in early-to-mid July. With the All-Star break coming the week of July 16, it would not be hard to imagine the Yankees giving him a few extra days to get right.

Tanaka is 7-2 with a 4.58 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 73/19 in 72.2 innings on the season.