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)