Books and Movies Reviews

Philip Roth's The Great American Novel: The Greatest Cover-Up in Baseball History

Philip Roth's novel The Great American Novel is actually a novel within a novel.The narrator of the story, Word Smith, purports to tell us about the greatest cover-up in baseball history – and perhaps the history of the United States of America, as well.Smith narrates the story of the fictional third Major League, known as the Patriot League.This league was evidently dissolved in the year 1946 after being infiltrated by communists and thus threatening America's national security.This makes sense, as baseball has traditionally been seen as America's "national pastime," so what better way to infiltrate the country than through its favorite sport.
Word Smith is ninety years old when the story begins.Before Smitty, as he is affectionately known, told us the story, no one knew about the Patriot League – their story had been purged from the history books.This is a shame, because the league allegedly contained such esteemed players as Luke Gofannon, who is the only player to have a higher lifetime batting average than Ty Cobb.
Smitty begins his narration with the description of an event that turned Major League Baseball on its head in the year 1933, when a player for the Patriot League took the fans' cries seriously and literally tried to "kill the ump."The umpire, Mike "the Mouth" Masterson, was unfortunate enough to have made a bad call that put an end to rookie pitcher Gil Gamesh's perfect game.After the bad call, the frustrated pitcher threw a fastball that effectively crushed the larynx of Masterson and almost killed him, resulting in the pitcher being banished from the game for life.
The story then jumps to ten years later.One of the League's proudest franchises, the Rupert Mundys, is homeless as a result of their owners' greed.The Rupert Mundys are now only a mere shadow of their former great team.All of their best players…

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