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THE GREAT AMERICAN ROOKIE
Philip Roth
March 12, 1973
"Call me Ishmael" wrote Herman Melville in one literature's famed opening lines. "Call me Smitty" parodies Philip Roth as he begins The Great American Novel, which will be published in May by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Smitty is a sportswriter with a whale of a tale to tell. The plot concerns the travails of an illstarred baseball team—and the morals are many. This excerpt describes the astonishing events of the' 33 season.
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March 12, 1973

The Great American Rookie

"Call me Ishmael" wrote Herman Melville in one literature's famed opening lines. "Call me Smitty" parodies Philip Roth as he begins The Great American Novel, which will be published in May by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Smitty is a sportswriter with a whale of a tale to tell. The plot concerns the travails of an illstarred baseball team—and the morals are many. This excerpt describes the astonishing events of the' 33 season.

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"Mike Masterson didn't hit it off you—you just dished up a fat pitch. It could happen to anyone."

"But not to me! It was on account of my rhythm bein' broke! On account of my fine edge bein' off!"

"That wasn't his doin' either, boy. Throwin' that low one was your own smart idea. See this fella comin' up? He can strong-back that pelota right outta here. I want for you to put him on."

"No!"

"Now do like I tell you, Gil. Put him on. It'll calm you down, for one, and set up the d.p. for two. Let's get out of this inning the smart way."

But when the Old Philosopher departed the mound, and Pineapple stepped to the side of the plate to give Gamesh a target for the intentional pass, the rookie sensation growled, "Get back where you belong, you Hawaiian hick."

"But," warned the burly catcher, running halfway to the mound, "he say put him on, Gilly!"

"Don't you worry, Oahu, I'll put him on all right."

"How?"

Gil grinned.

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