Here's what happens when you take the greatest rivalry in sports history and inject Hollywood money into it. You get The Trade, a movie by Red Sox fans Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, clearly designed to make the New York Yankees look bad. The planned movie is about pitchers Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson and one of the Yanks' dirty little sex secrets: Wife swapping.
Oh yes, it is every devout sports fan's dream: to successfully embarrass the hell out of your archrival, and to do it on a national scale, but what's the deal here? Haven't Matt and Ben already secured "ultimate fan" status?
Hike up their pants, and those boys have Red Sox on every day. Ben shows up at Red Sox Foundation events to bring in money with his celebrity, and Matt dared to show up on Letterman a few years back (shot in New York City, hello) with a Sox jersey on, then insult the Yankees. The talk show host had to warn him he might need escorts to get out of the building safely.
We get it. They think the Sox are wicked cool. So why are Affleck and Damon considering a movie about two YANKEES?
The story goes that in 1973, Yankees hurlers Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson swapped wives. Peterson ended up married to Kekich's wife Susanne, but Kekich's relationship with Peterson's wife Marilyn never went anywhere. Juicy! Said Affleck of the whole thing: "Guys [bleep]ing each others' wives -- that's those Yankees."
But come on, it was the '70s. That stuff happened! Pre-AIDS scare. When everyone had a key bowl. In fact, this movie was already made. It was called The Ice Storm, and instead of professional baseball players, it starred Kevin Kline and Joan Allen as a middle class couple from Connecticut who were both swingers and really crappy parents. Critics liked it -- it was directed by Ang Lee, how could they not? -- but it was no blockbuster. It doesn't actually sound that compelling to me.
Excuse my natural suspicions of all things to come out of the Red Sox nation, but I smell a rat here. Mike Kekich never amounted to much as a pitcher. Peterson was better -- he once boasted the best strikeout-to-walk ratios in the American League -- but after the trade went down, so did his numbers. He had to be traded to the Indians.
A movie about "the trade" will really be a movie about a really crappy period for the New York Yankees. It's a good thing Kekich is trying to get the movie killed. We'd rather see this rivalry play out on the diamond than putting more bling in Affleck's and Damon's wallets.
Do you think this is about the sex scandal or something more?
Image via Sheksays/Flickr