In its 63-year history, I don’t think there has ever been a more picture perfect game than last week’s Artists vs. Writers Charity Softball Game that took place at Herrick Park in East Hampton. The weather was perfect, Alec Baldwin (who appeared to be a few pounds lighter compared to last year) was in right field, Coach Ken Autletta smiled when the writers scored, and got angry when they didn’t, and sportswriter Mike Lupica sustained an injury at the beginning of the game in his calf in a highly dramatic fashion.
And when it was all over, the writer’s enjoyed a 16 to 13 victory over the artists in front of a crowd of about 1,000 people, making up for last year’s loss.
Revenge is so sweet.
The first inning was what broke the soul of the artists, up against pitcher Countess LuAnn de Lesseps, with over five runs scored against her in the first inning. At one point, the score was 8 to 0 writers, and at no point did we lose that lead, although it did get pretty close.
The artists, with their batting might and under Leif Hope’s leadership, pounced back, driving in runs and nearly taking the lead in the eighth inning when they were behind by just one run.
At shortstop for the writers was David Baer, who was practically unstoppable in his position. His key defensive plays were a huge advantage for the writers, who largely produced a lot of ground balls from their lineup. However, their big hitters such as artist Billy Strong was frequently robbed by the aggressive outfield for the writers, which included Mike Pellman, who hit a thunder cracking homerun.
Oh and by the way, this writer, a Writer, got on first base…
The game had all of the right moments. An all-out argument broke out on the field that included both teams after a debate over whether or not a homerun should be a ground-rule double, and also whether or not the artists were pitching a bit too hard (fast pitch is against the rules in this game).
“You can tell him that he has to slow down!” yelled writers’ coach Ken Auletta at umpire Dan Rattiner. “You’re the man, Dan.”
The game was going well for me, after all I was on the writers’ roster and enjoy winning, but in the ninth inning when my Dad made call at home plate of “safe,” when it was clearly an out, I almost had to run out onto the field and tackle him. “Well, it wouldn’t be the artists versus writers game if Dan doesn’t make a call like that,” Lupica joked. But the next play, in a close out at third to end the game, my Dad yelled the magical words of “out!”
There was even some Yankee magic on the field, with Jim Leyritz, a former New York Yankee and author of the book Catching Heat, playing in the game for the writers. While standing with the writers he joked, “The competition here is almost the same as it is at Yankee stadium.”
Make no mistake about it folks, this is serious softball.
And it is all in the name of charity, a few very good charities, which include the Phoenix House, East End Hospice and the East End Day Care Learning Center, all local. According to Leif Hope, over $73,000 was raised to help support the good work of these people.
As the tradition continues for the next 63 years, we’ve seen some really great games. The Artists vs. Writers game always marks a signal that the summer is ending, so it is slightly bittersweet for all of us, but mostly sweet, especially when the home team wins.
Here is a list of players and the game’s stats: