By Juliet Papa, 1010 WINS
NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – It’s not often you find a turnip and a grapefruit playing integral roles in a competitive softball game, but it’s part of the fun and tradition in East Hampton where the Artists and Writers game is celebrating 65 years of play.
It’s a star-studded event these days. This year, actor and director Ed Burns, Josh Charles from “The Good Wife” and Marc Feuerstein of “Royal Pains” will be among those on deck for the Artists.
New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica , publisher Mort Zuckerman, best-selling author Ken Auletta and other notables will be stepping up to the plate for the Writers . Proceeds from the game and cocktail party benefit four East End charities.
This year, there will be an exhibit called “They Played In The Game.” To celebrate the 65th year of the event, Guild Hall will display artwork, books, and photos dating back to 1948.
It all began in a local backyard – where local artists picnicked, and as legend has it, warmed up before a few cocktails. These were “locals” who became world-renowned — we’re talking about Willem deKooning, Franz Kline and Jackson Pollock.
Then their literary friends joined in and the rivalry has been on ever since. At one point, a coconut was painted white and disguised as the game ball to put one player’s ego in his place. It splattered into pieces during a mighty swing. Other assorted fruits and vegetables have since been used as effective substitutes.
We’ve seen some great athletes at Herrick Field; The soccer legend Pele’ never played baseball, but he bravely stepped into the batter’s box and was given a ten-second lesson on how to swing. Boxer Gerry Cooney lumbered around the field; he played for the artists because he “worked on canvas,” as the story goes. Hockey great Rod Gilbert attends the game. Alan Alda, Paul Simon and Chevy Chase have been past fan favorites. Alec Baldwin and Christie Brinkley are current stalwarts. James Lipton of “Inside the Actors’ Studio” sits in the broadcast booth. I’ll be sitting alongside him along with comedy writer Fred Graver and we’ll be describing the plays, the antics and the good cheer among players and fans. And we’ll also be looking out for that disguised grapefruit or turnip – that can turn up at anytime.
So come celebrate with us – August 17 at Herrick Field . See you there!