MAD magazine associate editor Jacob Lambert’s latest contribution to The Millions is all about Mike Lupica. If you’re pining ahead of tonight’s Game #1 between the Mets and Dodgers at Chavez Ravine for a little Lupica, this is the place to turn.
Lambert reminisces about his favorite Lupica columns and tries to put into personal context the impact of the sportswriter’s reported slow-bleed exit:
The Daily News without Lupica was, to me, the Lakers without Magic Johnson, the Stones without Mick Jagger. He was unquestionably its biggest star at a time when newspapers didn’t really have “stars.” He was Burt Lancaster in The Sweet Smell of Success: a writer of wide influence, equally loathed and beloved. He was a holdover from an earlier era, a time when a columnist could claim celebrity — and his contract’s non-renewal represented a severing of the present from two distinct and parallel pasts: newspapers’ and my own.
And with a jarring lack of ceremony, that was apparently that. After nearly 40 years in the pages of the News, Lupica seems to be done. He hasn’t said much about his situation – a few terse and cryptic comments to the press – and the paper, on its way to bleeding out completely, has offered even less. His columns still appear, and will continue to, one assumes, until his contract does run out. All in all, a disappointing and feeble end.
Not so fast. A rep for the News tells FishbowlNY this afternoon that “Mike Lupica continues to be employed by the New York Daily News and any report to the contrary is completely false.”
The key words here: “completely false.” On the journalist’s NYDN author’s page, the evidence is not quite as emphatic. At press time, Lupica’s last listed contribution is an Oct. 4 look at the late father of Mets manager Terry Collins.
Nevertheless, with legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully unexpectedly sidelined for the 2015 MLB playoffs, the news that Lupica “continues to be employed” is a tonic for Mets fans. It remains to be seen whether this means through his current contract or as part of some new and very welcome arrangement. Go Mets!