Mike Lupica is one of those guys who is hard not to like. He is quite literally living the dream of most sports fans, working as one of the most prominent sports writers in America today. He is one of the most widely read syndicated columnists for the New York Daily News, which includes his popular “Shooting from the Lip” column that appears every Sunday.
Lupica has written several books, has been sought out as a guest or expert for nearly every major sports broadcasting network in America and has been doing it all since the early age of 23, when he began his career at the news desk of the New York Post covering the New York Knicks.
Lupica is also one dedicated ball player for the Artists and Writers Charity Softball Game that is taking place this Saturday in East Hampton, after the game was postponed last weekend due to rain.
Lupica, who has a long history with the Hamptons and has been a part of the Artists and Writers game for the last 30 years, drove all the way from Connecticut in the rain in order to make the game’s originally scheduled date last Saturday. “I knew it wasn’t gonna stop raining, but I didn’t want to take the chance that it would stop raining,” Lupica laughs.
“My entire drive out there is a great story. I get onto 27 and see the Snapple truck that is going to the softball game and is a sponsor, right next me. I gave the driver a nod and then headed toward Bridgehampton to stop for a breakfast at the Candy Kitchen. I kept asking Gus and the waitresses at Candy Kitchen if they thought the rain was gonna stop. ‘OF COURSE IT’S NOT GONNA STOP!’ they kept saying.
“I knew the morning game in Sag Harbor wasn’t gonna happen. So I called my friend Larry Brown, and I thought that maybe we’d get a few rounds of golf in at the Atlantic so I met up with him there, but then it starts raining like the end of the freaking world. So then I called Ken Auletta, and I’m like ‘Ken, we got to get closure here, are we playing or not?’
“I got back in my car and headed down to Herrick Park in East Hampton to have a look at the field and saw that the infield was completely under water, I mean it was really bad. And right around that time Leif Hope had made the call to postpone the game. I look around and I see the same Snapple truck that I saw on the way in to East Hampton again, and I gave the driver a nod, again.
“I decided to get back to Connecticut, and hit the road. I was driving along and by the time I got to County Road 39 right where the Lobster Inn is, what’s in front of me? I kid you not, the Snapple truck is right there. I immediately got on my phone and rang up Deb McEneaney, who is the main organizer of the game, and said, ‘If you’ve ever questioned my devotion to this game, or to you, you’re in for a story of my day.’”
Lupica’s energy is so apparent when you speak to him that your head nearly spins. His charm adds to his character, but what makes him a really brilliant guy is his incredible knowledge of sports and his remarkable and ongoing career as a writer. The amount of articles published and books written is remarkably extensive, and the sports legends that he has rubbed elbows with and had the opportunity to get amazing stories out of is equally amazing. He co-wrote autobiographies with Reggie Jackson and Bill Parcells, collaborated with noted author and screenwriter William Goldman on Wait ‘Till Next Year, and wrote The Summer of ‘98, Mad as Hell: How Sports Got Away from the Fans and How We Get It Back and Shooting From the Lip, a collection of columns.
His novel credits include Dead Air, Extra Credits, Limited Partner, Jump, Full Court Press, Red Zone, Too Far and national bestsellers Wild Pitch and Bump and Run. Dead Air was nominated for the Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best First Mystery and became a CBS television move, “Money, Power, Murder,” to which Lupica contributed the teleplay.
Over the years he has been a regular on the “CBS Morning News,” “Good Morning America” and “The MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour.” On the radio, he has made frequent appearances on Imus in the Morning since the early 1980s.
As I tried to get Mike to talk more about his own personal life and his upbringing, which includes growing up in Nashua, New Hampshire and graduating from Boston College, getting married to his wife in Bridgehampton and owning homes in Bridgehampton, Mike simply had to keep talking about the Artists and Writers game, which he clearly is passionate about. “I got married in Bridgehampton and my first house was on Lumber Lane and then we lived on Butter Lane for years and years. We’re in the process of house hunting right now, because now that my boys are a little older we want to have a big place where everyone can come. I love it in the Hamptons, my daughter loves the Hampton Classic and competes in it. In fact, now that I think about it, this Friday works perfect for me now that the game has been postponed until Saturday, because on Friday night I’m speaking at Friday’s at Five at the Bridgehampton Library and my daughter is going to be riding in the Hampton Classic. We always get a good crowd at the Bridgehampton Library, I’m looking forward to it. But you know, Dave, there are so many things that become like instant traditions now in the Hamptons, I think you know what I’m saying…But this softball game is something that really has lasted. It has become this little town fair in baseball, and there is a bunch of us every year that come back to this game. Deb McEneaney has really transformed it. It sounds goofy to say it, but I’m always happy to be there, I’m always happy to do something for a charity but it’s the fellowship that I feel with the guys I’m playing with.”
This year, Lupica will likely be central to the action. “I think that I might be pitching this year. Mort Zuckerman is not going to be there this year because of the rainout. I’ve pitched before, I prefer to play the infield. Your Dad is gonna have to expand the strike zone.”
The 64th Annual Artists and Writers Celebrity Softball Game, originally scheduled for August 18, will be held on Saturday, August 25 at Herrick Park in East Hampton. Batting practice is at noon, and the game starts at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10. Benefitting charities include East End Hospice, East Hampton Day Care Learning Center, Phoenix House and The Retreat.