From today’s “Page Six” in the New York Post:
Former Yankee Mike Kekich is desperate to block Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s movie “The Trade,” based on the huge scandal when he and fellow pitcher Fritz Peterson swapped wives in the 1970s.
Die-hard Red Sox fan Affleck and his brother, Casey, are rewriting a second version of the script and have hired veteran sportswriters to help reach out to Yankees from that era. But Kekich, who’s believed to have created a completely new life and family in New Mexico, is refusing to participate.
A source tells us, “Kekich is panic-stricken. He has moved away and has a new identity. He is freaked out that those working on the movie found out where he is. He isn’t too keen on having the scandal dredged up again after all this time. Other Yankees from that time have also been really unhelpful with facts and details of what happened. They are stonewalling.”
The amazing drama started in 1972 after the two hurlers, old friends, joked about swapping wives. They followed through on it, although word didn’t get out until the spring of ’73. Marilyn Peterson moved in with Kekich, but it didn’t last. Susanne Kekich and Fritz are still married and live in New Jersey and Colorado. Kekich reportedly remarried and had another daughter.
Actresses being considered include Naomi Watts, Rachel Weisz and Rebecca Hall. Ben Affleck recently confirmed he and Casey were rewriting the script, and hinted that Damon may direct. It wasn’t certain that he and Damon would play the pitchers.
Affleck recently told MTV, “I’ve come to have a little more respect for the Yankees. There are some of those guys . . . that look like good guys . . . But as an institution? Disdain. Contempt.” About the movie’s subject matter, he said: “Guys [bleep]ing each others’ wives — that’s those Yankees.”
The script hasn’t yet been shown to Major League Baseball or the Yankees, another source confirmed. Reps for Affleck, Damon and the team declined to comment.
I don’t deny that the Peterson-Kekich scandal would be the basis for an interesting movie. I and other fans of a certain generation remember it vividly. Even in the swingin’ 70s it was shocking stuff, particularly set against the straitlaced world of baseball. And I admire Affleck as a director; I thought “The Town” should have been among the Best Picture Oscar nominees. I just wish somebody would make the film who doesn’t have “disdain” and “contempt” for the Yankees.