Still don't know what I think about mixing in the hardball with the hardboiled. Both are enthusiasms of mine, so I kind of dig it. The novel was published the year before DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak, so it's not too much of a stretch to meld the two. But sometimes it does feel like it's trying too hard.
Actually, there's something screwy with these dates. Clearly the screenwriter was paying close attention to the details of Joe DiMaggio's 1941 hitting streak. The scene refers to June 20, 1941, the day DiMaggio hit in his 33rd straight game - against Detroit, with Bobo Newsom & Archie McKain pitching. So why reference Germany's invasion of Russia, which did not begin until June 22, 1941? If it was important to the screenwriter to reference the invasion, why not place the scene on the 22nd or 23rd, and reference the 34th or 35th game in DiMaggio's hitting streak?
Question: why pay that kind of attention to dates, and then make it so they don't add up?
Answer: it's the movies.