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Friday, March 20, 2009
Jon Weisman is a man who knows how to manage his time. For his day job, he is a features editor for Variety. When he's pretending to edit features, he blogs about the Dodgers for the Los Angeles Times. On top of that he has three kids, one of whom just had his first birthday which, as you parents out there know, is when they start to require much more in the way of physical labor what with the walking and you having to beat them twice a day and everything. In short, Weisman is a busy freaking dude.
But somehow, possibly with the assistance of a time machine or that power those dudes from "Dark City" had, he has managed to write a book too:
Dodgers fans have experienced many good times, including multiple postseason appearances and five championships. But being a Dodgers fan is about more than following a winning team. 100 Things Dodgers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die will help fans of the Dodgers get the most out of being a fan. It takes 125 years of Dodgers history from both Brooklyn and Los Angeles and distills it to the absolute best and most compelling, identifying in an informative, lively, and illuminating way the personalities, events, and facts every Dodgers fan should know without hesitation.
The book comes out in April, but you can preorder now. Show a blogger/father/working stiff some love and reserve a copy today.
Sometimes I worry that my professional writing aspirations are hampered by the fact that I am mostly just interested in writing about baseball. Yeah, it's the world to us, but if you look at the numbers of it all, baseball writing constitutes darn little traffic on the old information superhighway, relatively speaking. Will someone pay me to do this full time one day? Am I really reaching enough eyes out there?
Then I realize that there are folks getting paid to write about topics far more narrow than just baseball. Such as where to enjoy a cigar while watching baseball:
Here’s the sad truth: Not one team from a cigar-producing nation remains in the World Baseball Classic. The happy truth is that the semifinal games and final are being hosted by Los Angeles and Dodger Stadium. Of all the cities in which this year’s classic has been played, L.A. is not as cigar-unfriendly as you might think. The City of Angels is actually very tolerant of cigar lovers . . .
OK, it's really more of an ad than an article and, rather than depending on his prose to pay the rent, the dude writing it owns a restaurant. Still, it's comforting to see that there is more esoteric stuff than what I'm writing out there. Almost as comforting as knowing where I can burn a big stinky cigar and watch a ballgame if I'm so inclined.
A couple of years ago I may have scoffed at the idea of depositing my money someplace simply because of a baseball connection, but in light of recent events, it may not be the worst idea in the world:
Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan and investment firm founder Don Sanders, co-principal owners of the Round Rock Express triple-A baseball team, are set to launch a new bank based in Round Rock. R Bank Texas, projected to open in early June, has raised $12 million in startup capital, according to filings with the Texas Department of Banking . . .
It never occurred to me that you can make money by flipping banks, but then again, I never thought a guy that threw a ball 100 mph could pitch for 27 years either.
But be careful: if this bank issues bonds they, like the bank's owner, may be vastly overrated.
Not everyone appreciates my little geek-out in response to the Evan Longoria news. Well, actually, no one does, but this guy appreciates it less than others:
section 34 said...
If you're reading Rob, now would be a good time to remind you that the checks will stop coming if you quit linking me. Your call.
But in all seriousness, no, I don't propose that the United States forfeit the WBC. I am inclined, however, to suggest that, rather than Evan Longoria, we send Martin Prado or someone like him to play out the remainder of the games rather than risk yet another team's superstar in the service of a preseason exhibition. Chipper Jones, David Wright, and Kevin Youkilis are hurt already. Let's stop the bleeding.
And no, I don't presume that even that is a plausible course of action given the roster rules, so how about this: starting next time, let's play the WBC in the fall so players won't be working themselves into shape during this thing. I mean, I know spring training sucks and these players are probably happy to be avoiding it, but I can't help but think the extra stretching, running, and fielding reps they do down in Florida and Arizona serve an actual purpose that this year's WBCsters are missing out on.
Update: Ok, Martin Prado -- born in Maracay, Venezuela -- is probably not a good choice for the United States' team. How about Jed Lowrie?
So there's this part in "LOTR: Return of the King" where Denethor, who has descended into madness over the death of his eldest son Boromir , demands that his younger son, Farimir ride off in a suicide mission to retake Osgiliath, which has been overrun by the orc army.
Or, um, that's what some geek told me.
Anyway, the same storyline is playing out in the WBC:
Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria was named Thursday to replace injured Chipper Jones in the United States lineup for the semi-finals of the World Baseball Classic.
Look, Seiler, sending Longoria out to replace the fallen Jones isn't going to save anyone's honor, and the way things are going, is only going to get yet another big name player hurt. Just stop the offensive, gather your forces back at Minis Tirith, and hope that Aragorn shows up with an undead army to save everyone's bacon, OK?
Don't judge me. That flick made over a billion dollars worldwide, so you probably saw it too.
UPDATE: Welcome Rob Neyer readers! If you think this is geeky, just scroll down to the comments. Let's just say I'm lucky that I'm already married, because if I wasn't, no woman would come within 100 yards of me based on some of my nerdy admissions.
Every office I've ever worked in -- and it's a list that keeps growing longer and longer for some reason -- has had a perky person in charge of the United Way fund drive. A couple of times a year they host a "kickoff" meeting at which ice cream and forms to debit money from your paycheck for the charity are passed around, and entreaties to push the office up to 100% participation are repeated over and over.
I'm pro charity, but these things bug me for two main reasons. First, I have some issues with how the United Way and other chairty clearinghouses spend their money, so I prefer to spend my charity dollars more directly. Second -- and it's kinda tied to the first reason -- I can't shake the suspicion that there's some lavishly wasteful insider party thrown for the people who get their offices up to this magical "100% participation" standard, because that goal is repeated like a mantra, usually divorced from any philanthropic impulse and sentiment. Like it's the end itself. Sure, charities are being helped in all of this, but I question the incentives and motivation and can't shake the feeling that, within the office, the United Way drive is more about networking and allowing the organizers to buff the "community activities" portion of their resume than it is about helping people in need.
Rather than the semi-annual fundraising push, maybe my employers should just insist on Ramirez provisions:
Manny Ramirez's presence will be felt long after his time with the Los Angeles Dodgers ends. The slugger's recent signing has inspired the club to institute a so-called "Ramirez provision'' in all of its future contracts.
Look, I have nothing bad to say about the Dodger Dream Foundation, and I realize that requiring a donation to it isn't going to preclude most players from engaging in other charitable activities. But I'd much prefer that if a team is going to mandate charitable donations by its players that they at least give the players the choice of how to spend their money.
UPDATE: I didn't see this before posting, but there is a discussion about the United Way and other forced-charity fun over at BTF this morning.
Finally! A place to drink near Wrigley Field!
Wrigleyville took stock Thursday of a new, year-round sports bar that will spill out of Wrigley Field and be open by the Cubs' first home game April 13.
This Govertsen fella is the only one complaining in the article. He goes on:
When there are night games, Govertsen said, it takes him 90 minutes to drive home from downtown. On concert nights last summer, Govertsen said he stayed in a hotel near his office.
Let's see: Govertsen is a "twelve year resident" of the neighborhood, the night games are what bothers him, and the night games started there in 1988. I'll grant him that the concerts may be a bit much, but he should have known what he was in for when he moved in so my sympathy for his evening drive home is limited. And that's even before taking into account that he works and lives in neighborhoods served by a subway. I mean really: don't people who live in Wrigleyville and work downtown take the El? If not, why not?
One down, one to go:
Miami City Commissioners approved a plan to build a $639 million Florida Marlins ballpark Thursday, nudging the long-debated stadium one step closer to reality.
As for the "debate" leading up to the vote, Neil deMause at the excellent Field of Schemes blog put it best: "People in suits: in favor. People in casual clothes: opposed."
The people in suits won, of course. It kind of always works that way, doesn't it?
This is the kind of thing I'd be all over if someone did it around here:
Despite the sandlot rules and the tiny, plastic snap of the bat, Wiffle ball is serious stuff . . .
Though I suppose they'd disqualify me for using the big fat red bat instead of the skinny yellow one.
Things to read as you come to realize that if you're getting memos like these, you may work for the wrong freakin' company.