Tag Archives: the classical

Me, Elsewhere: John Rocker and Johan Santana, Together At Last

I wanted to alert loyal Scratchbomb readers to a couple of posts I’ve penned elsewhere that went up in the last few days. First, for Vice, a look at creep ne plus ultra John Rocker, who’s just released his long awaited (by no one) memoirs entitled Scars and Stripes. (GET IT?) Rocker’s been making the rounds withe bottom-barrelest right wing news sites, and one such profile was the inspiration for my piece. Spoiler alert: I’m not a big fan!

One thing I’d completely forgotten about when I wrote this article (which is just as well, since it probably wouldn’t have fit) is how half-assed Rocker’s “apology” was when he came to New York for the first time after his infamous Sports Illustrated profile. While doing my research for Yells For Ourselves, I rediscovered coverage of his return to NYC, and it’s sickening how much he tries to weasel out of saying he’s sorry, like he’s Racist Fonzie.

Rocker recorded a video they played on Diamond Vision at Shea in which he said, among other things, “Many people perceived these comments to be malicious, and for this again I apologize.” In other words, It’s YOUR fault for being offended. “I am not the evil person that has been portrayed.” It’s the media’s fault for reporting exactly what I said.

Rocker’s the kind of bully who, if you punched him back, would run to the principal and insist you started the altercation. I realize that writing about him at all is just fuel for his warped fire, but good lord, he cannot fall off the face of the earth fast enough for me.

I also took time to write about non-horrible people. Last week, the Mets finally saw one of their pitchers throw a no hitter. Maybe you heard about it? It was a cause for much rejoicing, which is why I was so perturbed by a post at Deadspin that wondered if Mets fans wished another pitcher had done it. I disagree strenuously with that premise for several reasons. To find them all out, you’ll have to read this post I did for The Classical. Or, barring that, have someone read it to you.

Speaking of which, Jon Stewart’s piece on The Daily Show about attending Johan’s no-no with his family was heartwarming in a Jon Stewart-y sort of way. When it comes to baseball + children, I can get embarrassingly sentimental. This ESPN ad still brings a tear to the eye, and every time a broadcast shows a dad with a small kid in the stands, I get all misty. I’m sure the same is true for many parents who also sublimate their emotions into sporting events. Go team!

What’s Been Doin’

Hey! I haven’t written here in a while. Nor have I been writing all that much at Scratchbomb in calendar year 2012. One large reason is that, for the last bit and a half, I’ve been concentrating alternately on finishing my novel and working on a large-ish non-fiction thing.

As far as the novel goes, it is 98 percent done. I’ve completed a second draft, and will soon begin a third so I can dot the i’s, cross the t’s, remove superfluous adverbs, and so on. However, all the really hard work (the actual writing of stuff) is done, and very soon I will send it out to the world and onto a slush pile near you. I am close enough to completion that I feel confident enough to tell the world the following facts about this novel:

  1. The title is Love and a Short Leash.
  2. It is a spy novel that involves baseball.

Speaking of baseball, the large-ish non-fiction thing I mentioned above involves The Great American Pastime and it too has been consuming me of late. I’ve been kinda squirrely about exactly what this thing is on Twitter and elsewhere. I realize that vagueness such as this is maddening and I apologize for that. Here is what I can say about it:

  1. It is called Yells For Ourselves.
  2. It is a multi-volume ebook about the 1999/2000 Mets, or rather, about the narratives and media perceptions thereof.
  3. It will be available in a no-frills version and a souped-up version for the iPad that will include lots of extra goodies, the technical aspects of which I’ve (mostly) figured out.
  4. More details will become available upon the official launch of YellsForOurselves.com. (Nothing there right now, really, except a “watch this space” notice and one of my favorite Mets-related pics ever.)

I am pursuing traditional channels to get my novel published. (Speaking of which, if you’re involved with traditional channels, hey, hit me up, wouldja?) The non-fiction book will be self-published, more or less to prove that the souped-up version is something can be done, from a technical standpoint.

The other big reason I’ve been delinquent in my posts here is because I’ve been writing for other sites. (Scratchbomb and I have an open relationship.) I realize this has endangered my goal for Scratchbomb to be the M*A*S*H of the Internet (“where hilarity meets brooding introspection!”). However, I’m pretty proud of the stuff I’ve done elsewhere of late. Apart from my regular stuff at Amazin’ Avenue (which should ramp up now that spring training is upon us). here’s where you could have seen me so far in 2012.

  • Last Friday I eulogized Gary Carter at The Classical. The Kid was the first athlete I loved, and his death, while sadly unexpected, hit me hard. I hope did his memory justice here. On a less serious tip, I also took a look at how Ray Manzarek’s brought an otherwise fine HBO doc about John Wooden and the UCLA basketball dynasty to a screeching halt.
  • For Vice, I penned a brief assessment of the Marlins’ home run monstrosity as a sign of the impending apocalypse. If you think that take is a bit hyperbolic, I assume you have not seen this thing.
  • For Splitsider, I looked back at the Looney Tunes 50th Anniversary Special, possibly the greatest thing Bill Murray has ever done, if not humanity itself.
  • Last but certainly not least, I’ve scribbled a few things for Low Times: a review of Mitch Miller’s prog record, and an in-depth study of which exact city was built on rock and roll. And if you’re not listening to the Low Times podcast, get on the stick, fella. I have to say the Worst Lyrics discussion with Ted Leo and DC Pierson is one of the funniest things I’ve heard in many a moon.

Will I be posting here with more regularity in the near future? Possibly. What I can promise is that if I don’t, I will definitely put up another post apologizing for not posting.

Me, Elswhere: The Baseball Hall of Shame and Cherry Cherry Christmas

I’m blowin’ up on the interwebs today, and I want to shout it from the rooftops! Or here. Yes, here will do.

First, you should know that I’ve written my first feature for The Classical, the new webbed site that aims to be heavy on the latter half of “sportswriting.” It’s about The Baseball Hall of Shame, a series of books that were incredibly influential on my young mind, and, my thesis goes, the young minds of many a lad who grew up to write about sports on the internet. I’m very proud of this piece and it was super fun to write, so tweet, like it on Facebook, put it on your MySpace doodads, and whatever else you need to do, but get the word out there, capisce? And while there, you can also check out a quick blog post I did on the subject of the dad who forced his kid to cry on camera about Albert Pujols. Fun!

But wait! If you act now, you can also read me at Low Times, where I survey my “favorite” holiday song of all time, Neil Diamond’s cray-tacular “Cherry Cherry Christmas.” If you’ve never heard it before, you’re in for a treat. If you have heard it before, my condolences!

Support Your Local Sporting Scene

If you read this site and/or follow me on Twitter and the like, I’m guessing there’s a very good chance you’ve heard this news already. On the off chance you haven’t, have you heard the news?

It seems that a veritable supergroup of great writerly types is teaming up to make a brand new daily sporting web site called The Classical. Like who? The first name that caught yours truly’s eye was Tom Scharpling, whose Best Show on WFMU I’ve waxed about rhapsodically on this show many times. Aside from being one of the funniest people around, he is also an NBA fan ne plus ultra (see this interview for evidence) and can speak/write on the subject with the utmost authority, and thus is an ideal catch for such an endeavor.

But when it comes to the roster of champs involved with this endeavor, that is far from all. There’s Bethlehem Shoals of Free Darko fame (read their hoops books if you haven’t, because you should). Tim Marchman, one of the best and most criminally underused baseball writers in America. Eric Nusbaum from Pitchers and Poets. David Roth, whose weekly sporting chats at The Awl (w/David Raposa) never fail to crack me up. And that is but a sampling.

Okay, great, they’re gonna do a website. Why am I writing about it? Because in order to make The Classical “a sustainable business, rather than yet another blog or Tumblr” (their words), they need dough. So they’ve set up a Kickstarter page with the goal of raising $50,000 to make this a reality. If you’re on the fence about whether you’d like to contribute to the cause, I’d suggest reading the Project Description and the full list of contributors, and above all else, watching the accompanying video, which has some hilarious visual cues.

And of course, if you do contribute, you’re in line for some valuable schwag, including (but not limited to) a chip clip. But if you can’t swing a contribution (times are tough, I know), you can always like The Classical on Facebook, or tweet about it, or mention it on the social media platform of your choice. It’s free, and it helps.

From what I can tell, the response has been pretty great thus far; as I post this, The Classical has already raised over $11K. But that’s obviously not quite their goal, so if you’ve ever complained about call-in radio shows or lamented the general meatheadedness of sports commentary, please consider doing your part to elevating said commentary on the interwebs. Future generations will thank you.