Tagged: Writers

“Poets are like pitchers”


Poets are like baseball pitchers. Both have their moments. The intervals are the tough things.

Robert Frost

Frost’s favorite baseball team was the Boston Red Sox; his favorite player was Ted Williams. After attending an all-star game in Washington in 1956, Frost wrote a story for Sports Illustrated, "A Perfect Day – A Day of Prowess."

The All-Literary Team

The things you find when you’re cleaning up. Came across this piece I did for Fastball.com, a now-defunct esoteric baseball site. It’s one of several "theme" teams I created in my obviously too-copius spare time. I’m sure there are many other plasyers who fit the bill since I worked on this.

  • Pitchers: Robbie "Samuel" Beckett (1996), Craig "Larry" McMurtry (1983-95), Jerry "St." Augustine (1975-84), Roger "Samuel" Clemens (1986-), Sheriff "William" Blake (1920, 24-31, 37)
  • Catcher: Mike "F. Scott" Fiztgerald (1983-92)
  • First Base: Bud "Tom" Clancy (1924-30, 32, 34)
  • Second Base: Ed "Ernest" Hemingway (1914, 17-18)
  • Shortstop: Bill "Bertrand" Russell (1969-86) 00robertfrost
  • Third Base: Bill "James" Joyce (1980-92, 94-95)
  • Left Field: Buster "Henry" Adams (1939, 43-47)
  • Center Field: Dion "Henry" James (1983-93, 95-96)
  • Right Field: Chick "Stephen" King (1954-56, 58-59)

  • Manager: Charlie "Brothers" Grimm (1932-38, 44-49, 52-56, 60)
  • Robert Frost at bat.

    If only he had liked horses

    From Vonnegutweb.com:

    00vonnegut Vonnegut at Sports Illustrated

    Kurt Vonnegut worked briefly at SI until being told to write a story about a race horse that had jumped the rail and terrorized the infield at a local track. Vonnegut stared at his desk for what seemed like hours before finally departing the building without a word. Inside his deserted typewriter was this: ”The horse jumped over the f***ing fence.”

    Vonnegut comments: ”When the magazine was only a glint in the eyes of Luce Publications, they hired a bunch of sports writers from yokel venues who, it turned out, couldn’t write. So then they hired a bunch of writers who didn’t care or know squat about sports. I was part of that second batch, having gone broke as only the daddy of six kids on Cape Cod can hit the big casino. So I roamed far from my immediate responsibilities at the Cornell Club, then at the Hotel Barclay, where everybody else was an unmarried Cornellian insurance salesman. At Time-Life, we got out an issue of S.I. every week, never knowing when the first real issue would be published. And I quit before that happened, exactly in the manner described.”

    Geoffrey C. Ward, non-baseball fan?

    Who would have thunk it? The co-author of the printed version of Ken Burns’ Gcward Baseball documentary claims he was never much of a baseball fan, prior to the project. The reason is reminiscent of Ray Kinsella’s rationale in Field of Dreams:

    I’ve never liked baseball much, in part because my father has always loved it so.

    Stricken by polio at age 11, Ward distanced himself even further from the game.

    When he decided to particpate in Burns’ film, he writes in "Learning to Like Baseball," an article in American Heritage in 1994 that his father was less than impressed:

    “Boy,” he said, frowning, “you don’t know a ****** thing about baseball.”

    That was pretty much true, and I’m frank enough to say that even after months of poking around in the daunting literature—battalions of players and teams and leagues, whole libraries of cabalistic statistics—I was still not at all sure how to go about my task.

    Ward’s ignorance, it seems, was not much of a hindrance. The book, originally published by Knopf in 1994 and re-released as a paperback two years later, is a marvelous collection of essays and photographs, Each time period, usually a decade in duration, is presented as an "inning" and supplemented by contributions from the likes of Roger Angell, Tom Boswell, Bill James, Doris Kearns Goodwin, George F. Will, John Thorn, and Robert W. Creamer, among others.

    Like the game itself, the book, which faithfully follows the video format, is best enjoyed in a leisurely fashion.

    Keeping track

    I’ve been meaning to make a list of my baseball library for some time, but found the prospect too daunting. Util recently.

    LibrarythingThanks to Librarything.com, all one has to do is (usually) type in the ISBN number or title and all the info is provided in a nice format of the cataloguer’s choosing. So far, I’ve input over 1,000 titles, not counting magazines, yearbooks, etc., with several hundred more to be entered.

    Cataloguing up to 200 titles is free. Anything more than that will cost, as of this writing, either $10 for an annual subscription or $25 for a "lifetime" subscription (whatever that means). It’s any interesting community, seeing who’s reading what, where.

    For the curious among you, click here to view my library.

    News Update — Balco reporters facing harsh penalites (from LA Times)

    Cl060629 This isn’t something I’d normally include on this Blog, but I felt it was important enough to mention, since it is publishing-related.

    "At a reception at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2005, President Bush praised Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada of the San Francisco Chronicle for their award-winning stories on steroid use in professional sports. But today the two journalists face longer terms in prison than the combined sentences of all the defendants convicted in the scandal they helped expose."

    Read the full LA Times story.