Monday, April 19, 2010

In which I announce my return with one-hit wonder analogies and much writer handwringing

If my career had a voice, this is the song it would be singing!

Why hello there. Long time no see. OK, I’m not kidding myself that anyone has been hitting refresh here with any sort of regularity since my last post a mere 172 days ago, way back when the adjective “long-suffering” still preceded the words “Yankees fans.” Ahh, the good ol’ days.

The plan was to post occasionally throughout the off-season, but I ended up much busier than anticipated at my other blog, Defiantly Dutch, where I write and Tweet about sports at my alma mater, Hofstra. To localize it for you: We no longer play Division I-AA football, either.

Turns out that killing football a mere 10 days after Northeastern dropped the ax (and if you believe THAT’S a coincidence, I’ve got some great land below the Throgs Neck Bridge I’d like to sell you) was just the beginning of a wild few months for Hofstra, whose men’s basketball team had a rollercoaster season highlighted by the morning in January in which I alienated the entire fan base of the Patriots by declaring their coach a classless bully who runs up the score.

The season ended with one of the best games I’ve ever seen, a double overtime loss to Northeastern in the conference quarterfinals, followed by the most depressing game I’ve ever seen, a wire-to-wire loss to something called an IUPUI in something called a CBI (Northeastern won a game in the tournament last year while Boston University won two games this year, and if you know that, I’m pretty sure you should read Defiantly Dutch). And after all that, longtime head coach Tom Pecora—who arrived at Hofstra while I was still a student—left for Fordham.

Add into the equation a foray into copy writing and there hasn’t been a whole lot of spare time. In addition, I’ve been uncertain how to proceed with Fighting Words: The Blog. The book has been out for almost a year now, and the harsh truth is the shelf life of a book is about as brief as that of a movie. (Don’t let that stop you from buying a copy today though!) That’s right: This weekend’s Date Night is next month’s Fighting Words!

I worry about becoming multiple versions of That Guy—either the one who keeps prattling on about a book that long ago collected dust or the one who continues to yammer on, long after he has become irrelevant, about the teams and players he covered.

I have spent far too many Sunday afternoons watching those VH-1 marathons that alternately celebrate the ‘80s and mock those whose careers peaked when Ronald Reagan still occupied the White House. Am I becoming the sportswriter version of one of the has-beens of my youth, performing long after everyone has stopped paying attention?

I mean, look, I loved Pretty Poison’s one hit, but I’m not in any rush to see them in concert, you know? (Parenthetical digression: The movie from which it came, Hiding Out, is one of the true rainy day gems of the ‘80s, and notable because Jon Cryer looked older there than he does more than 20 years later in Two And A Half Men).

I can just hear the vaguely condescending narrator now: “Twelve years after [Name of Behemoth Media Company redacted] booted his ass to the curb, Jerry continues to write about the Red Sox at his blog!” Then I’d say something about how I write for the love of the art and how I’m working on a new book that will be released next year!

I’m also pretty sure the world doesn’t need another guy blogging about baseball from his recliner or couch. Reporters with access and credentials have enough trouble getting people to eyeball their work, never mind the rest of us. And writing about baseball is another reminder that another season has begun and I’m not absorbing the sights, sounds and smells of a ballpark. I’m not going to lie to you, that’s a downer.

But as Carl Van Doren once famously said—before he died in my hometown, I didn’t know that until just now—“It’s hard to write, but it’s harder not to.” (Meanwhile, my seventh-grade teacher from said hometown sadly shakes her head at a sentence ending in a preposition)

Writing is a narcotic, or so assumes this teetotaler. Writing about baseball is particularly addictive. As much as I’ve come to enjoy covering college basketball, writing about baseball is still my first and true love. I’d rather write about it from here than not at all.

Plus, let’s face it, I need to write if I want to rewrite my Pretty Poison fate. So the goal now is to revive this blog and opine every weekday on the Red Sox, Major League Baseball, the media and whatever else comes to mind. I won’t push the book too much, but I’ll post one of the many Q&As I’ve still got in my back pocket if there’s a worthy reason to do so. Hopefully, the chance to do some actual reportage—here or elsewhere—appears as well.

And if not, well, I’ll try to have fun anyway and hope someone out there is enjoying it, too. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to begin waxing poetic again about the idea of a six-man rotation.

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