Category Archives: writing

It’s All One Song


Last week was the second anniversary of this blog. I would like to thank all my readers; especially those who have taken time to comment like Craig, William, and Mattbert. The rest of you can feel free to jump in. The water’s fine!

I set up a Pandora station recently that is mainly 40 plus years old instrumental rock; stuff like Booker T and the MGs and a lot of surf guitar. Tuesday, I heard a song by The Blue Men called “Orbit Around The Moon.” It was off a concept album called I Hear A New World. That disc was the brainchild of the fascinatingly bizarre Joe Meek. The melody sounded hauntingly familiar. I believe that Neil Young used it for the verses of “Like A Hurricane.”

Neil’s father, Scott Young, was a sportswriter. According to WIkipedia, he wrote occasionnaly for Sports Illustrated. I went into their vault and couldn’t find any articles credited to him, but I believe that this is one. The cover to that issue came up when I searched for him. I was hoping for some Angellic prose, but it was nothing more than a game report. I was hoping for something more. Anyways, hockey is starting to grow on me. I may write some about the Bruins as the season goes ob. That kid Tyler Seguin seems to be coming on strong so far.

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Filed under hockey, what the puck?, writing

New(ish) Biographies


I’ve mentioned my work with SABR’s BioProject before. Recently two new bios were added. One was on umprire and league president Tom Lynch. The other was on Negro League pitcher Schoolboy Johnny Taylor. These were for a book that was supposed to be on Connecticut baseball personages. The book may come out some day, but in the meantime, SABR decided to release them. I thought that the one on Taylor was especially well done. I’ll probably write at least one more of these for SABR this year. My plan is to tackle Bowie Kuhn.

I was reading some Robert Caro a couple of years back and his subject wasn’t necessarily LBJ or Robert Moses. It was power. How to acquire it. How to use it. How to keep it. I was overly ambitious and thought about writing about Kuhn in the same vein and show how not to acquire, use, or keep power. I took copious notes but haven’t much to show for it. A few people asked “Who would buy such a book?” The queries I sent out weren’t promising. I did dash off a couple of pieces at THT that were fruits of my research. I don’t have enough for a book, but I should have enough for a shorter bio like these..

Anyways, enjoy my pieces Lynch and Taylor.

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Filed under baseball, beisbol, writing

Happy Birthday to Designated Sitter!


I started this blog a year ago. And I actually still update it fairly frequently. In the past, I’ve treated a blog like a baby treats a new toy. I love it it at first, then tire of it rather quickly. This is progress.

I have some good news. Yours truly has a piece in this book as well as a teaser on the THT website which should be up shortly. I’m also working on some more pieces. I’m just not sure where to send them to. They’re in the same vein of most of my recent writing (six degrees of separation and all that), but aren’t really about baseball.

Two good books I’ve read recently were by Steven Johnson. He isn’t as breezy as a James Burke, but there are a lot of connection that he writes about. In particular, Joseph Priestly stood at the crossroads of politics, science, and religion. James Burke liked to use him in his works, but he only scratched the surface. The Invention of Air is essentially of bio of Priestly. ANd, like all good bios, it does a good job of capturing his times.

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Writing Out Loud Hasn’t Worked For Me Like It Has For Craig Calcaterra


Craig said this two years ago:

Sullivan’s piece hits all of the big points about why I like blogging so much. The immediacy of publication and response.

I don’t mean to pick on Craig. I met him a couple of years ago and he is a nice guy. He’s right about the immediacy of publication, but he’s off the mark about the immediacy of response. Unless you’re lucky, it is very difficult to get a conversation going on Web 2.0. Seriously. The most lively online convos I’ve had lately are on email lists. Maybe it is because my subject matter isn’t necessarily current, but even when I tried to rate current players based on what I perceived as their Fidrychicity, I was met with stone silence. But I’ve come to accept that. Instead of getting an idea, then posting it here, lately I have been letting them ferment a bit, then emailing them to a few people for further ideas. In fact, my work will appear in book form once again. I sent a piece to Boss Studes over at The Hardball Times and he liked it so much, he decided to use it for the upcoming annual.

What’s my point? I’m not sure I have one, but the blogging model seems to work better for some than it does for others. I’m not sure if I’ll ever become a blogosphere darling like a Josh Wilker or Carson Cistulli. It’s been almost a year and Designated Sitter has yet to achieve critical mass. Fanhouse and Fangraphs haven’t come banging on my door asking me to write for them. But if you want to read how the circus, spies, ’60s football, and Deadball Era baseball are connected, I’ll write about it in some form or another. I’m just not sure you’ll find it in your RSS feed or on Google Reader.

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How Handwriting Boosts The Brain


Courtesy the WSJ.

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WSJ: The Genius Of The Tinkerer


This one is for me. I’d rather link it on my blog than bookmark it. I dug the article. Apparently, Johnson has a new book that sounds very reminiscent of James Burke. I read Everything That Is Bad Is Good For You about a year ago. I may have to check this and some of his other work out.

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Filed under books, writing

Bethlehem Speaks


A new, clearer, Free Darko Manifesto? This was an aside in an entry on Ray Lewis.

There’s a misconception floating around that FD likes underdogs. We don’t. We like star players, weird players, and players who aren’t afraid to be candid. We are also huge snobs who all cut our teeth in various realms of music snobbery. When players we jock, like Julian Wright, turn out to suck, it’s an embarrassment. We’re looking to catch the next big thing before you do, celebrate the unjustly ignored forces, or pick up on the glorious outliers who just might sneak in and transform the sport in small ways. We love potential. But potential, as it should be, is a burden — for players in real life, and in terms of the way this blog views them. We don’t root for lesser souls; we’re all about those who deserve to be, or become, something rare and cunning. A screw-up or drop-out isn’t FD, he’s the antithesis of it. This isn’t Slackerball, it’s about making sure we’re up on the best the league has to offer. J.R. Smith? He’s not a patron saint, he’s the prodigal son.

The bolded part was sort of where I was going with regards to Maranvillains. I guess I am not enough of a music snob to pull it off like these guys, though. Been reading more James Burke lately, though. He’s probably a better role model for me. Sports aestheticism is a tricky thing to write about.

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Filed under baseball, basketball, beisbol, Hoops, Maranvillains, writing