Category Archives: Writing

Getting a Job: Writing for a new baseball site

On the prodding of Susan Bernard, my eminently qualified writer friend, I applied to a baseball website for a position as team writer. The new site (really, really new) is called the Hometown 9.

I picked the Chicago Cubs, and maybe, through a little luck, I’ll get my writing career rolling. Anyways, here’s the first two pieces: one is my bio, the other, my opening day piece.
My Bio: I come from a long background of frustrated ballplayers as both my grandfathers spent time in the pursuit of playing baseball at the minor league level. Grandpa Clark tried out for the Brooklyn Dodgers before being told by Uncle Sam they needed 17-year olds to fight in WWII. As a result, he never got to meet Branch Rickey or that man’s miserly and ingenious ways personally. Grandpa Powers tried his hand in the Texas Leagues of the 1920’s. No records on his success, but I know he spent 37 years as a state penitentiary guard. That pretty much says it all.

Before I swindled Purdue University out an Industrial Engineering degree (or did they take me?), I was likely in hot pursuit of fly ball in centerfield. I grew up on the Chicago Cubs, wishing I could one day patrol their cozy confines in pursuit of some wind blown high pop, while also hoping Jay Johnstone wouldn’t be in the same pursuit.

My high school career never amounted to the glory of getting a visit from a tobacco-chewing scout. Some how 5’6”, 165-pound lefties weren’t on the short list of players to watch. But I could really throw that “speed ball” by you. (Glory Days reference.)

Instead, I matriculated to the concrete jungle that is Purdue University. There, I learned how to walk 1 mile across campus at 7:00 AM in 15 minutes, spend 50 minutes in class, usually falling asleep, then back to the dorm in 20 minutes, due to the headwinds of winter. That practice became a rarity; and so did my achievement of good grades, as a 2.07 GPA attests to.

Baseball play turned to baseball fantasy turned to baseball disenchantment with the 1994 strike. I felt cheated on – unlike my imaginary girlfriends – and so, I put aside the game for a spell. I am sorry for that enterprise, and I am a reformed addict. (No lie.)

So that’s it. Professionally, I have wandered away from industrial engineering and decided upon the career of “writing.” This is my first gig – aside from blogging for several years and slogging through writings that are the epitome of Americana – and I hope it will be a smashing success.

Maybe the Cubs will be too.

1st Article: Opening Day: She’s coming back to me

The mistress of spring is coming back home after a heady trip abroad. She’s wearing a devilish blue dress, cut low, the way I like it, and carrying a baseball bat. Again, the way I love it. That is but one vision of baseball that in my more sensuous dreams might exist.

“What is Love?” but that of a pitcher scraping dirt off the rubber, digging his toe into side, and steaming a bee ball toward a tightly-muscled assassin with a 35-inch thunder maker in his clutches. As the pop of the mit or the sweet crack of the bat means we are seeing the first of thousands of confrontations between the two diametrically-opposed fellas. That is love to a baseball fan.

In our nation’s capital, as the 2008 election stirs patriotic feelings, the Washington Nationals open a new cathedral for the baseball gods to perform their wondrous feats. It seems Cuba’s better known Castro knew the park was going to be a startling vision, and decided, “leader of Cuba or new Washington Senator, er, National pitching prospect?” and chose to give it, just one more try.

As a team in search of a new owner, the Chicago Cubs are seeking to break through after 100 years. 100 years. When they last proclaimed the title of World Champions, the world had no supersonic travel, no television, no atomic annihilation, no internet, no rights to vote for women, and still held back African-Americans. How times have evolved for some. As the team has changed hands, from restaurateur, to gum maker, to son-of-a-(gun) gum maker to corporate conglomerate, the loyalty of the fans has kept alive the dreams of William Wrigley, who never won a title, but is the name everyone will forever associate with the ballpark at Clark & Addison. No matter what the current real estate man has to say about it.

In Los Angeles, fifty years after their movement west on a subsonic bird of Orville Wright’s wilder dreams, the Dodgers are playing again in the L.A. Coliseum. A place developed for Olympic feats and USC football, it makes for a quirky attempt to put 80,000 fans aghast at the odd dimensions swinging around to the left field area. Where an outfielder has to put on protective gear, or at least, gets an opportunity to add 3rd base to his list of abilities. Only outfielder Wally Moon might reminisce fondly about his time hitting in this short-lived version of a major league ballpark.

These are some of the new memories surrounding the return of my mistress from abroad. She is a broad – curvy, sometimes luscious, full of vigor, but she never ages – and yet, she is hardened by a seven-score affirmation that every spring she’ll come back home to us. Fresh. A clean slate. Mistakes forgiven. And more new memories to make whilst “rounding the sack.”

Opening Day. She’s home.


Career Path: Live Career.Com Assessment of Me

I’ve done these types of tests before, to gauge where I should go in my life, as far as a career.

According to Live Career my best options:

Your highest score was on Writing, which means that you
enjoy creative or technical writing. You are also likely to be interested in a
broad range subjects, so finding occupations that allow you to exercise these
interests would lead to higher work satisfaction for you. You also scored highly on Teaching / Social Service, indicating that you
enjoy instructing people in learning new things, helping people solve problems,
and assisting others
. Your high score on the Persuasive
means that you enjoy work which involves influencing, advising,
counseling, guiding, motivating or directing the activities of others.

On the downside:

Your lowest interest score was on Clerical. You’re not
likely to be fulfilled doing routine office work that involves filing,
record-keeping, word processing, operating office machines, attending to
details, and other repetitive office tasks
. You also showed low interest on Systematic, so you dislike routine assignments in which
order and persistent, steady effort are required
. Job security is
not so important to you
. Plus, you can tolerate frequent schedule
changes and situations in which you must make quick decisions. Finally, your low
score on Industrial Art means that you wouldn’t enjoy making or
repairing things using machinery, or by hand.

Next they defined my approach to work. That ought to be fun to look at!!!

My high scores:
Investigative types enjoy the challenge of problem solving in mathematics, technology, and sciences, and the abstract and practical ideas related to these areas. Applied science, such as engineering, technology or computer science may also be of interest to them. They can be technically creative.
Artistic types are often thought of as original and creative by others. Such people enjoy expressing themselves in artistic ways such as acting, dancing, creating music or visual art, or by expressing their ideas either through discussion or debate.
Social types are interested in helping to keep others emotionally or physically healthy, or in teaching others. They enjoy giving advice and working directly with people, either in groups or individually.

Med Scores:
Enterprising types are people-oriented. They like to talk to, influence and persuade others. They are confident, adventurous, assertive and show leadership.
Attentive types enjoy helping others, serving others’ personal needs and looking after the comfort and well-being of others. They are happy in jobs requiring sociability, politeness, patience and a happy disposition.

Low Scores:
Conventional types enjoy supervising others in jobs where rules and tasks are well defined. They show careful attention to detail, are organized, follow instructions well and prefer jobs where their daily duties are regular and fixed.

Realistic types like physical activity, working with their hands, and are mechanically-inclined. They enjoy working outdoors and do not mind physical risks on the job.
After that, disappointingly, they skip to what they are really after – money.

They do try to guise this process as a way to get to a career. However, like MAPP (another assessment test they are tied to), they are really only interested in getting you to pay them $30, $50 or $100 or more for the analysis of what you need to be doing.

It is a fairly accurate portrait of me.

I have blogged elsewhere

I blog at Yahoo! 360, because I’ve had that account forever…Blogging was something I took up in July 2005. That’s like barely 1 1/2 years ago!!!

For the record, I love sports. I am writing my own book on MLB history, specifically dealing with steroids, scouting, statistical analysis, salaries, free agency and player history in both the Majors and Negro Leagues. It’s about 80% done – roughly 250 pages. It is my baby – and I want to carry it to full term.

Will it get published? Only if a crack dealer is interested…well, I hope not. We all dream we can make something stand out that everyone will remember us for. Our personality, our generosity, our laughter or our thoughts. I’m not a great guy, but I try. Try you must…(I’m not a Star Wars geek..Star Trek was more my thing…when I was under 21.)

Long story short, I spent too much time dwelling on the past mistakes, and making them again and again. I spent a short while this morning on a very addictive vice that has never amounted to anything worthwhile. Today is the last day I’ll do it. Meaning I am throwing away the habit with the hopes of improving my future.

It is doubtful I’ll become anything more than a hack pulp writer of silly sports books and maybe a short work of fiction or two. The blogging world is filled to the brim with journal hounds looking for attention. (Yes I am one too.) And we find out that everyone is saying a lot, but not much listening is going on. I hear Christians deride non-Christians, heteros bash homosexuals, Rights versus Lefts and all the Races…hell it never will end.

I want a tropical island…yeah a whole freaking island to work out my thoughts, live off the bananas, fish and nuts and dream with someone better freaking thoughts. But as usual, the rubberband of reality is stretch to snapping and my dream is no more available that Jennifer Love Hewitt on a Friday Night.

So, I have to become someone better than the present No More Mr. Nice Guy. For some reason Alice Cooper’s song hit a note, I never own it, nor do I like the Coop, as a musician. (Though he does an overnight that I could listen to…) In my ramblin’, gamblin’ diatribe, if you can follow it, you’re a leader to follow.

Go Cubs!
Go Saints! (Yeah, I like the Bears. But the underdog…that’s what I like.)