The Yang Slinger: Vol. XVI
The wild, wacky, God-awful human hellscape that is the book-jacket blurb. Plus, five questions with Andrew Epperson and the time my employer insisted everyone had to attach themselves to a desk.
Back in 2008, when I was riding high off the surprising success of my third bio, a Dallas Cowboys deep dive titled, “Boys Will Be Boys,” I received an e-mail from (if memory serves) a Little, Brown and Company publicist. The person asked if I’d consider supplying a cover blurb for an about-to-be-released book by Drew Magary, the well-known Deadspin writer and a guy I loosely knew.
At that juncture in my career, very few people were asking me for blurbs. Actually, I’m thinking no one was asking me for blurbs. Blurbs, in my young mind, were the terrain of Michael Lewis and Laura Hillenbrand; of Stephen King and Robert Caro. They were things written by important people for important texts. A reader would be walking the shelves of the nearby Borders, spot a book with “ONE FOR THE AGES! A MASTERPIECE!” — TONI MORRISON splashed across the cover and be compelled to plop down $30 by the sheer weight of the name.
I, Jeff Pearlman, was no blurber.
And yet … maybe I was. I told Little, Brown and Company that, of course, I’d blurb Magary’s book. It’d be an absolute thrill.
But then, eh … um … ah—I sorta forgot.
On the day the blurb was due, I received an e-mail nudging me to produce the promised words. Which would have been far easier to do had I (egad) read the book. Only I hadn’t read the book. Or picked up the book. Or thought of the book. If memory serves, I couldn’t even find the friggin’ book. Which, in a normal world of human heads, would conclude with sheepishly admitting my fuck-up, then apologizing for having to sit this one out.
But—no. Instead of doing the right thing, I learned what I could of Magary’s work, strung together some words and fired off this masterclass in thought: "Drew Magary possesses a keen insight into pro sports' unyielding loads of crap. Men with Balls oozes with, well, balls."
On Oct. 27, 2008, Magary’s “Men with Balls: The Professional Athlete's Handbook,” hit shelves. I only know this because Amazon preserves release dates. At the time, however, I had no clue. I was a father of two little kids, owner of a house with 100,000 leaks, obsessed with my own reporting and deadlines and scattered nonsenses.
Magary’s book? Didn’t register.
“Hey, Jeff …”
It was a friend of mine on the phone. An industry friend.
“You wrote a blurb for that Magary book?”
“I’m a little surprised.”
“The thing is just so fucking offensive and tasteless. It doesn’t seem like the sort of book you’d endorse.”
Before we continue—a quick refresher …
A blurb, according to the nearest Google search, is “a short description of a book, movie, or other product written for promotional purposes and appearing on the cover of a book or in an advertisement.”
In other words: When you walk into a book store/scan an online shop, you’ll notice that most non-fiction (and many fiction) books have front-and-rear cover endorsements from fellow authors. They’re always positive, always optimistic, always words from someone who knows best (aka: a fellow writer or—on rare occasion—related-to-the-topic celebrity) and willing to explain why the book before you:
• Is amazing!
• Is important!
• Is enlightening!
• Is engrossing!
• Can’t be put down!
• Will change the way you think about [FILL IN THE BLANK]!
• Makes the world a better place!
• Warrants! Multiple! Ex! Cla! Ma! Tions!!!!!
And if one is unaware of the publishing industry’s devious ways, it’s expected he/she/they will be swayed by the exuberance of a familiar name. That’s, truly, the sole reason blurbs exist—extra enticement to sway readers toward bringing forth the dough. Blurbs aren’t aesthetically appealing because they’re aesthetically appealing. No, they’re aesthetically appealing because, after decades of plopping down one-to-three sentences and a bold-faced name atop a title, published works appear naked without them.
But here’s the thing. Well, not really “The thing.”
Book blurbs are bullshit.
I know, I know. It’s hard to hear. You’re crying and broken and starting to wonder whether Ashlee Simpson was actually singing during Monday’s set at the Paducah County Fair. But it’s true. Book blurbs are bullshit. Nonsense. Ridiculousness. Not all of them, of course. When I asked Seth Wickersham, the fabulous ESPN.com scribe and author of “It’s Better to Be Feared,” whether he fully reads every book he blurbs, he replied in the affirmative. “Yep,” he said. “But I haven’t been asked to do many.” Mirin Fader, another chum and the author of “Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP,” has blurbed (by her estimation) six books—all absorbed cover to cover. Years ago, when I wrote “Boys Will Be Boys,” I asked Mark Kriegel for a blurb. He took a few weeks, delivered it, then called a day or two later. “I wanna get another crack at it,” he said. “There are a few points I failed to make.”
Exceptions be damned, book blurbs are bullshit.
Here’s why …
The book blurb compilation process generally unfolds something like this …
Step 1: Author of an upcoming book finishes writing, wraps editing, picks photos. Feels great about the way things are going. Then a publishing house exec issues a reminder: “Hey, we need three or four blurbs by month’s end.” Which—no matter who you are, how many books you’ve written, how big of a name you carry—always evokes an icy shudder. “Publishers demand them, but put the uncomfortable onus on the writers themselves to ask, beg or plead,” said Erik Sherman, longtime baseball chronicler and author of the blissful “Kings of Queens.”
“I hate asking people to do it for me,” said Ian O’Connor, the New York Post columnist and author of the upcoming, “Coach K: The Rise and Reign of Mike Krzyzewski.” “I’m asking someone who is working on another book while taping another podcast while filling out college financial-aid disclosure forms for his or her kids while packing extra thermal underwear for some Olympic quarantine camp in Beijing.”
Step 2: You find a handful of people to ask. Oftentimes friends in the biz. Preferably people with big names and/or names relevant to the subject. It’s a cave-filled-with-rats-and-dung hellscape, and every time I send that Hey-it’s-Jeff-how’s-it-going request e-mail it’s the sensation of swallowing my own vomit. “Definitely [feels] a little weird,” said Mike Sieleski, the veteran Philadelphia Inquirer columnist and author of “The Rise: Kobe Bryant and the Pursuit of Immortality.”
“Once you’ve written one yourself,” added Chris Ballard, “One Shot at Forever” author, “you realize how not fun it is to make the ask.”
Back when my first book, “The Bad Guys Won!” was coming out, I attempted to snag a blurb from Mitch Albom, peddler of 20 gazillion copies of “Tuesdays with Morrie.” I didn’t know Mitch—we simply shared an agent. Seeking those gilded 16-to-30 words was not a fun endeavor, and when Albom (fuckity fuck!) declined I was genuinely pissed. In hindsight, however, I shouldn’t have been. These days I probably get, oh, 30 requests per year. Albom, I’m sure, was receiving hundreds. It’s unrealistic to do them all. “I have some clients that get so many requests I just tell them the author’s not able to fulfill them anymore,” said Kim Lionetti, a literary agent with BookEnds. “A lot of the bigger names do not blurb. Because it just gets out of hand.”
That said—as the blurb-seeking author, you have to try. And try. And try.
For that first book, I wound up with three blurbs—one from Bill Fleischman of the Philadelphia Daily News (he’d been my college professor—#RIP), one from Jody Berger of the Rocky Mountain News (pal) and one from Steve Rushin, the Sports Illustrated senior writer and pound for pound the best magazine scribe in America. His blurb remains an all-timer …
All told, it was the least effort I’d ever put into blurb accumulation—and “The Bad Guys Won!” remains my best-selling book.
“I dread asking people for blurbs,” said Andrew Maraniss, author of “Singled Out: The True Story of Glenn Burke,” “and didn’t even try with my new book coming out in September.”
A few important notes:
• A. If you’re seeking a blurb, be the one who asks. Don’t send someone else, don’t lean on a publicist. Suck it up and go direct. I rarely turn down blurb requests, but it’s a lot easier to do so when a flack is asking.
• B. If you wanna be certain to alienate someone, put an unsolicited book in the mail, send it (without warning) to an author you admire/seek and include a typed form letter that incorporates the words, “We would love it if you would offer a blurb for the book.” Oh, and the cherry on top—insist upon a need-by deadline for the unsolicited blurb for the author you don’t know of the book he/she/they likely don’t have time to read.
• C. You can never go wrong acknowledging this is a pain in the pass. A few months ago Ian asked me to blurb his (fantastic) Coach K book. I’ve known Ian for years and consider him a friend. He surely knew I’d say yes—and he still asked as if he were requesting a $10 million loan. I do the same thing. Nobody wants to help a dick.
• D. If someone gives you a blurb, you damn well better use it. I’ve written blurbs, then watched as they vanished into the abyss. The frustration/anger has nothing to do with the physical manifestation of the blurb. Not at all. It’s just a matter of disrespect—you ask a favor, someone delivers … and you take a dump on it. Not cool.
Step 3: The person who agrees to blurb your book receives it either as a mailed hard-copy or an e-mailed PDF.
Then, one of three things happens:
The entire book is read and an educated, enlightened blurb is supplied.
A few chapters of the book are read and a somewhat educated, enlightened blurb is supplied.
None of the book is read and a vague-yet-sufficient blurb is supplied.
Were I to put a number on it … hmm. If there are 100 books that need to be blurbed, I’ll say, oh, four are read cover to cover, 50 are read to some degree and the remaining 46 are either unread or skimmed for a couple of minutes. I’ve done all three. I’m not proud of the Magary mess—that was sloppy and lame and unfair to Drew and I felt like a dolt. But I’m also not embarrassed by supplying a blurb after but a few chapters. It is what it is. When Jack McCallum, the former Sports Illustrated basketball guru and author of “Dream Team,” is solicited, he offers a standard reply: “Send me your best chapter.”
“Is that unethical?” he said. “Marginally. Maybe 10 percent unethical. I think some people would be surprised that we don’t read it all, but you’re more or less commenting on the writer, not the book. If that’s unethical, it’s just the way it is.”
David Maraniss, author of “When Pride Still Mattered,” also rarely reads the entire book, but makes certain to at least devote a few hours. “If there are any I also study the end notes,” he said. “One sign someone’s done their work.”
An important side note: When people turn down your blurb request, don’t get pissy. Folks have lives, kids, deadlines, lawns, porn, pets, mosque, sponges, groceries, Soda Streams, eggplant parm, meditation, teacher conferences, “Chips” re-runs. It’s rarely personal.
Step 4: Send anyone who blurbs your book a gift. It can be a small gift—a box of chocolates, a bottle of port. But definitely a gift. The person is doing you an enormous favor for free. I’ve failed on occasion, but it’s a practice I now subscribe to.
Several years ago, on her now-defunct blog, a literary agent named Jennifer Laughran issued a list of her personal blurb rules:
1) You should genuinely like the book and want other people to read it.
2) It should fit your "brand" or target audience. Would you recommend this to the same people who buy your book?
3) Don't be a "blurb whore" - if you blurb everything, your endorsement will stop being meaningful.
I don’t technically disagree with anything Laughran wrote, but it feels a bit like the words of someone who’s never requested a blurb for her own work. See, the one thing that keeps the blurbing business alive is the collectively insecure world of authors. Or, put different: We all know how pathetic it feels to seek a blurb. We’ve all traveled the walk of shame. We’ve all had our Albom moments—a no when you desperately seek a yes. We know how much this shit means—even if it shouldn’t mean a thing. You slave over a book and measure every word and devote one … two … three … four years to a singular project. It’s simultaneously amazing and maddening, and—even if you say aloud, “Oh, I don’t care about sales”—you desperately care about sales. A book that sells means another book deal. A book that bombs means perhaps another book deal. So if having Adam Lazarus’ name alongside “I LOVED THIS GEM!” makes the difference between 5,000 sold and 50,000 sold—well, you go for it.
You have to go for it.
That’s why Laughran’s No. 3 rubs me wrongly. I may well decline a blurb request because I don’t have time, or because the author is a racist homophobe—but I’m not afraid of turning into a “blurb whore.” There is no such thing. No one’s counting your blurbs. No one’s thinking, “Jesus Christ—I was gonna buy this, but it features yet another Pearlman endorsement.” Nope. You blurb because you want to help your fellow author. And you hope, when needed, your fellow authors stand up to help you.
There’s a question that I don’t know the answer to, but I’ll pose it here and speculate ...
Do blurbs make a difference?
I don’t mean a physical difference, and I don’t mean an emotional difference. I mean, sales-wise, does the book with an Alexander Wolff blurb outsell the book without an Alexander Wolff blurb? Does the printed praise of Stephen King equal dollars?
As far as I know, there’s never been any sort of study. As I noted earlier, my biggest seller has the fewest blurbs. My second-biggest seller, “Showtime,” features a preposterous seven blurbs sprawled across the rear cover …
I actually remember the weirdness of this one. I snagged six blurbs on my own, which seemed sufficient. But then the president of the publishing company bragged that he could get a game-changing blurb.
“Would you want a blurb from Mark Frost?” he said excitedly.
“Sure,” I replied.
I still have no idea who Mark Frost is—but he’s on the book, and the book sold well.
Is it all the power of Mark Frost?
“Publishers believe [blurbs are] effective and my 18 year-old daughter, bless her heart, still loves to wander to bookstores and she’s told me a few times she bought a book because her favorite authors blurbed it,” said Alan Shipnuck, author of the upcoming “Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf's Most Colorful Superstar.” “Having already exploded the myths of Santa Claus, unicorns, mermaids and so many other things she once believed in, I can’t bring myself to tell her that a lot of blurbs are bullshit.”
A couple of weeks ago, Rushin was strolling through his nearby Barnes & Noble when he happened upon “Action Park,” a book he long ago blurbed. He pointed it out to his children.
“You wrote that book?” a daughter asked.
“No,” the father replied, “but I read it.”
“They were,” Steve recalled, “not impressed.”
The Quaz Five with … Andrew Epperson
Andrew Epperson, a Sherwood, Ark. native and University of Arkansas grad, joined KARK/Fox16 in May 2019. In a past life he covered Razorback football and basketball for the Associated Press. He was also a high school sports correspondent for the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. You can follow him on Twitter here.
1. So in October you were hired by KARK/Fox16 in Little Rock to be a news reporter. You described this as "a dream come true." Why was this a dream come true?”: I was born in Little Rock, and many of the people who work at KARK/Fox16 are folks I grew up watching. As a kid, I saw three of the four anchors I now work with on the daily. So, while just about everything else changed, that hasn’t. When I was a know-it-all college nobody, I (surprisingly) got an opportunity (and had the privilege) to intern at the station one summer. I knew at the time that if I ever stuck with this, I’d try to come back home and cover the place I grew up. For a while, it looked like that wouldn’t happen. In fact, I’d signed a contract to stay at my previous station. Things fell through, as they often do in life, and here I am. Sometimes it feels like destiny carves its own terrain no matter what we do to go our own way, and this is an example. As LeBron James once said, “I love you. I’m back.”
2. I think a lot of people like to shit on local news. Like, "Where's the cat stuck in the tree?" and "Did you chase your daily ambulance?" What are people missing when they take those stances?: My knee-jerk reaction is to defend local television news with reckless abandon. Since this is a space for discussion and thought, the truth is those criticisms are spot on in many cases. I’ve worked with many community-first journalists. These people go to work every day with others in mind. They ask tough questions, speak truth to power through well-researched, well-sourced information, and they take a beating from a public that is increasingly skeptical of quality news. To them, I say thanks, and I really hope I’ve built that type of reputation along the way.
The other side of that coin falls into the category you’ve mentioned. Many television reporters don’t care about the news. They don’t read. The quest for a pseudo-celebrity status drew them to the business, and they’ve stuck around for that reason. They live for people to recognize them in a grocery store aisle. These people want to be personalities rather than journalists, and in doing so, they become PR workers for the powers that be. For a public unversed in media literacy, it can be hard to delineate between who to trust and who to tune out. All too often, these people are hired on and put together reports that draws well-earned consternation from the public. It’s annoying! It’s easy to be cynical because of that.
Still, there are many times—especially today—when local news is a bastion for information people need to know. While national news has resorted to punditry as a main outlet, we’re still neighbors. Most of the time, we are in a community because we want to be there. We love the people and want them to be healthy and lead better lives. So, we’ll find out where local vaccine clinics are and make sure people know how to sign up. We’ll keep up with what local healthcare communities are doing in this pandemic, both for their benefit and the public’s. We’ll highlight local elections, which are much more important to people’s lives than what happens federally, so communities know who’s making decisions for their kids and tax dollars. In many cases, towns turn to us when stuff happens because we report stories in a way that reflect what the community at large thinks—because we’re here. So, yes, the cynicism can be well earned. Just like we all have that one uncle or sibling we can gossip about, often with good reason, but we are a part of people’s families in a strange but true way. That’s what makes our industry different.
3. When you're an on-air TV guy, how important is appearance? Like, before you go live how much thought are you putting into tie straight, hair proper, no remaining chocolate on my cheek?: Appearance is just as important as the news itself, as terrible as that sounds. I say that in the sense of how the business works, not that I agree with it. Television managers really make sure talent (anyone on air) knows they must be presentable. I say this, and I know it’s about 500 times harder for women in this industry than men. While I can get away with wearing the same suit jacket multiple times a week, women are constantly nitpicked for even the smallest deviations. Additionally, women receive the most flak from the public in emails and on social media. Sometimes, people forget we’re humans, so they’ll say any mean thing that comes to their minds and be surprised when reporters clap back. I’ve only gotten a few of “those” messages, but I’ve certainly heard from just about every news director I’ve worked for when it comes to appearance. Even putting on glasses without getting approval beforehand prompted a conversation once. I don’t care too much about it, but it’s an industry norm to consider appearance just as important as the information being delivered.
4. For a lot of people, Arkansas is sorta dismissed as podunk Southern state with a whole lot of hillbilly and little else. Gimme your argument for The Natural State?: Arkansas’ just Bill Clinton and Bobby Petrino, right? Wrong! The state is comprised of the proudest people on earth. Think Texas without the bad drivers and fake culture. In the Northwest corner of the state, cities are growing at a rapid pace. Walmart, Tyson and JB Hunt prompted that growth decades ago, and we are now seeing Fayetteville be called the next Austin. It’s consistently ranked as one of the best places in the United States to live, and after living there nearly a decade, I understand why. In Central Arkansas, history abounds no matter where a person looks. Some of that history is negative, some positive. Little Rock is a bastion of Civil Rights progress despite in-state and outside attempts to thwart it. The Arkansas Delta and its people don’t get enough credit for their role in advancing the country’s food resources and economy, and the state produces much of the food we eat every day.
There’s a reason so many people visit Arkansas and live here permanently. We have a “thing” about us. It’s this pride fortified by the untrue notions the rest of the country has about us. Being seen as less means nothing to us. People can live here comfortably in less money than they can just about anywhere else. In sports, we don’t have a professional team, so the entire state pulls for the Razorbacks, and we’re having tremendous success in major sports. We also have the best natural wonders of any state in the country, which is backed by just about any outdoorsmen you’d ask. I’d encourage people to look past judging a state solely on politics or preconceived notions. We are proud of what we have here.
5. Rank in order (favorite to least): Styx, Crystal Martinez, Kanye's new album, orange Tang, Todd Day, Fort Smith, "Angels in the Outfield," Tom Cruz, Elvis Costello, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Hulu: 1. Todd Day. He’s a legend and is one of the greatest Hogs ever regardless of sport. ‘94 champ, baby! 2. “Angels in the Outfield.” My mother can attest that I spazzed out a little too much every time this came on Disney. When coach adopts the two kids at the end…man. Bravo. Maybe this is what made Matthew McConaughey so philosophical. 3. Crystal Martinez. One of my all-time favorite coworkers. We made up a joke where we deliver the news in “baby talk” and made ourselves laugh way too hard about it. Nobody else, including the people reading this, thinks it’s funny. But it’ll always be funny to us, Crystal. 4. Hulu. It’s got some good stuff on it … but I could do without the ads. 5. Orange Tang. I remember drinking this, but I don’t recall the last time I thought about it. It was good, I think. 6. Fort Smith. Look, there’s a lot of history here, and it’s an awesome town in some ways. Hell, True Grit’s based here. But I’ve always dreaded being there for some reason, covering stories or not. I can’t put my finger on it. It’s great as a concept but not as a city. 7. Elvis Costello. Saw he’s playing at the New Orleans Jazz Festival and made a comment about it to my girlfriend. I like a couple songs. 8. Styx. My mom likes them, and I’m sure I’ve heard some of their stuff. Could I name a song? Don’t ask. 9. Tom Cruz. Is this a mix between Ted Cruz and Tom Cruise? 10. Dog the Bounty Hunter. For some reason, all middle-aged moms were obsessed with this guy for a while. I’m more of a cat guy myself. 11. Kanye’s new album. Haven’t heard it, but he’s done enough to soil himself in the last few years that I don’t even need to.
This week’s college writer you should follow on Twitter …
Tanner Haworth, University of Hawaii junior and @KaLeoSports writer.
The University of Hawaii has experienced an absolutely bonkers run in the world of college football coach firing, almost hiring, hiring—and Tanner covered it wonderfully. Don’t believe me? Check out this gem. And this. Legitimately professional work from a sports scribe on the rise.
One can follow Haworth on Twitter here. Bravo, kid …
Yet another story of one of my myriad career fuckups …
This is a bit different than most of these entries thus far.
I left Sports Illustrated in 2003 to take a job with Newsday, a Long Island-based newspaper. It was the sweetest-sounding gig of all time: Roam New York City, find story ideas, write lengthy features for the magazine section. No games, no clubhouses. Just deep dives.
Well, everything started great. I wrote 2,500 words on the Naked Cowboy, 1,500 words on the art of pimping books, 1,200 words on Duo Live, a hip-hop outfit peddling CDs outside a department store.
Then, one day, I received new orders: The editor wants everyone in the office at least four days per week. And we’re reducing lengths. And depth. More 300-word hits on Jessica Simpson’s hair, less 2,500 words on naked cowboys.
I should have seen it coming. Seriously, I needed to have seen it coming.
I quit a few weeks later.
Random journalism musings for the week …
Musing 1: This past weekend former NBA star John Stockton was trending after this piece in the Spokesman-Review. Basically, although Stockton is the greatest athlete in Gonzaga history, can no longer attend basketball games because of his refusal to wear a mask. The piece, written by Theo Lawson, is well done, with one glaring flaw:
As soon as Stockton says more than 100 professional athletes have died via vaccination, Lawson has to ask, “Who?”
“Name some. You say 100. Name, oh, five.”
Musing 2: So this puts the ran in random, but the wife and I recently listened to this four-part podcast series about the Lit song, “My Own Worst Enemy.” And while the show’s take (that the Lit jam is of utmost musical importance) is sorta preposterous, one thing stuck with me: Ajay Popov, the Lit lead singer, wrote the lyrics without worrying about rhyming. It’s pretty genius.
Musing 3: Depressing piece in Food & Wine about all the Covid outbursts directed toward restaurant employees by idiot customers too triggered to wear a mask for three minutes.
Musing 4: If you are a journalist, or merely someone who cares about freedom of the press in the modern attack-like-vultures world of blame-the-messenger gang banging, take a moment to read this thread from Carole Cadwalladr, a British scribe for the Guardian and Observer. Nowadays, the No. 1 go-to move when you’re outed as slime/corrupt/disgusting is to convince 50,000 people to attack the reporter.
Musing 5: I used to live in Tennessee, and a once on-the-verge-of-enlightenment state is now an embarrassing cesspool of ignorant Trump-worshiping dolts. Case in point: Bud Hulsey, state representative, owner of four teeth and the author of a joint house state resolution in response to an Associated Press investigation into racism in military. Hulsey, whose IQ plummets by the hour, accused the AP of “incendiary journalism.” He requested the legislature “reprimand the AP.” Kat Stafford, AP reporter and ninja, issued a Tweet insisting she and her colleagues, “stand by our reporting.” Amen.
Musing 6: Way back in the day I worked as an adjunct professor and newspaper adviser at Manhattanville College in Purchase, N.Y. It was a fantastic experience that ended terribly (the school did not enjoy the paper’s independent voice, and I was kicked to the curb). One major bright side was a forged friendship with Pat Scanlon, at the time the Valiants’ men’s basketball coach. Pat was unlike any college football/hoops coach I’d known—super cerebral, way beyond Xs and Os, almost too intellectual for the sport before him. And all these years later, his blog has become must-read in my household. I highly recommend.
Musing 7: For the first time, I’m supporting Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire’s Hall of Fame candidacies (although they’re all DOA). This comes after my fellow writers voted to elect David Ortiz, a clear-cut juicer whose smile and warmth won over the crowd. There’s simply no longer a justification to keep other cheaters out. I know Bonds was a jerk, but if we’ve decided to overlook PED usage, he has to be in well before Ortiz. So, for that matter, do Clemens, Sosa and McGwire. Oy. What a mess—and what a disgraceful showing.
Musing 8: What a fabulous lede from Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports on the retirement of Eagles offensive lineman Brandon Brooks.
Musing 9: This week’s Two Writers Slinging Yang stars Leah Vann, LSU baseball and football writer for The Advocate in Baton Rouge. Link here.
Quote of the week …
“To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.”
An important note. To this day I’ve never read Magary’s book—so I am not saying it’s tasteless or bad. I did recently read Drew’s latest book, “The Night the Lights Went Out.” It’s excellent.
I have never bought a book based on blurb. There is no proof that Ortiz was took PED's. His name and others were leaked to the New York Times. Ortiz never tested positive for any banned substances after Major League Baseball implemented a formal program starting in 2004. However, he was reportedly one of the players who turned in a positive sample in 2003 when the league did confidential survey testing of players as it attempted to get an understanding of the scope of performance enhancing drug usage in the sport. It is always possible he was juicing while he was with Minnesota but we will never know.