Good Books, Bad Jobs and Terrible Language

Justin October 9, 2010 1

First of all, I’d like to thank Michael Weinreb for filling in last week. He did a great job and I’m not too proud to say I may steal some of the ideas he introduced.*

*The use of asterisks, for example

I’ve interviewed a bunch of people for this site over the past couple of years, but he’s the first one who I’ve actually developed any sort of personal rapport with.  I won’t be presumptuous enough to say we’re actually friends, but I’m pretty confident we’ve landed solidly in the acquaintance zone.

That’s why I’m not sure how to handle this fact: At the moment, I’m reading his previous book.

Our interview was about his latest release, “Bigger than the Game.” But a few years ago, he wrote about the Chess team at Edward R Murrow High School in Brooklyn.  It’s a book whose existence I was aware of. In fact, there was a copy of it at my parents’ house. (I think my brother read it or at least bought it when it came out.) But it wasn’t a book I had ever thought about reading until I put two and two together and realized it was written by my new best acquaintance.

And I’m glad I picked it up. “Game of Kings” is a really interesting and well written book. I’m enjoying it immensely. And here in lies the rub.

I would like to let the author know that I’m enjoying his work, but I don’t want to email him and say, “Hey, person I recently began exchanging emails with, I just went out and found your previous work and am now reading it.” Because that would make me sound like a stalker.

So, where do I stand? I am left hoping that either:

– Michael Weinreb was so impressed by our little website that he has now become a regular reader who will come upon this post and appreciate my kind words.

-Michael Weinreb has set up google alerts that email him every time his name is mentioned on the internet. He then follows the link, comes upon this post and appreciates my kind words.

Either way, Michael, nice work.*

*and thanks for the asterisks. I’ll try not to abuse the usage.

Sports Illustrated: October 11th, 2010.

David Price, MLB, Tampa Bay Rays


Tim Layden’s Scorecard column was pretty enjoyable. Instead of simply writing a boring preview of the Secretariat movie, he personalized it by discussing his experiences as an extra. That being said, wild horses couldn’t drag me into a theater to see this movie. I’m sure “Seabiscuit” was fine (I never saw it,) but that doesn’t mean every racehorse deserves to get the silver screen treatment.

On the other hand, the tiny sidebar, written by Richard Deitsch, certainly caught my eye.  He previews an upcoming 30 for 30 movie from ESPN about Vlade Divac and Drazen Petrovic.  Petrovic died when I was in 8th grade, and it was nothing short of devastating to me. I loved that guy and that entire Nets team with Kenny Anderson, Derrick Coleman and Chris Morris.  Even the broadcasting team of Spencer Ross and Bill Rafftery was awesome. I’m really looking forward to this documentary. And it takes place in the former Yugoslavia, so maybe there will be some wild horses.


What a Finish by Alan Shipnuck

Last Sunday, I was at my parents’ house. My father and I were watching TV on the couch, switching between the Jets game and the Yankee game. At one point I said, “Hey, who won the Ryder Cup?” and he answered, “Who gives a shit?” And that was that. So, Mr. Shipnuck, don’t tell me it was an exciting event that captured the imagination of sports fans. Clearly it did not.

Also, here’s part of an email I got from John last night:

Also, I’m anxious to see whether you touched upon how in the Ryder Cup article (which you may not have even read) Shipnuck talked about how the Ryder Cup is great because it ends up being all about golf, rather than the hype, money, etc., etc., and the WAGs.  Then he proceeds to make the first three quotes in the article from wives and girlfriends.

Good point. I didn’t pick up on that at first, but it’s a great observation.

Turn Up The Heat by Tom Verducci

Aroldis Chapman is a more interesting character at this point than David Price. I think Albert Chen’s inset profile of the Reds reliever should have been the main article here. That being said, Price deserves to be profiled in the Postseason preview (even if he pitched badly just hours after this magazine hit newsstands.) I just wish there had been something new revealed. SI had an article about Price last year, which included the “I want to quit college and go work at McDonalds” crisis.  I got the same impression both times around. David Price seems incredibly immature, but not in a misbehaving sort of way. He just seems like a really naive kid.

Finally, let’s discuss the McDonalds thing. David Price was attending a top University, but decided he wanted to leave and attend another school so he could work in fast food. Middle Tennesee State surely isn’t Harvard, but I would imagine it’s graduates leave school armed with the ability to obtain and maintain successful careers. Why do athletes always end up in jobs that are usually reserved for people with major developmental disabilities? If it’s not David Price at McDonalds, it’s  Kurt Warner bagging groceries or John Starks stocking shelves. These are all men with college degrees. Were there no office jobs out there for them to take?

Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood by Damon Hack

Aaron Rodgers seems like a perfectly nice guy and a talented quarterback. Packers fans are a colorful and loyal bunch.  That’s all I’ve  got on this one.

The Green Machine by Austin Murphy

It’s two, TWO, TWO articles in one.

The first half, a profile of Oregon QB Darron Thomas and the teams’ high octane offense, was really interesting.  The second half, a game story about  the Ducks defeat of Stanford, was less so.

The Mick by Jane Leavy


I am definitely going to read Jane Leavy’s book, from which this article is excerpted.  The author gets some fantastic quotes from the wives of Mantle’s former teammates, including Arlene Howard and Lucille McDougald (who both totally wanted to fuck the Mick!)

But, with any biography of bygone celebrity, there will be revelations that you may not want to know about. Mickey Mantle’s foibles are well documented at this point. He drank, he caroused and he was a well known trouble maker. I’m fine with all that. What got  me was this quote:

Mantle told me in 1983, when, as a reporter for The Washington Post, I spent a weekend interviewing him in Atlantic City. “We had windows, like, where people are walking along. Girls used to come stand there, and we used to shoot water guns up in their p—. We could see ’em kind of flinch. They’d be looking around trying to figure out where the f— that water is coming from.”
Unless I’m sadly mistaken and Mr. and Mrs. Leavy are sadistic name givers, Jane Leavy is a woman. Mickey Mantle used the word “pussy” when speaking to a woman? That’s classless, Mick.  Shame on you.
Point After by Phil Taylor
Pat Summitt’s son wants to be a coach. It’s a nice story. Is this the same son that Summitt went into labor with while she was on a recruiting visit? If so, I think that story should have been included here.

One Comment »

  1. M. Weinreb October 11, 2010 at 2:38 pm -

    Unfortunately, I do not read my own press.*

    *But if I did, I would probably say, “Thank you kindly.”

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