Category Archives: Sports

The life of a writer

When you’re writing a book, you don’t get to see the final product until months, if not years, later — particularly when you’re working with a traditional publisher.

Just last month — December 2021 — I received a request by my publisher for my sports careers book to edit my manuscript. The contract had stated I was to submit a manuscript with 90,000 words, but I had sent in one with more than 160,000 words, which was well over the maximum number of words the publisher wanted to see.

Of course, it’s easy for an observer to say, “Well, just cut the book in half and then do a second volume.” It doesn’t work like that. That brings me to the following point: I’ve seen reviewers on Amazon criticize fellow sports authors for not including certain information in their book, etc. without realizing that often times publishers dictate some of these things. From personal experience, I know that in my 1988 Dodger book, I had a section with the aftermath of the Mets and A’s, but the publisher said to get rid of all that. Even photos, too. Some reviewers will mock fellow sports authors for being too “cheap” to put photos in the book without realizing sometimes the costs are massive. To give a personal example, one professional sports franchise wanted to charge me $1,000 per image to use in my book, so I said no and went elsewhere.

Anyway, getting back to my Christmas “break” in December 2021, it wasn’t much of a break. My publisher contacted me on Dec. 20th and wanted me to cut the 160,000 words to 90,000-100,000 max. And they were expecting me to have this done by Dec. 29th.

So, every day I worked on this bit by bit, cutting out massive chunks of content. In the background, I had MLB Network on for a distraction here and there. (Now, not to go off on a tangent, but MLB Network during the off-season is awful. I literally charted this and noticed the programs just kept repeating themselves. For example, the Billy Martin documentary would air on a Tuesday at multiple times and then re-air on Saturday and again the following week on two different days. Same with the Johnny Bench, 1988 Dodgers, Randy Johnson, etc. documentaries. They would air it on a Thursday at multiple times, and then repeat the same documentary the following Monday and then Friday, and then the following week again.)

When I cut out 500 words from one chapter, I considered it a major victory, only to realize that it didn’t move the goalpost much, so to speak. In a few chapters, I literally cut out half of the content, making sure things still flowed. I did this every single day, staying up past 1 am some nights. Finally, on the night of Dec. 28, I kept going at it until past 1:30 am, and completed all these cuts and managed to have the manuscript at roughly 108,000.

Since the due date for these cuts was Dec. 29, and the publisher worked on the East Coast (while I’m out west, three hours behind), I knew I would not have any significant changes on Dec. 29 itself. So, at 2 am, I submitted everything by email and then went off to bed.

But it was a difficult week, editing my work and going hours and hours at it, all the way until the night of Dec. 28 and finishing just before 2 am (on Dec. 29). It was tough.

After that, I took some time off writing. Even now, in mid-January, I’m still not doing any writing. It’s tough to stay motivated, so to speak, or have that drive to keep going — especially after that final week in December.

It’s tough, especially when there isn’t a lot of support from peers and others around me. In fact, I’ll say almost none.

I can recall the time when I was writing the 1988 Dodger book, and someone I considered a friend responded in a patronizing tone “So what?” when I was discussing the fact that it was the 30th anniversary of the Dodgers’ championship season. This was from a sports fan. When I chose to be upset because of his comment, he disowned me as a friend. He no longer responds to my calls and texts.

There was a guy, Rod, who basically is a troll. I was explaining that I was heading to LA for a charity golf event, and I was invited by the former GM of the Dodgers. It was like an extension of the book that I had written, having a chance to be introduced to some of those former players. Rod scoffed and said those peple were just using me and just wanted me to donate my own money, etc. etc. Very negative comments. Why are people so negative?

During the process of writing the sports careers book, numerous people whom I reached out to chose not to respond. For professional purposes where people don’t respond, that’s very deflating and demotivating. It’s changed me in the sense that I find it difficult to stay motivated — it’s like people are cancelling me or don’t want me to succeed, FOR A BOOK AIMED TO HELP YOUNG PEOPLE!! Hello? Do people want to see my book fail? One that’s aimed to help students and others looking for a career in sports business?

Then, there was a publisher from Montana who asked me to write a book about baseball cards, and that publisher then bailed on me. He said he would connect me with others in the industry, and when I responded the same day via email, he completely ignored my email and follow-ups. Why do people do that?

So, I’m tired. I’m sick. If you’re getting an email or request from me — and follow-ups — and it’s for a professional purpose, and you’re choosing to ignore it, then I’m going to say you want me to fail. You don’t care about helping people. That’s very unfortunate. But I guess that’s what a lot of people are like.

Yes, there were some great moments along the way. But the bad ones stick out. Those make me question humankind.

And before we leave this subject, peers who are posting garbage like “This is why I NEVER buy anything from Amazon” and similar posts with a story about what Amazon has done wrong, etc., again, these people are simply wishing for me (and other writers) to fail, particularly when authors rely on Amazon for book sales. So, do these peers really wat me to fail?

Finally, podcasters: I’m grateful to go on a podcast, but it’s painful when hosts don’t take the time to do some prep. There was a podcaster whom I got to know. He had me on to talk about my John Cangelosi book but didn’t know how to pronounce the former MLB outfielder’s last name. I told him off-air and also said it on-air, and the podcaster kept butchering the name throughout. Like, do you think I would be proud to share this with others? How do you think John would feel if he hears this?

Anyway, we’ll see when I decide to get back into writing again. Maybe if people don’t want to talk to me or respond to me, I’ll do what a former 1986 Montreal Canadien Cup champion told me (very abruptly): “Why are you asking me what the coach said in the locker room [prior to a key Game Seven which the team actually won]? Go Google that s@%£!”

Yup, I guess I’ll just go Google that s@%£ if I choose to write again — if I get ignored by people whom I reach out to.

Life Lessons #003: People I’ll Stay Away From—Negative Individuals and Salespeople 

Some time ago, a friend tweeted a comment about how people continued to have large gatherings in the midst of a global pandemic. The context was that some people were being selfish and cared only about themselves. 

That was an appropriate tweet because, after all, a global pandemic was going on and people weren’t doing things that were best for others around them. 

But a friend of that particular friend tweeted this doozy of a reply to that original tweet:

Some of these people should ask their grandparents what it was like to shelter in place for 4 or 5 years or risk having a bomb drop on their ass. No internet. No skip the dishes [sic]. No amazon [sic]. No TV. Just a little radio if they were lucky. So spoiled and its [sic] still not enough.

Huh?!? What an irresponsible tweet. This friend of a friend was essentially hating on people who used the products or services offered by SkipTheDishes or Amazon, and also calling people who have the convenience of the Internet being spoiled? Huh?!?

What happens quite often is people (such as the person who posted that response to the original tweet) just have this negativity that sucks the life out of others. The original post was talking about selfish individuals who do irresponsible things in the middle of a global pandemic. Suddenly, according to the second person, using the Internet is being spoiled? Say, ordering food because one doesn’t have time to cook or leave to get food (because he or she is busy with work) is spoiled?? Say, ordering things from Amazon—which I did recently because my manager asked me to pick up SD cards and an SD driver to be able to complete some work-related tasks and the fastest way for me to get those items was through Amazon—makes a person spoiled? 

What also happens quite often is people just label others because of their actions. This second person did that by essentially calling those who use SkipTheDishes, Amazon, and the Internet “spoiled.” 

It’s too bad that it’s so easy to use your thumbs to type garbage on your phone (oh, which, by the way, requires the Internet for that tweet to be sent) without using your brain to realize that such a comment is insulting to those around you. 

(This friend of a friend is someone whom I have interacted with multiple times in person. Although he’s also a sports fan and is aware that I’m an author, he has never once congratulated me about my books or even asked about them. I would avoid people who do not cheer about your successes, too.)

Speaking of having advantages in today’s modern world, I recently took a Lyft because I needed to get to work by 8:00 a.m. and I didn’t want to drive and also transit wasn’t available that early in the day because it was a holiday. I’m guessing that commenter would label me as being “spoiled.” But I digress. 

I’m a busy person with work and other projects going on, and that wasn’t the first time I took a Lyft and it won’t be the last. 

That morning, the driver was particularly chatty—he’s a very charming person and a natural salesperson—and he gave me a card saying he could advise me on certain things because we shared some common interests. I took him up on the offer and reached out later on. 

Of course I should have realized he wanted to pitch me his non-Lyft-related services. I just didn’t realize that before. I don’t necessarily label people and I didn’t think of the Lyft driver as wanting to be a salesperson to me. I thought he just wanted to network for the purposes of making new friends. 

Anyway, to make a long story short, I was making a bid to purchase an item and he wanted to advise me on that. I ultimately ended up losing out on the bid because I didn’t offer a high enough price. That’s life. I accept that. 

The Lyft driver reached back out on an evening when I was having some difficulty related to family issues. I was distracted because of that and I mentioned it. He dismissed what I was saying and trivialized it, saying, “Join the club,” without really listening to what I had to say. He was also being very corporate by pitching me his services. I responded I was “distraught” and he asked why I would be since he would help me through the process of using his services. I explained I was referring to the family situation and he again trivialized it. Very corporate. It was obvious all he cared about was pitching me his services—and not what I was feeling that particular evening.

A few days passed and he asked me if I knew what the winning bid was for the aforementioned failed potential purchase. I responded with the price and added, “I should have bid higher instead.” It was just a comment added on to the question he had asked me. Nothing more. I didn’t dwell on it. I don’t have time to do that. I simply made the comment “I should have bid higher instead” after mentioning the amount of the winning bid. 

However, he then went on a lecture about how we shouldn’t “second guess” ourselves by talking about “should have.” I explained immediately that I wasn’t second guessing myself but just making a comment. Instead of letting it go then, the Lyft driver went on and on about how second guessing yourself is unhealthy (when that wasn’t even what I was doing) and proceeded to give a lecture about “could have” and “should have” over and over again. 

Well, when I was talking about a family issue, he trivialized it. When I was answering his question about the winning bid and I added a personal comment, he took those two words “should have” and became a lawyer and kept talking and talking about the “should have” comment and dissecting it—even though I was not second guessing myself whatsoever. 

Essentially, you can’t have a conversation (not a tweet, but a conversation) without someone picking apart your words and telling you what you’re thinking, the way the Lyft driver was doing with me, even though I specifically told him he had misinterpreted my comment. 

Serves me right. That person who tweeted that using services that are convenient in your life means you’re “spoiled.” I guess it serves me right for using Lyft.

Anyway, that was one of the last times I communicated with the Lyft driver. I guess I’m not interested in socializing with those who just want to pitch me things instead of developing a genuine friendship. Those who just want to sell me things—I call this being “corporate”—instead of genuinely wanting to be a member of my personal board of directors and give advice without any strings attached.    

The final straw came when Mr. Lyft/Salesman texted me to see how I was and also (once again) about offering his services. I responded immediately with “not well.” There was no follow-up from him for days, which told me all I needed to know.

So, a few days later, I called him out for treating me like I was persona non grata. I explained he was too “corporate” and that, to me, it was obvious he cared about making a sale instead of building a friendship. He said he didn’t understand—and that in his 40+ years of being in the business, he’d never heard of that expression of “being too corporate.” I explained his tactics came across, to me, as something a salesperson would do. 

Just to give an example (which I didn’t provide for Mr. Lyft), I’ve been in contact with an executive at McDonald’s corporate office to give feedback about the McDonald’s app. The exec knows me enough to know what kind of things I like to talk about. In our most recent phone call, he called and began the conversation by telling me an anecdote of how he had been in Utah and came across former baseball star Jose Canseco—and even had a chance to interact with the one-time American League MVP. That sort of small talk warms me up. At least the McDonald’s exec knows me enough to know I enjoy talking about or listening to stories like that. Then, we got to the “shop talk” about the app.

On the other hand, a guy like Mr. Lyft just begins every conversation with pitching his services and not caring that I wasn’t feeling well. At least say something like, “Hey, I see you’re not doing okay. Anything I can do to help you out, like pick up something on the way for you?” I would say “No, thanks,” in that scenario, but Mr. Lyft isn’t even “human” enough to say these things. He’s too corporate. All he cares to talk about is business or “shop talk.” 

Mr. Lyft even said to me that he thought my priority was making a purchase of the aforementioned item. I responded with, “Excuse me? Do you really think that a person who says he’s having some difficulties puts that as a priority?” To me, that shows he’s a salesperson. 

He countered with examples of how he helped me recently—he made a point of stating the three examples one by one—to which I said, “Do you actually keep such detailed scores of times when you help others?” I mean, okay, I don’t go around throwing that into people’s faces, like, “Hey, you know something? *I* helped you do THIS, THIS, and THIS…” You don’t throw that into people’s faces.   

To me, his actions show me Mr. Lyft is a salesperson. I would stay away from such individuals. 

K.P. Wee Broadcasting Demo Reel

K.P. Wee
Sports Talk Radio Demo Reel 2021
778-227-0313
kp.wee.is@gmail.com

Sports Management Worldwide (SMWW) Sports Broadcasting, 2021
Mentored by Dei Lynam, Veteran Sports Announcer
Reference: Dr. Lynn Lashbrook, President, Sports Management Worldwide, 503-445-7105

Today in Knuckleball History: June 21, 1997

Candiotti Throws Seven Shutout Innings as Emergency Replacement

June 21, 1997

Los Angeles Dodgers 11, San Francisco Giants 0 At 3Com Park

Tom Candiotti:  7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 SO.

So that’s why the Dodgers kept Tom Candiotti around. As insurance, just in case one of their starters went down.

Sent to the bullpen to begin the season, Candiotti finally made his first start of the year, filling in for injured starter Ramon Martinez, who’d complained the night before about a sore right shoulder. The knuckleballer responded by flummoxing the San Francisco Giants for seven shutout innings, lifting the Dodgers to an 11-0 victory over their arch rivals.

Candiotti had been sent to the bullpen because of the emergence of right-hander Chan Ho Park, who joined a Los Angeles rotation which already included Martinez, Hideo Nomo, Ismael Valdez, and Pedro Astacio—a pitching staff that was second in the majors only to the Atlanta Braves’ staff headed by Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz. 

Although Candiotti, with 126 wins and a 3.53 ERA in his 13 big-league seasons entering 1997, was rumored to be traded all spring, Dodger general manager Fred Claire hung on to the knuckleballer, and it proved to be the right decision. 

Through June 10, pitching exclusively out of the bullpen, Candiotti had three wins and a 2.03 ERA in 22 games, with five walks and 18 strikeouts, holding opposing hitters to a .212 average. 

Then, on this Saturday afternoon, he held the Giants to just four hits in seven innings as the Dodgers bounced back from a 5-2 loss in the series opener on Thursday and a blown 7-0 lead on Friday night—a game which saw L.A. use six pitchers. Candiotti even delivered at the plate, driving in the Dodgers’ sixth run on a squeeze bunt. The other Dodger heroes offensively were Raul Mondesi, who smacked an RBI triple and two-run single, and Tripp Cromer, who had three hits and three RBIs.

Candiotti and the Dodgers expected this would be his only start, as Ramon Martinez was expected to return after skipping just this start. As it turned out, though, Martinez’s injury was revealed to be a torn rotator cuff, and the Dodger ace would be sidelined for two months.   

Although the Dodgers did not win the division in 1997, losing out to the Giants by two games, Candiotti did do the job for L.A., going 6-2 with a 3.62 ERA in 11 starts during Martinez’s absence. It should have been at least seven wins; he nearly beat San Francisco again on July 12, handing the bullpen a 2-1 lead only to see the Giants rip two relievers for seven runs in the ninth. 

Candiotti pitched well enough as a starter that when Martinez did return in August, the Dodgers dealt fourth starter Astacio (4-8 with a 5.19 ERA over a three-month stretch) to Colorado for second baseman Eric Young while keeping the knuckleballer in the rotation for the rest of the 1997 season.

A free agent after the season—he signed with the Oakland Athletics in the off-season—Candiotti would finish his six-year Dodger career with a 3.57 ERA but just a 52-64 record, thanks primarily to a paucity of run support. No Los Angeles pitcher with an ERA as low as Candiotti’s had a lower winning percentage than his .448 in a Dodger uniform. (It should be noted that Ramon Martinez, who received much better support from the Dodgers, was 72-48 with a 3.67 ERA during that same stretch. In 1995, for instance, Martinez was 17-7 with a 3.66 ERA and a league-leading 81 walks and 138 strikeouts over 206.1 innings. Candiotti, perhaps L.A.’s unluckiest pitcher ever, was 7-14 with a 3.50 ERA in 190.1 innings with 58 walks and 141 strikeouts.)

But, as Charlie Hough often told other knuckleballers, “When the other guys get hurt or don’t pitch well, be there when they need someone.” And that’s exactly what Candiotti did for the Dodgers in 1997.

So they say, “Go Google that #@!”

In the latest episode of the podcast, I shared with the guest host a story about the time when I interviewed a former athlete who told me to “go Google that @#!#” in response to a question about a game in which his team won.

This reminds me of a recent incident when I expressed frustration in using a new system to a colleague. This was a fellow whom I respected — and, in fact, I had written two glowing recommendation letters for him for professional reference purposes recently — but what did he do?* No, he didn’t say “go Google that @#!#!”

He came close, though. He essentially told me off — in a condescending manner — commenting that the system was “pretty easy.” But the tone was definitely condescending. I was disappointed that he would react that way, especially since I had just written those letters for him. I guess you just never know.

*I even personally spoke to the two places about him, giving glowing verbal recommendations. Both places were extremely interested in his services, but he decided to brush them off — despite the fact he had asked me to get in touch with them in the first place. I’d even shared teaching resources with him umpteen times. Never again. But come to think of it, I should have known better. When I told him a couple of times about my podcast, he didn’t show any interest or give any words of congratulations or encouragement. His only response was succinct: “I only listen to Tim and Sid.” Okay, whatever.