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Nearing the end of the semester...

It's That Time!

Tomorrow, pitchers and catchers report to Lakeland, FL. It's Spring Training time everyone. Today I hung my new Tiger flag out on the porch. My flag of the last three years was wonderful, it had the old Tiger logo on it, but sadly it's original beautiful orange color has faded badly. I just couldn't have a pastel Tiger flag hanging outside my door. It simply would not be right. The new flag is a giant Tiger "D" on a navy blue field, with a bright orange border. It's pretty spiff.

 

We bought the old flag from a shop on Brush Street in Detroit, after having seen it in the window on the way over to the ballpark one night. After the game, we stopped in and snatched it up. I'm thinking about what I can make out of it, and the one it replaced, too. Some kind of outdoor cushion perhaps? I'll come up with something.

 

It's also time for ramping up promotions for the baseball book. Last week I spoke to the High Country Writers group over in Boone. It was great fun. I wore my new Tiger "D" shoes, and sold a few books, too. Next week I'll be meeting up with contributor Caroline Kane Kenna in Charlotte to go over the April event we're planning for the Charlotte Writers Club North. And there's more to come.

 

So, it's OK to start dreaming about the green, green ball fields now my friends. Tomorrow pitchers and catchers report.

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Done. For Now. Yay!

On Tuesday this week I turned in the baseball anthology that Diana Nelson Jones and I have been working on for the last year. (I should like it to be noted that it was delivered one day ahead of schedule.) And then I promptly went down with a heinous cold/flu crap and lay around in bed and on the couch for the next couple of days. But I'm back in the saddle again and looking forward to sharing news of the book with everyone as we work through the publishing process.

Once we have a title from the publisher (McFarland & Company), I'll set up a separate book website, but for now, I'll keep everyone posted here on my own blog page. And, to get you ready to be excited, here's just a small, tiny, smidgen, of what you'll be able to see in the coming 8-10 months or so. Hope it makes you want to get the book!

EXCERPT from the essay "Nothing Else Like It"

The regular season powered to a close and the Tigers continued their record-breaking ways. Things were also heating up at work -- big elections, late nights, crazy times. But the Tigers were never off my mind. In mid-September, with the pennant clinched, I was anticipating the World Series. I thought “Oh my god. It is really going to happen.”

And remember, in 1984, you couldn’t just flip a cable channel on or subscribe to MLB TV. You had to do this thing called reading the box scores in newspapers the next day. Maybe sometimes, if you got lucky and the wind and atmosphere were right, you could pick up a late night few minutes of Ernie Harwell on AM radio from WJR in Detroit. I was looking forward to seeing my Tigers on television for the World Series.

Then the unthinkable happened. A few days before the series was to begin my boss gave me some potentially thrilling news. Our chairman would, naturally, have access to World Series tickets. And while the California tickets would be quickly dispersed since that was his home state, there might, possibly, small chance, be a possibility that there wouldn’t be enough “important people” who wanted to go to Detroit, and if that might, possibly, small chance did in fact happen, I, Chris Arvidson, would get the tickets.

But I still had problems to fix -- I needed to see if I could get myself, last minute, to Detroit on my own. The game tickets were free, but not the plane, and I wouldn’t know if I had the tickets until the day before. Did I want to take dibs on this maybe, possibly, small chance deal? Oh hell yes.
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On Baseball Love

Here is the piece I read at Night of the Spoken Word here at the Ashe County Arts Center. Keep in mind when you're reading that it was written to be READ, and so excuse quirks of punctuation and grammar designed to help me in the performance. The truth is that by the time I finished writing this essay, I had to spend most of my editing and "tarting up" time cutting it, so it would fit into my 5-minute time limit. It seems I have a lot to say on this topic. And yes, I did wear my Tiger jersey to the event, the home jersey, the one with "Sparky" patch on the sleeve.

On Baseball Love

A few weeks ago, a friend asked me “Why do you love baseball so much?” Now, a lot of times people ask me a version of this question in a kind of snooty way. What they’re really saying is: “Really, baseball is so boring.” Or “Oh, baseball, that appeals to the tobacco-chewing sort, right?” But his was a serious question. He was honestly trying to figure it out.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about how to answer this baseball love question… I talked to one of my baseball-loving friends about it. He told me he always reminds his snobby writer friends of all the truly great writing about baseball. Ah ha. He was on to something there…  Read More 
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No Joy in Mudville

My 1984 World Series bumper sticker.
Well, the Mighty Casey did not strike out last night. In fact, Miggy hit two home runs, one a tremendous blast that might well have trailed a banner behind it saying "Screw This." It wasn't enough, not nearly enough.

My Detroit Tigers took a brutal beating last night to end all dreams of going to the World Series in 2011. I won't go into all of the brutal play-by-play, a 15-5 score tells that sad tale. Suffice it to say that mistakes were made, mostly by players. A couple of bad calls by umpires only added insult to self-inflicted injury. In short, it was a total Murphy's Law game. Everything that could go wrong did. Even with Miggy's two home runs.

I have been trying to figure out this morning which hurts more -- getting the absolute shit beat out of you, or losing in a nail-biter? I'm thinking the nail-biter would be better. It lacks the humiliation factor. I kept thinking about how truly awful it must have felt to be a Tiger on the plane going home last night.

Additionally, while not a very sporting sentiment on my part, I have to admit that I hated getting beat by the Rangers. As far as I can see, the only thing good about Texas is Lyle Lovett. You can keep the rest. And knowing that W was there cheering for the Rangers (which, during his tenure with the club, he about ran into the ground) made it suck just that little hurtful bit more. The only bright spot about the Rangers is their manager. Washington surely does have a good time at games; you can see why his players want to perform for him. But all in all, I'm hoping they get their asses handed to them in the World Series.

So today I will retire my Tiger souvenirs for another year. I'll put away the pennants and the button and the cartoons and the ears from the 1984 World Series. Maybe I can talk Henry into going down to Florida for Spring Training in March... Read More 
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