I went on MLB Network with Brian Kenny

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Last August, I pitched Sporting News on doing a column about the Hall of Fame. In emailing with an editor, I mentioned the Does he belong in the Hall of Fame? column that I (and a number of other writers) did here a few years ago. I wrote to the editor,  “I found even on my modestly-trafficked site that the column drew readers back each week and stimulated discussion. I can only imagine how it would resonate on a major site like yours.”

What I promised seems to finally be coming true. Brian Kenny had me as a guest on his MLB Network show “MLB Now” earlier today. He had me on, via satellite from a studio in Sacramento where I live, to discuss the “Cooperstown Chances” column I’ve been doing for Sporting News for six months now. Brian and I talked for five minutes about the recent interviews I’ve been doing through my column of Tommy John, Bobby Grich, Steve Garvey, Dale Murphy, Jim Kaat, and Billy Wagner.

I’m still amazed as I write this that I got to go on MLB Network or that I didn’t totally go to pieces on live, national television. I could feel my heart thumping as I sat in the chair in the dark, windowless studio waiting to be patched in– I worried that the microphone on my tie would pick up the noise. Thankfully, Brian Kenny regularly brings writers onto his show who’ve done little or no television, and he’s great at putting people at ease. My friend Adam Darowski, who went on the show two weeks ago, had a similar experience.

So we’re clear: Without Sporting News (or the support of the woman I love), I doubt any of this happens. I don’t know if I’d have interviewed half the players I’ve talked to. I know how to cold call and send query emails, and old ballplayers love to talk; but I also have this golden ticket every time I call a player, being able to name drop a publication that’s existed since 1888 and still has a solid presence online, even if it no longer has a print edition. I also don’t know if someone like Brian Kenny would have seen my work had it not run on Sporting News. It’s a tough world these days for independent sportswriters.

I’m on the ride of my life right now as a writer. Every week seems to bring some new awesome experience that I never would have bet on five years ago and still seems utterly ridiculous as I write about it. (I haven’t mentioned this, but I’ve been fully self-employed as a freelance writer and editor since mid-October. It’s a post for another time, but I’m actually solvent four months in. It’s almost as surreal to me as seeing myself on television.)

If anyone is in the position I was in not long ago, working hard in obscurity, I say: Keep at it. Keep doing what you love, even if it very reasonably seems like no one’s reading. Keep working hard. Results will come, in ways you wouldn’t predict.

That said, I hope this is only the beginning. I’m going to keep working to see what unfolds. I want to talk to more players, many more. I want to have articles in places like Sports Illustrated, ESPN, and the New York Times. I want to write a book.

It goes almost without saying, but thanks to everyone who’s read my work since I launched this site in May 2009. I wouldn’t be doing any of the things I’m doing without a lot of help and support.

Talking to Tommy John

My latest is out for Sporting News. For the fifth straight week, I interviewed the player I wrote about. In weeks past, I’ve spoken to Bobby Grich, Steve Garvey, Dale Murphy, and Jim Kaat. This week, I scored another great interview with Tommy John, who’s got a good shot of going in eventually but, like every player I’ve spoken to, is in long-term limbo.

As always feedback is welcome. Thanks for reading.

Bobby Grich knows he's underrated

My latest for Sporting News dropped a little while ago. Continuing my recent spate of interviews, I scored an hour-long talk with one of my favorite candidates, Orioles and Angels second baseman Bobby Grich.

If you’re into sabemetrics or 1970s baseball, you might love this interview. Grich is a good storyteller, as well as a rare former player who understands how his value breaks down in terms of sabemetrics. He was a pleasure to talk to.

Expect more of these interviews, by the way. I feel momentum building.

The Second Coming of Joe DiMaggio

I posted yesterday about a chat I will be doing at 11:30 a.m. PST today to promote a new article. The article’s live this morning, and if you enjoy my writing, this one might especially be of interest.

I wrote about how Joe Marty got hyped as the second coming of Joe DiMaggio, his teammate from the Pacific Coast League and why he failed to live up to it. This was a fun one to research and write. Marty’s near to my heart, as I grew up and live in Sacramento, where he’s from.

Please let me know what you guys think of my piece, good or bad. No one’s been commenting lately, and I want to make sure I’m writing things that are of interest. If not, maybe it’s time for me to go back to the drawing board and figure out a way to create better articles. I don’t want to waste my life churning things out that no one reads.

Join me for a live chat about baseball history

Tomorrow morning, I’m going to have a new freelance piece dropping at The National Pastime Museum entitled “The Second Coming of Joe DiMaggio.” It’s about how DiMaggio’s teammate in the Pacific Coast League, Joe Marty drew comparisons to him when he debuted in the majors in 1937. In general, I’m intrigued with players who get heavily hyped or compared to all-time greats and then don’t live up to it. Marty was also from my hometown of Sacramento.

The National Pastime Museum has started doing something interesting recently whenever new articles appear. It’s having its authors host live chats to promote them. I’d like to invite anyone interested to take part in my chat tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. PST.  The National Pastime Museum publishes a lot of good writing about baseball history and offers fair pay for professional writers, so I’d like to see it succeed. I also think this chat should be a lot of fun for anyone who enjoys baseball history.

To sign up for the chat, simply go to this page and RSVP. You’ll get an email reminder 15 minutes before the chat.

The chat will last for one hour and primarily be about Joe DiMaggio and my article. That said, I invite people to take part regardless of if they’ve read my piece and also to ask me any question under the sun. If people would prefer to spend an hour talking about the Hall of Fame, I’m cool with that. I’m happy to talk about anything people want, as long as we’re talking baseball history.

Please feel free to email me at thewomack@gmail.com with comments or questions about how to sign up or anything else related to the chat. That being said, I look forward to chatting with as many of you as possible tomorrow.

Another week, another interview: Steve Garvey

My latest is out for Sporting News. At this point, I feel comfortable saying here that I’ve set a goal to interview one iconic non-Hall of Famer a week for the foreseeable future.

If you’ve been reading along, in recent weeks I’ve interviewed Dale Murphy, Jim Kaat, and Billy Wagner. This week’s interview is Steve Garvey, who was a pleasure to talk to and was thought of as a Hall of Famer near the end of his career.

Old players aren’t too difficult to get a hold of and generally love to talk about their careers. Want me to interview someone? I can probably do it (within reason, of course– I don’t know if I can get Barry Bonds on the phone.)

Please feel free to leave suggestions in the comments or email me at thewomack@gmail.com.

Talking to Dale Murphy about Hall of Fame exclusivity

My latest is out for Sporting News. Continuing my recent interview kick, I talked to two-time MVP and Atlanta Braves great Dale Murphy.

It was pretty cool to talk to Murphy, who was one of my dad’s favorite players when I was a kid. For someone who I think has a fair shot of eventually going in Cooperstown through the Expansion Era Committee or some other iteration of the Veterans Committee, Murphy’s very accessible. He also ranks as one of the nicest sports figures I’ve interviewed along with Ozzie Smith and Dick Vermeil.

Expect more interviews. I spent 40 minutes on the phone this morning with another well-known player. I’ll share that one next Tuesday.