An Incredible Day

OK, so, I have been trying to keep up appearances here at Joe Blogs — but I’m not going to lie to you: I’m pooped. The last few weeks have been some of the most thrilling, dizzying and exhausting of my entire life. And it all came out today.

So, what should I tell you about first?

Well, let’s start with baseball, because that’s the easier part. With today being Day 1 of the World Series, I partnered with “CBS Mornings” to tell a little story about the timelessness of baseball. I recorded my essay at Truist Field in Charlotte, and yes that’s a Charlotte Knights hat on my head.

So that one does seem to fit in with what I normally do. And, as always, you can get The Baseball 100 at Amazon and Barnes & Noble — we have sold so many books that it is on backorder at Indiebound and various other places, though I believe they still have autographed copies at my favorite Independent bookstore, Rainy Day Books.

Now I can tell you what I’ve been working on more or less 18 hours a day for the last month. It’s called Honor Your Hometown.

Some of you might remember that my friend Dan McGinn — who has been one of America’s leading crisis managers for 30 years — and I started a project a while ago called Passions in America. The idea was to try and pump some good into the world by encouraging people to embrace their passions, whatever they might be.

We went up and down any number of dead ends on our journey. But eventually, it led to us teaming up with Bob Kendrick on the incredible Tip Your Cap campaign in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Negro Leagues Baseball. We got four presidents to tip their caps for that one.

Then, we teamed up with a number of organizations and created First Woman Voter, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. We got five First Ladies for that campaign, along with — well, you can go to the site and see the incredible women who took part.

And then … after Jan. 6, Dan decided for some reason that we needed to try something even bigger to pump good and inspire unity as best we could. And together with the great Ken Burns and Country Music Hall of Famer Marty Stuart — and don’t even ASK how we connected with them — we decided that instead of going bigger we should go smaller. Instead of looking outward, we should look inward.

That’s what led to the idea of having people honor their hometowns.

I can’t really tell the story any better than Ken does here:

The response has been mind-boggling. Dolly Parton sings. Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood argue (sort of), astronaut Mark T. Vande Hei does somersaults in the International Space Station. My friend Lindsay Berra and her dad, Larry, run around the Yogi Berra Museum talking about all of Yogi’s hometowns. Mayors from ALMOST all 50 states — and we will get there — talk about the treasures of their cities, towns and villages. I mean, I don’t have room to tell about all of them — Miranda Lambert, Gary Sinise, Mike Krzyzewski, the Librarian of Congress, the Secretary of the Smithsonian, the Archivist of the United States, the Bobblehead Hall of Fame, the Cowgirl Museum, the Statue of Liberty, Sun Records, the incredible Chris Nikic, who is the first person with Down’s syndrome to complete an Ironman triathlon …

I have a special place in my heart for this video from a woman named Jill Stuckey, telling us all about Jimmy Carter’s hometown of Plains, Ga.

It has been mind-boggling in every sense of the word — and heck, it just kicked off TODAY, fittingly on The Today Show. Well, CBS’ Tony Dokoupil actually mentioned it first — just before my baseball essay. Can you even imagine what it felt like to have those two stories back to back? I don’t have anywhere to go but down.

You can also check out this wonderful op-ed in USA Today.

It has been incredible … and it has been a lot. Margo has been wondering how I’m still standing, and I don’t have a great answer for her. But this is all I ever really wanted to do, write about sports and maybe do a little bit of good. Thank you for being a part of Joe Blogs. Thank you for reading. Now, if I can just get through the next couple of weeks, I think things might clear up enough for me to start the next crazy thing.