OK, so tomorrow’s the big day, the day that I unveil the new Joe Blogs and begin to show you all of the things I have been working on. I think it’s really cool. I hope it’s really cool. I’m excited and nervous and all the rest. There’s a great scene in Barry Levinson’s underappreciated movie “Avalon,” where two cousins risk all their money to open up a discount warehouse, and they really have no idea it will work or flop.
“I’m getting a little nervous,” the less conservative cousin says.
“You? You’re getting nervous?”
“Yeah, you make me nervous … ‘Maybe the customers won’t show. Maybe nobody will show. We’re expanding too fast. We’re getting in over our heads.’ You get me?’”
“Well,” the more conservative cousin says, “it was a genuine concern, and it remains a genuine concern.”
“Genuine concern. Now, that I like.”
And they toast to genuine concern.
As a writer, you learn to make peace with genuine concern. I used to get so nervous when handing over my work to an editor, that I couldn’t eat.* I still sometimes play tricks on myself when writing books — that genuine concern will hit out of nowhere and I’ll tell myself, “Don’t worry, just write it down, nobody will ever see it.” It’s a funny business, writing.
*Clearly not a problem for me anymore.
Anyway, I’m much more excited than nervous about the next few weeks. Starting tomorrow, we’ll have all sorts of fun here at Joe Blogs. I probably should add that today is the last day to subscribe at 20% off the subscription price.
And in three weeks, my new book The Baseball 100 will come out.
So, I want to tell you something funny about the book. My mom has read it. The whole thing, all 900 or so pages of it; you can see in the photo above what a monstrosity it is.
Now, this might not sound like much, I mean, she’s my mother and you might expect your own mother to read your books.
But here’s the thing, as many of you know: I definitely DID NOT expect my mother to read it. My mother came to America three years before I was born, and one American thing she never picked up was a taste for baseball. As I wrote in the introduction to the book, I doubt she has seen an inning of baseball. I don’t mean in a row; I’m talking cumulatively.
She is actually a little bit famous for caring so little about baseball; people will occasionally ask me to retell the story of the first baseball story I ever wrote for a newspaper. You’ve probably heard it by now; My mother read it the next day and said, “The story is good, but I have one question … Who are you to decide whether a run is earned or unearned?”
My goal is to someday get that quote up in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
So, no, I never actually expected my mother to read three pounds worth of baseball, even if it is written by her oldest son. But she has. And not only that: She has told me on multiple occasions how much she has enjoyed it. Again, you need to know my mother to understand what that means: Mom cannot pull punches or hold back opinions or praise anything casually. It’s simply not in her constitution. I’m sure Mom has said nice things about my other books, though I don’t really remember them.
But her endorsement of The Baseball 100 is shockingly strong. She has given me consistent updates of her progress, talked repeatedly about how surprised she is by how much she likes it, at one point she even talked about how I actually make her care about baseball players because I bring them so much to life.
I mean, I hope this book gets a lot of great reviews like this very nice one that says The Baseball 100 “will become an instant sports classic.” But being honest, I’m not going to get a review that’s more surprising and more meaningful than the one from Mom.
By the way, she still isn’t going to actually watch baseball. Never going to happen.
A reminder about the preorder offer: If you preorder The Baseball 100 anywhere (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Bookshop, Books A Million, Target, etc.) before pub date on Sept. 28, you are eligible to get a signed bookplate and an invitation to an exclusive virtual Zoom event that I think will be really cool (working on getting a fantastic guest).
All you have to do is go to the Preorder Page, punch in your name, address and proof of purchase, and, voila, you will get the bookplate in the mail and access to the event.
And I should add here that while the Rainy Day Books offer for me inscribing the book with anything you like is now expired — thank you to all you wonderful folks who preordered the book there — I will be having an event in Kansas City on Sept. 29 with Bill James. I don’t need to tell you how much fun THAT is going to be. And buying the book at Rainy Day will still get you an autographed copy and two tickets to the event.