Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Check out my balls

Writers are odd people.

At least the ones I know, and I know quite a few.

Like athletes, writers have little ticks, habits and routines, that must be accommodated before they can get down to the business of turning thoughts into words.

Some smoke.
Some drink.
My buddy Matty, always has to have two number two pencils in his hands. He twirls them. He taps them. He dexterously winds them through his fingers like some cheap Las Vegas magician.

And to the probable dismay of his art director partner,  he'll never write without them.

For me, it's baseballs.
I like to have one nearby.
And in between sentences, paragraphs or pages, I'll pound one from hand to hand. Or put some topspin on one as I toss it overhead. Hopefully not hitting the ceiling fan in my office.

It's not like I'm a crazed baseball fan. I'm not. Though I thoroughly enjoy this time of the year and devour baseball strategy as if it were a bottomless bowl of fried calamari.

I even like listening to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver.

But it's more about the feel of a baseball in my hand. The leather. The embossed stitching. Even the aroma of a baseball is pleasing.

At one time, the ball on the left (my favorite) was brand new. And it was signed. By Tommy LaSorda and Erik Karros.

I met both of them on one of the first TV commercials I ever wrote.

It was for the Nissan dealers and the premise was very simple.

Eric Karros was a rookie. He was the lowest paid baseball player in the National League, making a measly $109,000/year. He wasn't getting the kind of free agent money his teammates were, so every penny counted. That's why he was so excited that the Nissan Dealers were having a clearance sale.

It gave him a legit reason to pound the sheet metal, talk about deals and in a not-so-subtle way make fun of big leaguers who were making millions of dollars for chewing tobacco and playing a little boy's game.

For the life of me I can't remember why Tommy LaSorda was on the set. He was media savvy, so he could have been there to coach young Eric through the experience.

Or, and this is probably closer to the truth, he might have been there for the craft service food.

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