Jeff Pearlman

  • Twitter Icon
  • Twitter Icon
  • Twitter Icon

Monthly Archives: February 2011

The worst sports rap ever …

… is Get Metsmerized, which the ’86 Mets recorded.

I wrote at length about this in The Bad Guys Won! but I’ve never seen it available for mass consumption (and eventual regurgiation). Big ups to The Big Lead for pointing out its existence.

Quick back story: The song was the idea of George Foster, who had a long history of going for get-rich-quick schemes. He snagged a bunch of teammates with promises of riches, then hired his nanny as one of the backup singers. When I researched the book, I tracked down all the names from the album cover. The general consensus: Holy cow—that sucked.

Which it did. Like, it really did.

But, in hindsight, it’s pretty funny.

Best part—the Mets refused to sell the album at shea Stadium. So of the, oh, 1,000 printed records, a whopping 80 or so sold.

My neighbor Laurie …

… has run for 180-some days in a row. She’s a wonderful woman, but a kooky harrier. In the winter, she runs in her jacket. Sometimes, she’ll also throw on a black ski mask.

It’s an interesting sight to see every morning.

But I also think Laurie’s getup flies in the face of Nike, Adidas, Converse and every other “running apparel” company. I ran my first 10K when I was in 2nd grade, and the miles have only increased with the passing of years. I’ve run in Nikes, Adidas, Asics, etc—primarily whatever brand Marshall’s is selling for the cheapest price. As for apparel—my apparel is a T with the sleeves cut off, and a pair of old running shorts.

It’s one of the things I love about running. Just go out and do it …

Willie Gault vs. Jet

So yesterday I received the following e-mail from someone named Lydia. The subject line read: Former Superbowl (sic) champ Willie Gault races airplane …

•••

Willie Gault, former Superbowl Champ who is considered to be the fastest athlete of all time, “raced” XOJET’s Challenger 300 airplane as a part of the private aviation company’s upcoming ad campaign.  Needless to say, the airplane, which is one of the fastest civilian aircrafts, beat the former NFL wide receiver.  (images attached)

XOJET has just introduced a new Coast2Coast frequent flier program as well that is well embraced by sports athletes.

Please let me know if you can make a fit!

Thanks in advance,

•••

Now call me odd, call my silly, call me lame—but this strikes me as a tad desperate. Willie Gault, former Bear and championship sprinter, is still awfully fast. But he’s no longer one of the, oh, 500 fastest men in the world. Which actually doesn’t matter, because even the fastest man in the world can’t outrun a jet. Like, it’s not possible. Factually. Impossible. Can’t happen. So why have Willie Gault, a man in his 50s, race the damn thing?

Back in the day, this sorta stuff flew. Jesse Owens vs. horse. Bob Hayes vs. car. Fine. Dandy. But in 2011, who has the attention or interest to see Gault get his butt kicked by a plane? All in the name of PR, no less?

Well, I guess I do. Because I just blogged about it.

Sigh.

Rick Reilly

If you haven’t yet jumped at the opportunity, take a moment out of your life and read Rick Reilly’s excellent ESPN.com column on the kid who was bullied at school, and the Philadelphia Eagles who befriended him. Truly an excellent piece of writing; Rick at his best.

Ever since he departed Sports Illustrated for ESPN in 2008, Rick has taken a ton of crap for the quality of his material. And, I’ll admit (and I’m willing to bet Rick would admit), it hasn’t all been his best stuff. But what people forget—and what readers definitely forget—is that maintaining one’s fastball, in writing, is really hard. It’s certainly not a matter of talent: I can assure you that Rick, age 52, is as talented as he was at 35 or 40 or 45. No, what becomes more difficult is the motivation; the drive; the passion. Cover sports long enough, the story lines repeat themselves. Over. And over. And over. The kid overcoming the odds. The yin-yang teammates. The big trade. The first-round bust. The woman making her mark in a man’s sport. The fan’s perspective. Profiling a food. Because we are humans confined by the limitations of organized athletics, there is a finite number of things that can happen. A team will overcome the odds. Another team will fail to meet expectations. At the end of the season, there’ll be a large celebration involving bubbly and goggles. Someone will say, “Nobody believed we could do this!” Someone else will say, “We’ve stuck together and fought like crazy.” Before Tiger there was Jack. Before Jack there was Arnold. On and on.

So when you’re Rick, or Steve Rushin, or Jason Whitlock, or Bill Simmons, or Mike Lupica, or Tom Verducci, or Selena Roberts, or Dave Anderson, or, well, any of us, the challenge isn’t staying sharp.

It’s continuing to care, when you’ve witnessed it all before.

People have said, “Why doesn’t Rick write the long features he used to do so well at SI?” I’ve never asked Rick, but I’ll take a guess: Because he doesn’t want to. He mastered that, and desired to move on.

I don’t blame him.

My wife

I’m sitting across from my wife today. We’re working together for a few hours. It’s one of my favorite things to do. There’s something about gazing up and seeing her sitting there—makes my day. Truly does.

Anyhow, this morning my wife gave a talk about emotional IQ and children at a nearby high school. She was told there’d be a lot of people there—and there were seven. I’ve had many similar experiences in my life. When my first book came out, I was invited to my hometown library in Mahopac, N.Y. to talk. I’d say three folks attended—plus my parents and wife. For Boys Will Be Boys, I was invited to the Ft. Hood military base. Was led to believe it’d be a bunch of soldiers in a room. Instead, I was placed in the front of the Ft. Hood answer to Target. Me, a stack of 200 books, nobody. When I hear “Attention shoppers, Jeff Pearlman is signing copies …” I wanted to hide.

The wife, however, was magical. The room was large, a kid was screaming, seven people were scattered throughout 10 rows of folding chairs. Somehow, she was on-point, bubbly, informative. Amazing.

In life, we always look for the great moments. Well, sometimes great moments aren’t so great. They’re little and obscure and hidden. When the situation looks crappy, the amazing step up.

My wife is amazing.

Were I a business, I’d hire Bob Sollish …

… based off of this insanely funny and well-done video.

Looooooooooove it.

Someone I know sent me the link to his Bob Sollish’s website. I don’t know Bob, I’ve never heard of Bob, I don’t even know if Bob is good at being a director of technology. Hell, I don’t even know what a director of technology does.

But in these rough times, where landing a job often seems impossible and corporations and politicians callously brag about cutbacks (as if they deserve props for ending employment opportunities), a person’s gotta do what a person’s gotta do. I am actually the son of a (semi-retired) executive recruiter. If there’s one piece of business advice my dad offered through the years that works, it’s the idea of making yourself stand out; of separating yourself from the crowd; of placing your name in neon lights without using neon lights. The best cover letter I’ve ever seen was written by a friend, Greg Orlando, who years ago was applying for a summer internship at The Tennessean. He didn’t write the standard blather about “I can contribute this …” or “If given the chance, I’ll …” No, Greg’s letter was, in essence, a list of everything he couldn’t do. I can’t dance. I can’t name six songs by Men Without Hats. I can’t write with my left hand, I can’t bake a decent cheesecake, I can’t … on and on and on. Then, at the end, he wrote something along the lines of, “The one thing I can do is write …” It was spectacular, and he landed the opening.

Along those lines, Bob Sollish scores big.

Good luck, Bob. I’m pulling for you.

PS: Here’s his resume. No charge, Bob.

Showtime Book
Love Me, Hate Me Barry Bonds Book
Sweetness Walter Peyton Book
The Bad Guys Won Book
The Rocket that Fell to Earth Book
Boys Will Be Boys Book

Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life