Jeff Pearlman

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Does nasty mail hurt?

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Jeff Pearlman needs to stop writing PERIOD! That includes articles, books, grocery lists, you name it! I never read one thing he’s evern written that was worth a bucket of spit!

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Over the course of my career, I’ve often had people say, “I don’t know how you deal with the angry letters—I certainly couldn’t.”

Indeed, in the 15 years since graduating Delaware, I’ve received a ton of so-called Hate Mail. I’m certainly not unique—most anyone in this business has experienced the same sort of thing. I believe my first professional hate letter came in the summer of 1993, when I interned at The Tennessean in Nashville prior to my senior year of college. The paper had allowed me to write a column, so I did one on how New Yorkers don’t understand what southerners are talking about. It was pretty silly and sort of offensive and poorly written. Anyhow, a secretary said, “Jeff, you’ve got a letter.” And there it was—a postcard with a heart stamp on one side and GO BACK TO NEW YORK, YANKEE JEW BOY FAGGOT on the other.

That was a harsh introduction to life as a writer. Through the years I’ve received angry letters of all sorts—anti-Semitic, racist, personal, ridiculous. John Rocker’s mother compared me to Jesus Christ, a Pirates fans recently called me “an ass**** d***wad,” a University of Delaware cross country runner (I had been on the team years before) called me “a disgrace to the school.”

So, does hate mail hurt? In a word: Yes.

Not that I cry over it. I don’t. But it never feels good hearing you’re a dolt, a moron, an anus. The worst, to be honest, is when people say you’re not a good writer. It’s a silly thing to be stung by, because I’ve lived my dream career, and I believe in my books, and an angry note shouldn’t scar that. But, still, I’m not a robot. I try and write with a lot of passion and heart. Gary Smith, my old SI colleague, once said that every word should have meaning, and I subscribe to that viewpoint (not always on the blog, to be honest, which I view as more vent diary than anything else). When I write a book, i read that thing, oh, 200 times before it leaves my hands the final time. When I write a column, I go over it and over it and over it and over it again. Mistakes are inevitable, and surely there are pieces I’d love to take back. But they all have meaning … all mean something to me.

I’m babbling. Fire away. Call me every nasty word in the book.

But whether you’re yelling at writers or athletes or garbage men or actors, it never feels good.

  • Andy

    Ha ha.

    I’m putting to rest those Pirates blogs. I used to be offended when I’d go to LA and hear Dodgers fans call us Pirates fans idiots, but after reading some of the mindless prattle those guys were writing on there… I get it now.

    And I’m going to venture a guess that anyone critiquing your writing by calling you an “an ass**** d***wad”, well it’s kind of funny that you could make someone that mad without saying anything offensive to that person directly. I unfortunately, however, find it equally sad (and an unfortunate societal barometer) that an adult human being would say something like that. Just don’t hold it against all the Pirates fans.

    You’re a solid writer, man. If I could compare you as a writer to a professional outfielder, it wouldn’t be Nate McLouth, because apparently a lot of people don’t think he’s that great. So instead, how about the Curtis Granderson of your generation?

  • Andrew

    I enjoy your stuff

    The Mets book
    The Cowboys book
    This blog

    Your shit stands out

    Please keep writing great stuff – books, here, elsewhere

  • Every time I think I’m used this kind of stuff, I get another hate letter, and ouch. Maybe I should get used to it bothering me, and then get used to getting over it.

  • Ronner18

    Jeff,
    The fact that people take the time to tell you how much you suck, means that they are reading your work,and have an interest. Don’t let jeolous people ruin your day.
    Howard Stern’s show was great for this. There is a line in private parts, where they found that the average Howard Stern hater listened 10 minutes longer than the fans did. We have a choice in this country, and we also have a lot of has beens and never will be’s looking to to take down anyone who has had success.

  • HOP

    The nasty mail doesnt hurt as much as your writing jeffrey. I wont even subscribe to SI just because they allow you to continue writing nonsense!

  • SteveO

    Jeff,

    Be certain that Pirate fans are not venting towards you because you write negative pieces on the Pirates. After 17 losing seasons, there is no harsher critic than the Pirates fan.

    What this all boils down to is the facts. What’s difficult to understand is how two successive articles on the Pirates are essentially splattered with facts that are not researched correctly or thoroughly. Sure, these blogs are much about opinions, however when the facts are downright incorrect, even the most negative Pirate fan will come up to bat to attack your spin on the club.

    I’ve read some of your other work, and there is indeed some good writing. With regards to the Pirates, you’re so far off base that my 88 year-old grandmother could throw you out with ease.

  • Nik Jones

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I love your stuff, Jeff. I’ve read all your stuff except the Cowboys book, and I will get to it simply because YOU wrote it. (I have little to no interest in football.) YOU will have the distinction of being the first and maybe only writer of a non-baseball sports book that I read. And that, buddy, is sayin’ something.

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