Jeff Pearlman

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Why the thin skin?

I have thin skin.

It’s well known in certain areas—especially here. And here. And here. I’ve been mocked for my thin skin, criticized for my thin skin, ripped apart for my thin skin. The general take is this: You’ve had a lot of success as a writer. Why do you always feel the need to defend yourself?

Answer: Uh … I don’t know. I really don’t. My think is, certainly, skin. Not over everything, mind you. I have no problem with people dumping on stuff I’ve written, as long as they’ve read it. I can deal with folks criticizing my career path; even my book choices.

I suppose what gets me—what REALLY gets me—is the (seemingly) unfair stuff. With this book, for example, folks read the excerpt and damned the entire book to hell. That stung. Now, some have said, “Hey, you knew what SI was going to run … how can you be bothered by the backlash?” And maybe that’s true. But logic … it doesn’t always line up with emotion.

Furthermore, when you put X amount of work into a project, you breathe it, feel it, live it. It becomes your life. The thing consumes you. So for people to say, “Just a guy after the money” or “Lazy reporting” or … whatever. I just don’t know—on every occurrence—how to let that stuff go. Because, unless you’re made of iron, it stings. Hurts. Bruises.

Truth is, I’d be better off pretending it didn’t. But it does. And writers who don’t take their work personally … who don’t feel the burn. Well, I admire them. But I don’t understand them.

Oy.

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  • Darin

    I can understand that thought process. What I don’t understand is why you don’t apply that same principle to the people you accuse of steroid use.
    “Furthermore, when you put X amount of work into a project, you breathe it, feel it, live it. It becomes your life. The thing consumes you. So for people to say, “Just a guy after the money” or “Lazy reporting” or … whatever. I just don’t know—on every occurrence—how to let that stuff go. Because, unless you’re made of iron, it stings. Hurts. Bruises.”
    That is how most professional baseball players feel towards baseball as well. And unless you know for certain that they took steroids, how can you accuse using that principle?

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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