By Dan Schlossberg
As a working baseball writer, covering showcase events is the best part of the job.
For me this year, that means flying from Newark to Los Angeles to cover the All-Star Game, catching an early-morning flight home the day after the July 20 game, and getting up at O’Dark Hundred Thursday morning to drive two hours up the New York Thruway to Albany for a meeting with colleagues working Hall of Fame Induction Weekend for Sports Travel and Tours, official tour operator of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
I rarely succeed but I’m certainly planning to catch some Zs on the long plane ride east.
Complicating this crazy schedule is the fact that air travel has become totally unreliable, not only because of wild summer weather but also because of pandemic-caused shortages of pilots and air-traffic controllers. It would be like playing a major-league game with two umpires and blaming bad calls on staffing shortages.
The All-Star Game and Hall of Fame inductions are seldom the same week, but the schedule's vagaries left Major League Baseball little choice. They need Dodger Stadium to be vacant so that they can stage the Sirius XM Futures Game, the celebrity softball game, and other events associated with the always-expanding All-Star break.
I’ve got my own added agenda, since I’ve been invited to speak and sign books this Wednesday, July 6, inside the Bullpen Theater at the Hall of Fame as part of their Authors Series. I’ll also be signing in the lobby of the Level Hotel in L.A. from 4-6 p.m. Sunday, July 17, and in front of the Willis Monie Book Store, on Main Street in Cooperstown, from 10:30a-12:30p on Saturday, July 23.
I have my own rotation of books: When the Braves Ruled the Diamond: 2021 World Championship edition for the July 6 Bullpen Theater event, The New Baseball Bible for both Los Angeles and the Main Street Cooperstown signing, and Designated Hebrew: The Ron Blomberg Story, which I will also have available for that outdoor signing.
Next year, I’m hoping to do something similar but with a new title; I just completed the manuscript of Baseball Zeroes, also published by Skyhorse under its Sports Publishing imprint, and will have it ready for signing appearances next spring.
My Skyhorse editor, Julie Ganz, describes Zeroes as a “gifty” book and I guess she’s right since it will be the first one of my 40 books to date that contains artwork in color rather than just black-and-white. Reading the first copy will be like recalling the day my parents finally replaced our old Zenith with an RCA color television.
People always ask how long it takes to write a book. Honestly, it varies. It depends on how long and how demanding each project is.
The New Baseball Bible is an oversized, 480-page illustrated paperback. Producing it meant not only writing but gathering the graphics and securing reprint permissions, plus finding friends willing to write a foreword and introduction. I was lucky enough to land John Thorn, official historian of Major League Baseball, and Al Clark, a big-league umpire with whom I collaborated on his tell-all book, Called Out But Safe.
Since I love talking baseball, I love signing books. With proper publicity, decent crowds turn out, and decent conversations result. Maybe even a few book sales too.
I’m now in the planning stages of taking a table in the Vendors Room at SABR 50 in Baltimore for the same reason. And I’ll be sure to bring a selection of titles.
At least I won’t have to fly anywhere to get from North Jersey to Baltimore.
Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ covers baseball for forbes.com, Latino Sports, USA TODAY Sports Weekly, Sports Collectors Digest, and more. His e.mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.