Pop Up Part 3: How I Learned to Pop Up: The Re Popening.

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Alternate Title Thoughts: Pop Up E3. Popping Straight Up : How I Learned to Write Like an Old White Dude From the Forties. Pop Up (Pun Intended…WITH A VENGEANCE).

Writing is hard.

More?

Okay. Sports writing is also hard.

In the articles I usually read, statistical analysis is at forefront and story narrative is at the back burner at best. I usually find that articles which are simply about providing a more “human” narrative are often lacking in any kind of interesting or varied information. Playing the game the “right way” means a sports writer is complaining about how baseball isn’t played like it was in the old days. The wrong way being players showing emotion after a tremendous play or a close victory. In my experience, human narratives like those usually involve those right way and wrong way cliches, and I have little time or patience for reading about a writing yelling at kids to get off his proverbial baseball diamond shaped lawn.

But anyway, I suppose I should stop criticizing and start learning.

While baseball writing trends toward the romantic, that does not mean it’s useless. There are times when it can be poignant. There are fascinating human interest stories that actually do humanize their subject matter. Such as this one about Cuban baseball player Yasiel Puig. Yes that was a total shout out because, yes, as mentioned before I’m a Dodgers Fan.

I am emotional about the game when I’m watching it. Just because I embrace logic and statistical analysis for player evaluations, does not mean I am immune to the emotional turbulence of watching my favorite team play. It involves screaming profanities and clapping really hard. In fact, during playoff time, I am reduced to an imitation of myself that only knows “fuck,””shit,” or one of my favorites “fucking bullshit.” It’s really a treat if you have always wanted to see me lose my shit on an inning by inning basis.

ARGHHHH!

ARGHHHH!

Oh where was I?

Yes, baseball writing.

Well anyway, I know that emotional appeals using baseball and its players as the subject makes it easier to manipulate the audience. That’s why sports writers write the way they do. While I prefer to read something like this, and not something like this. The latter can include intriguing and thought provoking narratives, such as the Yasiel Puig article.

I also learned by reading other blog posts that there are other pieces writing too. For one, I found Tara’s post on game writing by Bioware’s lead writer, David Gaider, to be fascinating as I’ve always been interested to see how actual games are written. Especially by one of my favorite video game RPG (Role Playing Game. I do speak a little alien from time to time too, I guess.) companies. It’s a field I have always been interested in and to see how different it is from the other more conventional types of writing was really an enlightening read.

I also must thank whoever thought of this moment and whoever put this in. An amazing moment.

What can I say? I learned from myself and all of you. So thanks me and thank you too. I can only hope I was as informative as I was bloggy (Just wait for the urbandictionary entry).

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Pop Up (No Pun Intended) Part 2

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This is Derek Jeter’s last season as a Yankee and as a professional baseball player. He was a Yankee so expect every sanctimonious article from writers who will say the good ole’ days of hustle and play will go with him once he retires. Ignore even more sanctimony when Jeter in his age forty season does something spectacular for his age that any twenty something year old could do in his sleep now, because its Derek Jeter’s last season, and goddammit, when he does something in his last season as a Yankee, it means everything, no matter what.

Now I really don’t share the above opinion. Full disclosure: I’m a Dodgers fan who’s had to live with a mother who was a Yankees fan (Don’t ask, it just happened). I can’t stand to hear his name because of the conflict it will inspire in my household.

I say he’s allergic to anything hit to his left

She says to get off of Derek

I say she needs to get off of Derek

And the cycle continues on and on. *Insert Journey Song*

Anyway, baseball writers are subject to flowery prose when describing anything baseball, because baseball is old and therefore garners the attention of the color purple prose.

The article, actually does a fine job setting a scene with a little bit of actual reporting.

For example let’s look at this passage:

Girardi was right about the standing ovation for the Yankees’ Core Four, and Jeter got another standing O when he came to bat in the bottom of the first inning: Number 2, hitting second, a familiar sight. Jeter dug in, his back foot on the back line of the batters’ box as usual, and he wagged his black bat. And then on the fifth pitch from righthander Ubaldo Jimenez — the Yankees were playing the Orioles, by the way — Jeter swung and missed for strike three. (Kostya Kennedy) 

I mean, that’s a nice bit of imagery. Especially if you’re a baseball fan who can actually remember the Core Four Yankees. It encapsulates everything triumphant about baseball while pointing out the last element that makes it so human. Even the best swing and miss on occasion, just like the real world, and Derek Jeter is no exception. One thing this type of writing does, or at least seeks to do, is portray the people playing on T.V as something human, though one could argue it does the opposite since they’re idealized thanks to articles like this, but interpretation of the masses and all that junk.

One cannot read a baseball article without baseball terms no one, but baseball fans will understand, and sometimes, not even human beings or addicted baseball fans can. Like this line:

Jeter made a point of rapping hard line drives into shallow rightfield, an area which functions as a kind of Jetersburg for him when things are going well. (Kostya Kennedy)

To be fair. I don’t know what the fuck a “Jetersburg” is either and I’m not sure I ever will. Does it relate Gettysburg and the address? 

Baseball writing does lead to a sort of romanticism about the sport. Again, because its hold and it’s always been played the “right way” according to old white beat writers. The intent of baseball pieces like this is not to always provide the reader with best statistical information. It is to create a narrative that is easy to tell and capture the feelings of the reader like the Death Star’s tractor beam. (TRY FINDING ANOTHER DEATHSTAR IN A BASEBALL ARTICLE, CAN’T FIND IT CAN YOU?)

I have a feeling it won’t last long if it doesn’t move out of the way. You could say there’s a certain…Force.

The primary purpose of this kind of writing is to provide a story to latch on to. It doesn’t matter what Jeter’s projected on-base-percentage is going to be or how he’ll rate in advanced defensive metrics in this kind of article. It matters whether he will go out the “right way” and if he will preserve the Yankee uniform in a matter fitting of the “Captain.” No one will care about how many hits Derek Jeter has in his last year, just as long as he gets one more hit.

One more time to be a Yankee.

One more time to Derek Jeter.