From last Wednesday through Saturday afternoon I was in the hospital with pneumonia. But my discharge didn’t mean much as I basically just went from a guy with pneumonia in the hospital to a guy with pneumonia at home. I feel a lot better but I still can’t really do shit because I’m fatiguing so damn easily. I mean, we’re talking the steam from a shower leaving me out of breath. That said, I’ve had a lot of time to myself, motionless and in need of content to fill my restless mind. When you have all this time to explore, you realize just how vast and splintered content has become. And you allow yourself to escape down different rabbit holes in search of your new favorite niche.
One of the things I realized I like is people with great chemistry talking about baseball - much more than I like actual baseball. Have you watched the shit lately? It’s awful! Strikeouts are at an all-time high for about the 5th year running. Pitching is so specialized and managers are using more specialty pitchers than ever. That leads to more pitching changes which leads to longer games. Even the hardcorey-ist of hardcore fans don’t want to be watching for 3.5 hours. That said, listening to a couple kinda smart-ass stat nerds who are very comfortable subtly jabbing each other while discussing these games has proven to be quite fun. So if you’re keeping track, that’s 40-50 minutes each day in which I do not have to worry about filling my head with content, thanks to the Effectively Wild Podcast with Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller. Sadly, those guys are an exception in the baseball podcasting world. It’s a pretty barren landscape content wise. AND, Ben just got hired to write for Grantland, which won’t afford him the time to keep this podcast daily.
So I got to thinking, I SHOULD BE FILLING THIS VOID! And as I have a tendency to do, I got lost in fantasy imagining what my baseball podcast would sound like. My head began to flood with wonderful thoughts and tangents, only somewhat related to baseball. Ben and Sam, while allowing their show’s topics to drift into the hypothetical and absurd, always stay within the realm of baseball. It’s certainly not for everyone. I was thinking about how on my show, baseball could just be a jumping off point for potentially broader discussion. For example, the All-Star game was Tuesday night. And as expected it was an all-out celebration of the soon-to-be retiring Derek Jeter. He’s certainly deserving of the accolades he’s received from the community, but that stuff isn’t tremendously interesting to me. What is interesting to me is his weirdly old fashioned, rat pack classy, kinda Lothario stronghold over New York City these past couple decades.
He very famously gets around in the biggest Metropolis in the land, yet it’s all just hearsay and tabloid fodder. And living in a time when celebrities can’t avoid being photographed and can’t avoid having their social lives exposed, Jeter has somehow managed to keep his escapades private and left to the imagination of his fans. It’s like Sinatra in the 60’s and 70’s only in an era when everyone has a camera. I don’t much care how much sex he’s having. I don’t put a lot of value in that. But the retention of relative privacy as one of the biggest celebrities in NYC for the past two decades? That’s goddamn impressive.
So I was going to talk about that. Then I had this whole other tangent about the differences between men and women who desire particular celebrities. About how men, generally speaking, don’t want to fuck famous women on account of their greatness. Like if some rando hooked up with Rihanna, he wouldn’t go back to his buddies and be like, “Dudes! I just hooked up with the girl who sang ‘Umbrella!’ Amazing!” No. It’d be, “I just banged one of the hottest women in the world!” There’d be no mention of her general stature or career achievements. Just a laser focus on how hot she is. And I’m certainly not saying that shallowness is exclusive to men, but in the reverse scenario there does seem to be a greater potential for multi-layered attraction.
It had never really occurred to me to try and place myself in the mindset of the groupie. The concept is just so foreign. I can’t even imagine what it would feel like to be out at some super upscale club in Manhattan, looking as sexy as possible in a cocktail dress across the bar from this baseball player I’m irrationally in love with - just wanting to get into his orbit. From impulse to execution - I just can’t wrap my head around any of it.
It was at that point I recalled reading something about Neko Case in which she humorously lamented her own lack of groupies. She said something (I’m paraphrasing) about how it’d be awesome if there were just fan dudes hanging out by her tour bus after shows. And she could just emerge from the venue, walking towards the bus. And at the very least she’d have options available should she want to exercise them. So while it was initially difficult imagining being a groupie, the recollection of this Neko Case story got me thinking. What if I were hanging out after a show and she saw me and liked me? What would it be like to be asked to her room? Could I play it cool? Could I even perform? Am I being sexist for having a hard time believing Neko Case would want a one-night stand with a gushing super fan (even someone as viciously attractive as myself)?
It was at this point I realized my sickly face was sweating and I was wearing a t-shirt with a dinosaur on it. Sho shexy.
I feel like this would all be wonderful content! So I wrote up an outline and tried to start recording these thoughts. And no. Those thoughts that sound so interesting in your head - actually verbalizing them alone in an empty room - no good. Don’t even try. I could be generous and say broadcasters who sit alone in a room and talk for 3-4 hours a day are immensely talented - whether I like their thoughts or not (and I suppose they are). But hand in hand with that talent is a special brand of psychosis, allowing these people to plow through the awkwardness of speaking to no one while also remaining focused and orderly in their thoughts. It’s so freakin’ unnatural. If you don’t believe me, try it sometime!
The lesson: I still really want to do it, but it’s not happening alone. It just feels too weird and icky. Time to search for a co-host!