I have been meaning to write this short piece for a while, but other topics have interrupted me, for example, the Gondola Project. Every now and then, while on the road, I get recognized by three different types of people (so far). Honestly, every time that event happens, I am equally confused, startled, delighted, flattered, and shy. There are three different types of people I have met.
The types of people I meet
First, the smallest group — the people who succinctly tell me that they do not like my work. I usually have the same reaction to this type of person. I often thank them for visiting TrueBlueLA and I smile. To a person, a weird look comes across their face and they walk away annoyed. I am always confused about what is supposed to happen.
Am I supposed to say “You’re right — I stink. I am clearly a hack; I’ll email Eric right now and go do something else?” You like what you like. I try to live and let live unless it’s a gondola project or it’s a billionaire claiming poverty.
Next, are those that wonder whether the site pays for my travel or how I pay for my travels or wonder if I work for the Dodgers. I work for Vox Media and the short answer is that I pay for everything, much to the chagrin of some who know me. I earn a monthly stipend from the site, which was increased from a pittance in twelve payments to a slightly larger pittance in twelve payments. Also, I get to claim certain expenses as tax deductions at the end of the year (never game tickets, Mr. and Mrs. IRS Agent person) — that’s it. The rest is just careful planning and money I have budgeted from my day job.
After that, are those who ask how I ended up writing. I usually ask what they want to write about or what they are passionate about. After I listen, I usually say the same thing: write about what you just told me. As to where to post, I recommend that those who are interested find a place that will let them post their thoughts or essays and just keep at it. Unless you have a journalism degree, it is not like there is a pipeline for essay writers. Most, if not all of the SBNation sites have a FanPost feature that seems like it would be a great avenue to cut your teeth on.
If you wish to use that feature here, I would recommend that you do so if you are so inclined provided that the topic is about the Dodgers. I cannot and will not promise that writing here will lead to a job as that decision is not mine. What I will say is that I write here because I enjoy it and I enjoy sharing my adventures with this community. I do not write for the money, because it’s not a lot.
If you have something important to share, the act of sharing is the point. If you are trying to get recognition or money, there are far easier ways to do so.
I deeply respect those that write for a living in this context. I suppose I do what I do while trying to be respectful to the Erics, the Jon Weismans, the Craig Calcaterras, and the Fabian Ardayas of the world (especially if I meet the latter in Kansas City and awkwardly stammer for a couple of minutes).
I get asked the same questions over and over. While I do not mind answering these questions, it has occurred to me that I could save myself some effort by putting the most common questions I get asked somewhere and I can refer people to this essay while I am futilely trying to eat a hotdog.
The most common questions I get asked
- Am I going to write about [fill in the blank — a subject that is not related to the Dodgers]?
No, this website is a Dodgers website. I have one public mandate. The public mandate is to write about interesting things, preferably related to the Dodgers. I was never going to write about the Tatis suspension or the Clevinger investigation because they are not Dodgers, and their stories are not particularly interesting. Truth be told if I cannot say something interesting or new on a subject, that subject is not worth my time.
- Why does the Guide not cover the quality of bathrooms at stadiums?
At first, only my mother asked me this question, but enough other people have asked me to cause me to think about it. Truthfully, unless I were traveling with a young child, this topic would never occur to me for a simple reason.
I assume most, if not all public bathrooms, unless in a sequestered area in say luxury seating, are generally terrible. Therefore, I take care of such business before or after the game, usually at my hotel or my apartment. Honestly, it has not been an issue because I usually abstain from alcohol while I am at the ballpark, especially if I am there by myself. After all, Adric is a lousy designated driver.
- Why do you look annoyed if I am talking to you?
As previously mentioned, I am shy, but I will take the opportunity to explain myself.
As a general rule, if you recognize me (or Adric, it’s almost always Adric), by all means, come on over, say hello, and let’s chat about everything and anything.
There are two exceptions to this rule, which I implore you all to follow.
- I am eating. I had a lengthy explanation here. I will be succinct. Just let me finish eating before you try talking to me because odds are that I am hungry and likely have not eaten for a good part of the day, if I am eating at the ballpark. Also, I do not mask when I am “hangry” very well.
- I am in the middle of “working.” During the game I am visiting, I am often live-tweeting or sending everybody videos or photographs, or using my phone’s camera to zoom in because I have really bad eyesight (-11 in both eyes and if you want an example of what that condition is like: enjoy.)
So unless I am eating, chat with me before the game or between innings — especially with the new pace of play rules.
- Do you dislike or hate [fill in the blank]?
Be it Dave Roberts or Trevor Bauer or the Gondola Project, I am often asked whether I dislike or hate any given topic considering how passionately I write about most subjects. Truthfully, dislike and hate are not really emotions that I allow to fester in my life. I have never met anyone I mentioned and I think the Gondola Project will hurt people in the local community. At the end of the day, you can be zealous without being a jerk. That axiom has served me well as an attorney, and it serves me well now.
- Can I hold Adric?
Absolutely not. Stop asking. If you want a picture with both of us, you just need to ask.
- What’s Eric/Catherine/David/etc. like?
They are on Twitter; you can interact with them yourself. I have never actually physically met anyone on the staff. I have ZOOMed with Eric a couple of times. I have met exactly two folks from this site; they were both nice.
If any other questions arise, I will add them to this list to revisit this topic at a later date.