The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

Earl and Me Lives!

with 5 comments

My story about baseball manager Earl Weaver was published last week by the Society for American Baseball Research.  If you want to reach pretty far back in The Seeker archives, you can read a few episodes from when I was writing the story (the serial continues with episode 2episode 3episode 4, and episode 5).  If you’re feeling even more daring, you can hear a live reading of story excerpts from August, 2009 at Northwestern University.

The publication of what has come to be known as Earl Weaver:  Strategy, Innovation, and Ninety-four Meltdowns has been the most enlightening experience of my limited publishing career.  It started around March of 2009 when I watched some YouTube videos of Earl Weaver , and thought there might be a story behind what I saw.  I started to do some casual research, took some notes along the way, and before I knew it, I was putting together what I found and mixing in some of my own thoughts and scattered bits of baseball knowledge.  It wasn’t until the third draft that I started to think it was really going somewhere, and it might be publishable.  As I review my serial from writing the story, I remember now the pressure I was putting on myself to write something that could be published.  It was significant to me in that it was my first story post-Northwestern; it was the first piece I worked on after my thesis.  I wasn’t going to have the benefit of professorial eyes editing it, nor was it going to be heavily workshopped by classmates.  It was going to be my first time standing on my own two feet.  If I failed, I would have to keep plugging away at getting published.  If I succeeded…  well, I didn’t know what.

It took a year and a half, but the story has arrived.  I originally wrote it with Elysian Fields Quarterly in mind.  I tried three times previously to get published by them, but kept getting shot down.  I thought this story would finally be my breakthrough.  It wasn’t until after I finished writing it that I learned EFQ was no longer in print.  On the heels of that bad news came the July 13, 2009 edition of Sports Illustrated, which featured a story about Earl Weaver that was eerily similar to mine.  When I paged through it, my jaw dropped.  I wanted to shake my fists and scream to the higher powers, “Why????  WHY??!!”  What was the chance of that happening?  I don’t know.  I don’t think it’s calculable.  I was left thinking that here was one of the best stories I have ever written, and it’s dead in the water.

That thought sat uncomfortably in my head for a month, until I heard an interview with a SABR representative on National Public Radio.  I checked out the SABR website and discovered they publish two different annual journals.  I queried the director of publications, and eventually was able to get him to take a look at my story.  He read it and liked it, and then passed it on to a peer reviewer who loved it.  We worked through some edits, I signed a waiver form they sent me, and have been sitting tight for two months, waiting for the journal to arrive.  The 2010 edition of The Baseball Research Journal is here!

Written by seeker70

September 8, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

5 Responses

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  1. Woo hoo! I want a copy! I want a copy!!!

    Lauri Keagle

    September 9, 2010 at 7:12 am

  2. Congratulations Jeff!

    Ray Uloth

    September 9, 2010 at 8:23 am

  3. Great job Jeff! I assumed you’d given up on Earl after Sports Illustrated. Way to stick with it.

    Joel David Hutson

    September 9, 2010 at 7:03 pm

  4. Great work! I too applaud your perseverance.

    Andrew Burd

    September 10, 2010 at 4:13 pm

  5. Congrats, Jeff!

    Larry Sweitzer

    September 22, 2010 at 5:35 pm

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