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Friday, August 14, 2015

Rolling Stone: George R.R. Martin Goes Out to the Ballgame

Who better than Rolling Stone to report on epic fantasy?

The score was 10-1 in favor of the Staten Island Direwolves by the time he grabbed the mic and took the field, but George R.R. Martin was there to warn the boys of summer that winter could still be coming. “If they can only hold on for another couple innings,” the man behind the Game of Thrones phenomenon said, “I won’t have to kill another Stark.” The crowd roared. And when the live arctic wolf accompanying him took a dump near the third base line a few seconds later, they roared again.

From top to bottom, Saturday’s “Meet George R.R. Martin Night” at the Staten Island Yankees’ scenic Richmond County Bank Ballpark was a weird, wild event. With the Lower Manhattan skyline shining in the distance, a record crowd of 7,529 turned out to watch the minor league team, renamed the Direwolves for one night only, take on the Hudson Valley Renegades while wearing custom House Stark and House Lannister uniforms. Direwolf swag and autographs from the A Song of Ice and Fire author himself were available on a first-come, first-served basis. It was a star turn for the author, who’s been catapulted to celebrity status by the success of the HBO series based on his novels.

But for Martin himself, it was a time for wolves. His appearance was a fundraiser for New Mexico’s Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary, a non-profit rescue facility for the animals at the heart of his epic-fantasy saga – hence the beast who befouled the infield. The team cut the charity a surprise $10,000 check and launched a benefit auction of the custom jerseys. In the process, they enabled fever-dream sentences like “George R.R. Martin attends a Yankees farm team’s Game of Thrones-themed ballgame on Staten Island to raise money for wolves” to actually make sense…more or less.

Strange ####, but Martin’s seen stranger. “It’s pretty weird,” he told Rolling Stone, “but it’s only like a seven on the weirdness scale. That company that came out with leggings with my face on them? That’s up to a ten.”

The author’s used to athletics, despite the stereotypes. Martin’s a major sports fan (though he’s a normally a Mets man as far as baseball goes) and the regular rants he posts about the Jets and Giants on his old-school LiveJournal are infamous among fans who’d prefer he concentrate on fantasy rather than football.

JE (Jason) Posted: August 14, 2015 at 12:34 AM | 247 comment(s)
  Beats: charity, minor league promotions



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