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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tony Jackson: “I simply have had my fill of covering baseball”

Now about that Deadspin HOF ballot…

And so, I’m just going to tell you — in case you haven’t already figured it out based on the lack of recent posting — that I have decided to shut down this blog. Well, not shut it down completely. It will still exist, and I still will provide occasional content for it. But it won’t be Dodgers content or baseball content or anything of that nature. Unlike four years ago when I was laid off by the Los Angeles Daily News, and unlike a year and a half ago when I parted ways with ESPNLosAngeles.com, this time, I really mean it: I am absolutely, positively done covering baseball. It was a great ride, something I did for almost 20 years, but it’s finally time to move on and do something else.

...The second reason is that after all these years, I simply have had my fill of covering baseball. I used to think I wanted to do it until I dropped dead of old age. But it isn’t fun anymore, and to be honest with you (and with myself), it really hasn’t been for the past several years. To the outsider, this probably looks like a glamorous job, and you know, to some extent, it is. But it’s also an exhausting, all-encompassing job, one from which you can never quite break free, even in the offseason. With another birthday coming up in a few weeks, I have decided that I want to spend the rest of my life, well, having a life, and that is a luxury you don’t really enjoy on the baseball beat. Too many 6 a.m. flights after night games, too many late-night meals, too many airport meals, too many hotel meals, too many days when I dragged myself to the ballpark in a zombie-like state, too many pounds packed on seemingly every season because there usually isn’t enough time to go to the gym and even when there is time, there is almost NEVER enough energy. It catches up with you after a while, especially as you get older, and it can make you get older more quickly than you’re supposed to.

Repoz Posted: December 10, 2013 at 06:09 AM | 23 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dodgers, history

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   1. Rennie's Tenet Posted: December 10, 2013 at 09:17 AM (#4614906)
My heart was bleeding for the guy till he started talking about packing on weight because of the lifestyle. It can turn you into a different person.
   2. Sean Forman Posted: December 10, 2013 at 11:34 AM (#4614997)
I know that covering baseball sounds like the greatest job ever, but it's a grind. Huge amounts of travel. The winter meetings are often spent standing in the lobby for 4 hours at a time. I sure wouldn't want to do it.
   3. GregD Posted: December 10, 2013 at 11:44 AM (#4615007)
More on the topic of sports magazine writing than on the daily beat, but both (BBTF favorite) Ralph Wiley and the otherwise very different Richard Ford have written very insightfully about the difficulty of writing about sports after the first decade or so.
   4. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: December 10, 2013 at 11:48 AM (#4615010)
There's nothing America loves more than whiny members of the media.
   5. Bitter Mouse Posted: December 10, 2013 at 11:53 AM (#4615014)
I did not read it as whiny, but rather explaining his viewpoint. I sure would not want that job. Parts of it would be nice and it would be a nice change of pace, but full time? Yuck.
   6. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: December 10, 2013 at 11:59 AM (#4615020)
Jesus Cristo.. the dude was just explaining why he was walking away from a job especially since he was trying to do an independent subscription based blog.
   7. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 10, 2013 at 12:00 PM (#4615021)
I'm lucky enough that I realized at a young age that working in the sports industry makes sports a job.
   8. Bitter Mouse Posted: December 10, 2013 at 12:07 PM (#4615028)
working in the <fill in the blank> industry makes <fill in the blank> a job


I have a rule keeping my hobbies separate from my job for this very reason. Not only would my hobby pay MUCH worse than my real job, but I love my hobby, I don't want to ruin it by making it a job. I have passed up chances to publish even, just to never make money from my hobby. I know too many people for whom it has become a job.
   9. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: December 10, 2013 at 12:10 PM (#4615030)
Not only would my hobby pay MUCH worse than my real job,


Well, if you could somehow tie your zest for serial killing into some sort of murder-for-hire service ...

but I love my hobby, I don't want to ruin it by making it a job.


Well, yeah. I can see that.
   10. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: December 10, 2013 at 12:11 PM (#4615034)
Good for Tony Jackson for realizing that he's done and walking away. There's nothing worse than sticking by something - anything really, job, relationship, your parents - just because that's all you've ever done. Covering sports is, generally, a #### job with lousy pay and horrible expectations when it comes to work/life balance. All so you can say "I once talked to Kevin Youkilis for seven minutes!"
   11. Ron J2 Posted: December 10, 2013 at 12:36 PM (#4615060)
#9 Ever seen The Iceman Tapes? Park Dietz interviews Richard Kukliski. All that to say that the Iceman is a guys who took his hobby and made it a career.
   12. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: December 10, 2013 at 12:50 PM (#4615069)
I think it all depends. I have an Uncle who is a music junky and he has worked in the music industry his entire life. Music is pretty much the center of his life but I think he is also a rare exception.

Bitter,

My best friend has now published 5 horror novels. He won a Bram Stoker award for best new novel and was a finalist last year for best novel. Even with a tiny taste of success, I can assure you that his writing is still a hobby that he makes a little extra money on from time to time. He still has a full-time job to pay the bills. I think he would probably describe his writing as more of a second job that he really enjoys.
   13. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: December 10, 2013 at 01:05 PM (#4615081)
My best friend has now published 5 horror novels. He won a Bram Stoker award for best new novel and was a finalist last year for best novel. Even with a tiny taste of success, I can assure you that his writing is still a hobby that he makes a little extra money on from time to time. He still has a full-time job to pay the bills. I think he would probably describe his writing as more of a second job that he really enjoys.


From scanning the Stoker Awards list on Wikipedia, would that be B.K. Ethridge? I'm a horror fan but am shamefully ill-read in the genre when it comes to just about anything from the last quarter-century or so.
   14. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: December 10, 2013 at 01:16 PM (#4615098)
I'm lucky enough that I realized at a young age that working in the sports industry makes sports a job.


Well sure, it must not be any fun to be sat on by a large black man several hours a day.
   15. Howie Menckel Posted: December 10, 2013 at 01:21 PM (#4615105)
Maybe the most numbing thing about being a traveling beat writer is that you wind up going to the exact same cities, often on the same airline and staying in the same hotel, year after year.

Yes, a traveling salesman may do the same, but I suspect they go to SOME new cities each year, and it's spread out over 12 months instead of just six.

It's very cool for several years - but I am more mystified by those who never move on, than I am by those who call it quits, like this guy.

   16. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: December 10, 2013 at 01:24 PM (#4615108)
Beat reporting is definitely the "work" side of sportswriting, with a lot of unpleasant extras and hassles to deal with. My job is much less stressful (in that manner) and more varied.

I was a little uneasy at the start, though, about turning a hobby in to my job, for a lot of the reasons above. So far, so good, it's worked out - I've never found having to give my opinion loudly to be much of an imposition.
   17. SteveM. Posted: December 10, 2013 at 01:25 PM (#4615111)
redacted for my jib at Joey B. which is too much like shotting fish in a barrel.
   18. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: December 10, 2013 at 01:41 PM (#4615131)
I knew a guy who did Master Control at the Spice network. He said that after 40 hours/week of that stuff, he lost all interest in pr0n.
   19. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: December 10, 2013 at 01:44 PM (#4615136)
From scanning the Stoker Awards list on Wikipedia, would that be B.K. Ethridge? I'm a horror fan but am shamefully ill-read in the genre when it comes to just about anything from the last quarter-century or so.


That would be him, Gef. Truth be told, I would call his books more dark fantasy with horrific elements added in. To his credit, none of his books have been remotely similar. If you have a kindle, his books often go on sale. A while back, his second novel (Bottled Abyss) was actually free for a couple of days. I think a couple of his books are also part of the lending library thing for Prime members (amazingly, he actually makes a tiny bit of money when his books are "borrowed".
   20. Srul Itza Posted: December 10, 2013 at 01:52 PM (#4615143)
redacted for my jib at Joey B. which is too much like shotting fish in a barrel.



The fish had it comin'.
   21. Bitter Mouse Posted: December 10, 2013 at 01:57 PM (#4615153)
B.K. Ethridge goes on my to read list (which is very long).

I recognize many people can do it, but I get weird and obsessive about some things, like when doing some fantasy baseball ruined baseball for me for years afterwards, so I try to work around myself (if you know what I mean).
   22. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: December 10, 2013 at 02:08 PM (#4615171)
Bitter,

Truth be told, Ben does struggle with that stuff. His blog said it best last year:

Writing definitely became a second job for me this year and after two promotional tours I'm pretty spent in that department. I know we writers must "put ourselves out there," but after discovering and rediscovering how very little interest I have in why and what I write, I've decided any future tours will concentrate more on reviews


And his tours were "virtual" tours. Bunch of interviews with literary blogs that asked the same questions over and over again. He also had a couple of books come out really close together and he said that it got a little taxing. Of course, his novels are all small press and he doesn't just have one publisher so he doesn't have 100% control over his publishing schedule. And since his stuff is all small press, it's mostly up to him to promote his books.
   23. Gonfalon B. Posted: December 10, 2013 at 02:35 PM (#4615228)
redacted for my jib at Joey B. which is too much like shotting fish in a barrel.

That's literally the cut of your jib.

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