What do my dreams say, and do I want to know?

 

I had another sports-inspired dream last night, and this time it was about baseball.

I was standing in the batter’s box against a hard-throwing right-hander and I stepped out to regain my focus after getting behind in the count 0-2. I stepped back in, wondering to myself whether he’d “waste one” or try to sneak one past me on the third pitch.

He threw a fastball high, around my shoulders. I swung anyway, striking out. For a brief moment, I wondered if this was real or if it was another one of my dreams. I hoped it was a dream.

Yes. Yes, it was only a dream. I became sufficiently awake at that moment, and got out of bed to face the day.

Over the years, I’ve revealed some of these dreams to my wife, Sandy, and asked her for a diagnosis as to why so much of my sleeping hours are spent dreaming of sports. Most often, they center upon fast-pitch softball, which I played passionately for more than 35 years of my life. But other sports have been front-and-center as well.

Baseball is another popular dream subject. Basketball probably ranks a close third on my dream list. I don’t know why. I never played organized basketball, although I chalked up quite a few years of it during noontime at the Worthington Area YMCA. Football ranks right up there, too.

Sandy, being no Sigmund Freud, says she has no idea why I dream about sports all the time. Me, I can only wonder. Is my mind so wired to sports that that’s all I can think about when my brain should be shutting down for the night? I mean, I’m interested in a lot of things besides sports.

I have to confess, though, that my sports dreams are unpredictable. One night, I might strike out on three pitches. Another night, I might hit a three-run homer to win the game. You just never know. Sometimes in my dreams, I’m just a run-of-the-mill amateur. Other times, I might be attempting to dribble past LeBron James for a layup. Or I might be quarterbacking an NFL team.

It’s fun to see what happens. Ironically, it’s usually when I fail that I wake up right away — perhaps it’s the disappointment that jolts me into wakefulness.

I did a little research about why we dream what we dream, and it seems that the famous psychologist Carl Jung proposed that as we dream, the unconscious mind is providing solutions to problems faced by the dreamer in his/her waking state.

If this is true, my dream about striking out on a high fastball might be related to that time, at the fast-pitch nationals about 20 years ago, that I struck out with the bases loaded against a powerful Kansas team when we desperately needed something good to happen. Perhaps my unconscious mind was graciously giving me the opportunity to reverse the result.

Well, if that’s true, then thanks for nothing. It’s a little too late for that now.

Roger Maris still a fascinating case study

The authors of a book I’ve just finished on Roger Maris, former MLB home run king and favorite son of Fargo, N.D., argue that his statistics don’t adequately measure his greatness.

Tom Clavin and Danny Peary, in “Roger Maris: Baseball’s Reluctant Hero,” come out as big fans of the former New York Yankee, who slugged 61 homers in 1961 to surpass the immortal Babe Ruth’s most cherished record. To the authors, Maris’ outstanding defensive abilities and his many clutch performances have been ignored by those who might otherwise have installed him in the Hall of Fame.

The legacy of Maris, who died in 1985 from cancer at the relatively young age of 51, is still debated today. In 1961 in what some say is the greatest single feat ever accomplished by a major league ballplayer, Maris erased Ruth’s record of 60 home runs slugged in a single season (although Maris did it in a 162-game season whereas Ruth did it in 154). I still don’t know if I would place Maris in the Hall, but I’m tending to agree with the idea that no other baseball feat compares with what Maris did.

Why? Because no other ballplayer had to endure the kind of intense pressure that Maris endured throughout his quest.

Clavin and Peary very eloquently describe the harsh treatment Maris endured in ’61. He was hounded mercilessly by the press — especially the New York press, which despised him because he refused to behave like they thought a superstar should behave. They hated him because he didn’t act like his more charismatic teammate, Mickey Mantle, and they hated him even more because he wasn’t Babe Ruth. They wrote scathing stories about him that ignorant fans tended to believe, which contributed to an anti-Maris sentiment that spread throughout the country.

Maris brought his small-town Midwestern sensibilities with him to the big city. He was naturally shy and reserved. He shunned the spotlight. As the hounding increased, he refused to become the kind of superstar others wanted him to be. He remained true to himself. He was a great teammate, always a hard worker, and a true professional.

But the hounding persisted. In today’s major leagues, teams protect their stars from the kind of hazing Maris was subjected to on a daily basis — not only at the ballpark, but in hotel rooms, and even at home. In 1961, Maris was left to deal with the jackals all by himself.

I always knew Maris was abused while chasing Ruth’s record. I knew about the fact that, as he neared the record, his hair began falling out in clumps. But I never fully realized just how bravely Maris withstood the barrage — with dignity and grace, and (yes, finally) with a new major league home run record.

Happily, before Maris passed on, his understandable bitterness at the way he was treated was soothed as the Yankees, and baseball fans everywhere, began to appreciate his unique story. Even so, he remains short of the Hall of Fame.

His career statistics would seem to justify his critics. He was a two-time MVP and his teams won seven pennants, but in 12 major league seasons he batted just .260. He never reached .300. He hit 275 home runs, and only three times did he hit as many as 30 in a single season.

But something Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg once said got me to re-thinking the issue. Greenberg, reacting to those who complained that Maris’ 61-homer season was “all he ever did,” said that that was like saying all Jonas Salk ever did was develop the polio vaccine, or all Columbus ever did was discover America, or all John Glenn ever did was orbit the earth more than another other American in history.

Makes you think.

 

The need to be offended

I must be hopelessly insensitive, as clueless as I am undeservingly comfortable to be a privileged member of American society. I need to look at things in a new way — the way Supreme Court justices look at the Constitution, for instance, discovering things in it that linger for centuries hidden from plain view.
But I need help.
Perhaps I need to listen to people like Judith Harrington, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, who, in considering the recent July 4th holiday, favored us with the news that the Minnesota state flag is racist.
Well, why not? Just about everything in American culture is racist these days, if you ask the right people. And if you really want to know what’s racist, what better place to go than to an American university?
Now, I admit that upon reading Professor Harrington’s findings my first instinct was to question her status as an unbiased observer. I mean, she teaches in Wisconsin, and historically (especially during football season) The Badger State hasn’t always had Minnesota’s best interests at heart. But perhaps this was just my own bias showing. I must bury my Minnesota sensibilities in order to see the world as others see it.
Harrington says the Minnesota flag creates a racist contrast between white society and the American Indian. So I looked at the flag once again, and sure enough, it depicts a white settler plowing a field in the foreground while an Indian rides a horse on the horizon.
“The contrast in the images of the figures is interesting,” Harrington writes. “The image of the pioneer, a peaceful man who has laid down his gun and is plowing his field, is juxtaposed with the image of the Indian, who may still want to fight (his spear is at the ready) but who seems to be riding away.”
The contrast, Harrington explains to us less intelligent Minnesotans, speaks of a white man who is a “doer” who is entitled to the land, contrasted with the Indian depicted as a “vacating tenant.” Worst of all, she says, is the depiction of a racist, stereotyped Indian, who wears “only a loin cloth and a feather.”
Wow. I’m sure you’re like me, and you’d rather not be associated with a racist state symbol. So I looked more closely at the flag. And yes, the Indian carries a spear. But another person might consider the spear to be symbolic of a proud Native American heritage. Regarding Harrington’s contention that the Indian may still want to fight, how does she know? Perhaps showing a spear in the figure’s hand is the artist’s way of celebrating that proud Indian heritage.
And let me say just one thing about the loin cloth reference: I looked closely at the depiction and could not make out a loin cloth no matter how hard I tried to see it. And are loin cloths racist, too?
Where one person might see racism, another might see an attempt to honor. For every person who believes the depiction of the American Indian on a state flag is racist, another believes it to be an expression of respect. Who is right?
I grant you: For many of us, it’s hard to tell. We live in a culture where Amazon.com is applauded for banning sales of the Confederate flag but continues to sell Nazi and communist paraphernalia. But why stop with the Confederate flag? Many of the same people who celebrate the banning of it now want the U.S. flag banned, too.
If you ask me (and I realize you probably aren’t), this flag issue seems just one more example of a growing American desire to manufacture offense. It seems everyone wants to be offended these days, and by being offended they hope to force a kind of political correctness on everybody else that forces them to think and behave a certain way. But, trust me, there is no constitutional right never to be offended (although I’m sure our Supreme Court might be able to find one somewhere).

A class reunion, 41 years later

 

I’d decided against attending Sunday’s class reunion at Sibley High School until my best high school chum, Mark Hawkins, showed up at the Daily Globe last week and talked me into it. He didn’t really have to talk me into it, actually. The moment I saw him, I knew I had to go.

I have not returned any of the letters or replied to any of the emails I’ve gotten regarding the reunion, though there have been several over the past several months. When I told my wife, Sandy, I didn’t want to go, she naturally wondered why. It was hard for me to explain.

Sunday’s reunion will mark the 41st year since I graduated in 1974.

Sandy and I were a newly-married couple having recently graduated Mankato State University together on the occasion of my fifth-year reunion in 1979. We went, and had a good time. It was fun to catch up on my friends, but after it was over I was satisfied that that should be the end of it. I was anxious to go on with my life and put the past behind me. I never attended another class reunion since.

So now that the Class of ’74 has beckoned again after more than 40 years, I thought, Why bother? I don’t want to go back to high school and revisit those strange, uneven growing-up years. Sure, I had a lot of good times there. But I remember the embarrassing times, too — like the time I was an 88-pound member of the wrestling team (yes, 88 pounds!!!) and broke my arm in my very first varsity tournament, or the time I angrily quit the baseball team out of the paranoid belief that my head coach woke up every morning dreaming up new ways to ruin my life.

I could be pretty immature back then. Boy, I hope I’ve changed.

What I don’t like about high school reunions is the politics involved. I don’t want to be one of those guys who feels compelled to talk about how wonderful his life is now, and I don’t want to listen to people who do. Deep down, I’m predicting that Sunday’s reunion won’t be like that. Instead of it being an excuse to show off, I really feel it will be a simple occasion to greet old friends and swap old stories.

So why am I nervous? I’ve got a wonderful wife, I enjoy my job, my book-writing hobby is paying off, and I’ve got three terrific daughters and six beautiful grandchildren. I should be able to go to the reunion, let my hair down, and enjoy. Right?

Right. Except I can’t let my hair down any more.

Keeping up with the little ballplayers

 

This is the time of year when grandfathers agonize over the fact that they sometimes have to miss their grandchildren’s summer activities.

Grandpas need to see their grandkids play. My 4-year-old grandson Tyson is about to begin his first year of T-ball in Lakefield, and I think I’ll be able to watch a few of his games. Another grandson of mine, 5-year-old Jake, is living in Jordan until the new home his parents are building in North Mankato is ready, and since his games are in the middle of the week and so far away, I’m likely to miss them all.

It is a sad fact of life that grandpas can’t be everywhere they want to be.

My daughter Kari and her husband, Mike, are doing what they can to ease papa’s pain. They are sending me videos of Jake’s T-ball exploits via email. I told them to please do it; it’s the next best thing to being there.

One day last week, in fact, I received six such clips. The first one was Jake standing in his red uniform in front of mom’s cell phone, waving, smiling, and saying, “Hi, Papa.” A couple of minutes later another clip came in of Jake playing catch prior to game-time and throwing the ball repeatedly over the head of his partner.

“My, what an arm that kid has!” I thought.

The third clip was of Jake standing at the pitcher’s position and fielding ground balls hit off a tee. I liked the fact that, although Jake doesn’t catch the ball very well yet (nobody does at that age), he ran aggressively to everything hit near him, and even to things not hit near him, in hopes of being the one to pick it up and throw it to first base. Aggressiveness is good, I replied to Kari and Mike in an email. It shows he likes to play ball.

The fourth clip was of Jake getting into a shoving match with a kid who took offense that Jake ran into his territory to field a ball. Well, at least Jakey defended himself.

The fifth clip was of Jake sliding into home plate. His slide needs a little work. Well, a lot of work, actually.

The sixth clip was another one of Jake fielding his position (and a few other positions). You can never get enough video of your grandson running after a batted ball.

I thanked Kari and Mike for sending the clips, and I anxiously await the next batch. This is true. I get a little knot in the pit of my stomach knowing I can’t always see my grandsons learning and enjoying a sport that I absolutely lived for, even as a toddler.

I don’t know if Jake and Tyson will love baseball for very long. But it doesn’t really matter. Whatever they’re doing that they get pleasure from, grandpas are wired to want to be a part of it. The enjoyment we get from watching is probably only surpassed by the joy that our grandkids get from knowing we’re watching.

Jake knows that grandpa will see his T-ball games one way or another. That’ll have to be enough, for now.

Final thought:

Just a note before I go. My Daily Globe book signing for my new fictional story, “The Old Man in Section 129,” is Friday (June 19) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. It’s a story about baseball, fathers and sons, and I think you’ll enjoy it even if you’re not a baseball fan.

Thanks to everyone who purchased my previous book, “The Genuine One.” Everyone who buys a copy of “The Old Man in Section 129” (for $12, $4 off the retail price) will receive a free book mark, and I’ll personally sign their copy. Hope to see you there, and thanks again.

 

 

New book, new book signing June 19 at the Daily Globe

 

The marvelous thing about fiction writing, I think, is the idea that you can escape from the real world and create your own. I find myself increasingly ill at ease with the real life that I see on the cable news networks, and the escapism available on television is so mindlessly numbing I’d rather do almost anything else than turn to it for entertainment. Books? There are lots of good books out there, but I’ve been finding it a hit-and-miss proposition. For every enjoyable story I’ve read, there is a disappointment.

So I write stories, out of my own head, that I attempt to make as entertaining and meaningful as the stories I hope to find when I go searching for reading material. You may have read the first story I wrote that got a national release, “The Genuine One,” and I sincerely hope you enjoyed it. I’ve got another one that is scheduled for national release on June 29 called “The Old Man in Section 129.”

Without going into great detail, it’s a fictional story about baseball, fathers and sons. But my hope is that beyond the fantasy that unfolds throughout the story, there is something real in it that fathers, sons and everyone, really — whether you’re a baseball fan or not — can identify with on a personal level.

The story centers upon a family man who is struggling through a personal crisis. He feels trapped in an unhappy job, he feels he is losing the closeness he once had with his wife, he feels that he is becoming more distant from his daughter and grandson, and the only thing he’s got that gives him comfort is his love of baseball. He’s a daydreamer, and he loses himself in his baseball daydreams, making it more difficult for him to adjust to his very troubling situation. He attends baseball games at Target Field in Minneapolis. He begins seeing visions of old-time deceased major league baseball greats that appear to be sent to him for his benefit.

Are they real? Is he dreaming these things? The ballplayers speak to him of their manager, who will come to see him next. When the “manager” finally arrives, the real drama unfolds — a life-changing drama for Austin Stoddard, his wife, and his family.

I won’t tell you anything more. You’ll have to read the story. And please, do. My wife, Sandy, tells her friends “The Old Man in Section 129” is her favorite book that her husband has written. She says that when she read it, she couldn’t wait to turn the page to see what happens next.

Sandy’s generally my toughest critic. So I’m impressed.

Please come to the Daily Globe book signing scheduled for Friday, June 19 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. I’ll be there. And so will Sandy. For every copy of “The Old Man in Section 129” that you buy for $12, (a $4 discount), I’ll sign your copy.

If you can’t make it, please consider another upcoming signing, June 27 (1-3 p.m.) at the Left Bank Café in Slayton. I’m not predicting that my autograph will be worth much 20 or 30 years down the road, but it’s the best I can do.

Angry birds

 

It started as a gentle rapping, rapping, rapping at my window.

I ignored it at first, thinking that perhaps a neighbor was beginning a roofing job next door.

But the pounding continued, a rhythmic tapping. A repeated banging. As if some visitor entreating entrance through my window to explore. It was clearly not my neighbor, nor the wind that I’d been fearing. It was a robin — a robin beating wings and talons against my window, thereby making me really sore.

I jumped from my computer desk to the window and angrily called out to the unmerciful red-breasted bore: “Nevermore!”

It is springtime in Worthington, and birds of all sorts are settling into their favored nesting areas. Robins are highly territorial, and because they’ve got bird brains they tend to fly into a tizzy when they see their reflections in windows. It was obvious to me that such a robin had come to terrorize me from the vantage point of the little single-pane window bringing light into our computer room.

I scared it away, but it kept coming back. Moments later it was there again. It’s plan was to use a tiny tree branch opposite the window as its base of operations. It attacked from there, repeating the process over and over again, every three seconds or so.

I went to the garage for my trusty little hand saw, and I sawed off the branch — thinking that if the robin had to sit somewhere else, it wouldn’t see its reflection and would allow my wife and I some peace.

Again, no luck. It simply perched on the spot where the branch used to be, then continued to fly into the window.

By this time, I’d gotten really mad. I grabbed a big black trash bag and some duct tape and blackened the upper half of the window from which the reflection showed. Again, no luck, My robin had simply begun to attack the bottom half.

I pulled out another trash bag and obliterated the entire window, eliminating all the sunshine from my little computer room. But it was worth it to get rid of that infernal bird.

I went to work. When I came back for supper a few hours later, Sandy was sitting in the family room with a grim look upon her face. Moments later, I heard that sound again.

It was the robin, pounding against our huge picture window. I had only transferred its attacks from one window to another one, except this time it was against a window far too large to obscure with trash bags.

“I’m going out to buy a BB gun,” I said. “I’m going to kill that crazy bird forevermore!!!”

Sandy put an end to that idea immediately. But neither one of us knew what else do to.

We had the same problem at our previous home in North Mankato. A crazed robin attacked the narrow window at our front entrance for weeks, making it impossible for anyone to visit us without having to worry about starring in a remake of “The Birds,” Hitchcock style.

Back in Worthington, Sandy and I tried to make do with our robin situation. Then one day last week the bird stopped; it bombarded our window no more.

Until Monday. On Monday it was back again to torture us.

It still haunts our premises, and I feel just as Edgar Allen Poe must have felt when he penned his immortal poem, “The Raven.”

Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,

Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted —

On this home by Horror haunted — tell me truly, I implore —

Is there — is there balm in Gilead? Tell me, tell me, I implore!

Quoth the Robin, “Nevermore.”

Celebrate new records? It all depends

 

Records are made to be broken, so out of graciousness we are told to happily congratulate all who break them. Barry Bonds obviously believes in this mantra, and so he has gone public to tell us we should all be proud of Alex Rodriguez when he pulls even with Willie Mays for fourth place on the all-time home run list.

My response to Mr. Bonds is that he can go ahead and do cartwheels when A-Rod (who is just five homers behind Mays at the moment) hits his 660th round-tripper. But don’t tell me what to think about it.

I’m old enough to have seen (via television) the home run Hank Aaron hit to surpass the mighty Babe Ruth’s “untouchable” 714 home run record. Hammerin’ Hank got hate mail for that achievement, but I celebrated the new record and was proud to have witnessed it — albeit only through the miracle of electronics.

I wasn’t happy to see career singles hitter Pete Rose surpass Ty Cobb’s career hit record because, frankly, I don’t think Rose was ever in Cobb’s league as a ballplayer.

I’m hoping that no one ever breaks Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak, but I may change my mind. I only hope that if someone does do the deed, he will be the kind of ballplayer who will be humbled at what he has done — and that he knows enough about baseball history to have even heard of the Yankee Clipper’s name.

Do I want A-Rod to surpass Mays — one of the greatest hitters of all-time — on the home run list? No, frankly. I’m not an A-Rod fan. I don’t think he’s a terrific human being, and that doesn’t even take into account his past steroid use.

And yes, I find it ironic that Bonds — who I’m certain used steroids, himself — would be the first to jump on Rodriguez’ bandwagon. Bonds, of course, is technically the career home run leader now, but if baseball put an asterisk on his record, I’d be OK with that.

Records do mean something. When they are broken, we shouldn’t have to apologize for preferring that they be broken by someone worthy of breaking them.

What the Indiana law really meant

When entering into a debate, it is beneficial to begin with the proposition that you are entitled to your own opinions but you are not entitled to your own facts.
In 2015, however, this proposition has been turned on its head. In 2015, you are entitled to your own facts, but you are not entitled to an opinion.
The most egregious example of this popular trend, I believe, suggests itself in the hysterical reaction to Indiana’s attempt to pass a law providing its citizens with a legal defense for exercising religious objections to other laws they believe violate their First Amendment rights. Indiana’s law didn’t give people the right to discriminate; it merely modeled itself on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) passed near-unanimously by Congress in 1993 and signed into law by Bill Clinton. Without going into detail, the Indiana law would have followed already-accepted practices. It would have stated that government cannot enforce a statute requiring people to violate their sincere religious convictions unless it can also demonstrate a compelling interest, and that in applying the test it must do so in the least-restrictive means possible.
This is why, traditionally, America has exempted Quakers from military service. It is also why (one would suppose) the test might easily be applied to religious small business owners who would rather not cater same-sex weddings. I would assume a catering business would still be required, under the law, to provide cakes over the counter (thankfully). Catering the ceremony, however, constitutes participation, and therein lies the rub.
In a world populated with rational adults, accommodation can usually be easily maintained. In most cases, there are other means available for acquiring same-sex wedding cakes so that the wedding can go forward as planned and religious objections can also be honored.
It would greatly benefit this country, I think, to have a rational debate about the First Amendment and corresponding liberty of conscience principles. We need to consider more carefully how far government should go in compelling contractual agreements. Should the price of protecting our consciences really be the loss of our businesses?
If this is still a free society, the public square should remain a place for ideas to flourish. What good is having an opinion if you’re forced to keep it to yourself?
When the Indiana law originally hit, there ensued a great rush to judgment with very little knowledge about what the law actually said. Just as importantly, the law’s long-term implications seemed to mean very little to its critics, who characterized it vociferously as a mere attempt by bigots to discriminate against homosexuals.
The larger points of the legislation were incredibly missed, and I would say in many cases purposely so. The saddest thing of all, for me personally, were the misinformation campaigns waged by many in the media who knew better but buried the lede in order to promote a cause. This is not what I was taught in my college journalism classes; I was taught that it’s OK to have a point of view, but our primary job is to get the story right.
I get it. Right now it is politically incorrect for business owners to opt out of same-sex wedding participation. But beware of unintended consequences. If we can force religious Americans to go against their consciences for that, the tyranny of the majority is here. Who will we subjugate next?

The offers keep rolling in

I must say, it was quite a surprise to hear that Clint Eastwood wants to make a movie out of my book, “The Genuine One.” I never expected Hollywood to come calling, but you just never know these days, I guess.
It’s been a couple of months now since my fictional novel was released to the general public, and it’s taking off, apparently. I’m told by my agent, Biff Shaboom, that the book is surpassing all expectations through the Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites, and it must be true because in a couple of weeks I’m scheduled to talk about it on national public television with Charlie Rose, and after that I’ll be appearing on “The Today Show.”

So it’s off to New York for me. I’ll be sure to pack a big suitcase, because Mr. Shaboom wants to show me the town, which, of course, will include a tour of The New York Times.
The Times has been on my back for weeks, in fact, asking that I agree to write a weekly column in its book section. I told them, however, that it’s out of the question because in spite of my success I prefer staying here in Worthington and writing for the Daily Globe. I don’t think Sandy and I can be happy in the big city, frankly; we’re humble, small-town people, you know. But the editors at The Times have been so kind, I finally agreed to at least listen to them one more time.

It’s still hard to believe, looking back, that when I started writing stories I never assumed any of them would go national, let alone be on the fiction bestseller list. But that just goes to show you that dreams do come true.

I’m really looking forward to the Charlie Rose show because he’s going to introduce me to Stephen King and Salman Rushdie. I’m not a big fan of Mr. King (his books scare me), but I’m really anxious to converse with Mr. Rushdie and congratulate him for managing to stay alive since that fatwa thing, and all. I’m sure there will be a lot of happy talk on “The Today Show,” but I’m OK with that. We writers — even those of us who are serious writers — have to put up with those kinds of things in order to keep our image in front of the public. And at least I’ll get to ride in a limousine.

I ordered a black one, with a high definition TV.

Well, before I go, I suppose I’ll have to say something about the Clint Eastwood thing. Yeah, he managed to see “The Genuine One” on the Amazon site, bought it, read it, and loved it. He called me recently and said it was the most entertaining, humorous and meaningful story he has seen in years, and that when he makes his movie it will smash all the box-office records. “It’ll make ‘American Sniper’ seem like child’s play,” he actually told me.

Just who will star in the movie, I don’t know. I’ll be involved in the casting, of course, since I’m the author, but I don’t plan on being fussy about it. I’m just not that kind of guy, you know.

Anyway, before I go I should tell you about another of my books that will be coming out soon. It’s entitled, “The Old Man in Section 129,” and it’s about baseball, fathers and sons. I recently received a phone call from nationally syndicated political columnist George Will, who said he received an advance copy and plans to write a column to coincide with its official release. Mr. Will, as you may be aware, is a huge baseball fan and has written a few books on the subject.

I suppose when George’s column comes out, “The Old Man in Section 129” will cause a sensation in its own right.

But I think at this point — April 1, 2015 — everybody should relax. As I said before, I don’t plan on accepting any of the lucrative offers that are sure to come. Sandy and I love it in Worthington and plan on retiring here.

A little richer, and a little more famous, of course. But like I said, we’re humble people and intend on remaining that way.