radio, radio

April 9, 2010

An interview with me will be part of the National Public Radio show Only a Game tomorrow (April 10). At most NPR affiliates, the show will air at 7 a.m., but check the stations listed here to see if a station near you is carrying the show, and at what time. It will also air on XM Public Radio (XM 133 and Sirius 196) tomorrow at 7 a.m. eastern. 

Update: The April 10 show is now available to listen to as a podcast on the Only a Game site. (My interview comes on ten or so minutes before the end; in other words, if the show were played simultaneously with any episode of the old Incredible Hulk TV program, the beginning of my inteview would synch perfectly with Bill Bixby’s second rage-spurred metamorphosis into Lou Ferrigno.)

Also, Asylum.com has a card-by-card interview with me that explores the glory of the 1970s through Reggie, Rollie, and the headless Cubs of 1977, among others.

Thanks for indulging this temporary departure from the normal life of this blog. I can tell that I’m going to be writing about my baseball cards for years to come, and not just because the majority of the cards that I got in my childhood still remain unsung. It’s also because I just don’t feel right when there’s not a baseball card presiding over my days by virtue of it appearing in the upper left-hand of this blog. Without a card in the upper left corner, I feel like life is a little thinner, and like I don’t have anything to hold onto. But things at the moment are a little different. As a friend said recently, referring to my book, “You’re going to have to go against your nature and promote.” I have found that this veering from my nature has also made life feel a little thinner. (I kinda prefer to remain invisible, hidden inside my house of cards.)


  1. I listen to that show every week! Charlie Pierce is on about 7:40. Incredibly, this is likely to be the one week I don’t get to hear it. You’ll have to post a link so we can hear it afterwards.

  2. I listen to it a lot, too, and I was going to tell Bill Littlefield (the host) that, but I was a little nervous for the interview and I think I only managed to croak “glad to be here” when he first welcomed me into the conversation.

    Ever since the interview ended I’ve been imagining the Only a Game production team rolling their eyes to the playback of what seem to me now as my rambling, stilted answers. I’m worried I’ll get “bumped” for an extra-long segment with Charlie Pierce. I’m also worried I won’t get bumped–it was very weird speaking about personal details of my past for the air, even though I write about that stuff all the time.

  3. I once sent them an email asking to be a guest. Hey, I’ve written the odd piece online and in books. Never heard from them again. I believe I can pick them up on WFCR tomorrow morning. I’ll have to keep an ear out.

  4. That was great, Josh. I was afraid you’d pause with “Um” every once in a while, but you didn’t. Good job.

  5. Thanks, sb1902. I couldn’t get past the stereotypical “I sound like that?” anxiety as I listened, but if it came out sounding okay, that’s great, and a testament to the abilities of the editor of the interview. I know, for example, that in the actual interview I went on and on about Butch Hobson in 1977, so much so that as I was talking I forgot where I was even going with my answer, and the editor managed to throw out the bathwater of the rambling and still keep the gist that in ’77 I thought “the sky was the limit” with Hobson.

    Also: I updated the post with a link to a page on the Only a Game website where the podcast can be downloaded.

  6. Josh,

    Great Interview! Great Book(I am 1/2 way through) I am sure I speak for most of the folks who visit your blog when I say thanks for putting into words what a lot of us think about when we reflect on childhood, adulthood and baseball.

    Bravo sir!

  7. Josh, how did you feel when given that “first kiss” question? I wanted to curl up in the fetal position just hearing it. I would have just made up a story about a hooker in Vegas or something. (Oh, wait, that wouldn’t be made up, never mind.)

    (Would you believe that just this very second, the mailman delivered “Cardboard Gods,” as well another book I heard on “Only A Game” just last week, “Straight Down the Middle.” Coincidence?)

  8. Thanks very much, daverave2.

    sb1902: It was definitely a queasy subject, but at that point I was worried most about meeting the cognitive challenge of the “free association” game being played, in which I had to spontaneously attach a baseball card to a life memory. It made it easier to just start blabbing to fill up the dead air as I fished around in my head for a baseball card.

  9. I haven’t gotten the book yet.

    It just dawned on me today that there are almost no book stores left within a 10 mile radius of my house.

    The mall next to my house used to have 3 book stores: Borders, B. Dalton, and Walden. There all gone, so now we have this gigantic mall without one book store. Every small independent book seller in the area has gone out of business. There used to be 3 book stores in a strip mall about 5 miles from my house, they’re all gone.

    There are basically 2 book stores within 10 miles of my house, a Borders and a Barnes and Noble. The Borders next to my house has a very limited and weak Sports/Baseball section. I went today to try and by Josh’s book and the woman at the desk told me they weren’t carrying it at this store. But if I was interested in a Twilight or Harry Potter book or a tee shirt or calender from either they could fill my order.

    So she told me she could order it for me for $26 dollars. I said why would I order it from you for $26 when I can order at Amazon for $16?

    I have one other option to go to the Barnes and Noble but the last time I was there the place was basically half books half toys/games.

  10. Savannah still has one or two little old lady bookstores outside the mall, and if you can wade past the remaindered towers of MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL and all those damn Paula Deen cookbooks, there’s usually a person thrilled to see you and your money. They, not Amazon, got mine this time.

    I ordered three copies of CARDBOARD GODS at the bookstore closest to my flat, two for gifts and one for me. They all arrived early last week, and as I finished reading this morning, I see instead that it is you who has gifted us, Josh. Thank you. It was just right. May this be only one of many ports of call for your literary Yazmobile.

    My sister back in Oregon has finally had enough of storing my own childhood stash of baseball cards, and the strategic reserve is relocating one box at a time to me here in Georgia. Too unwieldy for home delivery, the parcels are delivered to work, and my colleagues are insanely jealous of mail with such heft and exotic postmarks. If only they knew; Friday, it was the 1987 and 1988 Topps sets, whose collective Beckett value is not only less than the cost of shipping, it might be less than what my sister paid for the packing boxes. I never bought those years in the individual packs. I’m pretty sure I traded something, probably hockey cards, for those sets, and that whole era leaves me a little cold, anyhow (the absence of pink dusty gum residue on set-packed cards doesn’t help). Like many of us, I was onto to different vices at that point in history. The cards for which I have lingering affection, the 1976-1981 Topps, are on their way, though, so I’ll keep you briefed.

  11. Received my copy yesterday and I haven’t been able to put it down (even though I had already been reading a couple other books). Physically the book is beautiful and the writing is wonderful so far. I’m amazed at how you coalesce the cards and the story (and the era) so smoothly. The Mike Kekich, Herb Washington and Wilbur Wood chapters particularly had me in awe. The survey of Cy’s in baseball, the account of a young Buster Olney, and Cleon Jones’ “thwack” as the beginning of a new universe…this book is superb thus far.

  12. Josh, I just finished listening to the podcast and you did a great job. Very funny. Although I think you could have been asked some better questions. You sound alot less wimpy than how you describe yourself in these posts.

    Also, as a sidenote, I just returned from a trip to China. Spent time in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai. While traveling I found myself thinking about your Denny Doyle post which is my all-time favorite. I still laugh at your description of your friend Jay “just kind of shaking his head and laughing bitterly through his nose.” Sorry Jay, it’s every man for himself.

  13. shea, I thought the questions weren’t too great, either (first job? The card collecting had been done with ten years by then!) though Bill is plainly a very nice guy.

  14. Josh,

    good job on the radio show, good answers. The host could have asked you some better questions.

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