Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Now is the time

If there is one thing that drives me nuts -- batty even -- is cliches, tired and derivative ideas, and unoriginality. The biggest culprit of this, it seems to me, is the media. Pack journalism, or "piggybacking" is a disturbing trend practiced by one too many and eschewed by too few. Often, those who indulge in the hack-styled, baseline reporting are trying to get finished with their work so they can move on to something else that, typically, is social in nature. Now I have no problem with that, but if you're going to play hard, work hard. Come on, who grew up wanting to be a big-league writer or reporter just so they could go out there and hack it up?

Here's my credo: When given an opportunity to do something creative and get paid for it, dive on top of it like you're trying to smother a grenade that is about to kill your wife. The fact that people in the media are blessed with the opportunity to be creative and original for a living, is colossal when compared to what normal people must do at their jobs. For most people, the only creative outlet they get each day is deciding what to order for lunch.

Anyway, I wrote a preseason story about the Phillies, which, not so subtly attacked this notion. At the same time, I twisted the knife into my own carcass because I shamelessly used the same very premise I was attacking. Kind of ironic, heh?

Still, it is my goal to take a different view of everything when it comes to writing and reporting. In fact, it's gotten to the point where I refuse to re-use concepts I may have trotted out years ago during another time and circumstance. My pursuit of freshness is so intense that it's one and done for every idea. But from what I can tell, this isn't something that is practiced by other media types. This is especially true of those who work in television where cliches aren't frowned upon, they're cravenly embraced like a stuffed animal won at the ring-toss booth of at a carnival.

OK, so I'm better than everyone else, right? Wrong. It's just that I find myself getting in less trouble when I choose to follow my own ideas, thoughts and creativity than if I write the nuts-and-bolts story. See, it's selfish. Sure, it's extra work and a lot of times the ideas miss, but at least I'll never be called unoriginal.

Alright, here's the story. Incidentally, I received a lot of positive response to it so I guess people enjoyed the joke.

Then again, maybe they just like reading about baseball.


Monday, March 15, 2004


Last September, Veterans Stadium held its last game and prepared itself for implosion. At that point, I was finished with the big, clumsy stadium. I saw it every time I drove into my office, and I was looking forward to working in the new ballpark being built directly across the street. Basically, I was quite ambivalent about the demise of the Vet. I suppose I had already spent myself writing about it.

Oh, but how quickly things change. Last Sunday I stayed up all night (and morning) in order to get to my office at the Wachovia Center by 4 a.m. and before the mandated 5 a.m. "lockdown." Still non-plussed about the implosion, I joked around in the office and worked ahead to lessen the load I would have to carry after the event. After all, as every one knows, when the game or event ends, that's when media-types like me go to work. Rarely do I get to revel in what I had just seen until later.

Anyway, a funny thing happened a few minutes before the detonators were pushed -- it was as if all those feelings I had pushed aside had surfaced and manifested itself into a shaking right hand, although that could have been the liters of caffeine I had dumped into my body in attempt to stay awake all night. Nevertheless, I had bizarre mixed emotions... I was both happy that the old building was being put out of its misery, and sad that I would not be able to show the place to my kids. It was weird.

Still, I found it quite odd that this place that had spoken of with such contempt -- it was a dump, frankly -- by so many people, in which the phrase, "We need a new stadium in order to compete... " was so mourned. It seemed a bit odd watching people who had beat the drum for a new stadium for so long suddenly turn to blubbering fools once the plunger was pushed.

Which is it, dude, is he gonna shit or is he gonna kill us?

As one can imagine, I spent a lot of time at old Veterans Stadium and it's really weird to see its remains resting on the corner of Broad and Pattison like a model of Ground Zero. I felt like I had witnessed an execution; sure it was warranted, but killing is wrong whether it's sanctioned or not.

Oh well, rest in pieces Veterans Stadium.

Here are my stories from last Sunday. This one is about the implosion and This one is a popular piece about growing up going to the Vet.

Here are some pictures of the implosion and these are pictures that I took during the last season.

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