And a Happy Friday to all of you, and what the hell, Happy Autumn. The weather is still awesome and summer-y here in New York, and I want to wish all of my fellow Members of the Tribe a L’Shana Tova (Happy New Year),
Lots of good stuff to get to this week, but I want to start with the best piece of media content I’ve consumed in a long, long time. It’s no secret to any of my readers that Jeff Pearlman is one of my 3-4 closest friends in the world; dude was in my wedding, he’s as loyal a friend as you could ever hope to have (non-canine division), and I probably talk to him more than anyone else in my life except for immediate family.
One of the many things I admire about Jeff is his complete willingness to adapt, and try new things. He told me he was starting a new podcast where he talked to other writers about the craft, and I was excited but wondered where the dude would find the time, and how open other writers would be about “revealing their secrets” to why they’re so good.
Well, I still don’t know where Jeff finds the time, but the second part? Completely taken care of. The podcast, “Two Writers Slinging Yang,” has been sensational, but the absolute best episode just dropped last week.
Wright Thompson (above) is the modern-day Rick Reilly, Gary Smith, and Jim Murray rolled into one. Dude is under 40 and has written more historically great stories than most people do in a lifetime. Like this piece on Michael Jordan when he turned 50. Or this one about his Dad, and the meaning of The Masters golf tournament. Or his most recent story on the Cleveland Indians’ remarkable 22-game winning streak.
Wright is a good ole’ boy from Mississippi who is a master craftsman, and he spent 45 minutes with Jeff talking about what makes great writing. (One highlight from Wright: “Anyone who tells you there are rules in writing you have to follow? Ignore that person.”
Here in the podcast, Thompson talks about hating almost every story he writes, at first, about what makes a good (and bad) editor, and what keeps him motivated to write.
He and Jeff really dig deep and it’s just fantastic. I could’ve listened to these two for three hours. Take a listen here; whether you care about writing or not, listening to Jeff and Wright’s passion is guaranteed to inspire you.
**Next up, it’s been awhile since I’ve featured James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke,” but this one he did this week with the awesome Foo Fighters is worthy of your time, if only for the story Dave Growl tells about the night he dislocated his ankle and the doctor had to go on stage with him.
Corden is no hard rocker, but this was a really fun episode. Enjoy.
**And finally today, science just blows me away sometimes. Meet 7-year-old girl Hailey Dawson. Hailey was born with a rare congenital condition called Poland Syndrome, which rendered her with just two fingers on her right hand.
But the engineering department at University of Nevada-Las Vegas helped make a special 3D-printed hand for her, allowing her to grip and throw a baseball, among other things.
Hailey is a big baseball fan, and after throwing out the first pitch at a Baltimore Orioles game in 2015, she made it a goal to one day throw the first pitch at every big league park.
Bleacher Report, a sports website, posted the above video and story about her on Sept. 7, and the response was overwhelming. More than a dozen MLB teams reached out to say she was welcome to come to their park, and oh yeah, she’s now been invited to throw out the first pitch at Game 4 of this year’s World Series.
What an amazing kid. And what an amazing time to be alive.