Going where the wind takes you, being who you are

So I was debating what to do with the rest of my night.

My mood is fine this evening, so that’s not an issue. It’s more an issue of direction.

I spent a full day at my day job at the end of a full week, came home and made my kids a decidedly mediocre dinner, then spent a couple of hours working on a lengthy freelance piece for ESPNLosAngeles.com. It’s 9 p.m. I haven’t written about the Dodgers on this site today, not about their 17-4 victory over the White Sox that was filled with interesting subplots, nor about their simultaneous 2-0 loss to the Royals that was desperate for them, nor about, as Bill Shaikin of the Times reports, the narrowing of the Dodger ownership chase to three groups.

It’s not for lack of anything to say that I’m passing on the Dodgers. It’s not for lack of belief in the value of my own work in general. But tonight, I find I’m not as motivated to write about the Dodgers for the sake of informing my readers as I am to perpetuate an image of myself as someone who doesn’t get beat at the Dodger blogging game. And the thing is, that image is false to at least some extent, if not entirely. There are Dodger bloggers who do better work than me covering the Dodgers on any given day, and today would be one of those days. I knew, as I contemplated writing about today’s events, that would be the case.

So is there value in doing work if it’s not the best? Is it important for this vocation that I have cared so much about that I don’t surrender its original reason for being? Or does it make more sense to shift gears when I’m not going to bring my A game or even my B game, and do the one thing no one else can do (lucky for them): Write about what’s on my mind?

Some people enjoy anything I write. I love those people, but they’re not the ones I’m worried about. Some people don’t read other Dodger blogs besides this one, a fact I take some small pride in, and so my failing to give them more information about today’s Dodger events gives me some small amount of shame. Then again, some people are only interested in my particular personal spin on any event, baseball or otherwise, and so a post like this, rambling as it is, will have more meaning.

It’s 9:27 now.  I’ve spent the past half hour on a question that might or might not have been a waste of your time, but one that crops up for me periodically. What’s the best use of my time? Sticking to the blueprint, tearing it up, or doing neither and simply grabbing a slice of cake and a spot on the couch?

This much I’ll say: At the end of a long work week, I feel more rejuvenated right now then I think I would have felt knocking out bullet points about Dee Gordon, Matt Kemp, Jerry Hairston Jr., Zach Lee and even the Green family, on this important day in memory of Christina-Taylor. As pointless as it might have been to put these thoughts into words, it doesn’t feel pointless to me. Sometimes, as with my Phil Dunphy piece, it really just feels good to get some stuff out.

I’m publishing this now, having given it a quick edit, and will be walking away from the computer to the cake and the couch, feeling okay about my effort but thinking about that little girl in Arizona, the same age as my own little girl is now.

  • Anonymous

    Great post. Great question, Jon.
    I believe this type of self-reflection is not only healthy, but necessary in life.
    Always remember that regardless if you feel you have your “best stuff” on any given night, DT goes on 24/7.  The lights are always on.  Let somebody “pick you up” (to use baseball terminology) from time to time.  Hey, I feel as if we all benefit from the “aggregate” of thoughts, stats, news, ideas, and humor which is this blog.  Heck, I know for a fact that just about every posting from the other bloggers is better than one of mine…Ha. :-)  Enjoy your night with your family.  PS – I’m about to join the parent ranks with you… a little girl due April 17th…. Can’t wait to take her to her first Dodger game!

    • Anonymous

      All the best to you and your wife JonT!

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       Congrats!

  • Anonymous

    LATed from previous thread:
    Here’s a link from the article on pitching mechanics that timmer recommended below. It contrasts Greg Maddox’s delivery with Stephen Strasburg’s using explanatory drawings:
    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_

  • Anonymous

    Still don’t know which of those readers I am, but fascinating to know you’re even considering the issue.

  • Anonymous

    Sanford, Florida got less coverage during spring training of 1946 than it’s getting right now. Here’s an article titled “The Unconquerable Doing the Impossible: Jackie Robinson’s 1946 Spring Training in Jim Crow Florida”. It rewarded me with details I’ve never read before as I got further into the piece so even if you know the whole story I think it’s worth the time and if you don’t it’s must reading imo.
    http://www.jimcrowhistory.org/resources/lessonplans/hs_es_jackie_robinson.htm

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       Mike, that was a fascinating read and I agree, details I never knew. I only wish she had sourced the material more so I’d know where it came from.

  • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

    Write whatever you damned well feel like. If you think MSTI or TBLA or somebody wrote a better item about the day’s Dodger events, post a link to it or to them at the top of your post, then write about whatever floats your boat.

    • Anonymous

       What he said.

  • Jack Dawkins

    Ah the philosophical question.  Don’t most come down on the side that it is the striving that matters more than the end?  That it is the intent, the moral sense behind the action that truly matters? 

    Jon, you doubt too much,  said from one who has been far too guilty of that, as have we all…..

    • Jack Dawkins

      And of couse..Ricky Nelson had someting to say about not pleasing everyone, but pleasing yourself…

  • Anonymous

    Actually Jon, throwing in Thoughts like today’s every so often is what distinguishes Dodger Thoughts from Dodger Thoughtless.  

    I wonder how many of us have thought about a vision for the Dodgers under new ownership.  I haven’t written a Dodger vision so what is floating around in the back of my brain hasn’t gelled.  But I think I want the Dodgers to evolve over the next five years instead of trying to buy an instant offense that may or not make the Dodgers a champion.

    I want likable players that play great defense, have their emotions under control, have a since of humor, and appreciate the jobs they have.  I don’t want players that feel their success entitles them to blast their music in the clubhouse in a way that makes it appear to the other players that they are merely role players to the star.

    So far I like Kemp, Loney, and Kershaw and I think I might like Fields and Sands should they become successful.  Gordon seems to fit in with my vision so I am watching and observing.  And, if Loney turns out to be one of the best #6 hitters in the league I am not going to complain that he is not the a great #4 hitter, regardless of the position he plays.

    Jon, this is a ramble.  At worst, your post was a quasi ramble, at best, it was an entertaining read–and what more could anyone want than that. 

    • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

      There are definitely plenty of Dodger Thought(s)less blogs out there already, or in general for sports blogs. :)

      So yes, bless Jon.

  • Anonymous

     I appreciate these type of posts because it makes this blog more than a box score with words. Thanks to you, this is a place where we can all deal psychologically with the Dodgers, baseball, and life.

  • Anonymous

    I read this blog for:
    1) my beloved Dodgers
    2) the “particular personal spin on any event, baseball or otherwise”

    BTW today is my Jackie Robinson birthday.  I have that innate (or maybe inane) ability to see things from a Dodger point of view :)

    And remember 4:00 pm pacific time the lads vs Canada as they attempt to win a spot in the semifinals of football (i.e. soccer) Olympic qualifying.  

    Cheers mates!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/SPCTCSMLGSAQ3O2TXLTP4EUF4A Ramon

    DT has always been about quality, for me. You’re right about there being other Dodgers blogs that do a wonderful job covering the daily beat,  and crunching all the game day numbers.  DT is the steady guiding voice of all Dodgers blogs.  Don’t forget that dude. 

  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    Please don’t think about it, Ned: 
    MLB Trade Rumors ‏ @mlbtraderumors  Giants Shopping Ryan Theriot & Mike Fontenot http://bit.ly/GX1CD8

    • Anonymous

      Yes, the Dodgers need more infielders.

      I had a dream last night that I was watching a baseball game on TV and Mike Fontenot was wearing some uniform that was mostly green.

      Yes, Mike Fontenot HAUNTS MY DREAM WORLD.

      • Anonymous

        Just imagine his horror of playing for Tulane.

    • Anonymous

       It’ll never happen. The Gnats can’t afford to trade away their first-string middle infield.

  • Anonymous

    Ryan Madson signed a one-year deal with the Reds this offseason. And he’s out for the year now. Madson will have less of an impact on the Reds than Jason Schmidt did for the Dodgers.

    • Anonymous

      Somebody Colletti could trade with–
      Give me your tired, your aged, Your injured masses yearning to be rich,The wretched refuse of your team core.Send these, the lifeless, tempest-tost to me,I open my wallet and the trolley door!

  • http://ken.arneson.name/ Ken Arneson

    There was an interesting article in Gawker this week about the value of recapping TV shows:

    http://gawker.com/5895232/tune-in-recap-drop-out-why-ill-never-recap-a-tv-show-again

    Back when I was blogging, I found recapping games to be so difficult and tedious, I couldn’t get myself to do it.  So I didn’t.  But I think that fact kept me from (a) blogging often and regularly, and (b) building a regular audience of commenters.  Skipping the recaps means accepting the consequences of skipping the recaps.

    • Anonymous

      I was just reading Slate’s previews of “Mad Men” and those writers are so incredibly annoying that it makes me not want to watch one of my favorite TV shows. 

      Then again, that’s the same website where one of the editors wrote “good riddance” in an obituary for one of the co-authors of the Berenstain Bears series.

      So, as long as Jon doesn’t write like people on Slate (which I’m pretty sure I read when I want to get angry.. It succeeds), I have no trouble with waiting for recaps.

      Besides, these games are practice. We’re talking about recapping practice…

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       I disagreed with a good deal of that story.  Lots of writing is ephemeral: here today, gone tomorrow.  I think anyone reading Alan Sepinwall would have a hard time saying that recaps are by their nature pointless. I will say that the existence of Sepinwall has made me do less TV blogging than I otherwise would have, though.

      • http://ken.arneson.name/ Ken Arneson

        Well, yeah, heck, in the end, everything is ephemeral. That article sounded to me like someone trying to justify their burnout. So I didn’t really agree with it either.
        But it got me thinking, though. There is value in a thing well done. The thing that’s hard is when in order to have a super-thing (like a blog) well done, you need to have sub-things (recaps) that are difficult in their routine and repetition to do well each time.  It’s hard sometimes to see the beauty of a forest when you’re just planting yet another tree.  That’s what I’ve had trouble with, and makes what you’ve accomplished over the years all the more remarkable.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    Watch Mad Men tomorrow – it’s jarring and fascinating all at once.  

    • Anonymous

      I’m not certain I can watch the show until Matthew Weiner addresses all the issues that bother the writers for Slate.

    • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

      Can’t wait.

      there were some pretty funny suggestions on Twitter this week under the howMadMenEnds hashtag meme (or whatever it was). Some of them unrepeatable here. 

  • Anonymous

    Mike MacDougal continues in mid-season form.

  • Anonymous

    Louisville’s win moves me up to 13th in the DT pool. If Ohio State, I’m up to 10th.

  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    Ken Gurnick ‏ @kengurnick
    The Dodgers reassigned relievers Wil Ledezma, Angel Guzman and Fernando Nieve.

    When players get reassigned, why does that sound like the Carousel in “Logan’s Run”?

  • Anonymous

    In some respects, or at least some of the time, “to thy own self be true” approach to an evening is a good way to restore some emotional well being/mental health break or whatever it is you like to call it.  There’s nothing more browbeating sometimes than one’s own expectations and feelings of responsibility.

  • Anonymous

    Also, since my mind is going about what makes me keep visiting your blog as often as I do is probably covered by the character Jules from Pulp Fiction..you know, the line about a dog not being a filthy animal because it has personality, and personality goes a long way.  Your blog in a way is charming in a way most others aren’t more of the time I guess, at least to me.

  • http://twitter.com/mintxcore aj henning

    this is odd. in the last week i have switched back to reading DT full time. I love TBLA and will be reading many articles there in the future, I am sure. But with my new job that keeps me busy the majority of the day (with not enough downtime to keep up with the comment sections and inside jokes), I am valuing my time more. And I find that the quality of the writing here trumps knowing about every little detail of todays spring training game. Plus, I dont have time for every little detail. The TV recap/Game recap connection is perfect. I read Sepinwall because he doesn’t just summarize what happens – he digs deeper. Jon, you dig deeper as well.

    Again, much love to TBLA. I love all of those guys. But I realized that my experience of watching Dodger games started to become less… thoughtful.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    Thanks for all the worthwhile comments. New post up top.