I’ve been getting lots of emails lately from people asking, “When’s your next game?” and I’m sorry to say that the answer is, “Don’t ask.”
I’ve been working fuller than full-time on my book because the whole thing is pretty much due on Tuesday — three days from now. The book is going have 13 chapters, 12 of which are due on Tuesday, and they have to be totally complete and edited and as close to perfect as is humanly possible. The one missing chapter is going to be called “The Rawlings Method,” and it’s due in three weeks. The reason why I haven’t written it yet is that I’m still waiting for some key info from Rawlings; the reason why I have to submit the other 12 chapters so soon is that my publisher has already pushed back my deadlines several times, and they absolutely can’t wait any longer.
One of the biggest remaining challenges that I have to tackle by Tuesday is gathering all the photos that are going to be in the book — and not just that…I have to get the rights to use them, which in some cases means sending dozens of emails and requesting permission and signing agreements and paying lots of money that comes out of my own pocket. I also have to write all the captions, and I have to make a list of photo credits, and I have to make sure that all the photos are high-res. Yesterday the Hall of Fame FedExed me a disc with eight photos (for which I spent hundreds of dollars), one of which is 43 megabytes. That’s much bigger than the rest, but it gives you an idea of the high level of quality that I’m dealing with.
Sometimes, when I request permission, my phone calls and emails go unanswered. I contacted NASA to request a head shot of a particular astronaut. No reply. I contacted Justin Bieber’s publicist to request a publicity photo. No reply. I contacted FOX to request a screen shot from a foul ball scene in an episode of “The Simpsons.” No reply. And so on. But for every company or organization or publicist that has flat-out dissed me, there are others that have been extremely helpful. Topps Baseball Cards, for example, is in the process of granting me permission to use one of their cards for free. The United States Patent and Trademark Office has also given me permission to use a patent diagram for an early ball-making machine from the 1870s (it’s in the public domain), and there’s a certain/famous cartoonist, now deceased, whose daughter has given me free permission to use a foul ball-related comic strip that appeared in newspapers several generations ago.
There’s one more photo that I’m trying to find, and my search is not going well…and I’m wondering if anyone might be able to help. I want a photo of a T-shirt that has the words, “THROW IT BACK.” I know I’ve seen such a shirt somewhere, but I can’t remember where, and Google Images is letting me down. (I don’t like the look of this shirt, so let’s see if we can find something better.) If there’s no good looking T-shirt with those words, I’d settle for a photo of a fan in the Wrigley Field bleachers holding up a well-made sign with those words — or anything, really, that captures the spirit of throwing back a visiting team’s home run ball. If you find anything, please let me know, but remember, it has to be high quality (no less than 300dpi printed at 4 x 6 inches, if that means anything to you), and I need to be able to secure the rights to use it in a book (both in trade paper and e-book format). And hey, if you know of any other way to get a photo of Justin Bieber, let me know about that as well. The kid snagged a foul ball at a White Sox game earlier this season, and I think it’d be funny to throw a photo of him in the book — the cheesier the better.
I have some other *big* book-related news that I’ll share in a few days, but for now I gotta get back to work…