In addition to the very English and talented Craig Robinson, the editoriat of NotGraphs is pleased also to announce the debut here of John Paschal, who writes additionally for The Hardball Times under the pseudonym Azure Texan. Here, Paschal attempts to render into prose the thrill of speaking over the phone with the actual, real Carson Cistulli — an experience of which literally even zero presidents have had the pleasure.
So, due to several dark-alley bribes and trench-coat meetings in the underground parking garage of the United Nations, you suddenly have a chance to write for NotGraphs, which is exactly like writing for FanGraphs except, you know, not. The first order of business, though, is to field an introductory phone call from His Eminence Carson Cistulli, probably because you are a shadowy figure on the Internet and so he wants to make sure you’re not a potted plant or a set of twins named Ripper and Shank.
Scheduled time of call: Noon Eastern. This is problematic because you don’t live in the East, you live in the NotEast, but he assures you via email that it will work out because these things almost always work out, phone-wise.
Still you are nervous, or, put differently, NotNotNervous.
After your first cup of coffee, you begin preparations. You need to impress this man, both with your charm, which you have just downloaded from the Internet, and also with your knowledge of the American Pastime, or, put differently, NotSoccer. First, with the help of 1 (800) CHOMSKY, you learn how to say “baseball” in two languages – American and NotAmerican.
“Baseball,” you enunciate. “Also, beisbol.”
Next you study his ZiPS projections and prepare to make a humorous comedy joke such as, “All I know is that when it’s time to hit the urinal…”
But then, fearful that some other rapier-wit haver has already made the joke because it really is a pretty good joke, you try to think of something even funnier. Unable to do so, you consult an online dictionary to see if “haver” – that is, one who is having, or, put differently, one who is NotNotHaving – is even a word. You see that the dictionary is indeed a haver of this word, though it actually means “to talk foolishly; babble.” You think about this.
The phone rings, or, put differently, tolls.
John Paschal is a regular contributor to The Hardball Times and The Hardball Times Baseball Annual.