As a loyal reader of NotGraphs – and again, thank you for that; turns out, the number of boats one can ski behind isn’t six but seven – you might think we NotGraphs writers spend each day bathed in boundless laughter, our scant few problems (i.e., which tux should I wear to the awards dinner?) erased by the giddiness that distinguishes our lives. Well, I am here to tell you that that is pretty much true … although I wouldn’t say the bathed in boundless laughter.
Of course, as with any rewarding profession in this our American experience, there is the occasional hazard. What follows is a list of those hazards. (Note: List of hazards does not include making lists of hazards.)
1) Internal espionage: Do you ever wonder how Cistulli, Temple, Bates, et al, write such perfectly spaced and well-spelted epigrams? One word, two syllables: malware. Devoid of ideas and also probably dictionaries, each must have crept into Chez Paschal and installed that thingamajig that records every keystroke. So not only did write all their posts, I also wrote some of their Star Trek erotica.
2) Conflict of interest: Sometimes, when the mood strikes, we are inspired to perform pro bono work for unfunny people. Example: Dayn Perry once contacted Dane Cook in the hopes that their homophonous names would grease the gears of charity. It worked. Sadly for Perry, the jokes actually landed and Cook got his own HBO show, which focuses on French poodles.
At other times, unfunny people want us to work for free when all we want to do is cash our oversized novelty checks. Example: Kanye keeps texting me, like, “Yo, I’m giving a speech to my third-team janitorial staff and need a good joke, why won’t u text me back? LOL.”
But I’m not even laughing in loud.
3) Too much of a good thing: Baseball and comedy might seem a delightful pair to you, the layman, but for us Hilarity Mavens they are serious business. Example: Each morning I wake up, make specialty coffee and plop down in my Adrian Beltre pajamas to watch Quick Pitch.
You might think, “Oh, man, dude, you’ve got it made!”
Boy, would you be wrong.
First, tequila tastes awful in coffee, especially when the coffee comes from a clearance sale wrought by Clarence The Evil Weevil. Second, have you ever tried to think of a hilarious comedy joke while watching Heidi Watney, drunk*, at 8 a.m.?
*This refers to me being drunk, not Heidi Watney.
4) Phoenix envy: Each year, employees of the FanGraphs Family of SuperBlogs & MarketPlace Grill gather in Phoenix, which is just outside the Phoenix Airport, for a weekend of baseball and abstinence from alcohol.
There is, in addition, the spirit of team bonding – and, thanks to Cistulli, also the spirit of team bail bonding. (I am probably kidding! Remember, I am probably a comedy writer!) Instead of team bonding, however, what the trip inevitably produces is so-called Phoenix envy, directed at whoever wins the drawing and gets to be my roommate. (Listen, it’s not comfortable for me, either.)
5) The Comedy/Baseball Clash: Comedy and baseball are two enjoyable things, unless the latter is performed in Wrigley and the former by Brad Ausmus.
That said, according to science, two positives can make a negative, like the time when Kim and Kanye both tested positive for who-gives-a-shit. But here’s the reality, amigos. Comedic comedy really is hard work, especially if you want it to be funny, and also especially when it’s centered on baseball.
Are we to wax hilarious about apple pie and Chevrolet? (By the way, check out the Chevy Apple Pie, a stylish coupe in which high-school dudes make extremely sweet love.) Are we to poke fun at the American spirit that pervades our nation’s ballparks, where fans enjoy their freedoms, plural, by eating barbecue-stuffed potatoes and bacon on a stick? Are we to go all FanGraph-y by making “saber-jokes” about how xFIP sounds like ex-fap, which is how the average NotGraphs writer spends his Saturday night? Hey, you take Justice Ginsburg to junior prom.
John Paschal is a regular contributor to The Hardball Times and The Hardball Times Baseball Annual.