Last week, I visited Cooperstown for the second time this year. That is to say, the second time ever.
In April, I spoke at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for the Society for American Baseball Research’s Frederick Ivor-Campbell 19th Century Baseball Conference. The society is probably better known by its acronym. SABR.
Because I am writing a book about the Brooklyn Dodgers, Blue Magic: The Brooklyn Dodgers, Ebbets Field, and the Battle for Baseball’s Soul, I chose a topic reflecting my expertise to this potential audience of readers.
Topic: Bridegrooms…Superbas…Dodgers…Oh My! The Birth of Brooklyn Baseball in the 19th Century.
In May, I moderated two panels at the Annual Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture. This event is co-sponsored by the Hall of Fame and the State University of New York – Oneonta. Topics: The Business and Promotion of Baseball, Mascots and Batboys.
I watched with wonder as Ken Jacobsen explained the birth of Mr. Celery, a mascot for the Wilmington Blue Rocks – a Carolina League team that he co-owns. Truth is, indeed, sometimes funnier than fiction.
I sat with excitement as Ed Logan talked about being a batboy for the New York Giants, a position gained because his father was the clubhouse manager. The room’s silence paid respect to Mr. Logan’s position as an eminence grise of the event. After all, you don’t hear people talk every day about playing catch with Willie Mays between innings.
I learned with surprise as Vince Gennaro outlined the true cost of free agency and the occasionally unbalanced relationship between salaries and offensive production. Vince is the author of Diamond Dollars and the President of SABR.
It was an outstanding event. Enjoyable for the casual baseball fan. Informative for the baseball enthusiast. Necessary for the baseball author.
When you write a non-fiction book, the word “platform” gains a primary slot in your vocabulary. Platform is built upon the twin pillars of credibility and exposure. Basically, an author’s platform answers the compound question, “Who are you and why should I care?”
Just being passionate, knowledgeable, and curious about a given topic will not be enough for the publishing industry. So, I carved out an extension of my platform by applying to speak at baseball conferences.
So far, so good. I’m 4-for-4. In addition to the 19th Century and Baseball and American Culture conferences, I spoke at Hofstra University’s New York Mets 50th Anniversary Conference. In July, I will speak at SABR’s Jerry Malloy Negro Leagues Conference about the Cleveland Buckeyes.
An author’s platform is never done. Thank God.