My name is Jason I am from Cincinnati Ohio, going to the dodgers spring training this year….
So my real question is, can you send me a good picture of your face, I want to get you tattooed on me. I think of you as a baseball hero! More along the lines of doing something you love and getting paid. Wish I could do what you do.
Well anyways, also If I sent you a ball would you autograph it? I would include all the return postage as well.
Well let me know, keep up the good grabs, 7 days till spring training game!!!!
After writing back to Jason, I received the following reply:
Yes I am sincere, I have get portraits of people who have inspired me, and people who I like, I am thinking about 5-6 inches tall and 4-5 on the width maybe if you could take one with you holding a baseball in each hand up to your face, that would be great. It will most likely be on my right leg.
I know it is a strange request, an I am happy you are flattered and yes I would send you a pick of the finished result, and I would eventually like to meet you one day to show you in person.
I will mail you the ball early next week to your family’s bookstore!
I answered him again, and here’s what he wrote:
Yes blog away! Taking a few pictures would be awesome, then I will let you know which one I choose. It all depends when my tattoo artist has an opening, but most likely before this year’s season starts. Just email me the photos when you have time, and we will go from there. Cool?
…and that’s where it stands. Assuming he actually goes through with it and then sends me a photo, I’ll post an update, so stay tuned…
One of my contacts at MLB just sent me the official list of commemorative balls for the 2010 season.
A few days ago, I blogged about Chatroulette. (This is what happens to me during the off-season.) Now I’d like to tell you about my experience on another newish site called Omegle. For those who don’t know, it’s basically like Chatroulette, but without the video or sound…which is to say that it’s only text. Yes, random one-on-one IM conversations with strangers. You never know who you’ll get paired up with, and once you ARE paired up, you have no idea who you’re talking/typing to. I took some screen shots to show you how it all went down, and in case it’s not clear, wherever it says “You” in blue font…that’s me. As you’ll see, I started by telling the first “Stranger” that I was going to share the conversation with the world. Check it out:
I’d been hearing about Chatroulette from friends for the last few weeks. Then I stumbled upon a New York Times article about it a few days ago. And now I’m obsessed. In case you don’t know what it is, and if you’re too lazy to click the links and find out, it’s basically random video chatting with people from all over the world. You never know who you’re going to get…or, umm, ahem, what they might be in the process of doing…which is exactly what makes it fun (and scary for some people). Here are eight different screen shots I took of the randomness and silliness that recently went down:
I just got a call from my editor. She said she woke up at 5am last night with an epiphany for a possible new title. (It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who’s losing sleep over it.)
I just got home from a 90-minute meeting with my editor at Random House. She recently finished editing the first two parts of the book.
My 6-foot-6 friend Leon Feingold sent me the following email a few nights ago:
“Hey, want to meet some 7-footers tomorrow??? Call me around 10 or 11am….”
Based on this blog entry that I’d posted a month earlier, you could say that my response went something along the lines of “HELL yeah!!!”<
It turned out that the 5-foot-9 Martha Stewart was going to be taping a show based entirely on tall people. There was going to be a fashion show with extra-tall models (run by a tall designer), an interview with a 6-foot-3 woman who wrote the definitive book about being tall, and other tall-related topics.
“You can’t come into the studio audience,” wrote Leon in his follow-up email the next day, “b/c EVERYONE in the audience must be minimum 6′ and I’m afraid you just miss the cutoff. But you can come meet me and mom lining up outside at 221 w 26th (7/8) where they’ll be doing the taping, and meet Dave Rasmussen, who I think is 7’4″. We’re heading over now, and will be there through 4pm.”
It just so happened that I had to be at West 13th Street for a two-hour meeting ending at 12:30pm, so I headed over to find Leon as soon as I got out. Here I am with him and his 6-foot-1 mother, Eleanor:
(Note my “trying-to-appear-taller-than-I-actually-am” pose. For the record, I’m officially 5-foot-10 and five-eighths, which I normally round up to 5-foot-11.)
Unfortunately, I had just missed the super-tall guy — actually, there were two super-tall guys — but at least I got to hang out with Leon for a while. And if I wanted to wait for a couple hours, I could catch them on the way out.
Suddenly, the line started to move. Leon and his mother and all the other tall folks were about to head inside. He said he’d try to sneak me in. I didn’t see how that was possible. (Leon once snuck me into Citi Field, so I should stop doubting him.) He’d once snuck me into a Mensa meeting (where I managed to trick everyone into thinking I was smart), but how do you fake height? I happened to be wearing thick-ish sneakers, so that was good for about an inch, but everyone was wearing shoes that made them look taller. It was a celebration of height. Even the women were at least six feet tall, and most of them were wearing high heels.
We headed inside to a little check-in/security area with an airport-style metal detector. There were several “Martha Stewart” employees standing behind a counter, looking at everyone’s IDs and having them fill out forms. I was screwed. I knew it. Crap. I wasn’t scared about getting in trouble, but I was ready for them to tell me to get lost.
I handed my driver’s license to one of the ladies.
She looked it over and said, “You’re not on the list.”
“This is my friend, Zack,” said Leon. “He decided to join us at the last minute. Is there any chance you can still add him?”
“I think so,” she said. Then she checked the list to review some other names, and before I knew it, I was holding a ticket to the studio audience:
The fact that I was standing on my tiptoes might’ve helped, or maybe I’d managed to trick her because Leon had poofed up my hat to make me look a little taller. I don’t know what happened. Maybe the lady just wasn’t paying attention, or maybe she didn’t care, but regardless, I was in. Every member of the studio audience was given a yellow, ruler-like name tag. Here’s how I filled out mine:
There was a large waiting area with dozens of chairs and people milling about. I kept walking around on my tiptoes. My calves got sore within three minutes. I was thrilled to be there, but felt so out of place.
“Imposter!” snapped a middle-aged 6-foot-2 woman as I walked past the coat check area.
I couldn’t tell if she was joking, so I just shrugged and pointed at my name tag.
“You’re not six feet,” she said a bit too seriously.
I smiled and said, “I rounded up.”
And then it happened: the two TALLEST human beings I had EVER seen walked by with a bunch of other tall people (who looked short by comparison).
“Go get a photo!” said Leon.
Eleanor grabbed my camera (which I always carry with me, just in case), and we followed the crowd into a hallway. Everyone immediately turned and stared at me. It was bizarre. The two super-tall guys…THEY were the freaks of nature (I mean that in a good way), yet I was being looked at as the freak. Everyone was smiling, though. They knew why I was there.
“YOU!” I said, pointing up at a 7-foot-3 black guy named Curtis, and “YOU!” I said again, turning toward the 7-foot-4 (if you round up) white guy named Dave. “I *need* to get a photo with you two!!”
They just kinda looked at each other and shrugged and said okay. We gathered close together…and Eleanor took a couple quick photos…and oh my God. Check it out:
Seriously…JEE-zus Aitch. I was happier standing between those two guys than I would’ve been if I’d been standing with Hank Aaron and Cal Ripken Jr. I don’t know what it is. I just freakin’ LOVE tall people. You know how you hear stories about women who feel trapped in men’s bodies? Well, I feel like a 7-foot-8 monster who’s trapped in a nondescript 5-foot-11 (if you round up) body. I realize that 5-foot-11 is a perfectly acceptable height. In fact, it’s actually slightly taller than average, but as far as I’m concerned, just based on how I feel in my head and in my gut, my height is a complete disaster.
BTW, when I thanked these guys after the photo and reached to shake their hands, it’s like I was reaching right for their crotches. The whole thing was just…weird.
Eventually, it was time to line up outside the studio:
See that guy at the bottom of the ramp? He’s 6-foot-6. And the woman between him and Leon? 6-foot-2.
Once we got inside the studio, we were told that we could take photos before and after the taping, so…here you go:
The show itself was fine. I won’t give a play-by-play. You can watch it for yourself if you’re interested. It’s going to air on Thursday, February 18th. You might even catch a glimpse of me. On several occasions, those cameras that get shots of the crowd were pointing right at me, but I have no idea what exactly they captured or if it’ll be used in the actual show.
During the commercial breaks, I talked to the two women sitting next to me. One was 6-foot-1. The other was 6-foot-2. They told me that they’re members of the Tall Club of New York City. I fessed up and admitted that I’m not quite six feet tall (we were sitting down, so it wasn’t obvious) and asked if I’d be allowed to attend one of their events. They said there are get-togethers in bars that are open to the public. ”Anyone can come,” said one of the women, ”but we don’t like it when really really short guys show up. You know, really short, like 5-foot-8 or under. We call them ‘tree-climbers’.”
After the taping, Martha Stewart lingered in the studio for a few minutes and took questions from the audience:
In the photo above, do you see that big brown thing behind Martha? That, my friends, is a 1,250-pound chocolate cake (with a cherry made of sugar on top). Every audience member was given a piece of a different chocolate cake during the Q&A session. Each of us also received a copy of The Tall Book as well as a coupon for a free extra-tall cutting board. I’m thinking I might use mine as a coffee table.
Another thing about the photo above…
See all those people standing next to the cake? See the guy standing closest to it? That’s Tom Cruise. Sort of. It’s a life-sized cardboard cutout of him, which is to say that it’s exactly 5-foot-7…
Mwahaha!! Suck it, Cruise!
Here are three more photos of people standing with the cutout, going in increasing height order.
First, we have a random six-foot-tall hottie:
Next we have Leon:
And (drumroll) here’s the tallest of the tall:
Here’s a group photo, and FYI, the woman wearing red underneath the “AR” in “MARTHA” was standing on a bench:
Here’s one last photo (which needs no explanation):
(If there’s anyone reading this who’s at least seven feet tall, please get in touch. I want to know you and have 18 million of your babies. Okay, that was a joke, I only want 16 million, but no, seriously, I do want to know you. I swear this isn’t a sexual fetish. I just really REALLY adore tall people. The end.)
Last month, after I critiqued Forbes Field from a baseball-snagging perspective, a bunch of people suggested that I do the same thing for other defunct stadiums, so here we go. This time it’s the Polo Grounds, home of the New York Giants from 1891-1957 (and home of the Mets and Yankees at various times, too).
Three weeks ago, I contacted George H. W. Bush’s personal aide to get more information about a foul ball that the former president once snagged at Yankee Stadium.
I just received the following reply:
Mr. Hample –
Thank you for your patience in awaiting a reply to your request.
Unfortunately, at age 85, President Bush simply does not have the recall of such events that he used to have. I hate to be the bearer of disappointing news, but President Bush will not be able to provide anything for your project. He is of course a big baseball fan and if you are looking for further information on his thoughts on baseball in general I would suggest contacting the Presidential Library in College Station, TX.
Best of luck with the project,
[name deleted for privacy]
Aide to President Bush
I’d been hoping to get all the details about Bush’s snag and write up a whole story about it for the “celebrity ballhawks” section of my book, but instead, it’ll only get a brief mention.