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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
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How My Crazy Day Happened
2004-01-30 14:39
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Plenty of stuff about the Dodgers if you skip this post and read on. I won't be offended.

Everything below meant a lot to me and is a key part of the story that I want to tell, though some of it will seem most mundane.

In 2002 (and feel relieved I'm only going back this far), a friend of mine started this blog.

Over that summer, I mulled starting one of my own. That July, I did.

I continued sporadically through September 2002, when my daughter was born, at which point I stopped writing.

Twelve months ago, I began again, not really sure how long I'd keep it up. But I did keep it up.

In the spring, my first sports editor at the Daily News, Steve Clow, came across the blog from his current perch at the Times and sent me an e-mail saying hello, good job, etc.

On July 4, Larry Stewart of the Times favorably reviewed Dodger Thoughts.

In December, the Dodgers traded Kevin Brown to the Yankees, and Clow contacted me to get quotes for the reaction sidebar in the Times. The paper wanted an independent source representing the voice of the fans.

On January 22, Bill Shaikin of the Times, whom I originally met covering Angel games in 1991, interviewed me for his Monday story on fan hostility toward Frank McCourt.

Wednesday, KCRW producer Ileana Justus left a message with a co-worker of mine that they wanted to interview me for a Which Way L.A. show dedicated to McCourt on Thursday. She said the show topic wouldn't be confirmed until Thursday morning. She then did a short untaped pre-interview about the Dodgers with me, during which it took me about 10 seconds to begin answering her first question.

And thus I was reminded of why I abandoned my dreams as a teenager to become the next Vin Scully. I pause to find the right words, which is not a prized skill when you are talking in a broadcast medium.

Nonetheless, I did feel that I was ready for the challenge when KCRW confirmed the interview Thursday morning. In a sense, I've been following this subject for close to 30 years. I've been reading and writing about McCourt extensively, almost nauseatingly, throughout the offseason. I had things to say.

In 1991, I took over the sports media column at the Daily News from Paola Boivin and was asked to appear on a sports talk radio station after my very first piece, an article about CBS' huge new contract to televise baseball. It was a fine column but it belied the fact that I wasn't an expert on that aspect of the game. Nervous, I declined the interview, and though I have never lost sleep over it, I always thought it was a mistake. Better to take the chance.

Anyway, until last month, my only public speaking since that lost opportunity involved being on the DVD commentary of Roughnecks - The Starship Troopers Chronicles - The Homefront Campaign, having written one of the episodes. (Yes, it's been a long, strange journey.)

Back to Thursday. I let people know about the interview, via e-mail and via this website, and got lots of good wishes and advice for my inaugural (if not final) radio appearance. My friend John Lilly and I, of course, discussed wardrobe and breath issues.

The taping was scheduled between 3:30 and 4 p.m. and would include myself, Frank Del Olmo of the Times, city councilman Ed Reyes and host Warren Olney, all of us patched together by phone, none of us in the same room.

Meanwhile, I did pretty well at the thing I really needed to do: concentrating on the job that actually pays me. Having a lot of work to do certainly helped my anxiety. Chaos was good.

And then chaos increased: At about 2:15 p.m., 15 minutes before the McCourt press conference that my job would prevent me from watching and 75 minutes before my KCRW interview, I got an e-mail from Associated Press reporter Daisy Nguyen, asking if I would comment for a reaction to McCourt's purchase after the news conference was over.

This is what it had come to - I was actually having to juggle. I told Nguyen I would be happy to talk to her but I had commitments until 4 p.m.

At 3 p.m., someone suggested I drink some hot water to relax my throat. At 3:01, I spilled water on me. At 3:03, I spilled again.

At 3:25 p.m., I left my cubicle, refilled my troublesome water cup and went into an unused office to wait for KCRW's call, which came slightly after 3:30, by which time I was - yes - out of water.

There was no real fanfare. You're on hold, and then you hear some background chatter, and then the taping starts - it just starts. Warren Olney is introducing himself, introducing the topic, and then mentioning something about a Jon Weisman and an independent (this has become my defining adjective) website, Dodger Thoughts.

And sure enough, the first question comes to me and I'm saying, "Well, um ..."

I never panicked during the interview, but I did find myself having to work to complete some sentences. When I talk, I'm like an old car whose gears you can hear grinding. I get from here to there, but I really have to grind a lot.

I was asked five questions before they moved on to Del Olmo and then Reyes. I found my listening being interrupted by an ongoing self-critique of how I responded. The biggest thing was that I worried that I had been shouting. Whenever I'm on the phone with my 93-year-old grandmother, who is lively as all get-out but a little hard of hearing, I have to talk loudly to her. That's how I thought I sounded on the radio to poor Mr. Olney.

Another thing that I realized during this interlude was that I really wanted to address the issue of the supposed gag order that McCourt was under, preventing him from speaking publically to the people of Los Angeles during his purchase bid. As I've said before, I think his silence was more than deafening, it was catastrophic - and the recent misunderstanding about whether baseball actually required him to be silent only raised more questions about him. So I kept hoping they'd get back to me to talk.

But after Reyes spoke, instead of starting the circle back with me, Olney went back to Del Olmo. Inwardly (but not audibly!), I cursed. "Damn, I'm not gonna get another chance." And then: "Damn, they must think I stink."

Olney did return to me, however, with a question that caught me off guard: Why did I think Dodger fans were not apathetic? This was one of the few questions about the Dodgers that I've never asked myself, so I didn't have a ready answer. Further, I had this point about McCourt's silence that I was burning to make.

Now, I've seen a few presidential debates in my time, and I've seen candidate after candidate respond to a question with an off-topic answer that only addresses something on his agenda. Well, that's what I did. I started, "Well, um .. " and then talked very briefly about Peter O'Malley and Fox having to deal with fans who want a winner, and grinded over to talking about the McCourt silent treatment. It was awkward, but I have no regrets.

In my final response, I told Olney (not verbatim), "Anyone can run a bad campaign and get elected, but if you do great things, history will rewrite itself." After I said this, Olney laughed and said, "Well, no one's been elected to anything," and I felt a little stupid, although 1) I meant it as a metaphor and 2) actually, McCourt did win a vote of the owners, so he was in fact elected to something. Just not by you or me, unless you are a baseball owner.

The show ended. I have to say, it was very enjoyable. The last moment aside, I really enjoyed Olney (I've always liked him) and enjoyed

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