By JOE BOESCH
Baseball or Politics?
That’s the question I’ve been asked many times. As a young struggling sportswriter, I had the opportunity to cover some of the 1992 Presidential Election and the race to The White House. As a young reporter, and a young struggling writer, interviewing former Second Lady Marilyn Quayle was the chance of a lifetime.
I, must say, it was quite amazing as her appearance, and my mug shot, appeared on almost every local and national television network. There’s one thing that sticks out in my mind: “Never ask someone close to the President about his/her feelings and what he does?” I was an inexperienced writer and asked the former Second Lady something about President George H.W. Bush (the father) and her response was: “I don’t speak for the President.”
So, all the talk about the Balanced Budget Amendment and slinging of mud, ended my political writing career. I decided to continue my focus on sports, especially baseball. But, I was more intrigued about George H.W. Bush playing baseball at Yale University and former President George W. Bush owning the Texas Rangers.
Do I dare ask the Second Lady about baseball? No!
My Presidential baseball question had to wait. My desire to learn about the Bush’s baseball prospectus couldn’t be fulfilled for this struggling baseball scribe. I must read, research and learn on my own.
It’s true that George H.W. Bush was the Yale Baseball Captain and also received Babe Ruth’s autobiography in a 1948 ceremony at Yale. Truly amazing! He was also a pretty good first baseman and played pretty well around the diamond.
In 1989, President George W. Bush bought the Texas Rangers and then sold it in 1998 for three times the price he paid for it. I, personally, remember “W” throwing out the first pitch after 9/11. To me, that signified how baseball shapes America and brings it closer in time of need.
My short political career was a great experience. But, it was always baseball and that’s what I continue to do.
It all began at NYIT back in 1988 when I was a freshman ready to learn and become the next Red Smith. NYIT taught me the importance of hard work, the ability to communicate clearly, concisely and not to give up on my dream of being a sportswriter.
When I was a young teenager, my late Grandmother put together a scrapbook of sports articles and told me that “you can do this.” I read the articles with great interest and the idea came into my mind of writinga better story – my own story. Today I have my own scrapbook of 500-plus authored articles, my own book Game Notes: A Collection of Sports Stories, contributed to the book Baseball Stories for the Soul (which is enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame) and my own baseball radio show.
Without the backing of NYIT and the Communication Arts department, my path to a sportswriting career would have been more difficult to achieve and less gratifying. The NYIT faculty of Bernie Bard, John Hanc and Dr. Edward Guiliano were influential in shaping my career and path of becoming a writer. I also looked to the professionals in the industry like Ira Berkow from The New York Times, John Harper from the New York Daily News and Pat Calabria from Newsday. If anything, they all made me a better writer and offered words of encouragement.
To achieve all this takes hard work and dedication. I labor over a laptop hammering out stories like a thoroughbred waiting to leave the gates at Belmont Park. My hands dance over the keyboard like a pitcher throwing a consistent fastball throughout a baseball game. I continue to write, rewrite and write again until my story is perfect.
Because if you´re a writer this is what the whole writing game is about. You must write, read and not give up. As a writer, you must stay in the game and perfect your craft. Like a batter perfecting their swing during batting practice, you must do the same and not let anyone stand in your way. Seek out the advice of the NYIT faculty, your favorite writer or even a grandparent, and let them read and critique your work. From their suggestions, apply it to your next story and continue to achieve your dream. At a young age, I had the same dream and was able to fulfill it with the help of many at NYIT and my family.
Never give up on your dream and as Ira Berkow said to me as a young struggling writer, “Keep trying. Try not to get discouraged. Like most other things, the harder one works at writing, the better one gets. As Red Smith once told me to keep the faith, I pass that on to you.”