The Flatter

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 10.05.11 PMSpent much of today at the University of Tennessee-Martin, working on a football-related piece for Bleacher Report.

It was a wonderful experience. Great staff, lovely campus, absolutely amazing sandwich at Sammie’s. Toward the end of the evening, I found myself sitting on a couch with Ryne Rickman and Jake Rogers, two sports information dudes. We were chatting baseball, media, life. As I headed for the exit, Jake—a lovely guy and student at the school—told me he admired my work and asked if I’d pose for a photograph.

Embarrassingly, I did so. He then Tweeted it out.

This stuff doesn’t happen often, but when it does it’s pretty embarrassing/humbling. I’m just a friggin’ writer, just like these guys are just sports information employees, just like cab drivers are just cab drivers, just like lawyers are just lawyers. I have a sweet job, I try my absolute best, it’s amazingly fun, there’s some public recognition … and I have no business signing autographs or posing for pictures.

However, I have even less business turning down such requests.

Why? Because it’s fucking flattering, and someone is paying you the ultimate compliment. Years ago, when I covered Major League Baseball, I’d watch ballplayers ignore autograph seekers and feel like pulling my hair out. I know—one can’t sign everything. But he can smile, say “Hello,” nod … something. The absolute worst in this area was Albert Pujols. I remember, not long after Joe Posnanski wrote a Sports Illustrated cover piece on how wonderful Pujols was, I observed him for several days during spring training. It was beyond remarkable: He could not have been ruder to fans. Not a signature, not an acknowledgment. Nothing at all.

Anyhow, I’m babbling.

Jake, if you’re reading this, you made my night.