Monday, June 27, 2011

My brush with the edge of fame

I haven’t exactly filled my Twitter followings with the likes of influential thinkers or vapid Hollywood stars who want me to know their thoughts on the nature and meaning of existence of what they had for lunch (that applies to both groups.) In fact, I would venture to say that the “famous” people I follow would not consider themselves celebrities. A more accurate description would be “sports analysts for various media outlets whose celebrity status exists entirely within the sports community.”

One of those I do follow is Jonah Keri. You might recognize that name and think to yourself, “I thought Luke just said he didn’t follow any real celebrities, why is he following the “Get Him to the Greek” guy?” And I’d say “no, not Jonah Hill, Jonah Keri” and you’d be all like “I don’t know who that is. I hope this blog gets funny soon or I’m going to watch Get Him to the Greek out of spite.” (Note: You might want to go ahead and pull it up on Netflix and save yourself some time.)

 I first became aware of Keri though his editing of the book Baseball Between The Numbers which is essentially an idiot’s guide to advanced statistical analysis. It’s one of the five books I would take with me if I were to be stranded on a desert island mostly because there’s so much in there I don’t understand. I’d eventually forgotten about Keri until he started a podcast and had as one of his first guests Rob Neyer, (another of the aforementioned sports analysts from twitter). As a Neyer fan, I figured it’d be worth the listen, which it was - so much so, in fact, that I started following Keri on twitter and reading more and more of his work.

If you don't like this book,
I'll do nothing.
It was also around this time that he was pimping his new book, The Extra 2% which tells the story of how the Tampa Bay Rays managed to go from being an historically bad team to winning the toughest division in baseball twice in a three-year span. (I got the book for Father’s Day and finished it four days later. If you’re at all interested in baseball or the business practices the Rays used to go from worst to first, I highly recommend it. It comes with my unconditional no-money-back guarantee. If you don’t like it, I won’t refund your money.) Did I mention it has spent time on the New York Times best seller list?

As luck would have it, Keri is an avid Twitterer, regularly responding to his followers (including me, much to the chagrin of my wife, who doesn’t get Twitter), engaging in various topics of conversation, offering fantasy advice (which I’ve been the beneficiary of a time or two). He doesn’t take himself seriously (always a plus), is self-deprecating and fills in admirably on ESPN’s Fantasy Focus podcasts from time to time.

All that brings us to last week. Keri sent out a tweet looking to crowdsource a few ideas about the most underrated college football stadiums and tailgating atmosphere. He’s got more than 11,000 followers, so you and I can both imagine that he got a number of suggestions, so when I suggested Georgia Southern’s Paulson Stadium as underrated for both stadium and atmosphere, I figured it’d go into the digital wastebasket of tweets Keri received. So last weekend, I’m at my in-laws and decide I should check my direct messages (they don’t show up in my regular feed, and unless you look for them, you’d never know you had them.) As it turns out, I didn’t know I had one and the one I did have was from Keri, himself, who was intrigued by Paulson Stadium and the atmosphere around football games and wanted more information than could be sent via a 140 character tweet. A best-selling author wanted me to email him. Sure, it was for God knows what and may never amount to anything, but I still think it’s kind of cool. 

The Prettiest Little Stadium
in America
So I rattled off a 500-word email doing the best I could to explain what makes Paulson Stadium and Georgia Southern tailgating a special and unique experience. I know I couldn't fully capture what it's like to spend an autumn Saturday at the "Prettiest Little Stadium in America," but hope I was able to give a reasonable representation of what it's like.

It also didn’t hurt that it almost, kind of, maybe convinced my wife that there might just be something to this whole Twitter thing.

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