Last Thursday night, I got a chance to meet someone that has been an inspiration for me and some of my peers. The meeting took place at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion, where an incredible college basketball game for the Pac-10 Conference championship was being decided. And the meeting was with arguably a sporting legend, whose initials are J.W. and both first and last names end with the letter "n".
No, the meeting wasn't with John Wooden. Rather, I got a chance to meet Jon Weisman, the founder and muse behind Dodger Thoughts.
Jon's blog was the part of the impetus behind why we started Sons of Steve Garvey in the first place. His blog is a wealth of information and commentary about the Dodgers, and it has attracted a core, devoted following of readers which we aspire to have (and are continuing to build). Most impressive, however, is how prolific Jon is--he seems to always be able to churn out thought-provoking pieces on almost a daily level--and he's only one person (as far as I could tell from meeting him Thursday).
Heck, we have seven Sons (who may or may not be different people/personalities), and though only four Sons regularly contribute posts, even we have felt the pressure of publishing. How Jon can do this alone, with a day job and an ever-expanding family, is amazing.
Meeting Jon in person was one of the evening's highlights, as it was the first time we met in person and he is one of the few people to know my identity. We actually share a number of common interests (beyond the Dodgers, that is) and background experiences, which I can't detail without revealing too many clues about my identity (assuming I'm not the Steve Sax...). But meeting Jon definitely personalized his blog for me, which was quite a step given the reverence I have for his work. It was almost amazing to find out he's also a normal, approachable guy, with perspectives and worries just like I have, both about the Dodgers and about life in general.
And he likes our blog, which made me feel awfully great. Neither one of us is going to be retiring anytime soon based on the income from our Dodgers blogs. But I think we both have this perverse belief, however misguided, that our blogs are noble pursuits and outlets for our passion. It meant a lot to me to get validation from Jon; after all, the blogs are inherently designed for feedback and are a two-way street. We're publishing for ourselves, but obviously for an audience as well. And any feedback is always welcomed.
I've talked with Orel about this over the phone, and it took only a couple of minutes before he started mocking me about being a giddy high-school student at a Hannah Montana concert. Maybe I had built this up too much, and shouldn't be so surprised that Jon's a mortal. Whatever. Mock away, I guess. It was still a thrill for me.
And, in tribute to DT's format:
- The Stanford / UCLA game was awesome, what an incredible game to see in person. I had not seen or heard Pauley Pavilion that loud and raucous in years. Pac-10 officiating continues to be horrible--it never ceases to amaze me by finding new depths--and though the foul on Darren Collison at the end of regulation was questionable, there were tons of non-calls (including the one directly prior where Stanford took a two-point lead with seven seconds to go) on both ends that were absolutely befuddling. On top of that, is it just me, or do Pac-10 officials seem to have an unspoken rule in which the referee farthest from the play gets to make the call once or twice per game?
- The Cal / UCLA game was equally amazing as the Bruins mounted another furious comeback to best the Bears. Josh Shipp's over-the-backboard shot was a tough call; it may have been within the laws of geometry (thanks, bruinsnation.com), but it sure looked pretty close to questionable. In any event, however, it was an incredible shot taken by a guy who has struggled from the outside for weeks now. If the Bruins are going to advance to their third straight Final Four, they're going to need Shipp to find his outside shot again, as they are otherwise without a sharpshooter threat (short of the double-clutching Kevin Love from three-point range, that is). Hopefully for UCLA, this gets Shipp's head (and shot) back in the game.
- Bill Plaschke's latest sowing of year-old oats barely deserves mention, as there wasn't any new information or take worthy of yet another vets-vs.-kids article. Peppered with more Plaschke-esque one-sentence paragraphs with similar short sentence construction, it takes up many more column inches than the substance merits. It's clear that he thought of the headline first (in the print edition of the LAT, it was something like "Torre added to subtract a division"), then wrote the article. Given the mathematical references it was ironic that there be a flawed order of operations.
- I don't know what this has to do with the Dodgers, but the idea of playing a video game from the perspective of the Space Invaders is a hilarious idea. I hope this Wii game gets ported to the US soon.