The last knuckleballer to pitch for every AL team

12279721586_4fa69ca555_bWith R.A. Dickey being the only knuckleballer to likely have a spot in his team’s rotation for 2014, it kinda made me wonder when the last time each team had a knuckleballer pitch for them. Kinda surprised that, from what I could find, the Yankees haven’t had a true knuckleball pitcher since Joe Niekro. Also, R.A. Dickey tends to get around.

AL West:

  • Oakland — Steve Sparks (2003)
  • Anaheim — Steve Sparks (1998-99)
  • Texas — R.A. Dickey (2003-06)
  • Houston — Jared Fernandez (2003-04)
  • Seattle — R.A. Dickey (2008)

Continue reading “The last knuckleballer to pitch for every AL team”

Tips for comedians on Facebook pages

It seems like almost weekly, I’m getting an invite from a comedian to like their Facebook page… which is great!

And then I like the page, only to find out that the comedian either never uses it or uses it to post anything that crosses their mind (that’s what Twitter is for). In my day job, I work for a social media company and I’m the co-editor of a blog focused on Facebook. I’ve written about companies who use Facebook pages to grow their business. I’m not saying I’m perfect or that I’ll make you famous or Oprah rich, but I’d love to help.

  • Think of Facebook as your own webpage

It’s OK if you don’t know HTML or have the change to spring for someone to design/manage a website. You’ve got Facebook. If you want to use your Facebook page to make it easier for promoters, make sure to have your name (or My Name Comedy, if you want), as well as a bio of yourself (with your location) and some accomplishments.

Include your email address, if you wish, so promoters/bookers have some way to reach you.

Additionally, use the photos feature to upload high-quality headshots/comedy action shots. If you worry that Facebook photos aren’t high-quality enough, upload some photos to a free photo management site like Flickr and link to this gallery in your bio. This way, if a promoter wants to get more information or a headshot for their flier, it’s easily there. Make sure they know about your page and don’t have to do a lot of work to find info or pictures.

Also, find a good cover image. It can be you on stage, a microphone, or whatever you feel represents you. Cover image dimensions: 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall. Make sure it’s not pixellated.

  • Don’t post everything you think is funny

Even though you’ve begged friends, family, and randoms in the Tenderloin to like your page, not all of your fans will see your post. Facebook has this funny little algorithm (many call it EdgeRank… you can do some more research on this, if you want) that sorts the news feed based on what people will engage with (like, comment or share). Understand that even though you post something to your Facebook page, not everyone will see it. However, the more people you get to like, comment on or share your posts, the greater chances will be that your fans will see more posts. You can pay a few bucks to promote your posts if you want, so more people see, but it’s not mandatory.

If you’re posting 15 times a day, odds are, at least one person is clicking “hide.” This hurts your page. Try to moderate your posting to a reasonable amount.

  • You can create events through your page

If you want to promote a big event or showcase that you’re in, create an event through your Facebook page, and invite people that way. Not only does this build awareness of your page, but it yields results a little bit better than just posting “Hey, I’ve got a show tonight at Cobb’s! Message me for a free ticket!”

If you want to place extra importance on post, keeping it at the top of your page, go to the top right corner of it (while you’re on the admin page), click the pencil, then click “pin to top.” Use this when you want to highlight something like a big show or an announcement.

You can also use other services such as LaffQ (or just link to your LaffQ page) to keep fans updated on your appearances.

  • Don’t post the same things as your personal profile

If you have a Facebook page, invite your entire friends list to like it, and then just post the same exact things … what is the point to me liking your page? Use the page to post witty one-liners, announcements of shows (as well as thanks to promoters/bookers and shout-outs to fellow comics), and questions for fans to get people liking, commenting and sharing.

Facebook is a pretty powerful utility for comedians, but it’s not perfect. These are just some tips for comics to help them use a Facebook page for success.

On leaving print journalism

On leaving print journalism

Ever since I was 15, there was only one thing I ever wanted to do: be a reporter. I remember sitting in career day in high school, and the speaker for journalism was Neil Hayes, a sports columnist from the Contra Costa Times. He talked about flying back and forth between Anaheim and San Francisco while covering the World Series.

I was hooked.

I wanted that job and started to get more serious about writing for the school paper.

(cross-posted at http://newshoundsreinvented.wordpress.com/stories/)

Continue reading “On leaving print journalism”

On weight loss

There’s no magic pill.

There’s no secret.

There’s no special food.

There’s no trick.

There’s no “easy way.”

As many times as I’ve tried to find other ways, I’ve discovered there is one surefire way to lose weight. It’s damn simple, but one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It just doesn’t fit into an advertising jingle: exercise more and stop eating junk food.

Continue reading “On weight loss”

Hometown

Brentwood - home of the cornfest

So, I’ve finally found employment and I couldn’t ask for a better situation. I had two very solid offers — one which would have me covering high school/community sports in Marin County and the other would have me doing roughly the same area in Brentwood, where I grew up.

I took the latter, and as time goes along, I’m happy I did. I love writing for Patch, and I really hope they are the future of journalism, because the industry could really use some hope right now. But I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work where I was an intern while studying at Los Medanos College. Unlike Marin (where I would’ve had to either pay a lot in gas or pay a toll to get to work), I know the Brentwood/Antioch/Oakley area pretty well. Everything just feels right here.

I found a sweet studio in Antioch only a few blocks from where I once lived in middle school. I’ve got the support of family living in the area, too. I’m familiar with the high schools (Liberty, Freedom, Antioch, Deer Valley and Heritage) and I’m pretty sure a few of the coaches I’ve talked to are still there. At least, I hope so.

I’ve lived all over California and in parts of Missouri and Montana, but I’d like to say I kinda grew up in East Contra Costa County. There’s something to be said about moving back to where your “roots” are. I feel very comfortable in this area, where I don’t really need to use my GPS or look up directions to go somewhere. I’m pretty close to some of my best friends I’ve missed while living in San Diego, Stockton and on the central coast. Now, instead of having to make a weekend trip to the Bay Area, I can just head over to a friend’s place for a bit. It’s liberating. I’ve walked, taken the bus and driven all over this area. It’s like going home, but now I’m on my own. Considering I was looking at places in Richmond and Vallejo, I’m pretty happy to call a nice area of Antioch my home.

I’m really looking forward to this next step in my life, and hope it’s a successful one all around.

My baseball list

Motivated by a friend’s Facebook post, where she wrote about all of the baseball stadiums she’s been to — an impressive list, 18 out of 30 — I figured I’d do the same. Mine isn’t quite as lengthy, but here goes.

The Oakland Coliseum

Network Associates Coliseum/McAfee Coliseum/Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum:

“(Oakland) is this kind of town: You have to pay 50 cents to go from Oakland to San Francisco. Coming to Oakland from San Francisco is free.” – Jim Murray

I’ve been here a time or two. I remember my first game, where Matt Stairs hit the game-winning home run and became my favorite player. I’ve seen Marco Scutaro hit a game-winning home run off the infallible Mariano Rivera. I’ve seen Erubiel Durazo do the same against the fallible Jason Grimsley. I’ve seen a man start a fight with another man after he said something about his mother, all this happening three rows above me in the now-tarped third deck after medics tended to a concussed Johnny Damon. I’ve stayed there overnight for the filming of a Brad Pitt movie. I’m slightly familiar with the place.

There’s a distinctive vibe about Oakland and the Coliseum that I love. Yes, Oakland is not San Francisco. Yes, the Coliseum is not AT&T Park. But there’s a certain charm to both. Both Oakland and the Coliseum have their warts (East Oakland, Mt. Davis, etc.), but they embrace them. There’s a certain confidence to both, like even though there are flaws, they are perfect to the people who want to see it that way. Instead of an inferiority complex to The City, there’s a feeling of “Yeah, we’re not San Francisco, and we don’t want to be!”

My feelings about Oakland, as an outsider who spent most of his time in East Contra Costa County, can be pretty much summarized in the Oaklandish logo. There’s a sense of renewed ownership among the people who live in Oakland. They want to call this city home, make it their own and restore a sense of place to an area of which Gertrude Stein famously remarked, “there is no there there.”

Instead of a picturesque view of the Bay, the Coliseum offers 20 yards of foul room and a view of the Al Davis-backed monstrosity of cheap bleachers and expensive luxury boxes. It doesn’t try to upsell you on anything. It’s brutally honest, no frills, a here’s-what-you-get kind of place. I admire that.

Continue reading “My baseball list”