Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for January 2015

Thoughts After Watching 2015 U.S. Figure Skating Championships

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The last few days have been challenging ones around Chez Caffrey, as I’ve been battling some health issues. That, and only that, is the reason I didn’t write something sooner about the 2015 United States Figure Skating Championships, held in Greensboro, North Carolina, this past weekend.

There’s a great many things I wish to say, both about the men’s and women’s competitions. They showcased persistence and heart as Adam Rippon won the free skate event and nearly walked off with the United States men’s title, and they also showcased the fighting spirit of Mirai Nagasu, who finished her long program after suffering a devastating freak injury by skating into the boards.

First, let’s talk about the men’s event, which was completed on Sunday afternoon.

  • Adam Rippon’s long program was a complete delight from beginning to end. It was lyrical, it was athletic, and it was brilliant. Rippon, who attempted a quadruple Lutz jump (by far the toughest quadruple jump ever attempted) and landed it (albeit with an under-rotation), deserved to win the men’s event, hands-down, as he was graded much more harshly in the short program than he should’ve been. But he did win the free skate, as he deserved…he’s my odds-on favorite for a World medal in Shanghai whether he lands the quad Lutz or not. (But if he does, watch out — Rippon could shock the world and win gold. Shades of Rudy Galindo, indeed!)
  • Jason Brown won the overall event with a good and solid performance that, three-quarters of the way in, I’d have called “robotic.” However, in his final minute, his footwork caught fire and he again became the showman I knew he could be. Brown’s spins and jumps are solid and beautiful, but he does not have a quadruple jump planned for World’s. He is likely to place somewhere between fifth and seventh even if he skates lights-out at World’s because of this.
  • Joshua Farris came in third with an introspective program that showcased his artistry along with a quadruple jump attempt. Farris has more chance at a medal than Brown, but probably less than Rippon, who has the most international experience of the lot. However, Farris reminds me the most of retired World Champion Jeremy Buttle of Canada…if Farris hits his quad and does everything else at the same level as he did in Greensboro, he has a fighting chance for a medal.

Those are the top three medalists, and all are both artists and good, solid jumpers. But what about the rest of the field?

Some quick hits:

  • Max Aaron tried two quads, landing one cleanly and the other two-footed and possibly a tad under-rotated. Still, he has guts and moxie, and I enjoyed his program (skated to the music from the “Gladiator” movie) immensely. Aaron has a similar style to Maxim Kovtun of Russia, yet Aaron never gets the same sort of PCS marks Kovtun gets from the judges (PCS means artistic impression, more or less). Aaron came in a strong fourth, and is the first alternate to the World team.
  • Jeremy Abbott skated a quiet and lyrical program, but fell twice; he did attempt a quad toe loop. His father passed away last week of Parkinson’s disease, and as such I felt Jeremy’s performance showed a great deal of grit and heart. As always, I enjoyed his musicianship and style. He finished fifth, but any other year, he’d have won a bronze.
  • I appreciated Ross Miner’s program. It was quiet, elegant, a little reserved, but seemed to fit him admirably. He was a bit under the radar due to being in the final flight of skaters with Abbott, Aaron, Rippon, etc. Miner skated as well as I’ve ever seen him; some years, what he did would’ve been enough for a bronze.
  • Douglas Razzano skated in the second flight of skaters, but I was impressed with his energetic performance. He has a wonderful sense of timing and rhythm. He attempted a quad toe loop and finished seventh; many other years, he’d have been in the top five.
  • Loved, loved, loved Sean Rabbit’s fire and showmanship. He doesn’t have a quad, doesn’t have a solid triple Axel, but man does he have talent. Truly enjoyed his performance.
  • Felt terrible for Richard Dornbush. He’s had boot and skate problems all season, and they came back to haunt him in Greensboro. He finished in tenth place, mostly because of equipment issues.

Now it’s on to the ladies’ event, which had its own share of drama and excitement.

I’ve been tough on Ashley Wagner in the past. I didn’t think she deserved to go to the Olympics last year, and I let everyone know it. But this year — ah, what a difference a year makes!

This year, she showed moxie, class, and confidence in adding a Triple lutz-triple toe loop combination — the toughest jump combo any woman attemped at the U.S. Nationals — very late in the game. She was easily the class of the field, and has an excellent chance to win a medal at World’s.

Quick hits regarding the other competitors who caught my eye:

  • Gracie Gold may not be hurt right now, but she skated tentatively and cautiously to a silver medal performance. She looked beautiful, as always, and I loved her layback spin and presentation. But if she skates like that at World’s, she’s probably going to be ranked somewhere between fifth and eighth.
  • Karen Chen’s delightful, effervescent performance deservedly won the bronze medal. She’s young, she’s fresh, she’s outspoken in the same way Ashley Wagner is — I look forward to much more from her. But because she is too young to go to World’s, she’ll be going to Junior World’s instead. (I fully expect her to dominate Junior World’s, too, if she skates anything close to what she did at the U.S. Nationals.)
  • Polina Edmunds’ fourth-place performance looked gawky and awkward, possibly because of some growing pains. (She’s just turned sixteen.) She has a boatload of talent; once she gets fully acclimated to her adult height (whatever it turns out to be), she’s going to be formidable. She’s been named to the World team; because of her “puberty issues,” it’s impossible for me to predict how she’ll do — she’s the ultimate wild card.

Longer takes:

  • I felt terrible for Courtney Hicks in the long program. She is a jumper, and is a strong presence on the ice. Her long program was conceptualized (according to what I found at Ice Network and via some Twitter conversations with other figure skating fans) as a woman slowly going insane, which makes sense in retrospect as her performance looked herky-jerky and as if she’d woken up with stiffness and soreness. Her jumps were solid, as ever, and her spins were good. But the program itself did not seem to showcase her good qualities. To my mind, Ms. Hicks needs to study skaters like the now-disgraced Tonya Harding, Elizabeth Manley, and Midori Ito — the powerful jumpers, in short. (Others to consider: Elaine Zayak, Kimmie Meissner, Emily Hughes, even Nicole Bobek — another disgraced skater, granted, but one who combined powerful jumps with an effervescent style at her best.) Hicks is never going to be a ballerina and should not try; her coaches did so well with her this year in the short program with something that truly suited her style. Now they need to find out whether or not Hicks can master the triple Axel — because if she can, that’s her ticket to a World medal, not to mention fame and fortune.
  • Finally, poor Mirai Nagasu. That woman cannot catch a break to save her life. She started off her long program with a strong triple flip-triple toeloop-double toeloop combination, landing it solidly (albeit with some underrotations called by the judges), and followed that up with another solid double Axel-triple toeloop combination. But then, she skated too close to the boards and fell down — shades of what happened to Jeremy Abbott last year during his Olympic short program — and injured her knee. Bravely, she finished her program despite being in obvious pain, and finished 10th overall. She deserves a medal for her strong spirit, fortitude in the face of adversity, and as many shoutouts as possible because no one — not the judges, not her own coach, not even the medical staff — seemed to realize how badly she was hurt, forcing her to go out and take bows even though she’d immediately skated to the side to get off the ice and rest her knee. Ms. Nagasu is a fighter of the first water, and showed her resilience and strength in full measure; what I saw from her on Saturday night was not just a portrait in courage, but a superbly trained athlete doing her all after becoming injured in the pursuit. I’m very impressed with Ms. Nagasu, and hope that whatever nonsense she may hear due to her 10th place finish will go straight out the window; I also hope her own coach, Tom Zakrajsek, will give her major “props” for finishing.

Anyway, these were my thoughts. I’m sure I’ll have more in the coming days…but until then, I hope that anyone who may come across this blog will remember one, final thing:

Do your best. Providing you’ve done that, nothing else matters. (I had to learn this as a musician when I competed in various events, and it still applies.)

Ernie Banks, “Mr. Cub,” dies at 83

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Ernie Banks died last night at the age of 83.

Banks played his entire career for the Chicago Cubs. He was their first-ever African-American player, was an All-Star 14 times, won a Gold Glove as a shortstop in 1960, won two MVP awards in 1958 and 1959, and won the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award in 1967. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977 on the first ballot. And he also won the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.

Banks had a remarkable career (check out this article from Yahoo Sports’ “Big League Stew” blog if you don’t believe me). He was a trailblazer, both as a player and as a coach.

But it’s not because of any of those things that I felt so terrible when I heard the news that Ernie Banks had died.

Banks was a quality individual, you see. He was one of those people who made you smile, simply by being around him. And he was the best ambassador for his beloved Cubs they’d ever had — hence his nickname, “Mr. Cub” — much less Major League Baseball as a whole.

Banks never went to the playoffs with his Cubs, but he always believed he would go — and nearly did in 1969, the year of the Cubs’ epic collapse. Because of his positive attitude, people loved being around him. And he enjoyed talking to the media, mostly because he saw it as a privilege rather than an obstacle. (Check out these great quotes as listed by the Chicago Tribune.)

Ernie Banks, quite simply, was a hero. He didn’t see himself that way, of course, but heroes never do.

I mourn his passing deeply.

Yovani Gallardo Traded to Rangers for 3 Prospects

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As expected, Yovani Gallardo was traded from the Milwaukee Brewers to the Texas Rangers around 8:30 p.m. CDT on Monday, January 19, 2015. In exchange for Gallardo, the Rangers sent twenty-one-year-old utility IF Luis Sardinas along with two pitchers — eighteen-year-old Marcos Diplan and twenty-three-year-old Corey Knebel.

Now, was this an equitable trade for a guy who’s racked up 89 wins and over 1000 strikeouts in his career over an eight-year span?

No. It wasn’t. Especially considering that the Rangers somehow got the Brewers to agree to pay $4M of Gallardo’s nearly $14M salary in 2015.

So let me get this straight. Texas gets Gallardo and $4M. And Milwaukee got a promising young utility infielder, Sardinas, who hit left-handers very well in a limited big-league sample, Knebel, who may not quite be ready for the big leagues yet (after looking at these stats, Knebel probably grades out needing another year of AAA), and a huge wild card in the young, hard-throwing Diplan, who has all of one year of professional experience under his belt in the Dominican Summer league.

How does this trade make any sense whatsoever?**

To give up someone as consistent at Gallardo has been for the Brewers for the sake of these three guys at this stage of their careers seems…well, the only word I can come up with is “risky.”

Yes, the Brewers desperately needed a platoon partner for Scooter Gennett, as Gennett cannot hit left-handers to save his life. And with Rickie Weeks gone, Gennett’s weaknesses would’ve been exposed. I also agree that the Brewers needed a major-league-ready bat who could play a more than capable infield, considering Aramis Ramirez is going to be 37 in June. Ramirez will need someone to spell him who can hit; it’s quite possible that Sardinas is that man.

So I can see why they went and got Sardinas, even though I don’t think they should’ve traded Gallardo to get him.

In the long run, this trade could work well for the Brewers. But in the short run, the only upside for Milwaukee that I see is that the Rangers will be paying $9M+ of Gallardo’s salary and that Sardinas could potentially help shore up the infield.

No matter what other noises the Brewers make, it is absolutely impossible to know right now whether Knebel could be someone to help Milwaukee fans forget about Tom Gorzelanny or Zach Duke or whether Knebel goes to Colorado Springs and stays there for the duration of 2015.

As for the “addition by subtraction” debate going on in some corners of Brewers fandom, I do not believe Jimmy Nelson is ready to become a solid, big-league starting pitcher. So getting rid of Gallardo to make a space for Nelson makes no sense, especially as Nelson has shown only two major-league ready pitches thus far (a fastball without much movement, and a hard slider) and needs a minimum of three to keep major-league hitters off-balance.

My bottom line analysis: Unless Knebel makes the big-league club and does well, this trade seems like an absolute steal for the Rangers. In Gallardo, they get a quality, durable #3 starter who likes Texas and is from there, so he should fit in well with their team. While we get one guy, Sardinas, who looks like he’s probably ready for the big show on a regular basis to play in various places around the infield, and two other guys who may or may not pan out.


**Gallardo would’ve been a free agent at the end of 2015. So this trade is in effect a one-year rental for the Texas Rangers unless they can get Gallardo to sign an extension. But if the objective is to “win now,” as Brewers owner Mark Attanasio says it is, it makes zero sense to trade Gallardo unless you have someone better in the fold to take Gallardo’s job.

Jimmy Nelson is not that guy.

Hot Stove Heats Up in Milwaukee — Will Gallardo be Traded?

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Sunday was a big sports day in Wisconsin. First, the Green Bay Packers lost to the Seattle Seahawks in overtime in the NFC Championship Game, 27-22. And next…the Milwaukee Brewers are considering trading starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo to the Texas Rangers?


Apparently it’s true. This report from Yahoo’s “Big League Stew” column explains why a trade like this might take place. Gallardo was raised in Texas, so he’s familiar with the area. Texas’s pitching coach is Mike Maddux, and as longtime readers of this blog know, Maddux was the Brewers’ pitching coach before he left for Texas several years back — which means Maddux has known Gallardo for a long time. And in addition to all of that, this particular trade seems to make sense from a financial standpoint for both sides — that is, depending on who Texas is willing to send in return.

Now, just strongly considering the merits of a trade in this instance does not commit the Brewers to actually sending Gallardo to Texas or anywhere else. But it seems logical that the Brewers might do this for several reasons:

  • There currently are six potential good starting pitchers on Milwaukee’s staff, including Kyle Lohse, Wily Peralta, Gallardo, Matt Garza, Mike Fiers, and Jimmy Nelson. (Nelson is the most unproven of these starters.) Trading Gallardo would open a spot in the rotation for Nelson.
  • Gallardo never quite became the ace the Brewers faithful were hoping for. He’s more a solid number two starter, or a really good number three, not an ace. If he’s in Texas, behind Yu Darvish and Derek Holland (if the latter stays healthy), Gallardo would not have anywhere near as much pressure to deal with from the fans or from the media. (Not that the media is all that awful in Milwaukee, mind.)
  • Gallardo may wish for a fresh start, considering he got busted for a DUI last year.

Now, who might Texas want to trade to Milwaukee? Rumors are running rampant, from prospects like Joey Gallo to even potentially sending Prince Fielder back to Milwaukee (if all of the monetary stuff could somehow be worked out). Fielder is a particularly intriguing possibility because the Brewers have had a huge void at first base since he left (with the exception of Corey Hart for half a season).

And there are reasons for Fielder to want to come back to Milwaukee. He always did well here. The clubhouse’s family atmosphere also was appealing to Fielder and his sons. And the media in Milwaukee are, for the most part, far more forgiving than many other baseball markets.

That being said, most likely if Gallardo is traded, it’s going to be for several prospects and one utility infielder who can hit and play some occasional outfield (someone much like Tony Graffanino in his heyday with the Brewers). The Brewers need prospects. And they desperately need a MLB-capable utility player.

Personally, I’ll hate to see Gallardo go. I respect him, and I think he’s a quality pitcher.

But if he goes, I hope the Brewers will make the right trade — not simply trade him because he’s owed $13 million in 2015 and the Brewers don’t particularly want to pay.

So, what’ll it be, Brewers? Will we have a shake-up just in time for the Brewers On Deck event on Sunday?

Stay tuned.

Why Writing a Book Is Like Preparing for a Marathon

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Why is writing a book so much like preparing for a marathon?

Writing a book takes time. Effort. Forethought, planning, a certain drive and sticktuitiveness…it’s a test that will push you to your limit. It shows you, as a writer, what you are made of — because you have to believe that your persistence, your effort, and your skill will pay off.

Runners do this, too, when they prepare to run marathons. They must get into condition, learn to eat efficiently, and prepare their bodies for a maximum effort. And they must believe that all of the training, all of their skill, will pay dividends when they finally run their races.

Runners are strong. They have to be. And they must believe in themselves, even if no one else does, or they can’t run their best races.

You have to be strong to be a writer, too. And you have to have faith in yourself that what you’re doing is the right thing, all because you have a creative vision that will not be denied.

Perhaps thinking about writing in the terms of preparing for a marathon will help you, especially if you are stalled or frustrated with your work-in-progress. While a completed book is not like running an actual marathon, writing that book is very much like preparing to run a marathon.

I know the metaphor only goes so far. But it’s still an interesting way to think about writing — as a marathon, not a sprint.

Written by Barb Caffrey

January 15, 2015 at 8:17 am

“First Contact Cafe” Is Now Available for Pre-Order! (And Other Stories)

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Hot off the presses! Read all about it!

Why am I so excited? Well, I have a story called “An Intoxicating Mess” that’s been included in the forthcoming FIRST CONTACT CAFE shared world anthology, edited by Phyllis Irene Radford. And as FIRST CONTACT CAFE is now available for pre-order, I thought I’d share the word about it right now.

First, here’s a picture of the lovely cover:

Next, here’s a list of the table of contents:

First Contact Café by Irene Radford
A Steaming Pile of Crap by Bob Brown
Apologies by Frog and Esther Jones
Certainty Principle by Manny Frishberg and Edd Vick
One Being’s Trash by Margaret McGaffey Fisk
Prime Cut by Liam Hogan
It’s A Con World Afterall by C.F. Bentley
Let’s Make A Deal by Leah Cutter
Anything You Can Do by Jacquelyn Meyers
And Down Came an Audit by D.H. Hanni
Goolie Unruly by Brenda Carre
The Tete á Tete by ElizaBeth Gilligan
Leave the Dead Lie by John Lance
An Intoxicating Mess by Barb Caffrey
Consistency by Joyce Reynolds Ward

FIRST CONTACT CAFE will be available on February 1, 2015, and the price for the e-book edition will be $4.99.

But if you just can’t wait for FIRST CONTACT CAFE, and want to buy something else from me, here’s the lowdown on everything else that’s currently available:

My novel, AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, remains on sale at the extremely low price of ninety-nine cents. If you like urban fantasy, ghosts, the paranormal, cute YA romances, comedy, slapstick, wordplay, or any dozen other things, you will love AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE. (Barnes and Noble link, as always, is here.)

My late husband’s two stories of military science fiction adventure featuring hero Joey Maverick, “A Dark and Stormy Night” and “On Westmount Station,” are also available and are priced at ninety-nine cents. (These are either long novelettes or short novellas.) If you enjoy sailing adventure with just a tad bit of romance, you’ll enjoy “A Dark and Stormy Night” more; if you enjoy a “whodunnit” plot with some hand-to-hand combat set aboard a space station, you’ll enjoy “On Westmount Station” more.

My story “On the Making of Veffen” is available in the HOW BEER SAVED THE WORLD anthology, edited by Phyllis Irene Radford. The e-book price is $4.99.

I wrote a story with my late husband Michael called “Bright as Diamonds” that’s available in the BEDLAM’S EDGE anthology, edited by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill. The e-book price is $6.96.

Finally, my story “Marja’s Victory” is available in the Exquisite Quills 2014 Holiday Romance anthology, available here and here. “Marja’s Victory” is a fantasy/romance set around Yule, and features a mature female shapeshifter and her long-time partner (in every sense), Tomas — an eight-foot-tall, telepathic Mountain Troll. And that story, again, is absolutely free — as is everything else in the anthology.

So go forth, read some good stories (maybe even a few of mine and my late husband’s), and get ready for the FIRST CONTACT CAFE anthology, will you?

Written by Barb Caffrey

January 13, 2015 at 3:11 am

Leelah Alcorn’s Parents Take Down Her Suicide Note, and Internet Erupts

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Folks, a few days ago I wrote about Leelah Alcorn, a transgender youth who committed suicide at the tender age of 17. Leelah left behind a note explaining why she felt she had nothing whatsoever to look forward to, and my previous blog discussed just how heartbreaking I found that to be.

Well, since that time, Leelah’s parents have managed to get her final note taken down. They were her kin, and they were adult, so they had that right.

But in doing that, I believe they’ve shown how little understanding they had regarding their own daughter. Leelah knew she was transgender, and apparently had been asking questions for a long time — including at Reddit’s Ask Transgender Forum. Her parents have insisted that they didn’t know Leelah called herself Leelah and that they couldn’t “support” their child due to their religion.

Here’s a bit from the Daily Mail article on the subject:

…earlier this week Leelah’s parents said in an interview they did not ‘support’ her when she revealed that she was transgender – but insisted they loved their child unconditionally.

Carla Alcorn, Leelah’s mother, also refused to acknowledge her daughter’s sex, using male pronouns and referring to her as ‘him,’ ‘he’ and ‘son’ throughout the interview.

Speaking with CNN on Wednesday, Carla said of her transgender daughter; ‘We don’t support that, religiously.’

After reading this, I don’t know whether to tear my hair out or start throwing things.

Like being transgender is a choice? Like Leelah wanted to be a female trapped inside a male body? Why can’t Leelah’s parents understand this at all?

Look. It’s hard enough to make peace with our bodies when you’re a teen and everything is new and strange. It has to be that much worse if you’re transgender.

To have a family that has continued to insist that this poor young woman be called “Joshua” shows right there that Leelah was not understood. At all. And it makes my heart break for her, again, to know that even now her parents have apparently learned nothing whatsoever.

The Internet has erupted in outrage over Leelah’s parents taking down Leelah’s suicide note. And the reason, I believe, is simple: taking down Leelah’s final words is a way to silence her one, final time. And that’s just wrong — so wrong, I don’t have the words for it.

I wish Leelah were still alive.

I wish she’d have done anything other than kill herself.

That said, I believe Leelah’s final words should be honored. And I’m not the only one, as various places have reposted Leelah’s final missive in its entirety, including here (at the end of the previously-referenced Daily Mail story).

So please, read her note. Honor her wishes. And do what you can to help LGBTQ youth.

That’s the only memorial that’s truly worthy of Leelah Alcorn.

ESPN Anchor and Personality Stuart Scott Dies at 49

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It’s been widely reported today that ESPN “SportsCenter” anchor and personality Stuart Scott has died at 49 after a seven-year battle with stomach cancer. And the news hit me hard, even though I knew as a long-time viewer of ESPN that Scott wasn’t doing particularly well.

For those who don’t follow sports as I do, Scott was a new kind of anchor when he first took to ESPN in 1993. He came up with numerous catchphrases like “Booyah!” and “He’s as cool as the other side of the pillow.” And while he wasn’t the first well-known African-American sports anchor in the Western world, Scott often seemed like the coolest, getting athletes like the intensely private Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods to actually reveal a little of who they were without getting them upset in the process (a very neat trick indeed).

Basically, Scott was the type of guy other men wanted to be like. He had class, he was smart, he understood sports, he spoke and dressed well, and he related to everyone.

In other words, Scott was a very good person. It came across in how he spoke to people. He didn’t see Jordan and Woods as wealthy, privileged athletes so much but as people who’d had to struggle to get where they were — people who were still vulnerable, who still wanted others to know that their money didn’t define them — and that changed sports journalism.

I know that’s a very big statement to make, so let me unpack it a little.

First, the explosion of salaries at the major league level in the 1980s and beyond for major league baseball, the NFL and the NBA all tended to make the average viewer feel like he or she had no frame of reference for the players anymore, save on the field. This wasn’t as much of a problem for the players in the 1950s, 1960s, and even the 1970s because while the best made very good money, most of the rest still had to drive garbage trucks in the offseason. (Or whatever they did instead of driving garbage trucks.)

In other words, while Scott celebrated the amazing feats of athleticism that sports can and do provide, Scott also provided a deeper human element to help balance it out.

So while others may speak of Scott’s hipness, freshness, and ability to relate to the younger set — and while that is certainly all true — I think most are missing the point.

Scott was, first and foremost, a caring human being, as this story discussed within ESPN’s lengthy obituary for him illustrates in full measure:

“NBA Countdown” anchor Sage Steele remembers the day last year when her family moved from Connecticut to Arizona to be closer to her show in Los Angeles: “The moving trucks were at my house, and Stuart was there with his girlfriend Kristin to say goodbye to us, and my 10-year-old son Nicholas had to say goodbye to his best friend across the street, and he came back sobbing, sobbing, leaving his best friend in the world. … Stuart said, ‘I got it.’ And he took Nicholas aside and just sat down with him and described his moving away as a kid, losing his best friend as a 10-year-old boy and how he handled it. He spent 20 minutes sitting there with Nicholas, helping him feel better.

“Stuart spent three hours at our house that day, in pain and hardly able to stand, but he did it. And he sat there for my kid.”

Not everyone does that. Most particularly when he’s gravely ill, weak, and in pain.

Yes, Stuart Scott loved sports. Loved them with a passion. But he also loved life itself — and somehow that showed through during every sportscast he ever did.

May his loved ones be comforted by his memory.

Written by Barb Caffrey

January 4, 2015 at 5:08 pm

Vinny Rottino Signs with the Miami Marlins, and Other Stuff

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Happy New Year, everyone!

I figured I’d write a quick blog tonight and mention a few things, mostly in passing, that may be of interest only to me.

First, as the title says, Vinny Rottino has been signed by the Miami Marlins to a minor league deal. This means he’ll have a job in baseball as a player during 2015, which is definitely worth celebrating. Rottino made the AAA All-Star team for the Marlins franchise back in 2011, and got a call-up from them in September as his reward. (I wrote about that here.)

I’m glad that the Marlins front office remembered Rottino, and is giving him another shot to play despite his advanced age (in baseball years only). He’s a smart player, he’s always maximized his ability, and while it’s unlikely now that he’ll be able to make a serious run at a major-league job as a player, it’s far from unlikely that he’ll be able to make the majors in some other capacity later. So it’s very good that the Marlins signed him; my guess is that Rottino’s going to end up mentoring other players in the minors, and probably playing every second or third day. And that may lead him to a managerial or coaching job down the line…which I’m sure he doesn’t want quite yet, but is something to consider for future reference. (Thank goodness it’s still “for future reference,” as I was really worried after he became a free agent again.)

Aside from that, I finished a new short story and sent it to the Writers of the Future Contest on 12/31/14 as I remain eligible. (Not enough book sales as of yet.) I’m glad I was able to do that, as with all of the editing I do — and the holidays, and the family appearances that are well worth going to but normally take away from any available writing time — I don’t get anywhere near as much time to write as I’d like.

And I’m working on two different editorial projects right now, so my blogs may be sporadic for a few weeks until/unless something really grabs my attention…but I do hope to have at least a few book reviews in January 2015 over at Shiny Book Review that may interest you. (Namely the three I didn’t get to at the end of 2014 like I’d planned.)

May your 2015 be all that you want it to be, folks. And may it be a better year for us all.

Written by Barb Caffrey

January 3, 2015 at 2:10 am