Quick Hit: Inspiration
The Saint of Second Chances
The hustler is not a con man. The hustler really believes.
Bill Veeck, owner Chicago White Sox
It’s been a great year for inspirational bio-documentaries on the streaming services. My favorites have have been about baseball legends. The Americana is so thick you can taste it.
I just watched The Saint of Second Chances. It featured the delightfully chaotic life of Bill and Mike Veeck and their family. This program spoke to me. I saw myself in so much of who these men were, and how they went about their business.
The Idea Box
Bill Veeck, Mike’s father, was a Marine vet who lost a leg from wounds sustained at Bouganville in WWII. He was always looking for ways to make his mark. He was the last guy to buy a major leagu baseball team who wasn’t independently wealthy. Veeck convinced enough people to believe in him, and acquired enough debt to make the deal. He didn’t want to just be in a parade. He wanted to lead one of his own making.
He and the family had an “idea box”. It was literally a wooden box stuffed with napkins, index cards and matchbooks with every random idea that popped into any family member’s head.
I was so jealous. They were describing the inside of my head. I should have long ago created such a storehouse. From the woodshop to gig work to writing: I know I’ve had many an idea fade in the face of existing obligations. And inside my head, ideas of what I’d like to try; I call them “I oughtta’s,” pop like fireworks all day every day.
Note to self: Carry post-its. Get a box.
In a nut shell:
The Veeck family story is at once fascinating, humorous, cringe-worthy1, joyful and tragic. None of them would agree with the last part as a characteristic of who they are.
Two moments in the film tore my heart out. One was what Darryl Strawberry said to Mike Veeck about baseball before his return the “the show”. The other was how Mike endured the unendurable.
I’ll let you watch for those moments.
It was the quote from near the end of the movie, and at the beginning of this Quick Hit, that welded my heart to the story.
The hustler really believes.
When I set out to be a writer I knew I had zero following. I didn’t know how long it would take to establish one. I still don’t know how long it will take to establish a large following. I know I just need 7,000,000 more hits per day to knock Joe Rogan on his ass! I’m sure he’s losing sleep over it. But I knew I had observations and ideas people should hear.
To accomplish that, I had no shortage of little stunts and promotional ideas to gain your attention. They were all rather small in execution. The results always ranged from disappointing to non-existent.
[Idea: Should I post nude pictures of myself in the next podcast? It could be a ratings bonanza!]
But that never mattered. I may get a C- for showmanship, but it is in support of a labor of love; talking to you. I spot patterns, try to devine the future, criticize those who would assume to lord over us. And then…I give it all to you. I ask nothing in return but your love, devotion, adoration, endless kudos, and your aggressive use of the share button.2
Watch the show over the holidays
If you are a go-getter, if you’ve been knocked down, if you like the off-beat; the old school, if you are looking for inspiration…or if you just love good baseball stories, you should absolutely check out this documentary. It’s as interesting as Facing Nolan, but grittier.
It’s on Netflix.3
Put the P4B over the top! Details here!
Disco Sucks night. Ooooooh that was bad.
Naturally, you can’t tell a story, in these days of the perpetually butt hurt, that doesn’t feature a charge of racism somewhere. In this one, Mike Veeck hosted a Disco Sucks night. Anyone my age would remember it. I’ll let the young’uns see the carnage for themselves. You’ll experience empathetic embarrassment for Bill Veeck.
In the aftermath there were cries of racism. The childish thinking: black artists dominated disco. Therefore if you don’t like disco YOU ARE A RACIST! There is butt hurt about that to this day.
So the very pro-Disco Night the same team hosted the season before, with a big celebration and [gasp] black people dancing on stages on the field, was a racist, Black Nationalist statement?
You can’t have it both ways. I thought airing the racial butt hurt about that marred the program. We need to quit treating our American black brothers and sisters like infants.
I worry some of you don’t know what the share button does.
No, this IS NOT a paid endorsement. If it was, there would be a link, I’d be rich and I wouldn’t have to talk to you knuckleheads anymore. [insert winky emoticon]