It’s an addiction I’ve had my entire life, since I was little I have always tended to be a loner. I don’t know if it’s due to constant social rejection either by myself or others, or if it’s just a side effect of being an only child. All I know is there an instinctive urge to find solitude.
I have tried to defy this urge and try and lead a more social life, especially being a comic where being social and promoting yourself is paramount to building a fan base. However recently the urge has been stronger than ever. I find myself shying away from almost every social situation. I’ll often bury my head in my phone with candy crush or reading sports blogs.
I am also in a joke writing slump it takes me a week to come up with 8 new ideas where as I used to be able to come up with more daily. I think my comedy slump is making me withdraw even further. I just don’t know how to be a social guy.
At this point I don’t know how I can resist the urge to not socialize and isolate myself even further. I’m surprisingly ok with it, I mean it’s a part of me that I am trying to control and I can do only what I try to do. It’s not a curse or an issue that I’m going to dramatize for sympathy, just something I’m dealing with right now.
Last week at the MLB trade deadline, my favorite team the Astros, made a trade involving Jarred Cosart, a promising young pitcher, Kike Hernandez a nice utility player, and Austin Wates a minor league outfielder. The days leading up to the deadline there was a report that some players were displeased with the way the Astros were treating their 2013 #1 pick Mark Appel. Appel was getting promoted despite the fact he was having a horrendous season so far. Speculation was, that Jarred Cosart was the unnamed source criticizing Appel’s special treatment, hence he was traded at the deadline.
I have a hard time believing that, because of the value we got in return, Jason Marizinek solid Outfield prospect, Colin Moran #6 overall pick last year, and #5 prospect in the Marlins system. Frances Marte a 18 year old 97mph throwing Lottery ticket of a pitching prospect, and a comp pick in next years draft. That’s a big haul for someone we were looking to unload just because he spoke out against the front office. Not that there hasn’t been a history of getting rid of players that spoke out. Lucas Harrell after speaking out against the shift found himself off the team. However he was so bad he had to be DFA’d then released.
If Cosart was the voice of discontent, I can sort of understand. When he came to this organization as one of the crown jewels of the Hunter Pence trade in 2011, he became our best pitching prospect with his filthy stuff. He was Mark Appel in 2011 and 2012. destined to become the ace of our staff and anchor our rotation of the future. However with his filthy stuff he has yet to develop an out pitch. That pitch that hitters just can’t touch, without that hitters can see enough pitches to get contact and not strike out. So because of how he was heralded and then subsequently just sort of plateaued I can see that there was probably some frustration. Cosart has had a long hard road not being a high draft pick and having to work on his pitching. To see another guy get coddled, should make you a little angry. However I hope he takes it and uses it for his competitive fire. If he was the culprit behind the team reports of unrest, then he should have been moved so that he can move on as well as the team.
I have been getting bombarded recently with questions of, “why haven’t you moved to LA?” and articles that ask “Is it time to move to LA?”. First of all, let me just say to the people that believe I should move to LA, I am flattered that you believe in me enough that you would suggest I move to a bigger comedy scene to further hone my craft. I have put a lot of work in over these last 7 + years to get where I am.
The articles about moving to LA though I read as cautionary tales and though many of my friends have moved to LA and found opportunities, I just don’t feel as though I am ready to make that leap with them, and here are the reasons why.
Reason 1 - I haven’t conquered my current scene.
Though I have worked at almost every comedy venue in DFW, I would say I have not conquered the Dallas Comedy Scene. Some people have moved on to LA because they will never conquer their scene and more opportunities will be there for them in LA. However, I believe that I can conquer my local scene, I am getting closer to doing that, but I need to really work on my promotion and intrapersonal skills. If I can’t promote myself in a city of 300 comics to where I become fairly recognizable, how do you expect me to do it in a city of 3000 comics with many of them having television and festival credits I currently don’t have? This is my weakest point in my comedy and that is by design because I wanted to wait until I was a good enough performer that people would want to see me again rather than just build an army of people who attend one show then never watch me again.
Reason 2 - I haven’t quit my day job
I have a pretty nice and steady day job here in Dallas, something that at the age of 37 makes it really hard to walk away from especially with comedy not really paying any of bills. I would have to have a really good opportunity, perhaps a once in a life time opportunity, to walk away from the job I currently have. For me at 37 years old with no college degree to up and quit and hope to land a job as steady as this is unthinkable. I will stay and continue to stock pile vacation days for when I can actually do road gigs that I will get when I get some better footage to send to NACA and festivals.
Reason 3 - I have it really good here.
Say what you want about Dallas comedy, but despite not yet conquering it, I probably have more stage time available to me than any other comic save for a touring headliner like Paul Varghese. On Average I get somewhere between 45 and 75 minutes on stage per week. Is it a lot of driving? YES.. I doubt I could do that much time a week in LA comparatively. I try to be as gracious as possible with it but it sure is nice to go up 7 days a week most weeks and be able to hone my craft.
These 3 things add up to one answer, I am not ready for LA as it currently stands. Maybe one day I will be.
I am a huge Astros fan as far back as I can recall. Until lately there hasn’t been much to write about my team, as they have completely rebuilt the system in a way that mocks conventional wisdom.
I understand the old way of rebuilding in the late 90s after the strike it made sense that every team try to win as baseball recovered from a strike season that may have very well been the best team in Astros history. It made sense that everyone try to compete to wipe away that year. However that season is now 20 years past.
Yet teams were still clinging to the notion of keeping up appearances. The Astros were the “dinosaurs” that the Boston Red Sox owner was telling Billy Beane about in the movie “Moneyball”. Offering lifetime contracts to an arthritic Bagwell and less than productive Biggio. Contracts that they are both working off as special assistants in the front office.
However this new owner and front office that came in 2011 and immediately started making changes. Lots of changes, they had a plan get rid of the aging talent and develop new talent in it’s place. Lots of new talent, and they did it in a way that was almost shrouded in secrecy. It was genius moves but with no discernible method to the madness. The Astros blogs I followed, namely the Crawfish Boxes and Astros county, tried at times to crack the secret code this team was using. This year was the first year in the draft where they regularly identified players as “Lunhow guys”.
So you can imagine my giddiness when this weeks Sports Illustrated featured an article on the Astros rebuilding project, proclaiming them the 2017 World Series champions. Finally, a peek behind the scenes of what the Astros are doing. Honestly, I wouldn’t call what the Astros are doing as groundbreaking, just what I believe the next logical step with sabermetrics. The article seems to focus mostly on Sig Mejdal the director of decision sciences. Can you get a more non baseball related title? This group basically takes the data collected ala Moneyball, but then goes to the next step and adds all the historical data it can find and with that information generates a probability for a certain player. An example from the article would be a pitcher with a hitch in his delivery they would find and track every prospect with that hitch in their delivery, and track their careers to see how they pan out. Also fascinating is how both Mejdal and Astros GM Jeff Lunhow spent time in casino gaming industry, and have applied that approach to scouting. It’s an interesting read and gives a little bit better understanding that they are consistently applying the same formula to different variables. It’s a sign that baseball is changing and that even though there isn’t much press, many eyes are on this astros rebuild formula and how it will shape the landscape of baseball for perennial last place teams like the Padres, Mets, Marlins and Royals who seem to be breaking their curse this year. So far the early returns after having such a huge turnover is that it’s promising and will continue to improve as new prospects hit their stride and new prospects begin to get called up. This year the Astros win total had already reached 34 as of 6/26 it is almost a full month earlier than they reached 34 wins last year 7/23. I can only dream of a 2017 championship. Go Astros.