THE AUTHOR

Ian Casselberry is a freelance writer, currently based in Asheville, NC. He is an editor at The Comeback and Awful Announcing

Previously, he has been a contributing writer for Yahoo! Sports' Big League Stew, MLive.com and SB Nation. In addition, he was a lead baseball writer for Bleacher Report. 

You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook, where he craves your attention.

He still plans to write that novel someday. 

("Pearls Before Swine" © 2005 Stephan Pastis)
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Sunday
Sep132015

The week's reads and writes, 09-13-15

I'm switching things around this week, as I felt like I read a lot of stuff this week worth linking to. I did write two reviews that were well-received, which is always nice. Links to those are below.

Happy that my friend Mike McClary is also posting good links with his new blog Five4Friday. It was either that or a newsletter like all the cool kids are doing these days. 

No radio appearances this week, other than my Tuesday and Thursday hits on ESPN Asheville. Again, I hope podcasts of those interviews will soon become available. Fingers crossed. 

So here we go! Thanks for stopping by, as always! 

READ:

-- I doubt any food writer has been more compelling or influential to me over the past 15-20 years than Mark Bittman. In many ways, I feel like he and Emeril Lagasse taught me how to cook, though I don't eat as many vegetables as he now encourages. Sad to see he's leaving the NYT. [New York Times]

-- Late on this, but I admire sportswriter Israel Gutierrez for coming out publicly, just before he got married. The story he shares about struggling with this while growing up is something everyone should read. The support he's gotten from colleagues and fans has been heartening. [Izzy Gutierrez]

-- I catch crap on this sometimes, but when I talk about missing Michigan, I usually talk about food. (No offense to friends and family.) Loved this article on Detroit's thriving food scene and the spotlight on coney dogs and shawarma. I miss Greek coney island restaurants terribly. [New York Times]

-- Do you think of Jim Gaffigan or Stephen Colbert as "Christian" comedians? Me either, but that's probably the point being made here by Ruth Graham. Not that it's anyone business, but both have been pretty candid about their faith and self-deprecating about touchy issues in their comedy. [Slate]

-- Thinking about how much I get paid for how many words I write or hours put into an article would probably get pretty depressing. But I'm certainly grateful for the numerous opportunities to get paid for writing that weren't available even 10 years ago. I've always known I should probably be more aggressive as a freelancer, though it's a tough way to go. [The Awl]

-- Of course, what you write about also influences how much you make. You're probably not making much money if you're writing about comic books, unfortunately. And critical coverage of the comics industry suffers for it. [The Beat]

-- I've wondered about this myself in recent months, but how uncomfortable would it be to watch Bill Cosby, Himself again, which is a stand-up comedy special many in my generation grew up with, maybe the first comedy special we ever watched? Yeah, it probably won't go well. [Splitsider]

-- I don't engage in this sort of thing as much as I used to when in college or working in bookstores, but I enjoyed Laura Miller's observation of how writers' work can be viewed based on "everyone" seeming to read them, how they're viewed in critical and cultural circles or public personas, and the heated discussions that come with that. [The New Yorker]

After the jump, links to the stuff I wrote this week.

This week's writing >>

Sunday
Sep062015

The week's writes and reads, 09-06-15

Leading up to Labor Day weekend, I wasn't sure what kind of writing workload I might take on. I didn't write many longer-form columns this week, though I'm happy I did something on Wes Craven's Swamp Thing. Due to scheduling, unexpected events and some poor planning, I didn't write as much baseball stuff as I intended. We'll try again next week! 

Yet between having to help keep the office running while big stuff was happening on- and off-site with Awful Announcing, along with stories about the Concussion trailer and Jim Harbaugh's debut as Michigan football coach, it turned out to be typically busy. 

Here are podcasts of two radio interviews this week (besides my weekly hits on ESPN Asheville):

Marty & Miller Show, 1700 The Champ, Des Moines - Tuesday (9-1, Hour 1, 38:13 mark)
In the Huddle with Ragz, 750 The Game, Portland, OR - Tuesday

Not a big reading week for me, as most of that time was spent on work-related content. But this is the stuff I wrote:

WRITTEN:

Monday
Watch: Will Smith takes on the NFL in 'Concussion' trailer - The AP Party
Following Jake Arrieta's no-hitter, Cubs hit the road in pajamas - The Outside Corner
Watch: 'All Things Must Pass' trailer eulogizes Tower Records - The AP Party

Tuesday
How the Mariners' new GM can start cleaning up Jack Zduriencik's mess - The Outside Corner
Sony Pictures cut scenes from Concussion to avoid angering NFL - Awful Announcing
There will be no Coach reboot; NBC punts on the series - Awful Announcing
Craig Sager visits Turner Sports crew in Houston, says leukemia treatment going well - Awful Announcing

Wednesday
Concussion director disputes report that scenes were cut to appease NFL - Awful Announcing
Wes Craven gave us 'Swamp Thing,' which I'll always remember fondly - The AP Party
Apple pursued exclusive podcast deal with Bill Simmons - Awful Announcing

Thursday
'Arrow' reveals Diggle's new look, and it's a bit goofy - The AP Party

Friday
Utah bans the "Harbus" from campus before Thursday's game vs. Michigan - Awful Announcing
ACC still deliberating conference network, but talks ongoing with ESPN - Awful Announcing
Watch: Trailer for 'Beasts of No Nation," Netflix's first original film - The AP Party
Vice Sports launching new sports channel headlined by Carmelo Anthony - Awful Announcing

Saturday
Video: Arrow returns to Starling City in season four trailer - The AP Party

READ:

-- Roberto Ferdman continues to be one of my favorite writers. Here's a piece he did on the effect low-carb and gluten-free eating has had on pasta sales, even in Italy. (This one definitely hits home for me, since I have to watch my carbs closely.) [Washington Post]

-- I'm in favor of baseball players showing more flair and emotion on the field. Why is bat-flipping so accepted in South Korea, for example, but not in America? Too showy? Not playing "the right way"? C'mon, it's fun. [New York Times]

-- One of my favorite shows is PBS' The Mind of a Chef. One of the subjects of season four is Gabrielle Hamilton. "[...] it’s about 40 percent food and 60 percent health department, payroll, plumbing, refrigeration, garbage, bill paying. It’s not like you sit around thinking up your next masterpiece dish." [Vanity Fair]

-- If it seems like we see more one-handed catches in football than ever before, it's probably not your imagination. And it's almost certainly because of the gloves skill position players wear. (Even the quarterbacks are wearing them now!) [Los Angeles Times]

Sunday
Aug302015

The week's writes and reads, 08-30-15

During a week in which I somehow didn't write any baseball columns or articles, I was extremely grateful to scratch that itch by doing some analysis on sports talk radio. Besides my two weekly spots on ESPN Asheville, I managed to hit a few of my regular stops as well. You can listen to those here: 

Marty & Miller Show, 1700 The Champ, Des Moines - Tuesday (8-25, Hour 2, 00:44 mark)
The Dave Jamieson Show, TSN 1260, Edmonton - Wednesday (30:54 mark)
In the Huddle with Ragz, 750 The Game, Portland, OR - Thursday

Back on the baseball bus this coming week! I can't go that long without some ballwriting, especially as we go into September, the last month of what's been a fun regular season and building toward what promises to be an exciting postseason. 

Here are the links to articles I actually did write this week: 

WRITTEN:

Sunday
Aaron Rodgers gets his lip-sync on in Olivia Munn's latest Instagram vids - Awful Announcing

Monday
Fox Sports 1's C.J. Nitkowski returned to old Tiger Stadium site while in Detroit - Awful Announcing
Video: Bill Hader nails a Conan O'Brien impression for Conan O'Brien - The AP Party
Kentucky Sports Radio's Matt Jones being recruited to run for Congress - Awful Announcing

Tuesday
Nice job, kid: 12-year-old trips, punches hole in $1.5 million painting - The AP Party
CW Seed's 'Vixen' provides appetizer while waiting for 'Arrow' and 'The Flash' - The AP Party

Wednesday
Blue Jays' Jose Bautista refusing interviews with Sportsnet to support rookie teammate - Awful Announcing
ESPN GamePlan is no more, ESPN College Extra to take its place - Awful Announcing
Pirates' Jung Ho Kang's home runs sound even more glorious in Korean - Awful Announcing

Thursday
'The Daily Show' evolves, hiring Baratunde Thurston to oversee digital content - The AP Party
Michael Fassbender really is doing that 'Assassin's Creed' movie - The AP Party

Friday
Kevin Bacon gets great role in small, but thrilling 'Cop Car' - The AP Party
Redskins coach Jay Gruden would like the media to stop calling him fat - Awful Announcing
NFL video-ad partnership with Facebook has quietly ended - Awful Announcing
The Players Tribune expanding digital video offerings with "From Somewhere" series - Awful Announcing

READ:

-- One of the most intriguing aspects of Stephen Colbert taking over CBS' The Late Show is him ditching the persona he developed for years on The Colbert Report. That is just one thing this profile by Joel Lovell touches on, as Colbert prepares to step into the network spotlight. [GQ]

-- I'm very intrigued by TNT's new show Public Morals, with Edward Burns being the creative force behind it. He's kind of the face of 1990s indie romantic dramedy to me, and now he's doing a period cop drama on TV? [indieWIRE]

-- Jimmy Carter's presidential legacy often gets sneered at and shit upon. But he deserves much better. If you're not familiar with what he accomplished in the White House, here's a primer on his legacy from someone who worked in the Carter administration. [New York Times]

-- Remember when Borat was a big thing, with so many people you know talking about the movie or doing an imitation of him? Nine years later, it's a cultural relic. Is it just that we're fickle or was Borat's humor more a product of its time? [Splitsider]

-- Ownership of web addresses and URLs is often a tricky thing, sometimes with intriguing stories behind them. Ben Lindbergh writes about the brothers who still won't give up "Twins.com" to the Minnesota Twins baseball team. Will MLB ever meet their price (whatever it is)? [Grantland]

-- Larry King is still around, folks. His TV show is long gone, CNN filling that slot with documentaries and special news programs now. King is still tweeting and has an internet show, though he's now thinking about how his career and life will end. [New York Times]

Sunday
Aug232015

The week's writes and reads, 08-23-15

Well, hello there! I'm actually getting one of these weekly updates posted on time this week. It was a good week for radio appearances, as baseball season is starting get into urgent pennant race mode. Maybe its last hurrah before football season begins. Here are podcasts from three of my appearances (which unfortunately don't include my two weekly spots on ESPN Asheville):

The Dave Jamieson Show, TSN 1260, Edmonton - Monday (33:38 mark)
In the Huddle with Ragz, 750 The Game, Portland, OR - Monday 
Marty & Miller Show, 1700 The Champ, Des Moines - Wednesday (8-19, Hour 1, 35:20 mark)

And here is the stuff I wrote this week, picking up a bit after what I suppose was a lighter load during the dog days of summer. I even wrote two baseball columns, after not doing much on that last week. Thanks for checking in! 

WRITTEN:

Monday
John Kruk unknowingly texted with George Brett about ribs for two years - Awful Announcing
Tracy Morgan among first three 'SNL' hosts this season, beginning Oct. 3 - The AP Party

Tuesday
Fox Sports outfitting bus with Jim Harbaugh khakis to promote Utah-Michigan opener - Awful Announcing
Sunday Night Baseball's Royals-Angels telecast draws record rating in Kansas City - Awful Announcing
Rob Gronkowski shows off his bling in new This is Sportscenter ad - Awful Announcing
Watch: Trevor Noah takes his seat in new 'Daily Show' teaser - The AP Party
Roger Clemens doesn't get the dunk tank concept in Longhorn Network ad - Awful Announcing
'The Man from U.N.C.L.E.' wastes its stars in a fun, but empty spy flick - The AP Party

Wednesday
Watch: Trailer for 'Victor Frankenstein' takes old story for a new spin - The AP Party

Thursday
Rangers charging hard in AL West and wild-card races - The Outside Corner
'The End of the Tour' and David Foster Wallace give Jason Segel breakout role - The AP Party

Friday
Dave Dombrowski's immediate challenges as new Red Sox president - The Outside Corner
The Jim Harbaugh khaki bus is real. Watch it in motion - Awful Announcing

READ:

-- Marvin Gaye tried out for the Detroit Lions? Some fans may know that Mel Farr and Lem Barney sang background vocals on "What's Going On," but the singer used that connection and worked out hard to get a shot at catching some passes for coach Joe Schmidt. [ESPN.com]

-- I've been reading some of David Foster Wallace's essays since seeing The End of the Tour. He wrote this one after 9-11, recounting how the town of Bloomington, Ill. (where Wallace was teaching) reacted to what happened. [Rolling Stone]

-- The dirty not-so-secret about minor league baseball is that players are woefully underpaid, likely earning below minimum wage. At a given minor league game, the guys on the field are probably earning the lowest salaries in the ballpark. [New Yorker]

-- Roberto Ferdman is consistently writing some of the most interesting stuff in the Washington Post these days (which I gushed about on Twitter). For instance, this piece on the disparity in pay between waitstaff and cooks, and the increasing effect on the restaurant business. [Washington Post]

-- Do you use an ad blocker on your web browser? Dayn Perry turned me on to Flashcontrol for Google Chrome, and it has made daily browsing far more pleasant. No more videos playing as soon as I open a link. As Farhad Manjoo writes, increasing use of these — especially on mobile devices — will likely change the sorts of content advertisers produce. [New York Times]

Sunday
Aug162015

The week's writes and reads, 08-16-15

OK, I'm pretty sure that's a Photoshopped image of Ice Cube, at least the cover of the book he's reading. But putting a picture of him reading during the week when Straight Outta Compton hits theaters was too irresistible. 

Kind of a tough writing week, as I had to help out watching my little nieces (getting them ready for school and dropping them off) while my sister's husband was on vacation. I absolutely love those girls and cherish any time I can spend with them. But this definitely threw the regular routine off, especially in the morning.

Hopefully, the work didn't suffer too much. Here's what it looked like for the week: 

WRITTEN:

Monday
'The Gift' is a smart, creepy thriller that deserves your attention - The AP Party
Watch: HBO's 'Westworld' trailer asks to question the nature of reality - The AP Party

Tuesday
Notre Dame's 2015 football season will be documented in new Showtime series - Awful Announcing
David Price calls out ESPN for referring to Blue Jays as 'beer league softball team' - Awful Announcing
It's on! Arrow's Stephen Amell will face Stardust at SummerSlam - Awful Announcing

Wednesday
Mariners' Hisashi Iwakuma throws no-hitter in 3-0 victory over Orioles - The Outside Corner
Going Blue? Michigan football social media accounts were hacked - Awful Announcing
Colin Cowherd confirms move to Fox Sports, debuts on Utah-Michigan pregame Sept. 3 - Awful Announcing
NFL Hall of Fame Game draws big ratings for NBC - Awful Announcing
'The Flash' previews original Flash Jay Garrick with comic book tribute - The AP Party

Thursday
Watch: Teaser trailer for Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight' - The AP Party 

Friday
'Straight Outta Compton' shows why N.W.A. mattered, but takes on too much - The AP Party
Video: Bradley Cooper may make you sick with longing in 'Burnt' trailer - The AP Party
'Sesame Street' will air new episodes on HBO, before going to PBS - The AP Party

READ:

-- Grantland writer Steven Hyden posted an essay on his Facebook page to commemorate his 15th anniversary of working in media. Anyone aspiring to make a living as a writer, and maybe those who currently are, could learn much (or be reminded of what's important) by reading what he has to say. As someone who's been working increasingly as an editor in recent months, I certainly appreciated what he had to say about writers' responsibility toward their editors. [Steven Hyden]

-- More of the writer's life, this time from comic book writer Ron Marz. The focus of this column is working from home, something I'm entirely familiar with. (I've realized over the years that two of the professions I was interested in growing up — writing and illustrating — likely would have involved working from home. Apparently, it always appealed to me. "Know when to quit" and "get out of the office" parts are tips I should follow more often. [Comic Book Resources]

-- I was surprised to see that James Poniewozik had decided to move from TIME magazine to the New York Times. Not because the NYT isn't a better gig or anything like that, but because Poniewozik had written for TIME for 16 years. He's one of the seminal TV bloggers, one of the first I can remember who really took advantage of the blogging form for a mainstream outlet. And he got to do it during the new golden age of television. [TIME]

-- John U. Bacon writing a book about Michigan football? Here, take my money. His book on the Rich Rodriguez era, titled Three and Out, provided compelling insight into the politics and machinery of Michigan athletics during that time, explaining a lot about why Rodriguez just didn't work out in Ann Arbor. So I'm eager to read his reporting on the pursuit of Jim Harbaugh. Here's an excerpt, I believe from the first chapter of his new book Endzone. [Wall Street Journal]

-- Speaking of Harbaugh, the story of a former player coming back to coach his alma mater is so romantic, so triumphant. Big things are obviously expected from Harbaugh, with the expectation that he'll restore Michigan football back to glory. But that story hasn't always had a happy ending for other coaches. [ESPN.com]

Sunday
Aug092015

The week's writes and reads, 08-09-15

Summer vacations have been good for me on the radio. I subbed in as co-host with Pat Ryan on ESPN Asheville twice this week (in addition to my two regular baseball spots), which was a whole lot of fun. If you told me 20 years ago that I would someday make appearances or co-hosting spots on sports talk radio, I'd have been thrilled. I very much appreciate Pat giving me the opportunity to indulge a dream.

It kills me that I can't post podcasts to those shows, but big things are ahead for The WISE Guys which might include making those appearances available to a wider audience. But here are the radio hits I can share with you from this week: 

Marty & Miller Show, 1700 The Champ, Des Moines - Monday (8-3, Hour 1, 37:38 mark)
In the Huddle with Ragz, 750 the Game, Portland, OR - Monday

And here's what I wrote for the week. A little bit lighter toward the end of the week, with me going into the radio studio for a couple of days. But Awful Announcing still kept me busy enough. 

WRITTEN:

Monday
Watch: 'True Detective' season one not a fan of season two - The AP Party
Video: Olivia Munn gets her kicks in 'X-Men: Apocalypse' Psylocke training - The AP Party

Tuesday
Chris Mortensen admits he could have done 'better job vetting' DeflateGate report - Awful Announcing
Thanks, Bill Murray: Lee Corso can no longer dress as Florida State mascot - Awful Announcing
Knicks analyst Walt Frazier isn't very enthused about team's chances this season - Awful Announcing
NBC Sports Live Extra brings back 'Tactical Cam,' interactive features for Premier League coverage - Awful Announcing
Floyd Mayweather's next fight will be on pay-per-view, not CBS - Awful Announcing
Joel McHale makes it officlal: 'Community' is done after six seasons - The AP Party

Wednesday
Strangely, Tigers' win-now approach seemed to push out Dave Dombrowski - The Outside Corner

Thursday
Ballers is not the new Playmakers and shouldn't concern the NFL - Awful Announcing 
Jon Stewart is pumped up that the Mets are in first place - The Outside Corner
NBC expects to top $1 billion in ad sales for 2016 Rio Olympics - Awful Announcing

Friday
'Fantastic Four' is better than its negative buzz, but still falls apart - The AP Party

READ:

-- Just not a good week for anyone involved with Fantastic Four. Josh Trank ripped Fox in a tweet before deleting it. Then star Miles Teller had this profile, which makes him look like a jerk. Comparing glassware to his cock to a female writer? Classy. [Esquire]

-- This is a really good explanation of how TV ratings work, and just how many people are watching, though it's obviously an inexact science. But it helps explain why sites like BuzzFeed, Vice are trying hard to get their brands and content onto television. The internet only has so much reach, believe it or not. [Medium]

-- As long as Tom Cruise makes cool action movies, people seem to be able to separate what they see on screen from the weirdo he seems to be in real life. The key seems to be making action movies, though. When's the last time Cruise performed in any sort of drama? [Vulture]

-- Film critic Glenn Kenny was a friend of David Foster Wallace. He's not too thrilled about the attempt to make a movie featuring Wallace, with Jason Segel portraying him. As you might expect, Kenny has major problems with how Segel plays Wallace. I have to believe that will be a huge obstacle for anyone familiar with Wallace, or who knew him well. [The Guardian]

Sunday
Aug022015

The week's writes and reads, 08-02-15

It figured to be a busy week with the MLB Trade Deadline on Friday. But after noting all of my posts for the week, I'm kind of surprised at how much I wrote. Thanks for being interesting and newsworthy, baseball! 

One radio appearance podcasted for the week. Tony James and Ryan Roberts subbed in on Des Moines' 1700 The Champ for Marty Tirrell and Ken Miller, and asked if I could come on to talk about trade deadline news. Fortunately, they had a spot open after the 4 p.m. ET deadline. 

Marty & Miller Show, 1700 The Champ, Des Moines - Friday (7-31, Hour 3, 34:40 mark)

No reading links for this week. There just wasn't any time for reading anything non-baseball related! 

WRITTEN:

Monday
'Southpaw' misses badly with its punches, making you wish for another movie - The AP Party
'Vacation' screenwriters to script new Spider-Man movie - The AP Party
LeSean McCoy said media took 'ladies only' party invite out of context - Awful Announcing
Watch: Will Ferrell takes over MLB in 'Ferrell Takes the Field' trailer - The AP Party

Tuesday
Trading Troy Tulowitzki begins Rockies' much-needed reconstruction project - The Outside Corner
Damon Amendolara, other CBS Sports Radio hosts, take shots at Mike Francesa - Awful Announcing
Johnny Cueto dons a Royal crown upon joining Kansas City - The Outside Corner
Former Tennessean beat writer Jim Wyatt to work for Titans' official site - Awful Announcing
Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia tests positive for PEDs again, suspended 162 games - The Outside Corner
Watch: Omar Infante, Alcides Escobar turn dazzling play for Royals - The Outside Corner

Wednesday
Mets get their big bat, nabbing Carlos Gomez from Brewers - The Outside Corner
Eli Manning and Tony Romo in Rob Lowe-style ads for DirecTV - Awful Announcing
Watch: Troy Tulowitzki hits his first home run for Blue Jays - The Outside Corner

Thursday
Cardinals' Matt Holliday re-injures quad, return to DL likely - The Outside Corner
Netflix plans to provide a dose of Marvel TV every six months - The AP Party
Hulk Hogan accuses Gawker of leaking racist rant in new court documents filed - Awful Announcing 
Stephen A. Smith lashes out at those who doubted his Tom Brady report - Awful Announcing 
Pat Murphy says he pulled Justin Upton, Tyson Ross to mess with media - The Outside Corner 
ESPN Radio announces three teams to fill Colin Cowherd's former slot in August - Awful Announcing 
Yankees get Dustin Ackley from Mariners for two minor leaguers - The Outside Corner 
Crying shame: Lack of originality among Wednesday's NY tabloids - Awful Announcing
Tigers' reboot continues, Joakim Soria traded to Pirates - The Outside Corner 

Friday
Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB Trade Deadline - The Outside Corner
'Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation' is the action movie we've wanted all summer - The AP Party
MLB Network apparently slaps temporary logo on wall behind Ken Rosenthal - Awful Announcing

Tuesday
Jul282015

Troy Tulowitzki and I will always have this moment

Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was traded from the Colorado Rockies to the Toronto Blue Jays late Monday night/early Tuesday morning.

I'll save the baseball side of it for whatever I write at The Outside Corner, though Rockies fans have to be bummed about the face of the franchise being traded. (Even if it was expected.) On a personal note, Tulowitzki and I will always have this moment from this past June when he read a "mean tweet" of mine. 

No hard feelings, Tulo? It was a joke. I don't even remember when or why I tweeted that. If we ever meet, we can talk about what a great city Toronto is. Probably my favorite place I've visited. I love it there. OK, we can talk about the tweet too, if you even remember it by that point.