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, 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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The week's writes and reads, 08-07-16

So how everyone's been doing? How's your summer gone so far? Enjoyed your trips and vacations? The searing heat throughout the country? 

Yet again, we try to blow out the cobwebs, open the windows and let some fresh air into this blog and website. Back in April, I was promoted to more of a lead editor role at The Comeback, overseeing our longer feature content. It's been fun and fulfilling, but I'm a lot busier on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, that's kind of affected my writing output (especially with baseball), and also left me too fried to remember posting even a weekly writing/reading update here at The Casselbloggy. 

But now that we're beginning August and the summer is sort of winding down (a reality that was always depressing as a kid), I'm going to try yet again to keep this thing somewhat active — and hopefully with more than just weekly updates of what I wrote and read each week.

Really, I should start a newsletter, right? That's the thing to do these days. Although do you need one more newsletter in your email inbox? And really, something needs to update this site. 

Thanks for checking in. And I hope I can include some writing here, especially with the presidential campaign having about three months to go. For now, here's what I wrote and enjoyed reading this week.


The Night Of episode 4 recap: The Art of War - The Comeback
Big 12 expansion not so appealing to ESPN and Fox Sports as TV partners - Awful Announcing

Being Bret Bielema moving from digital video series to ESPNU - Awful Announcing

Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone talk it out, all is good on White Sox telecasts - Awful Announcing
IOC gives media web tool to report press freedom violations in Rio - Awful Announcing

Mr. Robot season 2, episode 5 recap: The if/then moment - The Comeback
ESPN usage of Olympics video footage restricted until NBC daily coverage ends - Awful Announcing

Suicide Squad wastes great concept by being a two-hour trailer, not a movie - The Comeback
Darren Rovell signs new contract with ESPN, had talks with CNBC - Awful Announcing
UFC champ Tyron Woodley joining cast of Spider-Man: Homecoming - Awful Annoucning

ESPN's 2016 college football theme is "Collider" by X Ambassadors and Tom Morello - Awful Announcing


** I think I already knew this, but cargo shorts are frowned upon? This is a staple of my wardrobe for three-quarters of the year, living in North Carolina. "Socially acceptable sweatpants"! [Wall Street Journal]

** Kim Masters always does great work with her investigative features. No one is likely surprised by this piece on the Suicide Squad production, filled with corporate fear and interference. [The Hollywood Reporter]

** This is a really cool multimedia piece on Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte and a technique in the freestyle that's been a key to his success. [New York Times]

** So how bad a week did Donald Trump have? So bad. [NPR]

** Amanda Waller (played by Viola Davis) may be the best character in Suicide Squad. So how was she created? Here's her DC Comics history. [Vulture]

** I was not a fan of Jason Bourne, but Devindra Hardawar highlights another problematic aspect of the movie: It gets tech totally wrong. [Engadget]

** This might be because I live around a lot of old people, but I hear a lot about knee, back and hip surgeries that didn't work. The back ones, especially, probably weren't necessary. [New York Times]


The week's writes and reads, 01-24-16

January is typically a thin month for writing about baseball. Maybe more so this year, as the free agent market for position players has been slow to move. And the NFL is currently ruling the day. (Well, it rules every day, but especially during the playoffs.) But I got to write something about support growing for the designated hitter in the National League, which stirred some passion among baseball fans. 

Editorial and writing duties for The Comeback have also been keeping me busy, often in a good way. But it was a particularly sticky week that occupied more of what would have been writing time. Hopefully, that changes in the week to come. Here are this week's writing and reading links. Thank you for checking in! 


Ronda Rousey to star with Tina Fey in comedy "Do Nothing Bitches" - Awful Announcing
Disney looking to develop movie about TCU backup QB Bram Kohlhausen - Awful Announcing
Report: Netflix developing Punisher series, spinoff from Daredevil season two - The Comeback

Netflix renews Jessica Jones for second season - The Comeback

As support grows for designated hitters in National League, rule change is inevitable - The Comeback
MLB offers single-team packages, lower rates in antitrust suit settlement - Awful Announcing
Watch: Neighbors 2 trailer teams Seth Rogen, Zac Efron against new sorority - The Comeback

Gawker sells minority stake to outside investors due to risk of upcoming Hulk Hogan trial - Awful Announcing
Watch: The memories come back in FX's The People v. O.J. Simpson trailer - The Comeback

James Franco plays twins in David Simon's HBO series set in porn industry - The Comeback

Watch: Seth Meyers is wicked pissah in Boston Accent trailer - The Comeback
Serial recap: Trying to find Bowe Bergdahl from the United States - The Comeback


-- I know I shouldn't stick Q-tips in my ear, but I do every morning. I like to flirt with danger. [Washington Post]

-- One of the reasons I liked Glenn Frey (and the Eagles) is his Detroit connection. I've always enjoyed that part of his story, and enjoy hearing as much about it as I can. [Detroit Free Press]

-- I'm still trying to decide between Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, but this brings up some concerns I have about the Sanders campaign. [Vox]

-- "Our food is not healthy; we will be healthy if we eat nutritious food. Words matter." Guilty as charged. [Washington Post]

-- Obviously, Olympic sports will draw more interest with the Rio Games this summer. But Pat Forde's piece on more color making its way into swimming is intriguing. [Yahoo Sports]

-- I'm often fascinated by adaptation, turning books into movies or TV shows. Adapting The Big Short into a film is something I could read a whole lot more about. [Creative Screenwriting]

-- John Heilemann and Will Leitch doing a podcast? On the intersection of politics and pop culture? Yes, I will probably listen to that. [Bloomberg Politics]


The week's writes and reads, 09-20-15

I've had sort of an insecurity about not writing much baseball stuff over the past couple of weeks. That's my own doing, as I haven't been as aggressive in pursuing material and making pitches. Plus, we're kind of in a soft period for interest with the beginning of football season and MLB providing few compelling storylines at the moment. 

But I have to admit, when Marty Tirrell and Ken Miller were teasing me about whether or not I still wrote for The Outside Corner, I winced a little bit. Here's my weekly appearance on their show: 

Marty & Miller Show, 1700 The Champ, Des Moines - Tuesday (9-15, Hour 2, 20:10 mark)

I like to think I jumped back into baseball writing this week, and hope to continue that as the season surges toward the end of division races and into the playoffs. This is going to be an exciting postseason with a lot of new blood in it, and I'm excited to be able to write about it. 

Here are all of my posts for the week, followed by the stuff I enjoyed reading: 


Drew Storen breaks thumb, becomes unofficial symbol for 2015 Nationals - The Outside Corner
Ben Foster admitted taking PEDs to play Lance Armstrong in 'The Program' - Awful Announcing
Video: Clive Owen ready to make history in 'The Knick' season two trailer - The AP Party
Call him the Candy Man? Rece Davis changing his name to Reese - Awful Announcing
Craig Sager talks to Houston TV station about cancer treatment - Awful Announcing

End of season post-mortem: 2015 Miami Marlins - The Outside Corner
David Feherty moves to NBC, will expand beyond sports into entertainment - Awful Announcing
Watch: 'The Jungle Book' trailer brings Disney animated classic to life - The AP Party

MLB hot seat rankings: Which managers are most likely to be fired? - The Outside Corner
Report: ESPN president John Skipper receives contract extension through 2018 - Awful Announcing
Report: Mike Lupica out at New York Daily News in wave of layoffs - Awful Announcing
Last week, DraftKings and FanDuel generated twice what Vegas sports books pulled in - Awful Announcing
Fox Sports Live's Jay Onrait channels Stephen Colbert to "embrace debate" - Awful Announcing

South Park mocks DeflateGate, as Cartman dreams of Brady and Goodell - Awful Announcing

'Black Mass' reminds us that Johnny Depp is a hell of an actor - The AP Party
Buffalo Wild Wings pulls ad campaign starring The League's Steve Rannazzissi - Awful Announcing
Panthers' Josh Norman questions how much attention Jon Gruden pays to the NFL - Awful Announcing


-- This might be some of the best advice ever given on writing, or commentary on the writer's life. What is success? Are you a failure if you haven't "broken through"? Or is just being able to write, and hopefully make a living from it after committing so much to doing so, the true reward? [The Cut]

-- These are the people Dylann Roof stayed with before his mass shooting in Charleston. Why didn't they try to stop him or alert someone to what he was talking about? [Washington Post]

-- This is the kind of thing that makes you wonder how we can all live in the same world but see it and interpret it so differently. There are people out there who think the Roanoke shooting was a hoax? Maybe that's the thing; we don't really live in the same world. [The Daily Beast]

-- Michigan and Michigan State play each other in football on Oct. 17. On Sept. 15, Michigan played its first home game under new head coach Jim Harbaugh. But later that same day, MSU had a huge game against Oregon in East Lansing. Shouldn't the Spartans have received more attention? [Campus Rush]

-- Actor Jesse Eisenberg is an intriguing character (though maybe not as intriguing as he thinks he is). Still, as someone who writes, plays a variety of roles and is about to play one of the most famous comic book supervillains in Lex Luthor, he's an interesting guy to interview. [New York Observer]

-- Comedian Steve Rannazzissi lied about working in the World Trade Center on 9/11, making it a key part of his biography. What motivated him not only to fabricate that story in the first place, but continue to perpetuate the fiction? [Vulture]


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! 


-- 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 >>


Reading stack: Bacon cheeseburgers, Superman and credit unions

 I've never listened to "The Fast Food Show" on Sirius XM, mostly because I don't subscribe to Sirius XM. But it sounds like an enjoyable show, hosted by Jon Hein of "Jump the Shark" fame.

So here was the argument posed on a recent show. Does bacon on a cheeseburger "ruin the integrity" of the cheeseburger? I know some love it. Me, I prefer a pretty plain burger. (Lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion.) Toppings have gotten out of control. Onion rings? Pineapple slices? No thanks. []

 Superman's jawline and hairstyle have undergone another adjustment with the new DC Comics reboot that features a younger Man of Steel. (By the way, I've read a few of those comics and keep meaning to post some thoughts here.) 

No more hair lacquered down with pomade and molded into that signature spit-curl. That looked particularly ridiculous when Superman was adapted to live-action, as with Brandon Routh in Superman Returns.

Artists also tended to draw him with a receding hairline that made him look way too old-fashioned. Then there was that mullet he had in the '90s. Awful. But he's got a full, tousled head of hair now. NPR's Glen Weldon does a... super job of cataloguing it all. [Monkey See]

Until this week, I was pretty happy with SunTrust as my bank. They had branches and ATMs all over Asheville, which seemed convenient. The people at my local branch are really nice. And their online banking features are pretty user-friendly.


But I got a letter this week telling me that I'll now have to maintain a minimum balance to avoid a monthly fee. The letter informed me the fee was implemented as of Nov. 10. I got the letter on Nov. 28. When I went online to view my transactions, I saw I'd been charged the fee on Nov. 23, even though my account had the minimum balance. However, it was under that amount on Nov. 1. So I got charged. But didn't the fee go into effect on Nov. 10? By then, I had the minimum balance.

The whole thing is making me consider taking my money to a credit union. It's not my statement against big corporate banks. I understand we got a good ride the past decade with free checking (except with those harsh overdraft fees), and banks need to make money. But I just feel like my bank's not being straightforward with me. Would that be as much of a concern with a credit union?  [Slate]

I'm obviously biased, but I think I have the cutest baby niece on the planet. The kid could totally go Gerber if that's the way her parents wanted to go. I tell her how cute and beautiful she is every chance I get. (Except when she's pulling my hair and throwing blocks in my face.)

But this essay by Lisa Bloom definitely gave me something to think about for the future. When Baby Niece gets older and is able to have conversations with us bigger people, do we need to stop talking about looks and stuff like that? Does that eventually contribute to self-esteem issues with little girls?

I'm not terribly worried. We already praise Baby Niece often for how smart she is. (She's getting a little too smart, if you ask me.) Besides, she seems more likely to sock someone in the face if they're not talking about what she wants to talk about. The kid loves when we read to her, and I'm betting she'll enjoy discussing books with us big kids in the future. [Huffington Post]


Reading stack: Tuesday's links

"Do you have any problems with fans who refuse to differentiate between you as an actor and your role? Elina Shatkin asks Nick Offerman, who plays — do I even need to say it — Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation. Yeah, I'm sure I'm guilty of that. As well as deep mustache envy.

Offerman also compares Swanson to Superman in this interview, which is stunningly appropriate. Now that I think about it, Offerman should be playing Superman instead of Henry Cavill. [LA Weekly]

Remember when Kurt Loder was the face of MTV News? (Remember when you watched MTV? They brought back Beavis and Butthead, and I barely click over.) I forgot that Loder also wrote for Rolling Stone, but he now has a book of film reviews out. In an interview with his old employer, Loder talks about some geek favorites that he either didn't like or has changed his opinion on over time. []

I think I speak for a majority of Michigan football fans who are happy to see former coach Rich Rodriguez get hired by Arizona as its next head coach. The fanbase seemed pretty split among those who wanted Rich Rod fired and those who thought he deserved one more year. (The "must go" crowd may have been bigger after Michigan's 52-14 loss in the Gator Bowl.)

I can't deny that I'd had enough of Rodriguez after two years (I could hear my father saying, "A coach should get five years," though I seriously doubt he'd have liked Rich Rod either) and was happy to see him go. But my sympathy for him increased after reading John Bacon's book "Three and Out." I'm sure he'll have a much easier time in Tucson. []


You've probably seen lists like this before, but I bet the particulars have changed over time. Here are Netflix's top 10 most rented movies. I wonder what that list would've eventually looked like if Netflix had followed through on plans to go all streaming content and kick DVDs over to Qwikster. Anyway, the top three movies are abysmal choices. Well, less than good, at least. [Hollywood Reporter]

Would you see a third installment of the Before Sunrise-Before Sunset movies with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy? I enjoyed both, though probably liked "Sunset" more because it was a look at how the two characters had changed over a decade, and it wasn't as romantic as many may have imagined.

I also liked how "talky" a movie it was, how Richard Linklater treated it like we were just following these two through Paris. (When I saw it in Kansas City, I distinctly remember at least a half dozen people walking out around 30 minutes into the movie.) And I loved the ending. 

So it looks like Linklater, Hawke and Delpy are up for making a third one. What are they going to title this one? [Slashfilm]

• I'm not usually interested in album reissues with previously unreleased tracks. Most of the time, as with deleted scenes from movies, those songs make it clear why they were left off the original album. Plus, isn't the whole venture just a money grab? Of course, if you're a diehard fan of a musician or band, you're probably buying in. 

When it comes to The Rolling Stones, I might qualify. I enjoyed the reissued "Exile on Main Street" (thanks for the gift, A) quite a bit. So I'll probably pick up the "deluxe edition" of "Some Girls." If the other unreleased songs are anything like "No Spare Parts," which was just released, I'll be thrilled. [The Amplifier


Reading stack: Thursday's links

Anthony Bourdain is coming to Asheville next Saturday for a lecture and Q&A. I've been a fan of his since "Kitchen Confidential" came out and "No Reservations" is still must-watch TV for me. So I got my tickets as soon as they went on sale. (There's also a foodie VIP event afterwards. I'm sure the food will be great, and it would be cool to get a book signed, but it sounds more like a "scene to be seen" kind of event.)

Asheville's best food writer, Mackensy Lunford (a local Bourdain, really), interviews him in anticipation of his visit. As always, his candor makes for great conversation about the food business, what his life has become, the socio-economic debates over food, and a shot at Paula Deen. [Mountain Xpress]

"Pardon the Interruption" has been on the air for 10 years? It's not the must-watch for me that it used to be, either because my life and daily schedule has changed or maybe I'm not as ravenous a sports fan anymore, but it's always been one of my favorite shows. That's largely because I've always enjoyed Tony Kornheiser as a writer, radio host and TV personality.

I was certainly excited when the show was first announced, reading Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon go at it in "The Chat House" every Monday at But the reason "PTI" has endured is probably because of its fast-paced format, a perfect way to catch up on the day in sports in 30 minutes. And the rundown sidebar on the screen lets you know if the show will discuss something you want to hear. If not, come back in two minutes.

That format — along with smart conversation and a refusal to take itself too seriously has been highly influential. You can see it being copied on a number of shows, whether they deal with sports, politics, or pop culture. Here's an interview with "PTI" executive producer Erik Rydholm. [Washington Post]

More "PTI": Here's a podcast interview with producer Matt Kelliher (also a regular on Kornheiser's radio show to review the topics of the day), who talks about some of the show's signature touches, such as the "nuggets" which peek back into the show for "off-camera" conversations during commercial breaks. [ESPN Front Row]



Reading stack: Tuesday's links

I'm really eager to read John Bacon's book on Rich Rodriguez's tenure as Michigan football coach. (Even though I realistically won't get really into it until after baseball season ends.) Not only do I expect it to confirm several beliefs I've long held, but it sounds like there's plenty of other inside stuff that is rankling a lot of people close to the program. [MVictors]

The list of movies currently in theaters that I want to see is growing. (No, I haven't seen "Moneyball." Yes, I know I write about baseball.) That concerns me since the baseball playoffs are about to begin. Between that and sneaking in some Michigan football, I don't know how much "leisure" time will be available. I just hope "Drive" stays in theaters for a week or two.

Oh, this is an interview with the director, Nicolas Winding Refn. He shoots his movies in chronological order. [The A.V. Club]

With DC Comics rebooting its entire comic book line (I've read a few of them on the iPad, out of curiosity, and intend to write about them soon), a trio of forensic psychologists would like to see comics creators be more responsible about depicting mental illness. They feel the Batman line, in particular, with several "criminally insane" villains in its rogues gallery (i.e., The Joker) perpetuate dangerously negative stereotypes. [New York Times]

I already wasn't thrilled about my height. But apparently, I have some getting shorter to look forward to. And it might be happening sooner than I would like to admit. Actually, it may already be happening. To you, as well.

But if height loss indicates all the other stuff that's going wrong with you, you might be ready to die anyway. So get some smokes and a bottle of whiskey and just ride it out. [Wall Street Journal]

As a comic book-loving kid, one of my absolute favorites was "The New Teen Titans" by Marv Wolfman and George Perez. At one point, my life's ambition was to draw like Perez.

If you'd have told me those two were coming out with a new Teen Titans story — 25 years after they first began working on it — I would've been excited to read it. And I was, for many, many years. Even within the last six years. But now, I'm not sure I can work up too much excitement for it. [The Beat]