A Very Short Chat with Jesse Thorn

Monday, January 2, 2012

Something different to kick of 2012. My favorite public radio show, The Sound of Young America, relaunches this week as Bullseye. To promote the new show, creator and host Jesse Thorn (America's radio sweetheart) promised to accept any interview request, so we took him up on that offer. We briefly discussed baseball (of course).

Both times the Marlins won the World Series, they ended up beating the Giants in the NLDS. Which of those Marlins teams ('97 and '03) irritated you more as a Giants fan?

One of my closest friends, a San Franciscan, became a baseball fan the year the Marlins joined MLB. I was 11, he was 10. He picked Jeff Conine as his favorite player, and the Marlins as his favorite team. I never heard the end of those two series.

I will say that I've never had anything against the Marlins, and the 2003 edition even had the cool addition of Dontrelle Willis, a Bay Area guy my age who'd played against my friends in Little League and gone to high school with a good college buddy of mine. Still, I thought that was the Giants' year. And the stupid MARLINS messed it up. So I'm going 2003.

Which baseball player or manager (alive or dead) would you most like to appear as a guest on Bullseye? My choice: Earl Weaver

I was just thinking that I'd love to have Bill Veeck on the show sometime, were he not dead, but he never played or managed, so I suppose he doesn't count. I did have his son Mike on once, many years ago. A couple of the folks I'd most like to have on have been on: most notably Bill "Spaceman" Lee, whose autobiography The Wrong Stuff was almost certainly too influential on me as a child.

It's often hard to tell who in baseball is genuinely funny or eccentric, and who is just eccentric compared to baseball players, who seem to be the most boring people in the world. Only in baseball can you find black guys whose only hobbies are hunting and golf.

Earl Weaver's not a bad choice. I read his great book "Weaver on Strategy" as a kid, and loved it. I might choose the man who inspired Weaver, though, Branch Rickey. There'd be a lot to talk about.

Great choices all, and now Ted and I know who to recruit for social chair when we start our Earl Weaver Appreciation Society. The fact that he has actually read Earl Weaver makes him the most qualified cultural Sherpa on public radio.

Here's Bullseye's social media particulars, and a link to the show's podcast in iTunes. Below, the promo for Episode 1, which airs this week. Also, links to Jesse's interviews with Bill James and Mike Veeck. Bullseye is not carried by any public radio stations in Florida, so by all means, pester your station into carrying it.

Image via GQ


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