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Column on Cal and Tony

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by Weekly writer, Jul 31, 2007.

  1. Weekly writer

    Weekly writer Member

    Any feedback would be appreciated! Thanks

    It was like Woodstock without the illegal substances. Everyone's drug of choice in Cooperstown this past weekend was baseball.
    At the time Woodstock took place, people were looking for change in this country. Whether it was civil rights, war protests or the desire for young people's voices to be heard in politics, change was what many people who descended on another small upstate New York town nearly 40 years ago, were looking for. So they packed their VW buses, painted school buses and headed out to be together in support of an event that was billed as "Three days of peace and Music".
    The times were uncertain. The future was cloudy and maybe without fully realizing it, those who flocked to Woodstock that weekend in 1969, were saying 'Things can not continue the way they are'. As we all know, the turnout was much larger than anyone anticipated.Take a look at the state of baseball these days. The home run record is about to be broken by a man, Barry Bonds, who many believe cheated by using steroids. The entire game has been played under a cloud of suspicion for several years after these steroid allegations have surfaced. Bonds is so disliked in the game that even the commissioner doesn't want to be in attendance when he gets the mark.
    Mark McGwire, once applauded for saving the game, is now a recluse because of roids.
    Fans are unhappy. With drugs, player salaries and ticket prices, things are starting to spiral out of control. In talking to many people on the streets of Cooperstown, they were adamant about the fact that Bonds should not have this record and at the very least, an asterisk should be put next to it for his probable doping.
    Many people have also said that they find it ironic that Bonds would be chasing down Henry Aaron's home run record on the same weekend that Ripken and Gwynn were inducted into the hall of fame.
    I don't think it could be more fitting. They are apples to oranges. Ripken and Gwynn are two of the best guys that have ever played baseball. Both played two decades of baseball for one organization. In today's day of free agency, that is unheard of. Players come and go, with money the deciding factor. Ripken played in 2,632 consecutive baseball games.
    "I just looked at it as going to work every day," Ripken told the crowd at his induction. His Hall of Fame plaque even says 'Arrived at the ball park every day with a burning desire to perform at his highest level'.
    Players today take days off for stomach aches and blisters. Gwynn played his career with 5.5 inscribed on his cleats to remind himself to hit the ball between third and short. It wasn't all about the home run with him. He was often described as the ultimate teammate.
    So when their day came to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame on Sunday, people responded. The largest crowd ever to see an induction ceremony (75,000) showed up to support two of baseball's best guys.
    Much like those who went to Woodstock, those who came to Cooperstown this weekend were making a statement.
    Sure they were their to pay tribute to their favorite players, but the record crowd signified that they were their for much more. The attendance said this is the kind of people that we want playing our game. These are the kind of guys that will get the credibility of our game back. So people packed their SUVs and rented RVs and they came to Cooperstown to
    honor men who signal what's right for the game, and the country. They came, as the voice of a baseball nation, to say our game needs to change, back to the days when Tony and Cal played, before its too late.
  2. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    WW -

    First, as always, thanks for posting your work for us to share.

    A couple of quick thoughts this morning.

    - Being old enough myself to actually remember Woodstock, and the culture surrounding it, I'm not sure I buy your central premise. Which is immaterial if you can make a strong enough argument for the parallel between the two events. Right now I don't think your argument is sufficiently strong to make that parallel.

    - Part of the reason for this is that your references to Woodstock sound sort of generic and secondhand. It feels like you're stretching merely to connect it to Cooperstown.

    - One of the ways to correct this would be to cite a specific quote or incident from the Woodstock event that dovetails with a specific quote or incident from the Cooperstown event.

    - You shouldn't cite some unspecified group of "many people" saying something if you can't include the actual quotes.

    - Double check the meaning of the word "ironic." It's been lost in a thicket of misuse for the last few years.

    - Watch your tense agreements.

    - Since you can't be sure why people came to the event, you can't base your central argument on attendance figures. Maybe more people came this year because gas prices are really high, they cancelled their long-range travel plans and simply chose to visit Cooperstown instead of Yellowstone. Or maybe they did come to see Gwynn and Ripken enshrined, because they were both fan favorites. That doesn't necessarily mean, however, that fans were making a statement about the current state of the game.

    - How is "what's right for the game" in any way connected to "what's right for the country"?

    Just a few thoughts to help make the next column stronger. Thanks again for posting with us.
  3. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    As someone who went to great lengths -- and through great traveling troubles -- to make it to Cooperstown last weekend, I speak for, well, just myself (;D) when I say that I attended the ceremony not to make a statement about the game but to show my lifelong support for my favorite fellow Balti-moron.

    That said, here is something I've learned about persuasive writing:

    When you're trying to make an argument, it is much smarter to work forward than backward. Don't come to the conclusion first, then try to find a way to prove it.* Set out your argument -- by using strong, supportive, verifiable points -- and your conclusion will speak for itself.

    You have to make the case before you can win it, see? Just because you say something is true -- that people came to make a statement, just like they did at Woodstock -- doesn't make it true.

    I've got no problem with you arguing that point -- but you have to back it up.
    Your argument is weakened because you don't provide any support to prove it -- and if you can't support it, why should we, as readers?

    Supporting your argument is the single most important thing you can do in any piece of writing, persuasive or otherwise. Doesn't even matter if you're wrong or right, as long as you can defend your argument. For that, you need something stronger than opinion, something more concrete than hearsay. Otherwise, it's just talk.

    Anybody can talk. Your job is to give me a reason to listen. You can't just tell me; you have to show me.

    * I don't mean using an academic formula for writing -- only working logically from intro to supporting point 1 to supporting point 2 to supporting point 3 to conclusion. (You can write with plenty of style and still make a strong argument.) What I mean is, work forward in your thought process of how you approach the column. Don't work backwards by deciding on your conclusion and then figuring out how to prove you're right. That's intellectually dishonest. You end up working too hard -- or worse, deceiving readers -- to prove the point you want so much to make ... instead of seeking the truth and writing about that instead.
  4. Weekly writer

    Weekly writer Member

    Points well taken TY
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