Tag Archives: baseball

Weekly Update: Consolidation

Week 28 of 2019

Greetings all

Welcome to all the new people who signed up during LibertyCon and Hyperican. Glad you’re here.

This hasn’t been my most productive week. One reason is I was tired from the trip to LibertyCon and Hypericon. Another is I had a sequencing problem in None Call Me Mother which forced a major cut out of words and significant re-arrangement of the text.

The good news is I’ve recovered and I figured out the way the story needs to go. I put out 2000 fairly easy words, in the midst of fixing the flow, so I’m back on track. However, I’m behind my needed pace so next week will have to be brilliant.

I will add I began a couple of new projects that I’ll talk more about when the time is right. Plus, I did a bunch of procrasticleaning in my office. As mentioned, it wasn’t my most productive week, but not my least, either.

Tomorrow Their Majesties Calontir Donngal and Catalina will step down as King and Queen. That means I too am released from serving as Their herald. I love doing this job, but it can be time consuming, especially since the first part of 2019 was one of my most productive and intense periods of my career.

And I’m proud of the fiction I’ve released this year, especially in the case of The Feeding of Sorrows. Even I can tell I’m getting better at my craft, which is encouraging when I start getting down on myself. Such as those times when I’m banging my head against a problem in a story.

Anyway, have I mentioned here that The Feeding of Sorrows reached the number one spot in Action and Adventure New Releases? It’s still number 3. And, it got all the way up to about 1600 in all of Amazon. It’s currently still around 7000. This is awesome to me. Thanks very much to all who’ve read the book and gave me a review.

It’s worth reminding everyone that reviews are the best thing you can give a creator. Amazon’s algorithms really take notice, so if you get a book by me, or someone like me, please give us a review. It can be as simple as, “I really liked it.”

Side note, I’m sitting at 47 reviews and the algorithm kicks in another level at 50. Just sayin’…

In any case, I did the math yesterday and realized The Feeding of Sorrows is eligible for the Dragon Awards. I encourage everyone to participate if you have any interest in SF/F books, games, movies, or TV shows. I’d love it if you nominated my book, but I really hope everyone joins in. Nominations are accepted a week longer, and you can find the link here: http://application.dragoncon.org/dc_fan_awards_nominations.php.

With that, I shall prepare to go weep like a baby as Donngal and Catalina step down tomorrow. Have a great night.

Current Playlist Song

I love baseball season, and many nights I’m listening/watching a game. Right now it’s the Tigers at the Royals. Not an enthralling game, but baseball is good background for writing. The pacing works nicely.

Quote of the Week

If you’re going to read only one baseball book, and there are many worth reading, Ball Four by Jim Bouton wouldn’t be a bad choice. He passed away a couple of days ago, but this is a good quote to remember him by.

“A ballplayer spends a good piece of his life gripping a baseball, and in the end, it turns out that it was the other way around all the time.”
– Jim Bouton

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (approx. 50,000)
  • CB (8,418)
  • AFS (2,556)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • Nothing to speak of

Upcoming Events


This week’s spotlight is on Calontir Trim, where I’ll be selling my books for two weeks at Pennsic. If you want cool strips of cloth, this is the place to go.

Today’s Weight: 386.8

Updated Word Count: 159,778

Shijuren Wiki: 874 entries

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works
Four Horsemen Universe
Short Stories


If you think you received this email incorrectly or wish to be unsubscribed, please send an email to shijuren-owner@robhowell.org

Rob’s Update: That Dark Night

Week 19 of 2019

Greetings all

Last week, I mentioned sad tidings of a friend going into hospice. Tim Bolgeo passed on Sunday and if you didn’t get the chance to meet Uncle Timmy, you have my condolences. He was a fascinating guy to talk to. He knew a ton about a number of topics, both of science and science fiction, especially the things turning from fiction to fact. He founded LibertyCon, was heavily involved with a number of other conventions, and in short was someone who helped science fiction and fantasy grow.

He was also very helpful to new writers. If you look at the stories about him, you’ll find, time and again, a writer remembering how Timmy helped them. I’m one of those. He was great at seeing good networking connections and making them happen. I said this on Sunday, but it bears repeating. He’ll have a share of the success I achieve in this field.

Thanks Uncle Timmy, we’ll catch you on the flip side.

I couldn’t be at his memorial yesterday, as it was in Chattanooga, but I remembered him this week by wearing LibertyCon shirt after LibertyCon shirt and writing a ton. The main total of None Call Me Mother will only show 14,000 or so words added, but there are a bunch more as I started a separate thread to input to the main document this week. I figured out the vast majority of the threads and it’s coming along nicely.

This week we had the stepdaughter visit and I took her to a Royals-Rangers game. Of course I picked the one game of the series the Royals won. Ah, well. It was good to go as I haven’t been to a MLB game in quite some time.

A couple of event notes. You might have noticed that I added a couple of events last week. First is Lilies, and I’ll be there the whole week, so come on by. Also added is HyperiCon in Nashville, where I’ll follow on the incomparable Terry Maggert’s coattails.

Current Playlist Song

In Xanadu did Kublai Khan, a stately pleasure dome decree.

In Massey Hall did Geddy Lee, a stately pleasure dome did sing

I love this song, by the way. In grade school, I was the kid who loved it when we got to Coleridge because if he was good enough for Rush to sing about Xanadu and Iron Maiden to do a version of the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, then he was good enough for me.

Quote of the Week

Might as well have a baseball quote. This one is a great one for a new writer.

“Never allow the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game!”
– Babe Ruth

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (41,454)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • I just wrote. I’ll do the same next week.

Upcoming Events


This week’s spotlight is on my sweetie, who’s having to suffer through me hammering through this novel.

Today’s Weight: 388.4

Updated Word Count: It feels like a zillion

Shijuren Wiki: 874 entries

Four Horsemen Wiki: 543 entries

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works

If you think you received this email incorrectly or wish to be unsubscribed, please send an email to shijuren-owner@robhowell.org

I Pity The Fools

No, this is not a post about Mister T. He’s not a fool, and has had an interesting career.

No, the fool in question is Ned Yost. And the truth is, I don’t pity him, I despise his managerial skill. He’s probably a good guy, but he’s a horrible baseball manager. Actually, the people I pity are the fans of the Kansas City Royals who have to put up with him.

Baseball teams generally have 27 outs to win a game. Yes, there are shorter games because of weather, and longer games because of extra innings. Sometimes, they only need 24, but they usually have only 27.

In modern baseball outs are really really valuable. By modern I mean since the time they allowed batting helmets, more than 1 ball in a game, and ensured sufficient light that hitters could actually see the pitch. In other words, since the dead ball era, the bunt has generally speaking decreased the ability of a team to score. One out is more valuable than a baserunner one more base closer to home.

This has been proven over and over mathematically. If a hitter has over a .220 on-base percentage  and we’re not talking about 1 run meaning the difference between a win and a tie game late in a game, then a bunt hurts a team’s overall scoring potential.

You go argue the math, if you want, but it’s conclusive.

However, bunts do one important thing. They show fans that managers are doing everything they can to win. That the manager is doing “something,” even if it is not helpful.

This need to do “something” combined with the idea of old school baseball, again, baseball in the Dead Ball Era, have created this mystique that bunting is a great idea. It’s not. It hasn’t been for a century.

And yet this myth persists and Ned Yost is one of its prophets.

Worse yet, Ned Yost *has* to do something. So in this game where you win or go home, he removed James Shields, his best starter, in the 5th inning when he had plenty of life in his arm, for a pitcher that has not relieved before.

Shockingly, Yordano Ventura gave up a home run, turning the inning into a 5-run debacle. Could he have made better pitches? Sure. But he was put in place because Yost had to do something.

Baseball is a long sort of game. Things happen in a given at bat. I’ve only seen Nolan Ryan pitch once in person. He gave up back to back home runs to Craig Grebeck (the first of his career) and Ozzie Guillen (the first of that season). Odds against that happening were a incredible, and yet baseball is baseball.

You have to accept the fact that weird things happen, that the difference between a great hitter and the worst ever is not actually all that much. A .300 hitter will get a hit 10% of the time more than a .200 hitter, however, that still means that a .200 hitter will get a hit twice every ten times at-bat.

But which manager is smarter? The one who bats the .300 hitter or the .200 hitter? Clearly, you have to play the odds and in a long season you will get more value out of the .300 hitter, all other things being equal.

Yes, there are times when being a manager means making decisions, when you have to do something. However, in the playoffs there’s the attraction to do something simply to do something and that way lies madness.

And Ned Yost has that madness. He has made mistake after mistake, tactically, that at first sight are demonstrably unwise, must less hindsight.

Worse yet, in the one place where a bunt might very well have been optimal (down 1, fast runner on 3rd, 8th inning, mediocre hitter at the place), he chose to play it straight. It might have been the right call, but it might have been the one time to “do something.”

It’s the top of the 9th. The A’s are up by 1. I have no idea at this point if who wins. I will say this, though, that if the Royals win, it will be despite Ned Yost. And if they lose, it will be his fault directly.

Yet, fans here will probably love him for getting to the wild card game. I pity those fools.