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Author Archive

“Intimacy and Distance”: On Writing in New York

by Ira Sachs

It took me nearly 25 years to finally feel ready to write a film about New York. My first job in the city was the summer of 1984, when I was the assistant to Eric Bogosian at his office down on Mott Street, and I moved to the city full-time in 1988. When I started writing feature films, my mind and imagination were still rooted in Memphis, where I had grown up, and where I’d made my first two features, The Delta and Forty Shades of Blue. I lived in NYC, but it was my hometown that I knew from the inside. For me to feel ready to make a film about a place, I need both intimacy and distance. The intimacy with this city came over time, with the creation of memories; the distance came much more slowly.

In many ways, New York grabbed me too hard for me to be able to step outside and look at my life with any clarity. Yes, I was in therapy – many days a week, in fact; it was still the age of psychoanalysis – but my life was narrow and obsessive. The things I cared about, and searched out, were love and sex and making movies. The New York I discovered was a nocturnal one, of late nights in cabs, or on subway platforms; in restaurants with a lover starting a fight, before ordering the next drink; of mornings when I hoped the first coffee at the café on Smith Street would help me through the day. I recognized my own New York in the images I saw in films like Goodfellas or Chantal Akerman’s News from Home. A city driven and in motion. Lonely at times, always on the verge of sadness and ecstasy.

But in my late 30s, I had the good/bad fortune of having life as I knew it explode. I was in a relationship that had been ticking dynamite from the start, but that I tried to control and keep going for nearly a decade. The New York of those years was all contrast: daytime shiny surface, nighttime full of secrets and despair (the kind of double life that has become nearly epidemic in dramatic television these days, so, clearly, my story is not unique). But when the cards came tumbling down – symbolized perhaps most dramatically in a 34-day crack binge that left my partner in the Lenox Hill Hospital mental ward and me a trembling wreck alone in our apartment – I knew on some profound level that it was time for a change.

And so I did. It took a few years (and a few 12-step programs), but by 40, I was doing things differently. As a gay man who had come of age in the minutes after Stonewall, to live a transparent life did not come naturally to me. But like a baby who touches the burning stove one last time before knowing not to, when the New York of my 20s and 30s blew up around me – when the burden of hiding my behavior in this city became impossible to maintain – I finally was ready for real change. To put it most simply, I chose to live an honest life.

And it was only then that I felt truly ready, or able, to write a film about this city. With co-screenwriter Mauricio Zacharias, I wrote my fourth feature, and my first set in New York, Keep the Lights On. What I found, happily, is that the stories were there. The experience and the feelings were all there. I now have them all in my hand, and in my mind, and my New York feels for the first time full of movies I must share.

Want to read more essays by Guild members about writing in New York? Click here to check out WGAE’s new “Written in New York” blog!

Lion TV, Optomen Productions Sign Collective-Bargaining Agreements with WGAE

In contracts negotiated by WGAE, Lion Television and Optomen Productions become the first nonfiction TV production companies to offer writer-producers company-paid health benefits, paid time off, and compensation minimums. The deals culminate year-long collective bargaining.

In first-of-their-kind agreements for the non-fiction television industry, the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) has negotiated collective bargaining agreements with two major reality and documentary television production companies, Lion Television and Optomen Productions. The contracts secured after more than a year of negotiations between representatives at Lion, Optomen and WGAE are effective immediately. Over the terms of the agreements, potentially hundreds of employees at these two production companies for the first time will receive:

  • Company-paid health benefits, with 90% of the premium paid by the employer;
  • Paid time off;
  • Grievance and arbitration provisions;
  • Compensation minimums

“We are very pleased to have reached agreement with Lion and Optomen,” said WGAE Executive Director Lowell Peterson. “This is a part of the television industry that has historically been non-union, and these agreements demonstrate that people who join with the WGAE get, not just a community of creative professionals, but tangible improvements in their working conditions.”

The WGAE Non-Fiction Writers and Producers United campaign is an effort by hundreds of creative professionals in non-fiction TV to win the benefits, pay and respect they deserve.  In the last year and a half, the WGAE has won union elections at four major production companies to begin the collective bargaining process. The Guild is still in negotiations with Atlas Media and will begin negotiating with ITV Studios once the National Labor Relations Board resolves the remaining appeal. The campaign is also actively working to see that labor law is followed, and overtime is paid.

Guild’s Streak Continues; WGAE Softball Tops Thomson Reuters 10-2

by Timothy Cooper

With our level of communication, batting accuracy, and defensive tightness, these games are getting more predictable than heart-thumping. Here’s how it went down:

  • A sharp infield (Stu, Kevin, Jo, Shannon, Dave, Emmitt, Sharon) prevented virtually anything exciting from happening.
  • Our outfield of Marni, Sam, Alan, Erik, Scott, and Julie didn’t liven things up much with their consistency.
  • Doug and Zayd again proved that we have some of the best pitchers on all four remaining teams of our division.
  • We batted all the way around in the fifth, scoring 6 and solidifying Thomson Reuters’ unhappy Monday night.
  • We did some great hitting to their center and right fields. Plus, way to make their shortstop and first basewoman (a losing combo) work!
  • They didn’t score from the top of the fourth onward. We held them to only 2 runs total, exploiting various holes in their game, such as their offense and defense.
  • There was some tension in the sixth when nothing happened, as well as in the seventh, which was dull.
  • Our full gallery of males somehow all got to bat, and I believe everyone of every gender got on base at least once.

There was no third-act twist, no denouement, no shocking reveal. We just won. Seriously, people, let’s get it together and make things more interesting than we have while winning the last–what is it, five games in a row (including forfeits, which totally count)? Other highlights:

  • As most observers slumbered, Emmitt advanced mucho players in the second to get things started.
  • With a yawn, Erik was consistently under the ball.
  • Marni stultifyingly slapped in 2 RBIs in the fifth.
  • Stu and Kevin didn’t let anything past them at short. Duh.
  • Susan and Jason, zzzz, allowed us to bat 12.
  • Newish oldcomers like Scott, Sharon, and Jason took care of business, exactly as expected.

We eventually won 10-2. It was quite the nail-saver.

One more regular-season game remains (July 30); however, we will likely have batting/fielding practice at the usual field this Monday, July 16, at 7 p.m. See the upcoming Evite. (I will be out of town, but all should participate, since we have a permit for the field.)

We are certainly tops in our division, though our position in the playoffs is never guaranteed due to the illogic of this league’s tragic system. All we can do is keep winning. Boringly. Which is how we do things around here.

Final assessment: Snoozefest of Champions.

Your faithful manager,

Timothy

P.S. Sam has an excellent show coming up of amazing songs he wrote: the fourth annual Barely Legal Showtune Extravaganza. It’s happening on the Monday of our bye week, July 23.  You can watch previews of, find more information about, and buy tickets for the show here: http://www.candgbarelylegal.com/. Be there — I definitely will be.

 

Profile: Michael Cyril Creighton, New Media’s Rising Star

By Alysha Westlake

One of the most original voices in the New Media branch of the Guild is Michael Cyril Creighton of Jack in a Box fame. Michael is always working on a new writing project, and it is always something interesting. This year, Jack in a Box was nominated for a WGA New Media Award, an important award that recognizes the emerging talent now producing on the Web. You may also have caught a hilarious glimpse of Michael as the snarky shop assistant on 30 Rock, selling Liz Lemon some “organic jeans” in Brooklyn (where else?). It’s a pleasure interviewing Michael, and here he answers some questions about his writing experiences so far.

How did you get involved with the Writers Guild?

I got a random email from the remarkable Ursula Lawrence, saying she saw my Web series Jack in a Box (which was near the end of its first season), and wanted to talk to me about the WGA. I thought it was spam, so I almost didn’t reply. Eventually we met for breakfast at a diner. After I listened to her for a bit, I said, “Yeah. But I don’t consider myself a writer.” And she said, “Do you write all of your episodes?” I paused and said, “Yeah. They aren’t improvised or anything. I write them.” She smiled and said, “You’re a writer.” Up until that point I had always identified myself as more of an actor who just wrote stuff for others and myself. Having someone like Ursula just state it so simply—“You’re a writer”—made me rethink things. Duh! I am an actor and a writer. The two things aren’t mutually exclusive.

What has your experience been like working in new media?

Pretty fantastic. I’ve learned so much. Historically, the Internet has been very good to me. So, when I decided it was time for me to write a series and create a vehicle for myself, it seemed to be the right place to experiment and learn about the writing/creating process. It’s been a bit like grad school, but with no teachers. Over the past three years, I feel like I’ve learned an invaluable amount about writing, creating and working with others.

Getting nominated for a WGA New Media Award must be incredibly rewarding. How does the process work?

It was such an incredible honor and a really nice surprise. I procrastinated on applying and did so right in the nick of time. Then I let it go. So when I got the email saying I had been nominated, I was really surprised and excited. Of course, the email came through right as I was going underground on the subway, so I had a good 20 minutes to obsess about it on my own and practice telling people. I think it’s wonderful that the WGA is recognizing New Media, and it was an honor to be nominated along side so many people whose work I admire. The awards ceremony was fantastic. Jimmy Fallon presented the New Media Award and said, “If we are going by applause, Creighton’s got it.” Then [he] opened up the envelope and simply said, “Nope.” I thought that was a great way to lose. My mom got her picture taken with Seth Meyers. Plenty of booze. Tiny burgers. Heaven.

Do you think being a writer/performer helps inform your writing? 

Absolutely. I often approach my writing from an actor’s point of view, trying to figure out what dialogue feels most comfortable. There’s a lot of talking to myself out loud that happens. I try to contain that to my apartment so I don’t look too crazy at Starbucks. Also, I often write for specific actors and try to tailor the writing to their specific gifts and talents.

In writing your series, are there things you would change? Or has the process been pretty fluid?

I wouldn’t change a thing. The process has been very fluid. The good and bad thing about doing this as an independent project is that the only person setting deadlines for me is myself. I’ve announced that the current (fourth) season is my final season on the Web. I joke, however, that at the slow rate I’m writing and releasing the last four episodes, this final season will stretch into 2015.

Do you have different new media ideas in the pipeline, new projects or plans?

I’m still working on the final four episodes of Jack in a Box. They should start launching July-ish. In addition to that, I just wrote an episode of a new Web series created by Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair called High Maintenance. The show is about a weed delivery guy and the customers he comes in contact with. I’ll also be in the episode. It was a really interesting challenge to write myself into someone else’s series, since I’m so used to writing Jack. It’s a really great project, so I jumped at the opportunity to work with them when they asked. The series is planning to launch at the end of the summer. Other than that, working on some pilot ideas and thinking of new Web things I could write. I have some other acting opportunities coming up, including a new play by The Debate Society in October, called Blood Play.

What has been the most rewarding part of writing for new media?

The most rewarding part of this all has been getting to meet all the driven, talented and inspiring people in New York’s new media community, and getting to work with the people I’ve been able to work with during the run of Jack in a Box. Jim Turner, who shoots and edits the series, has been a real blessing. All the actors that have been part of the series blow my mind with their commitment and talent. They also happen to be some of the best people to be around, ever. Shooting episodes never feels like work. I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by some of the most talented, funny people I know. So, for me, that’s very rewarding.

101 Best-Written TV Series of All Time

From its beginnings in the 1940s through present day, American television has been shaped by the words and stories of writers. In recognition of the role of writing in sustaining this extraordinary medium, the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) are launching 101 Best Written TV Series, the WGA’s list of outstanding television writing. Writers will be able to vote for their choices beginning on May 15, and results will be announced in the fall.

The “101 TV” list will celebrate the craft of television writing over seven decades and follows the WGA’s 101 Greatest Screenplays list announced in 2006. In casting their votes for “best written,” Guild members will have a broad and dynamic field to choose from – any series that aired from the early years of television through the present, on broadcast, basic or pay cable.

All genres of scripted series are eligible for consideration, including animation, children’s, comedy, daytime/serial, drama, scripted anthologies, miniseries with six hours or more of programming, and variety/talk series. (Individual episodes, specials, non-serialized or individual programs including telefilms/movies-of-the-week, and miniseries with less than six hours of programming, are not eligible.) The only other criteria: the series must have been written in English, have aired in the U.S., and featured onscreen writing credits.

“The best television shows are so much more than ‘popular’ entertainment. They’re touchstones that can both reflect and impact the culture,” said WGAW President Chris Keyser and WGAE President Michael Winship in a joint statement. “And they all have one thing in common – they begin with the words of the writers who have created them. It is the writer who sets the blueprint for what becomes a memorable TV show. With ‘101 TV’ we look to honor that.”

Favorite Screenplays

by Alysha Westlake

With the enormous success this past weekend of THE AVENGERS, written and directed by Joss Whedon of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER fame, I started thinking about my favorite screenplays. I enjoyed the witty quips of the superhero rag-tag Avengers crew, but is it this ah-mah-zing film everyone is making it out to be? With lines like, “Clench up, Legolas!” you can see why people loved the film. It’s witty and there is a huge directorial task to manage so many characters and story lines. But is THE AVENGERS an all time classic? I’m not so sure. The ultimate combination of witty dialogue, solid structure and memorable characters – seems to be the elusive triumvirate of filmmaking. Some of the scripts that articulate these qualities with their memorable writing are listed below – no offense to Thor or anything because after all he does sound like ‘Shakespeare in the Park’ (oh Robert Downey Jr., we do love you so).

BLACK SWAN
Written by Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz and John McLaughlin, dir. Darren Aronofsky
Right from the start, the opening pages of Black Swan suck you into an off kilter world of ballet and twisted familial relationships. Within those first few pages, the reader is filled with dread, expectation and intrigue. This is exactly what any screenwriting book – or any professional screenwriter or teacher will always tell you – “Grab your audience’s attention in the first ten pages.” The script for BLACK SWAN does this brilliantly – and is echoed onscreen by the visually disorientating cinematic style, creating a haunting and memorable film.

Except fromBLACK SWAN:

INT. SUBWAY TRAIN – DAY
Nina rides inside a crowded subway, staring absentmindedly at her faint reflection in the train’s window.
Suddenly, another train roars by on the opposite track, snapping her awake.
In the next train car, she sees the back of a BALLERINA standing in the midst of the crowd. Her head bops to music playing through iPod earphones.
Nina moves a strand of hair out of her eyes, and at that exact moment, the girl in the next car moves in the same way. Mirroring her.
Unnerved, Nina slowly lowers her arm. So does the other girl. Although Nina can’t quite see her face, the girl seems IDENTICAL from Nina’s vantage point.

THE ICE STORM written by James Schamus, dir. Ang Lee
This brilliant script (adapted from Rick Moody’s best-selling novel of the same name) about the ennui of life in the suburbs and a search for meaning in 1970s America is still relevant today. James Schamus does a convincing job of articulating characters that have a comfortable existence, but are incredibly uncomfortable in their day-to-day lives. Schamus’ characters are complex and flawed – in all the ways we know ourselves to be – but don’t readily like to admit. We may not be throwing our keys into the punch bowl to ‘swing,’ but we’ve all had our moments of foolish mistakes and searching for meaning in our relationships.

Excerpt from THE ICE STORM:

INT. WILLIAMS LIVING ROOM. NIGHT

The party progresses. Mikey and Sandy are lying on their
stomachs at the top of the stairs, out of sight.

DOROTHY
And to think — they met at a key
party of all things.

ELENA
A key party?

DOROTHY
You know, it’s a California thing.
That scuzzy husband of hers dragged
her kicking and screaming to one
when they were out in L.A. you
know, the men put their car keys in
a bowl, and then at the end of the
evening the women line up and fish
them out and go home with whoever’s
keys they’ve got. Anyhow that’s how
she met this Rod person or whatever
his name is and he’s left his wife
and she’s packing for California.
Irwin is devastated. It’s so
ironic.

ANNIE HALL written and directed by Woody Allen
This classic Woody Allen film, exploring the relationships of fraught New Yorkers, is written in his imitable neurotic style. His characters waning expectations regarding romance and life in general, mirror the equally vacillating environs of the place they call home, New York City. Woody Allen’s gift for memorable characters is only bested by his sharp, observational, often times biting description of people, places and philosophies. Diane Keaton set the world ablaze with her relaxed, Charlie Chaplin-esque fashion and Woody Allen inked himself on the minds of a million pretenders who wish they could articulate their life experience with the same kind of witty quips and asides. He broke down the forth wall, bringing the audience even closer to the character’s existential angst.

Excerpt from ANNIE HALL:

EXT. MANHATTAN STREET-DAY

…Alvy and his best friend, Rob, deep in conversation. They eventually move
past the camera and off screen. Traffic noise is heard in the background.

ROB
Let’s get the hell outta this crazy city.

ALVY
Forget it, Max.

ROB
-we move to sunny L.A. All of show business
is out there, Max.

ALVY
No, I cannot. You keep bringing it up, but
I don’t wanna live in a city where the only
cultural advantage is that you can make a
right turn on a red light.

There are of course, many more brilliant scripts out there, too many to list in a few short paragraphs. Film writing that resonates with audiences is usually filled with characters that speak to our flaws, hopes, insecurities and triumphs. Yes, we love watching Mark Ruffalo turn into the Hulk and kick some butt in THE AVENGERS, but sometimes it’s great to see characters less green in their quest to find what ever it is they’re looking for. Maybe we’ll find what we’re looking for too in the shared humanity of great screenplays and writing. If not, there’s always IRON MAN 3.

Softball: Guild Hits ‘Em Where They Ain’t, Tops Apple 13-6

 

by Timothy Cooper

I don’t have much time to sum this one up, for the same reason that this report is late in coming—I’ve been fielding too many calls from the press, MLB recruiters, and a few admiring, disturbingly eager fans after our stunning win on Monday.

The remainder of my voicemailbox, interestingly, is filled up with angry calls from Justin Long (the “I’m a Mac” guy from those ads). Weirdly, he wasn’t all that angry about our brutal dismantling of Apple; rather, he was just wondering why people still only recognize him as “the ‘I’m a Mac’ guy from those ads.”

Here are the highlights (mostly not counting the first inning, which we’ll ignore):

  • Their pitcher had some issues in the first and second; combined with our solid batting, this brought us to a quick 9-3 lead. (Note that we were not just standing there like chumps, as did a certain team last week; these balls were genuinely too far outside the box to hit.)
  • Zayd somehow got on Ump Mike’s good side again, and pitched commandingly.
  • Marni stopped a potentially dangerous ball with a body part that won’t be appearing in Brave, or any other Pixar movie, anytime soon.
  • Tina, at catcher, caught that foul tip like it was no thang.
  • Shannon couldn’t stop scoring. She came home a total of at least four times, two of them running for Jo, who was hobbling more than a horse on the set of Luck (too soon?).
  • Dave K. slipped and slid around on a field that was harder to get a grip on than Romney’s viewpoint on [insert any issue here].
  • Zayd had a “hand of god” moment, inadvertently (depending on whom you ask) helping Apple’s runner get hit by his own teammate’s ball en route to second base.
  • Jo snagged possibly every out from third base in the sixth inning.
  • At one point, we got 8 unanswered runs in a row.
  • Dave placed it perfectly in left on a monster hit.
  • There was solid fielding by Jake, Stu, Julie, Zach, and Sam
  • Zayd almost ran over Shannon on his way home, which made us wonder whether it’s legal to carry the person running in front of you to the base.
  • There were huge numbers of RBIs from Jo, Marni, Dave, Parney, me, and probably also others I’ve forgotten, so sue me, the ink got smudged from the rain.
  • It ended up being 13-6, narrowly missing the mercy rule, which is applied when one team is leading by 14.666 (or something; who knows what the number is this year?).

Our next game is against ABC. It’s hard to know what the aforementioned press is wondering more: Will we beat ABC like we did the first time we played them? OR: Will our shirts finally arrive? Only time, and Ump Mike’s mood, and the U.S. Postal Service, will tell.

“The Comedy Awards: 2012″ by Alysha Westlake

This past weekend, Comedy Central presented its second annual comedy awards. It begs the question, do we need another awards show? Probably not. Do we need more comedy in our lives? Heck yeah!

The awards show itself is definitely in a teething period. From the start, it was obvious who the winners were – as best ‘Club Comic,’ Hannibal Burress pointed out – ‘no one else is here from my category’. However, there were less glaring moments of obviousness during the show. Many of the comedians wrote their own intros, some with greater success than others. Will Arnett had the most charming and self-effacing spiel – my favorite introduction of the evening – with his send up of yet another celebrity gift bag. He reached into a Comedy Awards bag and pulled out a carton of KOOL cigarettes (they still make those?), a coupon for ‘Eastern Airlines,’ and an actual live turtle – ‘seems like a lot of responsibility’. Indeed. And so, would I argue for Comedy Central putting on its awards show? It could be great, but it ain’t there yet. Looking on the website for details of writers on the nominated shows for example – none to be found. In this digital age, where people have access to information at their fingertips, points like these are important for all the creatives being nominated, on any show.

The spotlight seemed to shine brightest for the ‘writer/performer’ nominees. There was the ubiquitous Tina Fey, with her team of writers, winning the award for best ‘Comedy Writing – TV’ for the sharply observant and intelligent 30 ROCK. Her elevation of comedy to its most absurd and profoundly funny moments on television, can never be overestimated. Jack Donaghy has to be one of the best characters ever – his proud Republican heart and razor sharp quips, skewered in the more liberal world of the entertainment industry, is priceless.

Louis C.K. took home so many awards all given to him by yet ‘another black man’ (his words, not mine) for Comedy Director, Comedy Special of the Year and Stand-Up Tour. He too writes and performs his own material.

Finally, Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo won for their comedy screenplay, BRIDESMAIDS. Accepting their award, they fell to the ground and literally wrestled each other – fancy outfits and all – for sole ownership of the award. The ladies are not afraid to get dirty for comedy.

A delicious extra was a live installment of ‘Angry Obama’ by writer/performers, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele of ‘Key and Peele’ fame. Their honest portrayal of the imagined (or some might say, accurate) portrayal of presidential frustrations, is eminently watchable. Jordan Peele does a spot on calm, cool and collected President Obama, while Keegan-Michael Key uses his boundless energy for ‘Angry Luther’ to amply vocalize the insanity of American politics. Interviewing them afterwards, they mentioned doing more ‘Angry Obama’ webisodes for the upcoming election. I’m certain they will have plenty of material.

For these moments alone, it’s worth watching The Comedy Awards on Comedy Central, Sunday May 6 at 9pm EST. Let’s hope next year, more up and coming talent is recognized, and more live animals are given out in the gift bags. Because I could totally see Will Arnett taking home a furry pet tamarin.

WGAE Applauds Expanded Digital Media Up-Fronts

The Writers Guild of America, East applauds the co-sponsors of the expanded Digital Content NewFronts (DCNF), which will be presented in New York from April 19 to May 3.

Modeled on the traditional television industry “up fronts,” the DCNFs offer digital-content creators and distributors the opportunity to market their work and their services to online advertisers. (DCNF co-sponsors include Hulu, AOL, Microsoft Advertising, Digitas, Yahoo! and Google/YouTube.)

“The Digital Content NewFronts demonstrate the value of made-for-digital programs. Brands and other advertisers are smart to catch the wave and expand their presence in the digital world,” said WGAE Executive Director Lowell Peterson. “The best way for content distributors, brands and advertisers to attract audiences is to present compelling stories, well-told. That is what Writers Guild members do best.”

The WGAE and its members are active participants in digital-media content creation. Since 2010, the union has offered to its members a comprehensive training program on all aspects of digital media — including how to create webisodes, online news production and distribution, software skills, social media promotion, transmedia production, legal issues, digital storytelling, the economics of new media and branded content.

WGAE staff and members attend and present at conferences and panel discussions, and the Guild has signed collective bargaining agreements with approximately 100 companies that create digital content. The union has a large and active caucus of digital-media writers and writer/producers.

“We know that the business and creative models in digital media are still being formed,” said Peterson. “Our goal is to ensure that writers and other creators are at the table from the beginning, as the important decisions are made and as money begins to flow into this space. We think our members are uniquely qualified to enable distributors and sponsors to reach and build audiences.”

Softball: WGAE defeats WABC-TV 9-4 in Opening Day Triumph

Yesterday was a triumph of an opening day.

Our opponents, WABC, lived up to their motto, getting Eyewitness News coverage of a breaking event — their own loss.

After opening an early 3-0 lead, we traded runs with WABC. Then they surged in the fourth to tie it up at 4-4. After our tentative catch-up-run, they tied it again in the top of the sixth—until we ran away with 5 more runs in the bottom of the sixth, then shut them out completely in the final inning. At no point were they in the lead.

That means we now have an unprecedented 1.000 win percentage, statistically speaking. Only four teams in the MLB currently have that strong a record right now: Tampa Bay, Detroit, the Mets, and Arizona. Technically, we’re doing better than the Yankees.

The only thing that broke more than the news…was their spirits.

It’s hard to single out individual standouts in such a mega-solid all-around game. Our defense simply didn’t make very many mistakes. And our offense functioned exactly as it has to in this game—a solid stream of singles, including an absurd five in a row(!) at the bottom of the sixth. Dave, seeking vengeance, had an incredible 3 RBIs. Erik had a basically flawless game at short. Sam was under the ball for a crucial bomb to left, Alan got right back into the thick of it, Marcia was strong at home, Mimi experienced our outfield for the first time, Julie had a critical RBI, and Zach, Jo, and Susie got on base pretty much every time. Doug’s superb pitching found the pocket repeatedly; could this be the year that we finally get on whimsically capricious ump Mike’s good side? Probably not.

They had an Eye in the Sky… to witness their failure.

A core group got in some good BP afterward, then retired to Malachy’s for the traditional undoing of whatever antiatherosclerotic benefits we incurred from the bit of exercise we’d accidentally engaged in during the game.

Their Doppler 4000 detected gloom… with a 100% chance of defeat.

A special welcome to first-timers David, Clayton, John, Mimi, Chris, Nurit, and Jonna (who’s not actually new, but may be new to many). If I forgot you, forgive me, but there were many newcomers. Welcome or welcome back, one and all.

They delivered traffic and weather together. But their traffic (on the base paths) was exceedingly light, and their weather was precipitous…ly bad. 

Some were sorely missed, but new blood is here to fill in the gaps. Not a shabby way to kick off the year, folks.