February: The Cruelest Month

In a perfect world, I’d have spent the whole of January wrapping up the manuscript of the new edition of Field of Schemes. (Note to Rob at U of Nebraska Press, if by some chance you’re reading this: Any day now, really.) Instead, the world stubbornly refused to stay still, which meant I had to take time out from revisiting Boston in the summer of 2000 to focus on current events:

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as you may recall, keeps promising he’s about to release details of how he plans to fight poverty. In his State of the City address, he revealed that the city will start aggressively helping eligible residents apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit for the working poor – though he’s not doing the same for food stamps, which should make even more sense from a fiscal perspective, but perhaps not if he’s concerned about only aiding the “deserving” poor. And speaking of helping people to money, the mayor also snuck into his capital budget, with no public notice, plans to funnel as much as $226 million in added city money to new homes for the Yankees, Mets, and Nets – all “deserving” recipients, no doubt. (Both of these stories appeared on the Village Voice’s Power Plays blog, which has just been redesigned and renamed Runnin’ Scared – bylines are still missing from the stories, you’ll note, but that should be fixed soon. I hope.)

I also have two articles in the January edition of City Hall, a newish newspaper focusing on New York City politics with a seriously unfortunate name for anyone trying to report for it. (“Hello, is this the mayor’s office? I’m calling from City Hall. No, I’m at City Hall. Yes, I know you’re at City Hall, but I’m with – never mind, I’ll call back.”) My topics for this month: How New York’s new governor, Eliot Spitzer, plans on dealing with the numerous megaprojects planned for the metro area, and concerns that he’ll start with the ones where funding is easily available, regardless of what’s best for the state; and another look at Bloomberg’s poverty-fighting plans, such as we know they are.

No baseball writing for this month, aside from a couple of posts on Baseball Prospectus’ Unfiltered blog. I have a bunch of stuff in the hopper for next month, though, which should make for a nice run-up to my debut in the BP annual, and the upcoming revised paperback edition of Baseball Between the Numbers. I’ll also be making a couple of public appearances at BP book events in the NY/NJ area on March 22 and March 24, so mark your calendar if that’s the sort of thing that floats your boat.

That’s about all for this month, and I see a Vin Scelsa archive with my name on it. (The Yo La Tengo appearance is especially recommended.) Until next month, try not to do anything to drive walruses into extinction and turn Nebraska into a desert.