Word on the Street, Toronto

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I’ll be at The Word on the Street in Toronto this Sunday, September 22, reading and in conversation with Giller-longlisted short story master K.D. Miller (!) on a panel called Emotional Landscapes. We’re in the Vibrant Voices of Ontario tent at 11:00 AM. Join us!

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The Bottom of the Order: Your 2003 Detroit Tigers

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The thing I can’t wrap my head around, when it comes to the 2003 Detroit Tigers, is what it must have been like to show up to work every day. What must it have taken, as the losses mounted – up to and including the 119th, the most defeats ever amassed by an American League team, and tied with the ’62 Mets for the most losses in major league history – to rouse oneself for the excruciating daily repetition of a very public abasement?

— “Your 2003 Detroit Tigers,” for Hobart

The Bottom of the Order: Dooley Womack

Horace Guy Womack was in the employ of four different Major League teams across five seasons, a serviceable bullpen righty who lost as many games as he won, but managed to keep his lifetime ERA a shade below three. There’d be no reason to know his name, probably, if he didn’t have such a great one: he went by Dooley, for reasons which are less than clear at this remove.

“Dooley Womack,” for Hobart

The Bottom of the Order: A Photograph of Gaylord Perry Being Investigated for Foreign Substances

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Gaylord Perry toiled for twenty-two seasons in the majors, and the look on his face suggests it was hard toil indeed. Wind worn, exasperated, he mutely submits to yet another examination of his cap, his head, his uniform, for a dab of Vaseline, a smear of K-Y. It might or might not have been there – Perry’s success rested on the twin pillars of a doctored ball’s unpredictability, and the thought, instilled in the head of each batter he faced, that the ball might be materially abetted in its tortuous journey from mound to plate.

“A Photograph of Gaylord Perry Being Investigated for Foreign Substances,” for Hobart