I thought it would be educational for everyone to have the full context of what I wrote for Jamey Newberg's book. We've been debating it here (very intelligently, I think) so perhaps it's my fault that I haven't added the full context previously. I highly recommend Jamey's book and site if you haven't already checked them out. He graciously allows me to reprint the foreword here.
Foreword to the 2004 Newberg Report Bound Edition
Baseball writers have a job: to bring the fans information about the greatest game ever invented. Some do this with facts, some with analysis, with trivia or with pure writing ability. It’s reasonably easy to write about baseball and at times, the stories write themselves. In a game where it makes us feel and think, finding angles and interesting people is seldom a concern. Hacks can even fall back to rote description and most will read it – heck, Phil Rogers still has a job, doesn’t he?
On the face of it, the NMLR should be one of the more boring journals in the world. Think about it: Jamey and Mike Hindman cover a team that hasn’t done well recently, but they’ve never lost their passion. They watch minor league teams in far-flung towns like Clinton, Iowa and Surprise, Arizona for the next superstar amongst a list of names few but their mothers could identify. In the Rangers organization, however, it’s their mothers and Jamey Newberg.
Good baseball writers have a second job: to inspire. Just as a game can grab you – don’t all of us have a story about falling for baseball, much as we do about the first date with our significant other? – a good writer can leave you wide-eyed and on the edge of your seat. That sounds dramatic, but you’ve read those stories. If you’re reading this forward, I know you have, because you’ve read the work of one of the best, Jamey Newberg.
In baseball, there is simply nothing like the Newberg Report, but Jamey’s passion and knowledge has inspired others. There are smart guys out there covering Atlanta, Cleveland, and a few more, all hoping that they can one day be the next Jamey Newberg. Texas, however, has the original.
I often wonder why the Rangers have never looked down from their perch and thought that Jamey would be better off inside their offices than out. Imagine the savings they could have on scouting! They’d have known, like we did, that Laynce Nix and Ramon Nivar were coming in 2003 and they’d know that there’s finally some pitching developing.
But, wait, they do know. I know that the Rangers read this report religiously. Better, for the baseball fan, reading the Newberg Report is like having a spy inside a scouting department. Jamey seems to know everything about everyone at every level and if you read him, even for those of us who aren’t nearly as passionate about the Rangers as he is, you end up knowing more than everyone else. You’ll enjoy gloating and looking like a genius when you can tell the whole story about Juan Dominguez’s name and age. You’ll draft someone named Abigail Sandoval and get ‘that look’ from everyone in your fantasy league. You’ll buy a Rangers jersey with “Cleveland” on the back to go with the “Teixeira” one that Jamey convinced you to buy.
In the end, what Jamey writes about isn’t baseball. Sure, we all really read him for the music picks and to find out what Erica did yesterday and the minor league stuff we skim through, but in all seriousness, it’s not about baseball.
Jamey Newberg sells hope.
As the Rangers build the next winning franchise, Jamey lets us know when it’s coming. And we’ll read it, every day, joy springing not only when our favorite pitcher tossed a nice game in Spokane or that journeyman hit two long ones in Oklahoma City, but just when we see “NMLR” in our inbox.
The Rangers – and Rangers fans – are lucky to have Jamey Newberg. I just hope we can convince him to quit wasting his time on this darned legal career …
One of the best parts about my job, writing about baseball, is to get to know some of the great baseball minds of this generation. Jamey stands with any of them and I’m lucky to have gotten to know him. He never gets lifted in the fourth, never has a half-hearted column, and his enthusiasm never seems to wane. He’s got one of the highest home run percentages in baseball writing, no small feat and if you don’t think so, read what else is out there or try it yourself.
Jamey has always been one of my inspirations. Enjoy this book and be amazed at just how good Jamey is, day in and day out.