Monday, May 28, 2012

Bryant Park Blog Q&A with Marty Appel

Sports fans, and particularly Yankees fans won't want to miss this baseball doubleheader at the Bryant Park Reading Room sponsored by HSBC on Wednesday. Former Yankees PR rep Marty Appel and New York Times sports reporter Harvey Araton join forces to discuss their recent books and the Bronx bombers' legacy.


Mr. Appel's book is an encyclopedic narrative spanning the team's history, with a sprinkling of anecdotes and backstage stories from the perspective of a writer, who was not only intimately part of the Yankee's organization, but also a lifelong fan. Mr. Araton's book tells the story of the friendship forged between Yankee's greats of different eras, Yogi Berra and Ron Guidry. The lessons shared between the two remind us of the importance of wisdom, as well as shed light on some unforgettable baseball tales. The two will be hosted by WFAN Sports anchor Rich Ackerman.

Marty Appel took some time to answer our Q&A, in which he concedes what we could have guessed... He is a huge baseball fan!

What was your inspiration for this book?
As a former Yankee PR director, I’ve been involved with the team’s history for a long time. But when I realized one day that no one had written a narrative history of the club since Frank Graham in 1943 – it just felt like a void that needed to be filled.

Where do you do your best writing?  
I have a very comfortable home office surrounded by over 2500 baseball books. It’s a great place for the research and the writing portions.

Did you have an “a-ha!” moment that made you want to be a writer?
I began writing sports for my junior high monthy newspaper, and continued in high school and college. The style of a journalist always seemed right to me, and even long form writing – like a book – seems to follow that style for me.

Which author do you wish had been your 7th grade English teacher?
Well, see question 1! Frank Graham! I read his biography of Lou Gehrig in 4th grade and it was part of what me fall in love with the Yankees.

What is your secret talent?
I type fast. So my thoughts go quickly from brain to keyboard, and that allows me to “tell a story” without pausing, as though I’m doing it orally.

What is your favorite book?
I love American history, and William Manchester wrote a great one, The Glory and the Dream, about the US from 1932-1972. It’s politics, culture, everything.

Who reads your first draft?  
I had an all-star team of friends who are Yankee experts read the first draft, and their contributions were so valuable. They included Paul Doherty, Bob Heinisch, Tom Villante, Jordan Sprechman, and Rick Cerrone.

Do you read your books after they’ve been published? 
I do! And I always think of ways I could have improved particular sentences, or things I should have added. I’m very self-critical.

Do you prefer writing on a computer or longhand?  
The computer, and before that the wonderful IBM Selectric typewriter (which didn’t get the accolades it deserved).

What book are you currently reading? (Old school or e-Reader?)
Paul Dickson’s fine biography of Bill Veeck, The Juju Rules by Hart Seely, Banzai Babe Ruth by Robert Fitts, Driving Mr. Yogi by Harvey Araton, and In the Garden of the Beasts by Erik Larsen. Some on e-reader; I’ve learned to like that.

What word or punctuation mark are you most guilty of overusing?
Oh, I definitely use too many exclamation points! But I talk that way.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?  
A photographer. I really enjoy that hobby, even though I only use modest equipment, nothing professional.

Word for Word Author
Wednesdays, 12:30pm - 2:30pm
May 16 - August 22
Bryant Park Reading Room sponsored by HSBC

Don't forget to check-in to the Bryant Park Reading Room on Foursquare on Wednesday when you come for the event. The first two people to check-in will receive a book by one of our featured authors!

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