In college, I spent far too much time playing Nintendo games and not nearly enough studying. One of my earliest obsessions was Super Mario Bros. Eventually I got to world 8-4 and figured out a way to beat Bowser. If memory serves, I did it routinely after a while.

Then 28 years passed.

For Father’s Day 2010, my kids gave me the 25th anniversary edition Super Mario Bros. game set for the Wii. And for six-and-a-half years, my son and I whittled away at it untiul finally, this past weekend, we took down Bowser. And it felt just as exhilirating as it did in my cramped dorm room.

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Apropos of nothing, I found this ticket stub from the Sept. 2 1989 Western Michigan vs. Temple game (WMU won, 31 – 24.) I leaned on College Football Reference for help in finding the score.

In looking at Western’s 5-6 record that season, I noticed the Broncos lost four of those six games each by just a point:

  • 21-20 home loss to Eastern Michigan
  • 14-13 road loss to Central Michigan
  • 19-18 road loss to Toledo
  • 31-30 home loss to Bowling Green

With a little luck, a 3-5 conference record could’ve been 5-3 or, with a lot of luck, 7-1.

Carry on.

Shortly before Thanksgiving I was re-reading* Peter Walsh’s book “It’s All Too Much“, a treatise on de-cluttering home, office and life. (*Actually, I was re-listening to it as an audiobook. Nevertheless…) Walsh, who is a regular on Oprah, TLC and other TV shows, made one particular point in this reading that hit home: If something is valuable and cherished, why is it in a box in your garage?
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After hearing this I immediately glanced over at my crudely boxed baseball card collection and thought, “Yep. They deserve better.” And what better time to do this than over the holidays and near the start of a new year?

Here are five things I’m working on to start the year:

  1. Going all Gmail. It took me a while to see what all the hubbub was about Gmail but now that I’ve made that transition, all my email is in one spot accessible from any computer. It also helps that I can download into Apple Mail.
  2. Dumping all tedious/useless social networks. Out of sheer curiosity I joined Facebook, Virb, MySpace, Good Reads and Plaxo in 2006. Only Plaxo remains and that’s because it helps me keep my address book in sync. Good Reads was fun, however, but I’m being ruthless with my time this year.
  3. Moving closer to the all-digital office. Last year I wanted to go as paper-free as possible and I did. In years past, I’d go through two cases of paper in a year. In 2006, I had a single ream leftover from the one case I used all year. Good for me. Also, my streamlining email and calendars to iCal, Google Calendar and my Treo. Leaning heavily on the new OmniFocus application.
  4. No more miles-for-magazines. “We get Bon Appétit?” my wife asked. Well, we didn’t until Delta or Continental offered magazines for my few remaining and expiring infrequent flyer miles. Same goes for Travel & Leisure, The Atlantic and Sports Illustrated.
  5. Stopping dumb monthly subscriptions. For starters, I cancelled Audible.com. Stopped my Starbucks card auto-reload and am considering the nixing of NetFlix.

We’ll see how it goes.

 

David Halberstam was killed Monday morning in San Francisco and I’m more than a little bummed.

For a fuller obit, read the one from his former paper, The New York Times.

Halberstam was my favorite writer and I suppose he still is. The first book of his that I read was “The Summer of ’49” a wonderfully researched and written tale of an epic battle for the American League title.

The Breaks of the Game” about the 1979 Portland Trail Blazers is another classic.

October 1964“? Terrific

Yes, the man wrote about much more than sport but that was how I was introduced to him.

I did have the pleasure of being in the same room with the man once. It was the fall of 1994 and my wife and I were in a theater in downtown Chicago waiting for the film “Quiz Show” to begin. Before the lights were dimmed I noticed Halberstam sitting across the theater from me.

I knew then that I needed to say something to him and would regret that I didn’t take advantage of the opportunity. But I felt like I’d be bothering him and chose not to do anything.

Today I regret that decision even more.

11:15 a.m. PT Update:

Others weigh in: Peter Gammons on “The greatest journalist of my lifetime.”

Will Carroll in BaseballProsectus.com.