Tuesday, June 15, 2010

CHEESE STEAK, CHEESECAKE—WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FRIENDS?

What has food got to do with tennis? Read on, loyal Tennis Is Tops readers

For those of you who don’t know it, I write not only Tennis Is Tops, but I am also a contributing writer for a tennis website called Tennis Now www.tennisnow.com. To see my three current articles, click on this link www.tennisnow.com/News/Featured-News.aspx.
The articles are Ad In, Ad Out: Best and Worst Tennis TV Ads, Mastering the Art of the Comeback, and Tennis Nearly Killed Me, and Then It Saved My Life.

The Tennis Now (www.tennisnow.com) site is edited by Richard Pagliaro, who was formerly editor of the Tennis Week site, which folded last December. I got to know Richard during a long email correspondence, which began when I informed him of some editorial errors I found while I was reading the site’s excellent articles.
I also objected to some of the story headlines, which I thought were risqué or lacking in decorum.

Tennis Week also was sending an email newsletter with news, features, and the latest match results of the current tennis tournaments. For example: “Federer Clobbers Roddick, 6-1, 6-0.” This would be a match I would really like to watch; and I recorded them when I wasn't home. But those results were often in the subject line of the newsletter.

That ruined it for me. I was infuriated because I recorded matches and I didn’t want to know the results in advance! Epithets to you, Richard! I complained to him but he came up with some lame reason why he wouldn’t change this approach. Other readers must have felt as I did. In fact, my friend Roseann (author of The Vertically Challenged Player, a story on this site) warns me about divulging any results.

But I sure fooled Richard. I found a way to thwart his insensitive disregard of my wishes. I figured it out. If I coded the Tennis Week emails and Richard’s personal emails, too, in a specific color, I would know who sent it and I could avoid them. I chose red for Richard. (This is a capability in Outlook my sister is blue; Gary is green.) When I saw his emails in red, richard I walked into my office, I would turn and run. Of course, that meant a delay in reading my other mail. But so what; most of it was junk anyway. I continued to harass Richard and even suggested how he could develop catchy subject lines without showing match results . (Richard- remember?)

He didn't take my advice. Some friend.

Additionally, since I was reading nearly the entire site almost every day, I caught typos, and occasionally a grammatical error—a service that he did appreciate. I also would suggest story ideas, which I continue to do for Tennis Now. After a while, Richard invited me to submit an article. So that’s how I became a contributing writer. This editorial relationship continued when he jumped from Tennis Week to Tennis Now (www.tennisnow.com)  and also to a site that he created and owns, http://www.10sballs.com/.
After more than a year of our online correspondence, I finally met Richard in person at last Year’s U.S. Open. As a show of appreciation, he comped me two tickets for Gary and me.
Tennis isn’t our only common interest. We also talk about baseball, the Phillies and the Mets, and sometimes bet on games. In last year’s World Series between the Phillies (my home team) and the Yankees, he actually rooted for the Phillies because he doesn’t like the Yankees; he is a die hard Mets fan. I found that odd. Meantime, when the Phillies clobbered the Mets in their first 3-game series in Philadelphia earlier this season, our bet was ice cream.

I won and I am still waiting for him to pay up. In the second Mets-Phillies series here in Philadelphia, I suggested a bet with a stake of cheesesteak, Philadelphia’s signature food. Because he is a vegetarian, Richard suggested a sound alike--cheesecake. How did he know that cheesecake is my favorite dessert? Not only that, I could skip real meals and eat cheesecaske (pumpkin)three times a day. Upshot? The Mets won the second series in New York, and I owe him cheesecake. I haven’t paid up yet either. We still kid each other about this.

Richard is a more legitimate baseball fan than I am. He manages a fantasy baseball site called Baseball Manager (http://www.baseball.com/) described as “the longest running online fantasy baseball game and community.” According to the site:

“When you play Baseball Manager (vets call it BBM) you join a fantasy baseball community that has a love for the game and a passion for playing the only fantasy baseball game that offers a 162 game season with lefty-righty matchups and realistic game results.”
 I can assure you that I’m sticking to tennis, except for baseball bets with Richard.

By the way, the Tennis Now newsletters don’t show results in the subject lines. Even so, there is still a measure of distrust. Emails from Tennis Now and from Richard are still coded in red.


Richard, how’s this story for a plug about your websites? You are very welcome.



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