In a book that’s described as “A George Plimpton-style excursion into the athletic unknown,” Hart chronicled his adventures. He graciously agreed to answer a few questions via an email interview.
Q- What made you decide to write “Man Vs. Ball”?
A– It was a snowball effect. One of my editors asked me to become a Yankee Stadium vendor and write about. From there, I started to really embrace participatory journalism. It was a lot more fun than reporting on community board meetings. I know that noise complaints are important, but that’s just not for me. After I had a half dozen stories under my belt, I figured that I might have a book in me.
Q- Tell me about your most memorable experience that made it into the book.
A- There were so many memorable moments and so many moments I want to forget. I won’t forget getting on Center Court as a U.S. Open ball person. I also got quite a kick out of hawking beer in the upper deck at a sold out Yankees-Mets game. Unfortunately, my tray fell and chaos ensued. I also won’t forget winning a world championship in roller basketball, which is hoops on blades.
Q- Is there something that you really wanted to try that you weren’t able to do for this book?
A- At one point, I really wanted to ski jump. It just did not work out. That’s probably for the best.
Q-How has your view of sports changed since your adventures began?
A- I pay a lot more attention to the people working at the events: the vendors, the volunteers and everyone on the periphery that most people aren’t watching.
Q- What is your favorite sport? Why?
A- My favorite sport is skiing. I’m good at it. Unfortunately, I don’t get a chance to do it enough.
Q – Who is the best baseball player you’ve ever watched?
I’m not qualified to declare anyone the best or the worst. I think Big Papi is pretty darn special. Every time, he’s up, I think he’s gonna knock it out and he has a pretty cool nickname. David Wright is not the best player, but he seems like the best guy. He was always very cool with everyone.
Man versus Ball is available from Amazon and other retailers. To learn more, visit www.manversusball.com.