While we're all much more than just being Royals fans, it is the tie that binds us. What brought you to the Royals' front stoop knocking on the door to be let in? Perhaps more importantly, why did you stay?
Answer: I literally picked them out of a hat. When I was in 6th grade, my class had a baseball pool (most runs for the week wins) and, in a class full of New York kids, everyone wanted the Mets or the Yankees. The only way to make it fair was for kids to pick teams randomly, and I drew the Royals. Once I started following them, I never stopped. Why did I stay? Why does anybody have loyalty to a sports team? I got emotionally invested, and therefore, good things always seemed to be right around the corner.
So generally speaking, would you consider yourself a more optimistic fan than many of the more frequent commenters at Royals Review, or would the at times historic losing incense you only to hold out hope come springtime?
I’m probably more optimistic than most RRers. When the team lets us down, I’ll say "same old Royals" just like everyone else will, but I don’t expect disaster to be right around the corner when things seem to be going well.
Standard dating profile questions: Age? Sex? Height? Hair color? Marital status? Kids?
Age – 44 (coming Saturday). Sex – Male. Height – 5’ 7". Hair color – Brown. Married almost 20 years, 10 kids, from 18 years down to 8 weeks old.
Ten children. Can we assume sleep is something with which you are no longer familiar?
Pretty much. Our kids have never been all that interested in sleep, and we’re not the strict disciplinarian types, deprived though that makes us.
Have you inflicted Royals fandom upon your children?
I wouldn’t do that to them. I took on Royals fandom when the team was in its glory days. Only one of my kids - # 2 – is into baseball, and he’s a Mets fan. Child # 5 has made herself into a Royals fan because she likes being a Daddy’s girl, though she doesn’t really know all that much, she just knows I like them, which is sweet, of course. I posted a picture of her back during the summer wearing a Royals T-Shirt with her face painted like a lion, maybe you remember that one.
Ah, yes, the lioness. The numbering of your children in this setting is obviously for our benefit, but it's got to get overwhelming at times. How often do you call your children by the wrong name? Do you incorporate numbers in the home?
I’m constantly cycling through wrong names before I call the child I’m addressing by the right one. Fortunately, they’re understanding. We don’t use numbers in the home.
While many choose not to define themselves by their job, what do you do to make ends meet? For how long have you been plying that trade?
Computer programmer, working at it either part- or full-time for 21 years.
Where do you live now, and where did you grow up?
New York City for both – grew up in Manhattan, now live in Queens.
What is your educational background/area of study?
Orthodox Jewish Yeshiva from kindergarten through post-high school religious study, BS in Computer Science from Touro College.
By piecing together the personal history so far, it seems like New York, New York, and New York. New Yorker for life?
Sure am, in all ways except my baseball team. I find New Yorkers, myself included, have some sense of urgency that makes us impatient with the pace of life almost anywhere else. I’m not necessarily saying that’s a good trait, just that once you’re used to that pace, you can’t really feel comfortable without it. Of course, I always feel a sense of "coming home" when I come to Kansas City, simply for the baseball.
As someone with an interest in genealogy but possessing standard (read: boring) WASPy Celtic/Germanic/English roots, I am envious of people with different backgrounds. Where is your family from originally?
We’re Ashkenazi – i.e., Eastern European – Jews. My mother’s mother was from Vienna, my father’s mother was from Poland. I believe both of my grandfathers have their roots in Galicia (nowadays, it’s partially in Poland and partially in Ukraine, then it was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire), both of them are American-born, though.
With the understanding that obviously baseball and the Royals are an area of interest for you, what other hobbies and interests do you have?
Comic books and travel. I’ve been to all 50 states and all 10 provinces of Canada. I continue to maintain my religious studies. And of course, my family is my real passion.
What comics do you read? Are you a DC or Marvel man, or can you go between the two worlds with equal enjoyment?
I used to be very into Marvel, then got out of Marvel and very heavily into DC in the early 90’s. I sort of stopped for the most part when DC "rebooted" their universe about three years ago, but until that point, I found DC’s output to be the more satisfying of the two. I love the Marvel Comics movies, though.
You've got me by two states. You're on record as loving Wisconsin, a curveball, but I love a good Uncle Charlie. As one of the better-traveled members of the community, what places are can't-miss destinations for you? You've been to all ten provinces, but what about the territories?
In Wisconsin? Or anywhere?
Then the answers below cover only what I’ve been to. There are plenty more things that sound awesome which I have yet to do which others might put higher on the list.
In Wisconsin, I’d say one shouldn’t miss the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, the Tommy Bartlett Water-Ski/Variety show in Wisconsin Dells, the Houdini Museum in Appleton, and Scheer’s Lumberjack Show, which we saw in Woodruff, and can also be seen in Hayward. Those shows are fun for the whole family, from the adults down to kids age 4.
Anywhere in the US? Wow, there are a lot. Of course, Kauffman Stadium is high on my list, and anyone who loves baseball can appreciate the beauty of the stadium even if they’re not a Royals fan. I’d say anyone’s bucket list should include, at a minimum, a trip to the Grand Canyon, Walt Disney World and Cape Canaveral. These represent (at least in America) the pinnacles of natural grandeur, engineered fun, and awesome human achievement. Other places I’d highly recommend (in addition to the above Wisconsin places) are: the Mount Rushmore/Black Hills area; Yellowstone; Arches; Carlsbad Caverns; redwood country in northern California; Hawaii Volcanoes National Park; Knott’s Berry Farm; the City Museum in St. Louis (if traveling with kids); Kentucky Down Under, Horse Cave, KY; the Corvette Factory Tour, Bowling Green, KY; Niagara Falls; Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago; the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI; the various Smithsonian museums in Washington, DC, especially the Air & Space Museum; Boeing Factory Tour, Everett, WA; Monterrey Bay Aquarium, Monterrey, CA; the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory; Shelburne, VT. Sheesh, I’d just go on and on if I don’t stop myself at some point. There’s so much stuff out there to see and do that’s awesome.
Haven’t been to the Canadian territories. Nor, for that matter, have I been to the American ones, like Puerto Rico or Guam.
That's a pretty long list of sites to see. Is there any place that you'd strongly caution someone to avoid?
I think we’ve done pretty well planning our trips so that there are few places where we walked away with a sense of "forget about it." There have definitely been some disappointments, though. There’s a place in North Carolina called the Blowing Rock that sounded cool but turned out to be pathetic. Ripon, Wisconsin is a rotten little speed trap town that should be avoided at all costs, or nuked. Oxford, Nova Scotia has the slowest drivers I’ve ever encountered. And do not go to Montreal unless you understand French. A lot of good stuff to see, but you’d think that venues or events that cater to tourists would make some effort to cater to English-speaking ones as well. Nope, if you can’t understand their French signs and PA announcements, who needs you?
What's the best thing you've read in recent memory? Describe it as though you were trying to convince someone else that they should read it.
Sacred Monsters, by Rabbi Nathan Slifkin – a zoological examination of legendary animals mentioned in the Torah and Talmud. If you find cryptozoology interesting, then you’d enjoy this scholarly look at the religious angle of the subject.
We all have a long list of stupid shit that we've done. What's the dumbest thing you've done?
Boy, that’s a tough one. Probably the dumbest one I’m willing to admit to in public was getting suckered into the MLM world of Herbalife for a little while. Fortunately, we didn’t stay too long, but it was definitely one of those "what was I ever thinking" things after the fact.
Describe yourself in three sentences or less.
I’m a family man first and foremost. Beneath that, I find the world a fascinating place and love to find out as much as I can about it, whether through reading, or internet message boards, or through tourism.
What Royals Reviewer would you be most interested to meet in person? Why?
Having already met Max and Jeff, probably philofthenorth sounds like he’d be an interesting fellow to have a conversation with.
What have I missed? What would you like to put out there for the world to digest?
Only that I’ve felt incredibly blessed in many, many ways. If I tend to be more optimistic than most, it’s because I have learned that anticipating disappointment just means you’ve wasted time you could have been spending happy instead. Good things do happen, and you enjoy them more when you’re already in a positive state of mind.
Words of wisdom to chew on. A thousand thank yous to cmkeller for stepping up to the plate and taking part in this series!