Wednesday, August 12, 2009
I kinda work/write for Gelf Magazine now. It's a dope online magazine that covers everything.
I interviewed Shawn Boburg for the magazine. Boburg writes for The Record in New Jersey and co-wrote "Becoming Manny" a biography on Manny Ramirez. The book was good, nothing great, but it was solid and I know know a lot about Manny's life pre-asterisk.
I interviewed Boburg in Washington Heights, Manny's residence between the Dominican Republic and Cleveland. It's where Manny grew up sharing a two bedroom apartment with his mom and two sisters and later where he shattered every record at George Washington High School. To my understanding GW is the Lincoln High School of baseball.
Boburg is a good guy and nice writer. Manny seems like a crazy dude and is a pretty good baseball player. But the real star of the book was Macaco, Manny's mentor, and arguably the trillest dude on earth.
Macaco is a good 30 years older than Manny, he was raised in the DR, then moved to Washington Heights where he helped found a baseball league and at one point coached six teams at once. He became Manny's mentor from early on and still is close with Manny. Since he has lived in the States, Macaco worked the graveyard shift in the local hospital. He still lives with his mother and niece in subsidized housing in Washington Heights. He's never asked Manny, who has roughly 94 zillion dollars, for a dime.
He sleeps a couple hours a day and spends the rest of his time hanging out at Peligro Sports, a baseball shop two blocks away from Manny's childhood home. Macaco is not an actual employee but he is always in the shop advising kids on what cleats and mitts to buy. Everyone in the neighborhood knows that if your glove breaks, Macaco will fix it for free.
With his royalties from the book, Macaco bought baseball gear to give out to the kids back in the DR.
I met Macaco in Peligro Sports when I was with Boburg and he was the coolest dude ever. A short old Latino guy, leathered skin, wearing some baggy jeans, a white tee with a blue Dodgers fitted resting atop his head.
Read my interview with Boburg here.
Also Gelf hosts a speaker series every Thursday night in DUMBO Brooklyn. If you live in the area come check it out. If you don't live here you can watch videos from the event online. My favorites of the events I have been to: New York Times writer Bruce Weber and Brooklyn Brewmaster Garrett Oliver.