Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tim Wakefield, aka Our Tim

I always enjoy sharing "a day in the life" stuff on Blogsmith. Let's go back to March. That's when we began promoting Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield's appearance here to sign his new book, Knuckler. I won't go into all the details of his amazing career and stats here. Let me just say we were thrilled to be able to have him sign at our store. We knew we'd have a gigantic crowd.

The beginning of the Sox' season was pretty shaky. As things progressed, Our Tim went back into the regular pitching rotation and did very well. Even better for our upcoming event with him, thought we! Now let's go to May 19. Remember Our Tim was to be here signing May 22. Guess who is chosen to pitch on May 22? Yup, Our Tim. So begins the mad, complicated scramble to inform the public of the situation. That would include not knowing when the signing would be rescheduled. First, the Sox have to be in town. Second, Our Tim can't be pitching. Third, he has to be in the bullpen for every game whether he's pitching or not. Did I mention that we are sitting on hundreds and hundreds of copies of his book? As well as about 100 prepaid orders for folks who live too far away to attend the signing whenever it occurs. But hey, we're nothing if not flexible. And hopeful.

Now let's go to last Wed., June 1st. Our Tim's long-suffering publicist at his publisher calls me. The event can occur...Sat., June 4th, after the day game which has been moved from a night game to accomodate the Bruins, in finals for Stanley Cup for the first time in decades. So he'll get here around 4:30 and sign from 5-6. I thought, well, who knows when we'd get him again and before Father's Day would be great, so...okay, we'll do it! Mad scramble ensues once more to get the word out. Extra staff signed up to help. Go Sox.

Game day arrives and is gorgeous. That's good for the long line we know we'll have outside the store and around the block. We let abutting merchants know what's going on. Many, many copies of Knuckler are unpacked and "flapped". That's bookspeak for opening to the title page, where authors usually sign, and tucking the book jacket flap there. This makes long signing lines go more quickly. Since the author today can only stay for an hour, there will be no personalization. That's bookspeak for "to my Aunt Mary who's maiden name was Wakefield who also loves baseball" and so on. That also makes long signing lines go more quickly. Diet Coke is in the fridge, as requested. Bottled water, too.

We are ready. The first people get in line at 3:00. At 4:00 a rep from the entertainment agency arrives to provide support. At 4:30 an editor from the publisher arrives for same. We happily listen to the game which seems almost over and we're winning. Then it ties up. Then it goes for 14 innings. I keep asking, "Why can't he just leave, if he's not pitching?". I get pitying looks. So we wait. Until 7:00. A local pizza place, Naked Pizza, brings free pizza for our long line of patient fans. Some folks have to leave and entrust their books to us for signing and saving.

At last, Our Tim is here, parking in our driveway and rushing in our back door. He goes immediately to the signing table and gets going. He's charming, humble, apologetic. He looks like a grown up little boy, slicked hair, freckles, tan, cute smile. He employs a great blue-eyed wink as he thanks each person for waiting. While he's signing a couple of us check out his car out back. See below.

At the end of this day, it was all worth it. We sold a ton of books. Attendees were thrilled. And WE...LOVE...HIM.

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