Bob Wilber grew up aspiring to follow in his father’s baseball footsteps, and while he was able to secure a full college scholarship and later spend parts of six years in professional ball, as a player, coach, and scout, his mother’s writing, communications, and public relations skills were what eventually defined his career. After a successful and adventurous sports-marketing trek through the sports-apparel business, agency work, and professional indoor soccer, he saw his first drag race as he closed in on his 40th birthday. Little did he know that he’d go on to spend 20 consecutive years as a team manager and PR representative for Del Worsham and then Tim Wilkerson, two of the most popular Funny Car drivers on the NHRA tour. At the conclusion of the 2015 season, Bob ended his drag racing run in order to take on an important personal assignment. Over the course of 2016 he wrote his autobiography, entitled “Bats, Balls, & Burnouts” and submitted it to the publisher in early February. It is due to be in print in by mid-2017, and will be available on multiple platforms and sales sites.
The year was 1979. After my first season as a professional baseball player in the Detroit organization, in 1978, I went to spring training in Lakeland, Fla. in ’79 hoping to move up the ladder to the organization’s advanced Class-A club in the Florida State League. That team was the Lakeland Tigers, so making the leap would at least mean I was “already there” once spring training ended. I had a number of buddies from ’78 there with me, including Roy Dixon and Dan O’Connor who had spent the previous summer with me in Paintsville, Ky., playing for those pesky Paintsville Hilanders.
When I got up this morning the first thought to pop into my head was “It’s Thursday Blog Day. What am I going to write about?” It’s been a very quiet week, frankly. After I approved the layout for “Bats, Balls, & Burnouts” last week, I requested a slightly different look for the artwork that will be placed atop the first page of each chapter, and I hadn’t heard back from them. I figured this would have to be one of those classic Seinfeldian blog installments about nothing.
The day I sat down to begin writing “Bats, Balls, & Burnouts” was a huge moment in my life. That was January 6, 2016. The day I finished principal writing was also huge, and emotional. That was October 20, 2016. Then came months of editing, drilling down to the word-by-word level to sort it out, clean it up, and make it right. That wasn’t much fun, but the day I submitted the manuscript was enormous. When I received a glowing review from the publisher, that was a huge day as well.
Let it be Thursday Blog Day, right here in Blogville, in the state of Blogsylvania. I guess that should actually be the state of Blogesota, but Blogsylvania just sounds better. Today’s installment will be one of those classic rambling messes, since I don’t have any one big single piece of information to share, but the glue that will eventually hold it together will be a few more pertinent questions from readers. So let’s begin…
It’s been a bit of a whirlwind week since I blogged here last. Airplanes, hotels, rental cars, and fabulous meals inhabited my life once again, as did good friends and beautiful places. It felt good to get out of the house and do all of that! This time, we gave Barbara a break and allowed her to stay off Delta 1484, and I flew on that MD-90 instead, joining her in Spokane for the weekend, in a beautiful room at the Davenport Tower Hotel in downtown.