Dan OkrentOn January 17, 2000,
NetShrine was privileged
to interview renowned
baseball author, Time, Inc.
editor-at-large, &
Rotisserie Baseball founder
Dan Okrent. 

Dan Okrent

Serving as editor-at-large at Time, Inc. since March 15, 1999, Dan Okrent is a very busy fellow.  However, having a full docket is nothing new for him.  Prior to becoming editor-at-large at Time, Inc., he served as editor of Time, Inc. New Media for over two years - the baseball equivalent of batting third in the Time, Inc. line-up.  Okrent was also Managing Editor of Life (for four years).  Additionally, as the founding editor of the New England Monthly, he was instrumental in their being named consecutive winners of the National Magazine Award for General Excellence.  He has also worked in the book industry, as an editor at Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., and at the Viking Press, and as editor-in-chief of general books at Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.

Still, most know Dan Okrent for two reasons.  First, for his brilliant work as an author - having penned or contributed to such celebrated baseball books as Nine Innings, The Ultimate Baseball Book, and Baseball Anecdotes (in addition to other non-baseball books) as well as having his articles appear in magazines such as Esquire, Sports Illustrated, Travel & Leisure, and Entertainment Weekly.  Secondly, Dan is known for..........well, no one phrased it better than himself when Okrent said:  "Between now and the time I die, if I find a cure for cancer and the end of the conflicts in Northern Ireland and the Middle East, the obituary will say, 'Okrent dies, invented Rotisserie Baseball.'  There's no question about that."

An estimated six million fans play some sort of fantasy baseball.   It's not a stretch to say that both baseball and its fans owe Dan Okrent for his invention.  NetShrine recommends that you read anything that Dan Okrent has written - baseball related or not.  This is not only a way to pay homage to someone who has contributed mightily to the baseball community, as you will benefit too.  It is guaranteed that you will find something interesting in every Okrent product.  Oh, but first, check out our interview............

When you were young, who was your favorite big league player?
Dan Okrent:  Al Kaline.

Who's been your most influential mentor?
Dan Okrent:  Bob Creamer.

What do you remember most from the first big league game that you attended?
Dan Okrent:  Walt Dropo, playing for the Tigers against the Indians, hit a huge home run into the upper deck in left field in Briggs Stadium.

FILL IN THE BLANK: "I'll never forget where I was when _______ ."
Dan Okrent:  I first saw Rickey Henderson play ball -- 3 for 5, two doubles, two stolen bases, one great play in left, in Milwaukee County Stadium.

What's the first thought that enters your head when seeing or hearing the word "rotisserie"? (Is it still "rotating spit for cooking"?)
Dan Okrent:  Will this be the only thing I will ever be known for?

Who is the person you would most like to meet?
Dan Okrent:  Stephen Sondheim.

Describe the feeling you had the first time you walked into a bookstore and saw one of your books for sale.
Dan Okrent:  I had the terrible fear that someone would pick it up, look at it, put it down, and walk out. And my fear turned out to be justified!

Which baseball movie do you enjoy best?
Dan Okrent:  Bang the Drum Slowly.

If given the choice to be a famous author, world renown recording artist, or having a baseball career similar to pitcher Mike Morgan, which would you choose?
Dan Okrent:  Mike Morgan, but maybe it would be better if the career were a little shorter.

Where's your favorite ballpark?
Dan Okrent:  Wrigley, of course.

Intermission Lightning Round:

City or country?
Okrent:  City.
DH or no DH?
Okrent:  NO!!!!
Marx Brothers or "South Park"?
Okrent:  Marx.
Night game or day game?
Okrent:  Day game.
Cookies or cheese and crackers?
Okrent:  Cheese and crackers. And wine.
Box seats or bleachers?
Okrent:  Box seats, I confess.

Back to the bigger questions......

How important is baseball to society?
Dan Okrent:  Less and less, which is probably a good thing. Let's let baseball be baseball, and ask no more of it.

Which era was baseball's best?
Dan Okrent:  Whatever era you grew up in -- which, for me, was the 50's. In other words, post-Jackie Robinson, pre-expansion.

Who is the best player in the Major Leagues today?
Dan Okrent:  Alex Rodriguez.

Could Major League Baseball survive another significant work stoppage?
Dan Okrent:  Yes -- sort of like the cockroaches who survive nuclear war.

If you could change one thing in baseball, what would it be?
Dan Okrent:  No DH.

What was the greatest game you ever saw?
Dan Okrent:  Astros-Dodgers, late season 1980, Western Division in the balance, in the Astrodome. Joe Morgan ties it in the ninth, prevents the winning run in the tenth; Jose Cruz wins it in the 12th.

If Regis Philbin was a baseball player, what position would he play?
Dan Okrent:  Cracker Jack vendor.

Who is the most overrated player in baseball history?
Dan Okrent:  Freddie Lindstrom, who deserves to be in the Hall of Fame about as much as I do.

What will be the biggest change to baseball in the next 25 years?
Dan Okrent:  They will -- some day-- eliminate the DH.

Which position is the most important on the field?
Dan Okrent:  Pitcher, of course.

That's it.  Once again, our thanks to Mr. Okrent for granting NetShrine this interview!

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