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The (softball) battle of the L.A. indie publishers

November 18, 2011 |  1:30 pm

Following in the sweaty, possibly uncoordinated footsteps of New York literary journals and booksellers, four independent publishers in Los Angeles will be battling it out on the softball field this Saturday. Fans, readers and people who know something more than they do about sports are invited to attend.

Slake Magazine seems to be the primary organizers of what they're calling the Battle of the Indie Publishers. Also participating will be teams from Red Hen Press, the Los Angeles Review of Books and the literary magazine Black Clock.

I'll be the entirely unqualified umpire.

The three-game tournament is set to begin Saturday, Nov. 19 at the Elysian Valley Recreation Center, 1811 Ripple Street, at noon. Or noon-ish: "The first two teams that have the most players there by noon will play first," Slake explains. Here's some more from Craig Gaines, who is helping to organize the event.

Baseball has long been considered the most literary of sports, and while no one in this contest claims to be the most athletic of literaries, a tournament of this sort is long overdue. Consider this tournament of independent Los Angeles publishers our tribute to writers such as George Plimpton and Jon Krakauer, men of both letters and action. ... Or, seeing as how most of us have spent much more time at keyboards rather than batting cages lately, maybe tribute is too strong a term. But compete we shall.

Writers who promise to play include Seth Greenland, Mark Haskell Smith, Tod Goldberg, Victoria Patterson, Matthew Specktor, and John Albert, who actually knows how to play softball. The event will be over by 4 p.m. -- the games will be cut off after a little more than an hour, if necessary, so the tournament can conclude in a single day. After 4 p.m., expect at least a few of the hardy softball souls to adjourn to the clubhouse. That's what they call the place with the beer, right?


The Reading Life: The New Yorker's grand old game

David Foster Wallace, via the Decemberists [video]

Famous authors on ziplines [video]

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: A softball player. Credit: Rhys Asplundh via Flickr.