Baseball artists, writers shut out by coronavirus pandemic

Baseball artists, writers shut out by coronavirus pandemic

NEW YORK (AP) — Anika Orrock was all warmed up for her big pitch. On the mound at Yankee Stadium, tossing out the ceremonial first ball.

On Tuesday night, though, the baseball illustrator and cartoonist will be far from the Bronx. Instead of starting off the Pirates-Yankees game, she’ll be back in Nashville, Tennessee, pondering her fate.

No way to tour the country, promoting and celebrating the publication of her first book, based on the women pros popularized by the movie “A League of Their Own.”

Now with the majors and much of the country shut down by the coronavirus pandemic, she spends her days pacing around a small cul-de-sac at home, managing virtual promotions and brainstorming ways to replace lost opportunities and income.

“The moment this happened, and I realized that a book launch was going to be a book flop, it was a struggle,” she said, wondering, “What in the world am I going to do?”

She’s not alone in being shut out, either.

Through what Orrock calls “the magic of the internet,” she connected with Brooklyn baseball artist Graig Kreindler, who experienced a similar letdown. His 230 paintings were to be a major part of an exhibit at the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri -- instead, the shrine was forced to close four weeks into the planned four-month run.

While commiserating about their virus-related setbacks, Orrock and Kreindler discovered they both celebrated their 40th birthdays on April 17. To mark the occasion, the social-media conscious pair created a “Baseball Buddy Birthday” video featuring a 3-minute card “draw-off” for YouTube.

“Anika is experiencing a different set of challenges right now. It’s sad, because her book is so beautiful and she’s such an awesome person,” Kreindler said.

“Honestly, I crave friendship from another artist because I don’t have a lot of friends who do what I do. It’s not that it’s lonely, but I don’t have many people to talk to," he said.”

Orrock’s newly released book, “The Incredible Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League,” was the culmination of exhaustive research, interviews and writing about players in the 1940s and ’50s. The Yankee Stadium visit was among a dozen or so publicity events connected to the publication that got canceled.

“I spent three-plus years on this book and I’m way ahead on the whole social isolation thing,” she said.

Kreindler also spent three years leading up to the painting exhibit.

“Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson -- most baseball fans know those names. But I got to learn about so many players in those leagues who had interesting stories behind them, including the majority who never got to play because of the color of their skin,” he said.

Orrock grew up in the San Francisco area, where her grandfather was a longtime, popular newspaper columnist and a baseball fan. While a student San Francisco State, she went to Giants games and drew hundreds of scenes from the games.

After three seasons, she compiled them into a school project. She then realized they all looked the same because there were no women in her drawings.

It dawned on her: “I’m a woman and I love baseball ... There have to be great stories of women in baseball.”

Orrock attended a couple reunions of the women who played in the long-ago league that began during World War II and, helped by a lot of persistence, her book project began to take off.

Kreindler’s biggest challenge since the shutdown has been finding enough time to paint while sharing child-care duties with his wife, a writer, to care for and entertain their 2- and 4-year-old children.

In the past, Kreindler figures he researched and painted about eight hours daily. Now he’s down to just an hour-and-a-half.

“I’m way behind,” he said.

For Orrock, she’s encouraged by those she wrote about.

“It occurred to me to look to the women in my own story to gain inspiration. They stepped up to the plate during the war,” she said.

“Somebody brought up the point on social media: ‘You’re sharing an inspirational story of women doing what they want.’ Then it struck me that, ‘Oh yeah, this isn’t my story, I’m sharing their story,’” she said.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2020/05/04/baseball-artists-writers-shut-out-by-coronavirus-pandemic/111659628/

News Related

ORTHER NEWS

Trump’s ‘mission accomplished’ moment is premature and deadly. We have not defeated COVID.

Desperate for crowds and adoration, Trump has put his most fervent supporters at risk of getting a deadly disease. Future historians will be astonished. Read more »

NFLPA president JC Tretter says NFL is putting season, players at risk with its coronavirus approach

NFL Players Association president JC Tretter said Tuesday the NFL is putting the 2020 season at risk with its coronavirus approach, calling on the league to better “prioritize player safety.” “Like many other... Read more »

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he tested positive for the coronavirus

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro says he has tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus’ severity. Bolsonaro confirmed the test results while wearing a mask and... Read more »

Venice Film Festival forges ahead amid COVID-19 pandemic with reduced lineup

The show will go on for the Venice Film Festival in September, but with a few modifications due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers said Tuesday that they are pushing forward with plans for... Read more »

Amtrak offers buy-one, get-one promotion on its sleeper trains amid COVID-19 — with a catch

Amtrak wants you to have sweet dreams the next time you travel — so much so that it’s sweetening the deal on its sleeper “roomettes.” The rail service is offering a buy-one-get-one-free discount... Read more »

Florida teen treated with hydroxychloroquine at home before dying of COVID-19, report says

FORT MEYERS, Fla. – The family of a 17-year-old Florida girl who died last month from COVID-19 treated her symptoms at home for nearly a week before taking her to a hospital, a... Read more »

Mookie Betts worried MLB coronavirus testing woes could prevent him from ever playing for Dodgers

During nearly four months away from the game, Mookie Betts said he “stayed away from baseball to keep myself sane.” It’s not hard to understand why. The 2018 American League Most Valuable Player... Read more »

Tom Hanks doesn’t get ‘how common sense has somehow been put into question’ with coronavirus

Read more »

Can Gov. DeSantis force Florida schools to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic? Some school leaders seem doubtful.

PALM BEACH, Fla. — As concern about the state order spread online, some school leaders said: Not so fast. As Florida educators puzzle over how to start the new academic year, Gov. Ron... Read more »

Texas surpasses 200,000 coronavirus cases after 4th of July holiday weekend

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas reached 200,000 total COVID-19 cases Monday, just 17 days after crossing the 100,000 threshold, a figure that took the state nearly four months to hit. The grim milestone came... Read more »