About this project
Mike Faloon and Steve Reynolds would like to present Fan Interference: A Collection of Baseball Rants and Reflections from the pages of Zisk zine.
This anthology, fourteen years in the making, is filled with some of the funniest and most thought-provoking fan reflections on America's Pastime.
Your contribution will help us produce this new anthology, as well as pay our writers for the words they've already written. We are extemely grateful for your time and support. Play ball!
--Zisk is a zine for those who love baseball for its charm, history and eccentricities and not merely as something to play a fantasy league around. It’s for the true fans who populate the upper deck, not the party animals in the bleachers. – Chicago Tribune
--Even though I don't like baseball, this well written baseball zine was strangely appealing. If you thought trekkies were fanatical, try baseball nerds on for size. – Quimbys
--Baseball is the most important thing in the world. It's also completely meaningless in the grand scheme of life. These guys recognize that those two philosophies can co-exist in the human brain, which makes their writing a truly electric, and all too rare, jolt to the synapses. – Deborah Sprague, Variety
What Is Zisk Zine?
From Mike Faloon:
In one sense Zisk started on my mom’s back deck in suburban Syracuse. My high school friends and I spent hours there hanging out. We seldom watched or listened to or read about baseball at that point—music and comedy and movies were more likely topics—but baseball references were a given. Whether it was great names (Bake McBride, Joe Zdeb) or distinctive hair (Rollie Fingers, Oscar Gamble), we were constantly mining the minutiae we’d gleaned from the trading cards we’d devoured as kids.
In another sense Zisk began on the lower east side of Manhattan. I’d moved to New York by the mid-‘90s. I was playing in bands. Matt Braun and Ethan Cohen were, too. The three of us would hang out before and after shows on the sidewalk outside of the Continental on 3rd Avenue talking about obscure players from the ‘70s. The setting had changed but the conversations were remarkably similar to those in Syracuse.
Matt, Ethan, and I all wrote in some capacity and one of us proposed starting a baseball zine. It seemed like too strange an idea to me, covering mainstream content with an underground publication, but they pointed out that Johnny Ramone was a rabid Yankees fan and Maximum Rock and Roll editor Tim Yohannan was rumored to be a Giants fan. More importantly, Matt had access to free photocopying. Naming our zine was easy. I went back to those high school conversations and proposed my go-to: Richie Zisk.
Zisk #1 appeared in the fall of 1999. We sent copies of the debut issue to every potentially sympathetic soul we could think of. The coup was an interview with our namesake. I can still recall being at work one day when my uber-authoritarian boss said in her subzero Czech accent, “Michael, there is someone named Richie Zisk for you.” I called in sick the next day and conducted Zisk’s first interview.
But Zisk didn’t really take hold until Steve Reynolds came on board as co-editor. He and I were friends from college. Steve was a contributing writer from the start. By issue #8 he was doing all of the layouts and organizing our production schedule. Zisk would have run aground long ago without him.
Since then we’ve met up once or twice a year to battle photocopiers, gripe about the Mets, and marvel over the writing we’ve had the good fortune to publish. Few thrills match that of seeing a new essay from the likes of Rev. Norb (Boris the Sprinkler) or Todd Taylor (Razorcake) waiting in my inbox. Or John Shiffert (The Breaks Even Out and Midnight Comes Quickly for Cinderella). Or Ken Derr (how is it that no one else is publishing this guy?).
What’s surprised me the most over the years is how often I hear a comment like this: I don’t like baseball, but I love Zisk. Our writers are so good at conveying their passion for the game, exploring ideas not addressed anywhere else. Need a guide to the best baseball statues in Chicago? No, it’s not likely that you do, but Jake Austen knew that when he embarked on such a guide. It’s his enthusiasm that makes the piece compelling, along with the precision of this thinking and his humor. Likewise for Nancy Golden’s “In the Pink” or Brian Cogan’s “Rusty Staub: Heroism from Left to Right Field.” I could go on for another 90,000+ words, but then what would be the point of the book?
Risks and challenges
The essays for the anthology have been selected; however, we need to secure the rights to publication, as well as potential interior artwork, which may impact our editing schedule. We have accounted for several possible delays in our publishing schedule, but unexpected issues may arise.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The project started several years ago when an editor approached Steve and me about compiling a best of Zisk book. As we were pulling together a first draft that editor left for the world of freelance, so we shopped the book a number of sports publishers. They passed—we like it, we don’t know what to do with it.
Cut to last summer. David LaBounty from Blue Cubicle Press was traveling through Chicago. He picked up a copy of Zisk at Quimbys bookstore. We struck up a correspondence and soon the book project was revived. (I think at least some of the credit has to go to David’s son who really liked Zisk.)
Share the link with friends. Let us know the names of bookstores that will want to carry Fan Interference. Pass along contact information for blogs that will review the book or podcasts that might interview one of us. Consider hosting a book release party.
Our goal is $3,000. The funds will be used to pay contributing writers and our cover designer, as well as offsetting publishing costs.
Such a generous notion—indeed revisit, revise, update!
Yes, great idea, just pass along the recipient’s address.
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