• Bill Chastain

No Cheering in the Press Box…

Updated: Aug 28

Jerome Holtzman lived large. A crusty sort with bushy eyebrows and a cigar permanently affixed to his lips, Hotzman covered baseball his entire life and personified a bygone era in the press box. The legendary Chicago scribe even penned a book, No Cheering in the Press Box in which he interviewed 44 fellow sports writers from the previous generation, a collection including the likes of Fred Lieb, Red Smith, John Kieran, Paul Gallico, Shirley Popovich, and Jimmy Cannon.

"No cheering in the press box" isn't a saying, rather a mandate to those not accustomed to working in a press box. Anybody who might dare do so would quickly identify themselves as an amateur.

Jerome once got called into the sports editor's office, where he was told he'd been using too many cliches in his stories. According to legend, Jerome responded accordingly: "Yeah, but they're my cliches."

Initially, Jerome took a liking to me because I knew Al Lopez, and Jerome had covered the White Sox when Al managed the team from from 1957-1965 and from 1968-1969. The fact that Jerome liked me didn't mean he knew my name. Anytime he saw me, it was, "How's it going, Dave?" I never had the heart to correct him. At least he tried to issue me a name instead of taking the Babe Ruth. The Bambino was known for calling people he didn't know "Stinky," "Captain," "Partner," etc.

A few weeks back when the Rays played the Orioles in Baltimore, I saw Peter Schmuck, who is a long-time Baltimore scribe, and he shared a memory of Jerome.  When Peter had gone to Chicago to cover a game in the early 1980s, Jerome told all the young sportswriters in the press box that he was taking them out on the town afterward.  And that's exactly what he did, perpetuating a kindness that had been passed along to him earlier in his career. To Jerome, all sportswriters were part of a tribe and he was one of the tribe's elders.

Press boxes everywhere have a lot of empty seats these days. The business is in a state of flux. Nobody knows what the future holds. I'd love to hear Jerome's take on social media and what's on the horizon.

Retrouvailles is my new novel, and it's a different genre for me since it's a love story. Thus far the book has received some nice reviews, so I'm eager to hear what friends think. We're having a book launch at Zudar's on Platt Street in Tampa Monday night from 6:30 to 8:30. Would love to see everyone there post eclipse.

Cristie Kerr is 39 and has played 21 seasons on the LPGA Tour. She recently shared the secret to her longevity: "Wine. Lots of wine."

A Sports Illustrated article on veteran umpire Joe West mentioned that he also sings country and western music. I got a kick out of the fact several players chose songs from one of his CDs for their walk-up music on a night when he was behind the plate.

Ever wonder what your walk-up music would be?

In case you missed it...

The Discovery Channel earned distinction for showing the much-hyped Michael Phelps 100 meter race against a shark. The disappointment didn't come in the fact Phelps lost, rather that the shark was a digitally enhanced shark.

I'm all for the Tampa-St. Pete area trying to land the rematch, only Phelps has to swim in the waters along the Gandy Bridge with a cut heel, and the shark -- a real shark, must squeeze into a Speedo.

NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be in the NBC broadcast booth next year, prompting Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel to write: “The way he’s been driving this season, he better leave now if he wants to get there on time.”

A marathoner in Maine managed to outrun two bears. Brad Dickson of the Omaha (Neb.) World Herald  observed: “His big concern? That these were Kenyan bears.”

Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey suggested the NBA should get rid of the MVP award along with other individual awards. Clippers forward Blake Griffin tweeted the following after Morey's remarks: “Honestly, we should do away with championships too. Participation trophies for everybody.”


St. Cloud State goaltender Taylor Crosby is the younger sister of Pittsburgh Penguins superstar, Sidney. In her woman's hockey bio is the following in the "personal" section: Daughter of Troy and Trina Crosby of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. Older brother Sidney also plays hockey.”


©2020 by Bill Chastain. Photo credits: Jill Doty Photography