SSTN Interviews Armand Rosamilia
SSTN: Today we are here with the prolific author Armand Rosamilia, a huge baseball fan, and a member of the IBWAA.
It is great to be here.
You know, I have many loves in my life, but baseball might be the top of the list… do NOT tell my wife, though. She’s a close second.
Armand, it is great to have this discussion with you. Thanks for coming to Start Spreading the News.
You are welcome Paul! You’re doing some fine work…
Please begin by telling us a little about your career in writing. How did you become such a prolific author?
It’s really simple: the fear of having to go back into retail management.
Once I started writing full-time in 2012, I decided I couldn’t turn back. I had to keep on this path, and I’ve been blessed to be able to not only write a lot but get publishers and readers behind me. I write mostly fiction: crime thrillers, horror, contemporary fiction and science fiction.
Yes, you write in a variety of categories, but to date, have one book about baseball. Please tell us about that book.
A View From My Seat: My Baseball Season With the Jumbo Shrimp is my latest nonfiction book release, and it started simply out of a love for baseball growing up.
Being a fan of the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (the Double A for the Miami Marlins and recently promoted to Triple A) I wanted to get involved with the team and the players. I scheduled a meeting with Noel Blaha, their assistant GM, and he loved the idea. The team gave me full access to the players, the staff, the stadium and the owner. I got to chat with some great people and see a lot of batting practice and the behind the scenes way it works.
But it isn’t just about their inaugural 2017 season when they changed from the Suns to the Jumbo Shrimp. It talks about growing up in a rabid baseball family, too.
In that book, you reflect on the infamous Pine Tar Game. Please tell us what you remember about that game.
I was thirteen and it was just another Yankees game my uncle took us to. I don’t remember much until the ninth inning, when everything happened. We were in the nosebleed in left field and the shot was in right. I can still picture the arc of the ball. Everyone around us was going crazy and mad. I loved it… I’m actually a diehard Red Sox fan, so anytime the Bronx Bombers could lose… they didn’t. I’m not sure I ever saw them lose in person. I’m a definite jinx. I remember Brett charging from the dugout, too. I still have the ticket stub somewhere.
I was always amazed that George Brett faced no punishment for his outburst after the call was made. He was ready to go after the umpires. The game has changed a lot since 1983. Do you think in a similar instance today that Brett would be suspended? With the MLB management now?
Definitely. They’d make an example out of him. The fear would be other players losing their mind over a call and charging like that, too. It was justified, and one of the greatest baseball moments, in my opinion.
You collected baseball cards as a kid. What was your favorite set? Do you still collect cards?
I collected the mid-70’s Topps sets. My dad and I would put them together. As I grew older and the number of cards and sets went crazy, I started to collect only Red Sox cards. At one point I had 250,000 Red Sox cards. I trimmed it down to one of each card and I still collect. It is my unrealistic goal to have one of every Bosox card. I also collect the 1969 Topps set. The year I was born. I am only missing seven cards and I buy only the mint ones I can find.
That’s awesome. I am helping my son Ethan put together the 1959 set, but they are certainly far from mint and the superstars are a long way off! It’s still fun. One day I’d like to put together the 1968 set.
What have you most learned through your writing?
That something I love doing and it actually pays the bills. I also realized I can reach people anywhere with my words, and reader comments and messages make my day. This isn’t a job because I love every second of it.
When I was in retail management I worked six days and about 72 hours a week. Now I work seven days and easily close to a hundred hours… and I love it.
Do you plan to write any other books about baseball?
If the idea hits me. I was going to write a follow-up to A View From My Seat but a couple of big contracts for fiction from publishers came in, so I did them. Gotta pay the bills.
I love minor league baseball, and would definitely write about that if I ever wrote another one.
In looking at the history of the Yankees, or baseball in general, what person or event would you like to see a book written about?
Even though I’m a diehard Red Sox fan, I totally respect several players. My mother is a huge Yankees fan and she loved Thurman Munson and then Don Mattingly. My brother (also a Yanks fan) loved Bucky Dent and Mike Pagliarulo. I’d love to see more books about certain years (and not just the winning years) as well as those guys who weren’t the megastars like Pags.
Pags was one of my favorites. Maybe I’ll write a book about him!
In the book and the movie The Natural, the main character wants nothing more than to walk down the street and have people say, “There goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was.” Who was the best baseball player you ever saw?
Tough question. My absolute favorite player is Jim Rice. Because of seeing him in Fenway Park when I was five, I became a Red Sox fan. But growing up it was Ken Griffey Jr. (I actually share the same birthday with him: November 21st, 1969)
Our final question is really just a collection of short answers… What was your favorite baseball team growing up?
Boston Red Sox. Since I was five years old.
Because of my connection to the Marlins’ minor league team, I’ve been following them in the NL, too.
Who was your favorite player?
Jim Rice. No doubt. He was larger than life and should’ve had a longer career. I’m glad he made it into the HOF.
What is your most prized collectible?
I have a baseball room in my house. Filled with memorabilia. Lots of signed autographs, tons of cards and signed balls and bats. The most expensive might be a rare Ken Griffey Jr. Funko Pop, but my favorite is the bat every player who’s lived with us has signed. It has over a dozen signatures on it, including Kyle Keller, Victor Victor Mesa, Lewin Diaz and Adrian Nieto.
Who is your favorite musical group or artist?
I’m a huge heavy metal fan, mostly thrash metal. SLAYER is the best.
What is your favorite food (if it is pizza, what is your favorite pizza restaurant)?
Of course it’s pizza. There’s a great place in Jacksonville Beach, Milano’s, that we love. I even wrote them into my crime thriller series, Dirty Deeds. I do miss NJ pizza, though. There’s nothing better than food from the Northeast.
Please share anything else you’d like with our audience:
Thank you so much for the interview! It was fun, and I hope no one has an issue with me being a Red Sox fan. After all, because of me going to so many Yankees games growing up, your team always got the win! Please feel free to reach out and follow me:
Twitter: @ArmandAuthor and @IBWAAPodcast