Friday, May 22, 2009

My Brothers Launch a New Book

The face of Buffalo's Memorial Auditorium, AKA "the Aud", now in demolition.

So these days I have a Google news alert set up to keep track of my siblings. Good thing, too, because I'm too busy getting the garden in to do much writing of my own. Today's alert tells me that Brothers Chris and Tim's long time project, a coffee table book about the heyday of the Buffalo Braves basketball got a nice review in the Buffalo News. The review also mentions the demolition of the old Memorial Auditorium, the big venue for sports, concerts, etc. of my youth.
I can see it from the third floor of The Buffalo News, a crumbling carcass of steel and brick. You think of the ghosts and memories contained in the old Memorial Auditorium, and in the hearts and minds of the athletes and fans who spent so many hours there.

Tim Wendel remembers. Wendel grew up in Lockport. He came of age in the 1970s, when pro sports in Buffalo were at their zenith and two daily newspapers were there to record the moment. Wendel would run out of his house on cold winter mornings to pick up the old Courier-Express, and to see what Phil Ranallo had to say in his column.

Wendel went to Syracuse to learn journalism. He got work as a sports rewrite guy at the Courier, editing Ranallo's stuff. He was on his honeymoon in September 1982 when he got a phone call from a friend who was watching his apartment. Your apartment's fine, the friend said, but your paper closed.

He ended up in Washington, D.C., where his wife got a job with the Post. Wendel wrote a book about the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. He covered baseball and wrote a baseball novel about Fidel Castro.

He remained a Buffalo guy at heart. He and his brother, Chris, sat around at family gatherings, rehashing games from their youth. One day, they were carrying on about the Braves when a relative said, "Why don't you guys shut up and write about it?"

Buffalo, Home of the Braves is published by Sun Bear Press, brother Chris's new publishing company. Chris is a small business consultant for the the NorthWest Michigan Council of Governments; starting a publishing company is his response to Brother Tim's frustration with the state of the publishing industry, and the opportunity offered by new print-on-demand technology.

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