By Jeremiah Delgado
Eric Mirlis is the author of Being There, which takes an in-depth look at the greatest sports moments told from the viewpoint of pro athletes. Mirlis’s latest release, I Was There!, follows the same format as the first except it is told from the viewpoint of some of the best journalists and broadcasters in sports media. Some of the names included are Joe Buck, Bob Costas and Jim Nantz.
Mirlis discusses his latest book I Was There!, which is available now on Amazon, in a Q&A with CBS Local Sports.
CBS Local Sports: Who was your favorite person to interview and why?
Eric Mirlis: Every broadcaster and journalist is, at heart, a storyteller. Whether it is during a game or in a story afterwards, that is what everyone does. However, Bob Costas might be the best storyteller in America, period, not just in sports. We all know how well he does that on TV, but when the lights are off and it is an informal setting, which is how I approached all of the interviews, he gets even better. Having the opportunity to hear him share those stories made that interview an incredible honor.
CBSLS: Were there any challenges you faced writing this book?
EM: The hardest part, outside of transcribing interviews (which anyone will tell you is a painstaking, tedious process) was lining up the participants in the book. I’m very lucky to have made some great friends and contacts over the course of my careers, and I called in just about every favor I could to help make that happen. Even after that, though, there were still a lot of blind emails to people I’ve never met, as well as even more finger-crossing that once something got set up, it actually happened.
CBSLS: Are there any moments you think that might have been missed that are important in sports?
EM: Believe it or not, and I’m not quite sure how this happened, no one in the book talked about the Miracle on Ice. When I did this the first time around 2007, six people talked about that game, which might just be the most famous moment in American sports history. For whatever reason, no one I talked to this time, however, was there! I’m still stunned about that.
CBSLS: What part of writing this book was your favorite?
EM: As I said earlier, I’m very lucky to have worked with and met so many legends in the sports broadcasting and writing worlds. That said, if you told me early in my career that I would have the chance to talk to many of these legends for a project like this, I would have laughed and never believed you. That part, by far, was the most enriching part of the book. Not many people can say they got so many of the top people from every sports network to all take part in something like this.
CBSLS: Which sport provided the most moments?
EM: Baseball lends itself to more stories like this than any other sport, but not for the reason you might immediately think. Every sport has amazing stories from postseasons and championship games. Baseball, however, is more conducive to memorable in-season games and moments than the others. Think about this…you can walk into any baseball stadium on any night of the regular season and see a no-hitter or a perfect game or a four-homer game. They are rare, especially the last two, but they can literally happen on any given night. I’ve been going to baseball games for over 40 years, but have never seen a no-hitter. I know I’d be talking about it for the rest of my life if I ever did see one. And many people in the book do exactly that. You just don’t get something like that in any of the other sports.
CBSLS: Would you ever consider writing a third installment, where you interview fans?
EM: No question, I would like to see where else I can take this topic. I think it can be twisted in lots of different directions, and even move out of sports and into other areas of entertainment. At the end of the day, it is a topic that everyone can relate to, and the stories that are shared make people think of their own similar experiences. A book of fan stories would be a great place to go next.