Monday, September 12, 2022

Site Update and Recent Reviews of Curveball at the Crossroads

I have been thinking about re-composing my spreadsheets on Rays attendance. I might do that in the offseason. Unfortunately, in late 2019, I lost a giant spreadsheet that had all the games of all the Tampa Bay-area baseball teams - both Major League and Minor League - from 2005 to 2019. Somehow I saved a postseason spreadsheet as the same name as the regular season spreadsheet and lost years of work.

I started cataloging 2022 games earlier this season. Unfortunately, life got in the way and I have been unable to keep up with the daily effort of updating the spreadsheet. So re-creating a spreadsheet from 2005 to 2022 might be the offseason project.

Meanwhile, I am still promoting my debut novel, Curveball at the Crossroads. After being named runner-up, Best Book by a Local Author by Creative Loafing, my novel has garnered several awesome reviews by various writers and websites across the web.

Here are a few of the sites that have written about Curveball at the Crossroads:

The Guy Who Reviews Sports Books: Curveball at the Crossroads

The last characteristic of the book I liked was how Lortz’s story had a lot of elements of good baseball movies and stories woven together.  He clearly didn’t steal anything from them, but if a reader has seen any of these baseball movies, then they will see how JaMark or others are just like some of the people in scenes of these movies: “The Scout” (where I remembered the above mentioned perfect game), “Rookie of the Year”, “Field of Dreams” and “Major League.”  This is not to say that one had to see those movies to enjoy the book, but fans of them will look at parts of this story and remember them.  Not to mention I kept hearing the song “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” throughout the story – even though it takes place in Mississippi.

Review of Curveball at the Crossroads in NINE: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture

"Curveball at the Crossroads is a quick read that blends a familiar Faustian story arc with sports fiction. Detailed accounts of JaMark’s games and stats will transport baseball fans to the scene, but all readers will be compelled by first-time author Michael Lortz’s character-driven plot. Lortz uses dramatic stakes for his characters and a dry sense of humor to keep the reader entertained. He pays close attention to developing his characters, with adjectives and other descriptors woven within each moment of dialogue. The brief chapters and simple language keep the story moving toward the final swing. This page-turner adds a supernatural aspect to the idea of flash-in-the-pan athletes and keeps the reader wanting to know more."

The Devil is in the Details: Review of Curveball at the Crossroads by Tampa sports writer Bob D'Angelo

"Some of JaMark’s feats are simply unfathomable, but Lortz pulls it all together in a crisp, believable story. There are several currents flowing in this book, but they inevitably swirl around JaMark. ... The final sentences will really get you thinking. I have a theory, but I will keep it to myself. Even if I am wrong, I am correct in saying that Curveball at the Crossroads was a fine debut."