Molly Knight is an author whose new book about the Los Angeles Dodgers, The Best Team Money Can Buy, went on sale today, June 14. The book by Knight, a former ESPN baseball writer who covered the Dodgers extensively as part of her beat, focuses on the Dodgers as a case study of billionaire owners trying to build dynasty sports franchises merely by throwing money around. For several years, Knight gained atypical access to Dodger players and their families, coaches and team executives in the course of compiling her portrait of the Dodgers organization.
Molly was nice enough to take a few minutes out of her busy schedule recently to answer a few questions from us.
1. You walk into a bar. What do you order from the bartender?
If it’s a regular bar, a Bulleit bourbon and Diet Coke. If it’s a dive bar, I order a beer because I worked in dive bars where the manager poured cheap liquor into the nice bottles, which was a nightmare. If it’s a wine bar, I order Pinot Noir or any other red that is not Merlot.
2. Who’s your favorite person to follow on Twitter and/or Instagram?
For Twitter, I’m going to say Pope Francis because of how progressive he’s been about climate change, which I feel is the most important issue facing humanity. I know his record isn’t perfect, obviously, as the head of the Catholic church, but compared to the other popes, he seems to actually care about things like helping the poor and saving the earth, which feels a lot more Christ-like to me than the behavior of American politicians who clutch their Bibles and spew vitriol and judgment toward gay people, unwed mothers and young men of color. I feel like I appreciate his tweets most because they are so unexpected and on point.
On Instagram, it’s this random woman, @Yurin1020, who lives in this bizarre dream tent colony in Japan with her family and takes pictures of dogs in the tents. I have no idea what is going on because she doesn’t write in English, but she cooks better meals than I do by, like, rubbing sticks together. It’s like Laura Ingalls Wilder meets Martha Stewart, and I’m obsessed.
3. What’s currently waiting for you on your DVR/TiVO?
Rob Delaney’s and Sharon Horgan’s show, Catastrophe. I saw the pilot a long time ago and need to watch the rest. I love both of them. Everyone should devour Sharon’s old series, Pulling. She is a treasure.
4. It’s your last meal — what are you going out with?
Hmm.. Something with goat cheese on it. I used to live next to this awesome little spot called Posto on 17th Street in New York, and I would order one of those precious build-your-own pizzas, with chicken and goat cheese. Have to go thin-crust. I’d top it off with a really good bottle of Pinot and a pint of mint-chip ice cream.
5. What websites do you visit on a regular basis?
HugeQuiz.com because I am a nerd. Twitter.com because I am a news junkie. And the British gossip rag the Daily Mail, because it is insane and the pictures are incredible.
6. What’s the most frequently played song on your mobile device?
Man, I played Taylor Swift’s last album out to death from the day it came out. It is relentlessly good. But in terms of all-time plays, I’m sure The National and Wilco are the top two bands, and “Maps” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs is probably my most played song, though I don’t think I’ve listened to it in five years. It got a lot of mileage during my melodramatic phase, which lasted from like age 16 to 26.
7. The first face that comes to mind when you think “punchable?”
I can’t say the first two faces that come to mind, because I would get in trouble. So, I’ll say Ted Cruz. He’s on the wrong side of every issue, and his face is infinitely punchable.
8. What’s the last thing you googled?
Probably the name of someone who bought my book and wanted a book plate. I’ve been creeping readers on the internet to find out who they are and what they like to try to personalize their book plates. If I see someone is being treated poorly by their significant others, I’ll say something in my note about it. When I can’t find any personal info, I just thank them for their support. Someone wrote to me today and said he felt a little jealous that his note wasn’t super personal. At first, I felt bad, but then I was like, “Well it’s probably a good thing that you aren’t dating a sh*tty person and tweeting about it.”
9. Dogs or cats?
DOGS. Although I like cats, too. My dog would really like me to get a kitten. He is fascinated by cats, but they all hate his guts. :(
10. Best concert of your life was…?
God, this is so hard because I’ve been to hundreds of concerts in my life. My first concert was Ringo Starr and his all-star band when I was 11 and I got to go backstage and meet him. He asked me who my favorite Beatle was, and I said John, and he laughed and said, “Mine, too.” But I think the best was when I saw The National play in the cemetery where my entire family on both sides is buried a few summers ago, and I was like 10 feet from the stage. It might be pretty tough to top hearing your favorite band perform a song about ghosts just feet from your dead ancestors.
11. What book are you most likely to give as a gift?
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. I give that book to friends when they’re grieving a death, because Didion sums up what it is like to mourn better than I ever could. It’s hard to know what to say in that situation, so I prefer to let the expert speak. Plus, Didion is my favorite writer. She’s so f*cking brilliant. She’s only like 5 feet tall and 80 pounds in real life, but she writes with the authority and size of a Greek God.
12. What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
My grandparents paying for my college was probably the nicest thing. But I’m also a huge fan of small gestures. Peter Gammons putting my book on his shelf in prime position over his shoulder during an interview on MLB Network over the weekend made me tear up. (What unbelievable kindness from the greatest ball writer, ever!) I once saw a stranger put a quarter into my expired parking meter once so I wouldn’t get a ticket and I nearly cried. I try to do that now as often as I can because it makes me very happy and it only costs a quarter.
13. South Park or Family Guy?
14. You have an entire day to do whatever you want. What would you do?
I’d be on a beach doing absolutely nothing. Hopefully with someone I am wild for.
15. What movie can you not resist watching if it’s on?
Clueless. Remember the Titans. Hoosiers. The Departed. Grease. Dirty Dancing. Moonstruck.
16. The sports team or teams you’re most passionate about?
Stanford football. It’s gotten to the point where I’m stressed out for most of the fall, which totally sucks. It doesn’t help that I live in L.A. and am surrounded by millions of USC fans, and they are so mean to me and my friends when we go to games. UCLA fans are mostly lovely to us at the Rose Bowl. Oregon fans have been great, ASU fans have been nice. SC fans really need to tone it down and not be so obnoxious toward opponents. Just win and lose with dignity. I can’t go to Stanford games at the Coliseum anymore because my blood boils too hot. I banned myself.
17. Where did you eat the best meal of your life?
I was in Tokyo last month with friends, and we stumbled into this little Ramen place at 5 a.m. after a night of drinking in this neighborhood called Golden Gai. There were only maybe eight seats in the joint, and there was no room for the five of us, so we just kept going to different bars while we waited. Golden Gai is the craziest place ever because there are hundreds of bars stacked next to each other the size of SUVs. It’s like a dorm progressive, if dorm rooms were half the size. There are a lot of tourists there, though, so that kind of sucks.
18. The last movie you saw in a theater?
Magic Mike XXL. I went with eight girls and a dude, and we got pretty turnt.
19. Who was your first celebrity crush?
Freddie Prinze, Jr. Did you see how cute he was in She’s All That? He hid his college acceptance letters and did dramatic hacky-sack performance art! And this is a really funny and timely question because I know him now and he is coming to my house tomorrow. He does not know he was my first celebrity crush and I hope he never reads this.
20. What would you cook if Nic Cage was coming to your house for dinner?
A rare steak to feed his blood, obviously. He’s a wolf.
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