Cahokia — Sub-Par Maya Ball Game Team?

Annalee Newitz has an interesting article on the ancient city of Cahokia in modern day St. Louis-ish that’s worth a read. Of course, this whole city was predicted (years after it was found) by the fascinating and edifying History of the Mayan Ball League. As a major stop on the Mayan Ball League All Stars tour, the Cahokians had to adapt their game of Chunkey to the more physical ball game.

Ancient Mayan TempleOf course, Chunkey was played with spears, which helped the Cahokians overcome the physical advantage by simply chucking spears at the opposing players, and may also have contributed to the downfall of the Mayan Ball League. But their fans were super-polite about the spearings…

Young Man Discovers New Mayan City… Inspired by “The History of the Mayan Ball League”?

So this young man in Quebec has discovered, without leaving his home, mind, a new Mayan city. He did it using the Mayan constellations, laying them down on the map and figuring out that there seemed to be one corresponding city missing.

The Pyramid of the Magician
The Pyramid of the Magician

But I suspect he may have just been studying his “The History of the Mayan Ball League” texts:

“The All Stars versus locals match ended very badly in Quebec, their first stop on the tour. The traveling referees, misunderstanding the intention of the tour, beheaded the local players, whom had lost, 15−1, and the All Star team was driven out of town by the first of what would become many generations of angry Quebecois, justifiably so.”

Excerpt From: Matthew Hanlon. “The History of the Mayan Ball League.” iBooks

The short book mentions many other expansion cities for the Mayan Ball League, and while this teenager’s approach of using the stars and science to discover hitherto unknown Mayan sites, I do hope that the scientific and archaeological community will spend a bit more time reading up on their fake histories and investigate.

“However, the next year the Board of Governors overruled Chichen Itza and added two new franchises to the League; San Juan and San Diego. San Diego was not particularly ready for a franchise, but a wealthy tribal king in the area promised to have a 20,000 seat arena completed by 270 A.D., and for now the team would play its matches at the downtown market, which could be cleared out on Saturdays and removable hoops would be installed on the side walls. The removable hoops were something of a hazard, to both players and bystanders. Even non-bystanders were at risk, as the hoops had a tendency to break off their moorings and roll down the streets for some distance before coming to a stop in a fruit stall or on a collection of people discussing politics or the weather. The tribal king insisted the new stadium would be ready within five years, and how many people would die in hoop-related deaths in that time, anyway? It turns out the answer was 117.”

Excerpt From: Matthew Hanlon. “The History of the Mayan Ball League.” iBooks.

In the Jungle
Who knows what other ballparks are out there to be discovered?

The book is free from the iBookstore and $0.99 from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. So start your research today, and you may just catch up to a fifteen year old from Quebec, in terms of Mayan archaeology.

The History of the Mayan Ball League Returns?

The Author at Chichen Itza
The Author (and assistant) at Chichen Itza

Submitted as evidence, that the author of The History of the Mayan Ball League (available at fine bookstores in your phone) actually visited the ball court at Chichén Itzá, so heaven help you all that there might be a sequel to that thrilling story of sport, rampant salaries, lockouts, and other labor negotiations!

Or maybe just a new version of the same old story with pictures. Who knows?


So if you haven’t read the original, maybe now is the time to go download it (it’s free on Apple’s iBook Store and $0.99 on the others). There are a surprising number of facts in the story that hew incredibly close to the truth, which is something you don’t often get from me. Go, read, enjoy.

The One Year Anniversary of the End of the Mayan Calendar

How’re we all faring? Everybody okay, I trust?

You know what time of year it is, right?

That’s right, it’s the anniversary of when time ran out on the Mayans!

Not a Mayan Artifact
Not a Mayan Artifact

So in honor of this special time of year, “The History of the Mayan Ball League” is now FREE*!

It’s also now super-short, just like it was before! You’ve heard of novels, right? Well, this is like a really short novel you could read in a sitting.

So rush right on out, because there is an excellent chance that the Mayan Calendar simply had daylight savings year built into it and this is the year the whole shebang is going to end and I would feel really bad if you hadn’t read “The History of the Mayan Ball League” before the world ended.

You can even gift the booklet (let’s call it a baby novel) to your friends, family, and acquaintances, since it also happens to be the season of giving. And and AND if you give someone something they may feel they owe you something in return when the world is actually ending.






* Void on Amazon, where I can’t make it free or can’t figure out how to make it free without making it an Amazon exclusive, which is probably all my fault, and I feel a deep and abiding shame for this.








[Look, I’m not supposed to even be writing this. If I had a decent publisher or agent, say, for example, a non-imaginary one, of either, they’d be plugging this for me and I could just be writing away, editing Butterfly, a novel, which some have already called “Murakami in Massachusetts.” Others have called it less kind things, but we’ll ignore those comments for the moment. At any rate, I would be much obliged if you would just go download the story so I can finish Butterfly before the world actually does end and I spend eternity in a really foul mood for not having finished the damn book.]

Celebrate Cyber Monday with Mayans or Fish!

It has come to my attention that today is a day for giving 30% off nearly everything, so I decided to jump into the fray and offer 30% off both “The History of the Mayan Ball League” and Verano the Fish*!

The History of the Mayan Ball League
The History of the Mayan Ball League

Since both are free** your discount works out to about $0.00 (or, checking, £0.00 — I couldn’t even begin to tell you the savings in Euro). So that’s not brilliant, but isn’t no price at all worth it if you get the thrilling story of a bunch of Mayan professional athletes and their league’s story? Or for the story about a plucky young fish who makes some interesting life choices?

So for this limited time only you can get both stories for UP TO 30% OFF! Buy it now, quick!

Oh, and, by the way, these stories, as well as the Fenway Fiction series, make excellent gifts for the holidays. Just sayin’.






* Except where we have to charge $0.99 or thereabouts because we have no option to give away our content.

** Again, on most platforms.

Vote for Verano the Fish! He’ll Feed Your Family for a Day!

Update: In the interest of ease-of-use, vote for Verano the Fish here: Best Picture Book category

It’s that wonderful time of year again, the Goodreads Choice Awards season!

Goodreads Choice Awards 2013
Goodreads Choice Awards 2013

This past year (according to the eligibility rules for the award, the year stretches from November, 2012 to November 2013 — this may be fallout from the Mayan Apocalypse) I’ve had two books… not quite published, let’s call them ‘released.’

The History of the Mayan Ball League was the first, coming shortly before the Mayan Apocalypse, which happened and did a real number on book sales, as everyone on the planet perished.

Verano the Fish came out in May, 2013 and is the lovely story of a little fish, his family, and a hapless fisherman. It’s written by me and illustrated by my family, which is good, because I couldn’t illustrate my way out of a paper bag.

Both books are a nice short length and, even better, both are *FREE*! Or at least they are on the platforms on which that sort of thing is allowed. Where I couldn’t make them free I made them as cheap as possible. I really, really wanted to make them more expensive in Belgium, because, well, they know what they did. But I didn’t.

So why am I writing you today, you ask?

Great question.

So I would like to humbly beg that, if you enjoyed either of those books, you would vote for them in the Goodreads Choice Awards 2013.

If you haven’t read them yet, I would humbly beg that you go read the books on your iPad or Kindle or nook or whathaveyou. Read them in your browser, as you can download them both, for free, from and then, if you like them, go vote for them.

You can vote for Verano the Fish in the Best Picture Book categoryThe History of the Mayan Ball League is more of a Best Humor sort of book.

Both of these books will require a little extra work on your part, and for that I apologize, profusely. You’ll need to write in the entries. Like so:

Writing in Verano the Fish
Writing in Verano the Fish

Same goes for The History of the Mayan Ball League.

And once you’ve done it, like the voting sticker you receive at the booth, you get a nice little pat on the back, social media-style:

I voted!
I voted!


So please, go vote for Verano the Fish and The History of the Mayan Ball League at the Goodreads Choice Awards 2013. I have just the thing to wear on the red carpet, and some sparkling acceptance speeches to give.

The History of the Mayan Ball League Available on Goodreads

With all the kerfuffle about Goodreads being bought by Amazon, I’m a little hesitant to post this, but I’ve made “The History of the Mayan Ball League” available for download on

There’s a new little green nub at the end of their usual green nub where you can go buy the book on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or the iBookstore or, like so:

MBL on
MBL on

There’s also a little thing to click on to read the book right then and there in your browser.

So go to Goodreads. I’ve made the whole book available, so there’s no need to pay actual money for it. Sure, sure, my family will probably starve and die horrible deaths because you’re not giving me $0.99 for the book. But at the very least we’ll die happy, knowing that you’re now a little bit more educated about the Mayan Ball League.

For your information, the book is also free on the iBookstore and the Kobo Bookstore. It’s only Barnes & Noble and Amazon where I can’t lower the price to free.

So if you really like me and would like me to survive another cold, harsh winter (we live in San Jose, CA, right now, where the winters are bitter cold), you would be smart to buy at least a dozen copies of the story on Barnes & Noble and Amazon. But if you have a vendetta against me or would just like to see me really, really suffer, well, you can now get the book for free or just read it online at for free.

As I’ve sold approximately 28 books total, now, world-wide, I figure it’s time to open the floodgates and lower that barrier to reading even more. If you’re not careful and I don’t get enough readers I’m going to assume I need to chase around after people with the barrier, giving them a few good thwacks with it before I let them pass over it and into the unique learning experience that is “The History of the Mayan Ball League.”

NHL Lockout is Over, No Longer Threatening the Mayan Ball League’s Lockout Record

So the NHL and NHLPA finally came to their collective sense (have they any?) and ended their prolonged lockout.

“NHL lockout over as owners, players reach agreement” from the Boston Globe.

Which means that the legendary lockout of the Mayan Ball League (the story of which I’ve been shilling here and other places) still holds the record as longest labor dispute in the history of professional sports.

Hockey is one of my personal favorite sports, both to play and to watch, at any level, nearly. I love watching a good Hockey East tilt, a Worcester Sharks (nee Ice Cats) game, a Super 8 series, and I especially love watching the Boston Bruins. Love, with a bitter taste in my mouth after the lockout, perhaps. Last year saw an alarming number of players coming down with concussions (the way you’d come down with a cold if colds were administered by a 200+ lb. person ramming their shoulder into your head). After one particularly bad week for the players, I began to think that the last rash of head injuries on a similar scale must have been back when the Mayans were playing their ball game with the hoops, the one at the end of which the loser would occasionally be beheaded.

So I started on a brief sketch of a history of that league, which had startling parallels to my beloved (formerly?) National Hockey League. The NHL really is the red-headed step child of professional sports. I’ve never seen a league do more to shoot itself in the foot than it. While Major League Baseball emerges from the Steroid Era and its own labor strife of the 90s, the NFL enjoys the very peak of its popularity, and even the NBA, for crying out loud, managed to avoid a stoppage in play, the NHL goes from a force gaining fans left and right to a full stop in operations, effectively killing its momentum in the sporting population’s eye and heart. It has expanded ambitiously to curious destinations for a sport played primarily in the cold, by kids outdoors on a local pond. It has had numerous of its stars (Bobby Orr, Cam Neely, and probably other players from other teams) cut down in their prime due to the brutal nature of a sport in which large men on blades and in heavy pads thunder around an enclosed space with sticks and a hard piece of rubber.

And I put it to rest. When the labor dispute began again I was so… irate? Disappointed? At loose ends? I had no hockey to watch out here in the western backwaters of the country, after all, while Boston College and Boston University and Maine and all the rest appeared on Friday nights on NESN. Whatever it was, I picked up the story again, finished it off, ending the Mayan Ball League with a whimper, rather than a bang, as my shadow of the NHL tore itself apart, slowly.

The fact that the Mayan calendar was ending also seemed like a handy time for this story to come to light.


And so that’s how that all happened.