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« Can Obama Destroy Romney with Lies? He's Gonna Try | Main | It's Thursday... you know what that means »

Thursday, 12 April 2012

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Mannie Sherberg
Thanks, Yael, for this link to Rick's terrific review -- and tribute -- to a great game. Some of the finest American prose has been written by sportswriters -- and I've often wondered why English teachers don't use the best sports reports as models for kids to emulate. A youngster could do no better than write -- or try to write -- like the great Red Smith, whose columns in the New York Herald-Tribune are still as colorful and alive as anything written in English. Smith's the guy who said, "Writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed." I wish more of today's kids were willing to bleed a little. It would do wonders for their writing.
Rick Richman
Thank you, Yael; Hi Mannie -- your comment reminds me that one of the essays in “Damn Yankees” is by Daniel Okrent (one of Yael’s favorite writers, if I am not mistaken), about his first assignment as a baseball writer in the late 1970s. He was sitting in the Yankees press box next to Murray Chass of the New York Times, who was “fairly early in his own career as the most prolific and most boring baseball writer in the paper’s (maybe any paper’s) history.” On his other side was Maury Allen of the New York Post. “It was only an exhibition game, but I had never been paid to watch baseball before, and even the cramped little press box in Lauderdale seemed like some sort of heaven to me. I gurgled something about this being my first professional gig as a sportswriter, and Chass looked at me briefly, emitted a noise composed entirely of consonants, and went back to his crossword puzzle. … [Allen] introduced himself, shook my hand, wished me luck, and spent the first couple innings chatting amiably about his life as a sportswriter. Around the top of the third, he paused in mid-anecdote, looked at the field briefly, and tapped a pencil on the arm of his chair. ‘I love everything about the job,’ he said, ‘except the fucking games.’ Then he got up and left.” Not exactly Red Smith -- or two others who bled great prose: Jim Murray of the LA Times and (especially) Roger Angell of The New Yorker.

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