This is not to bag on blogging—that would be stupid seeing how this is a blog and all—but the best writing in sports has never been done in two-paragraph spurts. Brevity might be the soul of wit, but it doesn’t leave you with much depth. So with that in mind here are four old guys, guys who predate blogging (although the still living and recently departed obviously overlap it), and guys who spent almost their entire lives writing without the aid of Google and hyperlinks.
Not that that those things are bad. In fact as a medium the Web is pretty spectacular. It’s as easy to click your way to this blog as it is to find the New York Times online*. But for whatever reason most of my favorite sports writers predate a time when volume was equated with authority. I’m sure there are still many like that around today, they are just harder to hear over the din.
So if you have more spare time at work than a YouTube video can kill, feel free to try the following:
Playing for Keeps (an excerpt) (There is a link at the bottom of the page for the full excerpt)
Just a note on the Plimpton piece. I saw him speak at a local book festival and he spent a few minutes talking about Sidd Finch. He said he originally meant to type “138” for the speed of Finch’s pitch—itself a ridiculous number given that the fastest pitches ever recorded were just over 100 mph—but he made a typo and the draft he turned in had the completely ludicrous “168” on it. His editor encouraged him to leave it. The reasoning was straight out of Nazi propaganda: The bigger the lie, the more likely people will believe it.
And people did.
(* Not really… I mean about the New York Times, not Finch. People really fell for what turned out to be an April Fools joke.)