"Summer is the time for sunshine, sudsy brews and sandwiches of the hot dog variety. And of course, that classic game. The sport of kings. Baseball. What better way to celebrate America’s pastime than that classic sportswriter trope of visiting all 30 MLB parks in 30 days. Crossing the country, seeing the sights and catching a ballgame or two along the way. My trusty editor set up an itinerary and sent me on my way. What wonders will I encounter and valuable lessons will I learn along the way? Let’s find out as I embark on this adventure into America’s pastime!" -- A tribute to the great parks by the inimitable Ethan Booker
In The Gyms of Holmes County, Matt Tullis explains that, "In Holmes County, they get this idea of teamwork. And it starts with the Amish and Mennonite communities that call the county home." In Higher Education, Gary Smith writes, "Berlin's new basketball coach, the man with the most important position in a community that had dug in its heels against change, was an unmarried black Catholic loser. The only black man in eastern Holmes County."
ESPN is suspending publication of Grantland, effective immediately. The ambitious website hosted writing from a long list of witty, intelligent contributors on sports and pop culture, including Rembert Browne, Katie Baker, Mark Harris, Molly Lambert, and Mark Lisanti. Grantland was launched by Bill Simmons, whose contract with ESPN was not renewed earlier this year after almost 15 years with the company after Simmons was publicly critical of ESPN and the NFL.
On December 10, 1810, in a muddy field around 25 miles from London, a fight took place that was so dramatic, controversial, and ferocious that it continues to haunt the imagination of boxing more than 200 years later.A long-form article in Grantland tells the story of freed American slave and boxer Tom Molineaux in England of the early 19th century.
Betrayal is what led to his defenestration from ESPN the last time around. Betrayal is why his best piece of writing never found the audience it deserved. And betrayal is at the heart of why the most prominent black sportswriter around is also the most hated sportswriter in the black community, and why, 10 months after Jason Whitlock first announced his new endeavor, a black sports and culture site that he'll run under the aegis of his old enemy ESPN, the project is still struggling to get off the ground.
Bill Simmons, Grantland boss and 30 for 30 executive producer, went from a little known Boston blogger to one of the most successful sports writers in the history of American media. Rolling Stone's Rob Tannenbaum took a deeper look at Simmons.
The December 16, 1996 issue of Sports Illustrated featured Someone to Lean On, a longform article by Gary Smith [previously]: "We begin way over there, out on the margin. We begin with a dirty, disheveled 18-year-old boy roaring down a hill on a grocery cart, screaming like a banshee, holding a transistor radio to his ear. No one ever plays with him, for he can barely speak and never understands the rules. He can't read or write a word. He needs to be put away in some kind of institution, people keep telling his mother, because anything, anything at all, can happen out there on the margin," begins the article. It's the story of James Robert Kennedy, nicknamed Radio, popularized by Cuba Gooding Jr.'s portrayal in the 2003 movie of the same name. Want to know how Radio and Coach Harold Jones are doing these days? Check our their website for a brief update: Radio is 68 and still attending school and helping out with the athletic teams. [more inside]
Roger Angell is the greatest of all baseball writers. Today, the game has recognized the fact. This July, along with Joe Torre, Bobby Cox, and Tony La Russa, Roger will be celebrated in Cooperstown, New York, the site of the Hall of Fame. He will receive the J. G. Taylor Spink Award, which has previously gone to the likes of Grantland Rice, Red Smith, Ring Lardner, and Damon Runyon. [more inside]
I know how much can be at stake when a man takes a four-hour walk: Everything. The incomparable Gary Smith relates the tragic tale of 2004 Olympic hopeful Albert Heppner. [more inside]
Joe Posnanski, 2011's National Sportswriter of the Year, has an incredible portfolio of work. He also wrote 'Paterno', and writes for Sports on Earth. Previously, we addressed our tremendous respect and adoration for renowned film critic, courageous fighter, and man-about-town Roger Ebert. Today, on Posnanski's personal blog, an incredible treat: Roger Ebert's Opening Sentences. [more inside]
But back in 1996, users of the proto-Web community Usenet got spammed with messages that reached an almost transcendent level of bizarre—a weirdness so precise it implied the influence of a very human intelligence. “Markovian Parallax Denigrate,” read the title of each post, followed by a mountain of seemingly meaningless word spew:Unraveling the Internet’s oldest and weirdest mystery
Is ESPN columnist Sarah Phillips scamming people on the internet? Eight months ago, a writer who specializes in sports-betting was hired by ESPN, sight-unseen. Fast-forward six months and accusations are swirling that she is either not who she says she is, or she is using her platform to grift internet gamblers and content creators. A story that's about fifty percent JT Leroy and fifty percent Nigerian prince.
Best known as the butt of jokes among sports bloggers and for their ever-present slideshows, Bleacher Report is slowly taking steps to offer better content. [more inside]
"My father was one of the finest sportswriters of his generation. But his legacy is more complicated than that."
Forgive Some Sinner. "With age 70 bearing down hard upon him, Dad had by then written for better than 40 years, during which he had become celebrated, later disgraced, and I would like to think ultimately redeemed... Good as some of his old stories are, it always seemed to me that his own was better than any of them; I only wish he had written it himself." Mark Kram Jr. examines his late father's complicated legacy.