January 21, 2010

Posnanski

If you click here (or here), you can read Joe Posnanski* on Carlton Fisk's recent comments on steroids and how things are far more complicated than most people want them to be.

* A lot of people think Pos is the best thing that has happened to the sportswriting biz in a long, long time. Maybe they are right, but their opinions seem a bit over the top**. Don't get me wrong, I think he's great, both in quality and quantity. His progressive ideas, deep understanding of history, and willingness to truly think, both before he writes and right there on the page/screen, set him miles apart from his contemporaries. Like Bill James, he is far more interested in having a conversation than telling you "this is how it is". Yet reading his blog, I always feel like he should have gone through the post one more time, tightened it up, fixed the typos, etc.***.

** Has anyone read his book on the Big Red Machine? More people have probably read his Buck O'Neil book. I really liked the BRM excerpt in SI and will probably buy the paperback.

*** But when I read his stuff, it makes me want to write. After I read his Christmas story, besides thinking, damn, that was great, I felt like writing my own I-delivered-newspapers-as-a-kid post****. I didn't do it -- but I did think about it, and I remembered one evening while collecting payment, one guy, somehow my last name came up, and he asked me if I was related to Merle Wood and I said yes (this was in a senior housing complex, so he was likely asking about my father's father, though my father also had the same first name) and this guy got really angry and told me (I wish I could remember the exact quote) how he *hated* him. This guy wasn't the most pleasant guy anyway, but he said it with real disgust. And even now, 30 years later, I wonder what was behind that comment.*****

**** And maybe that is the best compliment I can give about Posnanski's writing, or anyone's writing, for that matter. He makes me think -- and he makes me want to write.

***** Guy's name was Howard Dudley. Whitcomb Woods, Essex Junction, Vermont. Any relatives out there? :>)

23 comments:

L-girl said...

Channeling DFW, eh.

L-girl said...

And maybe that is the best compliment I can give about Posnanski's writing, or anyone's writing, for that matter. He makes me think -- and he makes me want to write.

It is a compliment of very high order.

Did you ever find out why that man hated your grandfather or father?

redsock said...

Actually, it's the way Posnanski does his own footnotes -- in italics after the paragraph -- though he doesn't usually go to *****.

redsock said...

Did you ever find out why that man hated your grandfather or father?

No. The normal question right there would have been "Why?", but I likely felt too shy or the situation was too odd. And it had to have been my grandfather, who I don't remember since he died shortly after I turned four. But from what little I know about him, I like to think he banged ol' Howard's wife.

L-girl said...

Actually, it's the way Posnanski does his own footnotes -- in italics after the paragraph -- though he doesn't usually go to *****.

Oops. I guess he & DFW have something in common.

But from what little I know about him, I like to think he banged ol' Howard's wife.

I was thinking that might be a possibility.

redsock said...

Now I'm not so sure I hope a relative is reading!

FenFan said...

Thanks for the link - that was a great article! I'm going to have to add Posnanski to my personal blogroll.

FenFan said...

I had a couple of paper routes growing up, too, from age nine until I was 18. Besides having to hassle people for money every week, the only downside I remember was a couple people who had unfriendly dogs. I was chased more than a few times by angry mutts until I finally got fed up and brought my tennis racket with me. Service!

redsock said...

Go back into December and read The Royal Decade. Also top notch. His long piece on snuggies is also a minor cult hit.

Pos is right about asking WTF was the deal with collecting. Major pain in the ass because of course you had to make multiple trips since not everyone was home the first two times you were out. Every month we had to go to the bank to give the money to a guy (from the paper, I guess) who was in charge of sorting out the money.

Do kids still have paper routes? When we had a paper coming to our house here, we did all the starting, stopping, paying, and noting a missed day via the web. We never saw the person who drove around and delivered the papers.

nick said...

DFW was my first thought, too. Love the nested footnotes however annotated.

(p.s. been utterly invisible on the Infinite Winter front. I love what I've read, but I'm more at the 45 pgs/mo level right now--more like Infinite Years.)

L-girl said...

Making the "paper boy" lay out money and collect from customers is a thing of the past.

For the tiny percentage of people who still get home delivery, payments are handled by credit card. When our generation dies out, home delivery of newspapers will die out with it - along with the paper newspapers themselves.

redsock said...

I do not recall ever having to lay out money. It would get carried over to the next month, but presumably we'd get it from the customer(s). And the Free Press gave out these calendars with the months on them like this

March
2_________________
9_________________
16 _______________
23________________
30________________

and we had to sign our name/initials on the person's calendar to show they had paid for that month (or however many weeks).

I also delivered a local weekly paper that came out in the afternoon. We picked them up at the same place it was printed at -- like a few hours later. I was telling L the other day how much I loved that smell, though I have no idea how to describe it.

redsock said...

Nick: Everybody has been fucking invisible. Except Ofer a little bit. I'm losing my desire to post stuff into the void. What page are you at?

Zenslinger said...

I love the Posnanski. Shows that you can bring analysis and passion to sports writing.

I am sorry for dropping out of Infinite Winter. It just seems daunting to try to get back into it now.

johngoldfine said...

Howard DUDLEY??? I hate that asshole!

Philip said...

DFW is David Foster Wallace, right?

I was at a SABR meeting in Boston on Monday that Rays LF Fernando Perez spoke at, and he quoted Foster Wallace. I'm going to be rooting for Perez from now on--he is interesting, articulate, friendly, and an excellent poet/writer.

redsock said...

What did he say?

(Since Wallace died, so many people are name-dropping him in stories and media articles (it bothers me), but I'll give Perez the benefit of the doubt for now!)

A Conformer said...

My main reaction from reading that (really good) post by Pos, specifically the part about pitching in the 60s and hitting in the late 90s, was "Man, was Pedro good!"

Philip said...

He read from "How Tracy Austin Broke My Heart" as part of his lecture about the pressure and inevitable disappointment involved with sports biographies and interviews. He was making the point that we assign this super-human quality to athletes who are just human.

L-girl said...

Howard DUDLEY??? I hate that asshole!

LMAO

Schruender said...

Anyone that makes you want to write is a good writer, but anyone who makes you want to read more is a great writer.

SoSock said...

Nice reads - both stories. The Fisk article and the paper boy story.
Yours too for that matter. :)

AndreasoxfanA said...

That almost made me tear up, really is a great meaningful post. I believe he would be extremely flattered as a writer, and maybe it is true what they say about how good he is at what he does.
When you see his "human errors" and you wonder why he didn't go back and perfect his punctuation or spelling, do you ever think maybe it isn't an oversight at all, but a way to express his personality? Or how much different his posts would read if they were perfect?
Thank you again for the wonderful story..
Andrea