In the process of doing a post a week ago on my Best 2010 Writing Linked To, there were a number of really good pieces that just missed the Best cut.
One category of writing that said close to the Best stuff fell into was sports and there was some really good pieces I came across in the past year from both Sports Illustrated and elsewhere by SI writers.
In terms of volume, Sports Illustrated writer Joe Posnanski stood out with three different pieces linked to that I found exceptional (yea, I guess they didn't make the Best cut, but exceptional nonetheless).
The two SI stories were both on football (and related to Posnanski's hometown Kansas City Chiefs). From the Dec 6 issue was A Dream In The Making about Kansas City Chiefs General Manager Scott Pioli and from the Aug 23 Sports Illustrated, a profile of NFL veteran Tony Richardson titled Made to Last. Both stories qualified as excellent writing... a thorough look at the subject, rooted in human interest, but not so much that it took away from the subject described (which can happen sometimes with stories leaning towards the profound).
Also excellent writing from Posnanski was his July 2 SI blog entry The Quisenberry Tree (on former Royals pitcher Dan Quisenberry). I wrote a fair amount of commentary when linking to the the piece and copied into my blog post a really cool missive from Posnanski that touches on words, writing and conveying meaning through them.
Two other stories of note from Sports Illustrated...
In SI's June 28 edition, Chris Ballard (who wrote the Jill Costello profile referenced as Best Writing) provided The Magical Season Of The Macon Ironmen. Very interesting piece on a tremendous accomplishment... and which gave me reason to post a Hoosiers clip in my post linking to it!
From the April 12 issue was The Genuine Point Guard on Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns. Written by Charles Pierce, I wrote in my blog entry linking to it of how Pierce uses a specific choice of language to describe Nash. Very similar to Posnanski's writing on Quisenberry in that it shows both an appreciation of and excellent usage of words to tell a story.
As I state in the heading...
Blog is all about words because... they matter, they influence, they entertain and when you take 'em and put them down on a page in a meaningful order, they acquire permanence.