Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Joe Posnanski & Gary Smith for Sports Illustrated - on Baseball & Lyndon Baty

Two really good pieces from the last two issues of Sports Illustrated.

For the July 25 issue, Joe Posnanski wrote "Loving Baseball" about a cross-country road trip he took visiting different ballparks and spending time with icons like Dodgers announcer Vin Scully. Posnanski is an excellent writer who traffics very well in sentiment (more on that topic with the second piece) and he hits the metaphorical home run with this story.

The subtitle is "What Keeps the Grand Game Great? Everything Old is New Again" and topics covered range from Derek Jeter's epic game in which he got hit number 3,000 (story posted on and linked to here) to the bat Wonderboy from Robert Redford's The Natural. As Scully said upon reflecting on The Meaning of Baseball... "dreams and escape", and Posnanski does a really good job of putting that idea into print.


Out of last week's SI issue came another good piece from acclaimed writer Gary Smith (and the blog post on Jeter by Posnanski also links to a Smith article). "A Boy And His Bot" is about 15 year old Lyndon Baty and his life attending high school via robot (from VGo Communications). Baty suffers from polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and given his weak immune system any exposure to germs could prove deadly.

The story makes it into Sport Illustrated as Baty pursues his dream of being a sports announcer, but really it's another case of Smith penning a tale that on the fringe of sports, but squarely in the heartfelt. I've seen pieces by him before that went too far towards the sentiment, but the majority of his stuff seems more like this... well written and telling stories with a sports bent of people fighting through obstacles.

Quite solid writing from Messrs Posnanski and Smith.