Thursday, September 29, 2011

Game 162 of the MLB 2011 Season & Great Writing on the Night

Stunning, crazy, epic, redonkulous... all words that apply to last night's events in the final game of the MLB regular season. I suppose one could make the point that once the playoffs start it doesn't matter how a team got there, but sports fan me would respectively disagree.

Yes, the players are the ones competing and they've all got their own motivations (including of course the paycheck variety), but the fans are by and large in it for the entertainment value provided. To that point, last night's Red Sox-Orioles and Yankees-Rays games were each remarkably entertaining in it's own right, but the two games viewed together as they should be... yep, redonkulous (this doesn't even consider the National League games yesterday).

I fully expected to find some great writing on the events transpired and (not surprisingly) the best I've seen today has been in pieces for the Sports Illustrated website from Tom Verducci and Joe Posnanski respectively.

Verducci wrote the illustratively-titled Drama of Game 162 never seen before and likely never will again and spent more time chronicling the events of the games than Posnaski did in his Baseball Night in America. While I found both works to be exceptionally solid (and Verducci's had the timeline of events), the piece by Posnanski really did it for me with it's vivid descriptions of what makes baseball so great for those who follow it.

Going back in time a bit this idea of baseball fandom was eloquently laid out by Kevin Van Valkenburg in A funny thing happened on the way to Camden Yards for the Baltimore Sun.

Very cool writing from all three guys on a sport that (as Posnanski says) can be boring, but also can be so very much more to it's fans.


Postscript - The text above was the original post done yesterday, but in the "too good to not include here" category was Six minutes that shook baseball history and put the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL playoffs from Michael Kruse and Ben Montgomery. Written for the St. Petersburg Times, it's got the same timeline approach that Tom Verducci provided, but also provides content around individual Rays fans and how they followed and reacted to the madness. Great human-element writing...