Sunday, May 06, 2012

Excellent Sports Writing - by Dan Wetzel / Wright Thompson / Tom Verducci / Dave Sheinin

I've been thinking over the past few days that since I brought up the whole topic of types of sports writing, it makes sense to post here on some of the best sports pieces I've seen lately.

Favorite feature story I've seen was "The Kid Who Wasn't There" by Wright Thompson for ESPN. Thompson writes lengthy pieces that tend to appear on the longer form E:60 section of the ESPN site and this one is remarkable both in the amount of research put into it (as revealed in a post to writing site Grangry), and the story itself. Topic of the piece is an Odessa, TX high school basketball player living under the assumed name, Jerry Joseph (he was actually in his early 20s and grew up Guerdwich Montimere in Florida). It's ridiculously good writing that traffics heavily in the concept of identity and how fractured and shape-shifting it can be.

Another very solid lengthy feature piece was actually printed a year ago for Washington Post. The Dave Sheinin written profile "For the love of Bryce Harper: Get ready, Washington. You're about to fall head over heels for the Nationals' newest star." gives an excellent view into the 19 year-old baseball phenom. Also, and onn the occasion his recent major league league call up, Tom Verducci wrote the shorter piece "With Harper, future of Nationals -- and maybe the game -- has arrived" for the Sports Illustrated website.

Final thing to mention in this post is around a writer who consistently produces great work for Yahoo! Sports, Dan Wetzel. My favorite piece from him was "Bubba Watson won the Masters with his own brand of golf, but family trumps his green jacket" and two other stories that stood out were "Pat Summitt stepping aside as Tennessee coach could lead to her raising awareness of Alzheimer's" and "Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III go 1,2 in the draft, and now pressure really starts to mount." Wetzel's writing (at least that for Yahoo!) seems to tend towards blended player analysis/feature piece work and he publishes frequently... with 15 pieces (including those on Pat Summitt and Luck/Griffin) between the Apr 10 Bubba Watson piece and today.