Wednesday column feedback

A couple of interesting notes on today’s column, which dealt with the sports background of many of today’s political pundits . . .

From former C-J political columnist Al Cross, now a journalism professor and director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues at the University of Kentucky:

Eric:

I enjoyed your column today about the intersections of sports, politics and journalism. Here’s my story: As a kid, I was a bookworm who often went to the library instead of the ballfield, but I loved to watch the Game of the Week (that’s all there was in the early ’60s), partly because Dizzy Dean was so entertaining and my father knew Pee Wee Reese. One day at the library I discovered a book, “How to Score Baseball Games,” and started keeping score of the TV games. The local Little League and Babe Ruth League needed an official scorekeeper, and hired me to do the job — which also included writing up games for the Clinton County News. So, at the age of 11, I was getting bylines, giving end-of-game summaries on WANY Radio (a prelude to a radio “career” as a teenager) and making older kids mad by calling errors instead of hits. I quickly realized that calling the former raised both batting and fielding averages, and the latter reduced them. I wondered if I was applying Major League (they didn’t capitalize it back then) standards and being too tough. I will always be thankful for one coach, Joe Talbott, who told me, “Call ’em like you see ’em,” and others who said likewise. I didn’t realize until many years later that Joe’s comment, and my job, were good training for political reporting and commentary. And I think today’s official scorers are a little soft.

From Bob Edwards, host of The Bob Edwards Show on XM Satellite Radio Ch. 133, weekdays at 8 a.m.:

Good column today. I’ve always been fascinated by the popularity of the Chicago Cubs among the Washington press corps—David Broder, George Will and Bruce Morton are all big Cub fans. You can read whatever you like into that.

As for Scotty Reston, he was the P-R guy for Powell Crosley and the Cincinnati Reds in 1934. That’s when the Reds hired Red Barber out of Gainesville, Florida and told him to report to the future Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the New York Times. Red always loved telling that story.

And from reader David Morris:

I usually don’t follow your column because many of them are, well, a little nutty. This one showed more perspective, and actually for you a surprising amount. It connects directly sports to life. Being a sportsman, I enjoyed that. Good work, and congratulations. I hope you’ll keep sharing that perspective with us, and consider doing so more often. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go look at todays “The Far Side.”

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