The Nature of The Job

Joe Posnanski may be the best sports columnist in America. (Though, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better sports column in America this morning than the one Rick Bozich wrote about major league ump and Kentucky native Tom Hallion, who is working the World Series).

Posnanski boasts that he has the longest blog entries in America, and I don’t doubt it. But one of the long ones last week gave a great glimpse into sportswriting.

Titled Sportswriting and Life, Part II, the entry talks about the challenge of writing a sports column in the “Around the Horn” age when everyone expects every opinion you have to be over the top and shouted from the rooftops.

An excerpt:

these people on Around The Horn seem to be HOPPING MAD about the the Texans’ draft, they could not me more alarmed about Detroit’s payroll, they’re having a fit because the Lakers’ defense is not as good as it should be. Maybe that gets at what bugs me so much about the show. It doesn’t seem real to me. I feel like I’m probably a pretty opinionated person. I like peanut M&Ms more than regular, Mary Ann more than Ginger, window seats over aisle, whatever. But there really are some things that I don’t know enough or care enough about to offer an opinion. And even more to the point, there are some sports issues — lots of sports issues, in fact — that I don’t think are black and white, up and down, Mariotti or Paige. Sometimes, I think, both sides might be right.

It’s a great point that people sometimes forget.

Sometimes, there are gray areas. And it’s tough to include shades of gray in a 550-word column.

Example: Last week, I took up the subject of Bobby Petrino’s legacy at U of L. I wrote, and I believe, that there’s been too much of a move to put down what he accomplished at U of L. I thought his record at U of L deserved defending. And I did.

I also believe that there were a couple of areas, just a couple, where U of L athletic director Tom Jurich and new coach Steve Kragthorpe found problems. While I don’t think they were left a lack of talent, I think they were left some surprises.

I’ve said it before — I don’t think those should have meant that U of L went 6-6 last season. There were enough on-field problems with last year’s team no matter what the off-field issues were.

But when you try to explain these issues, people assume you’re on one side or the other. They don’t see that there are two sides and both may have some merit. Try to explain this and people will accuse you of going back and forth or going “soft” on one side or the other. But sometimes these things defy a simple explanation.

Joe does a great job pointing this out in his blog. It’s worth a look.

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