1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

an excellent Verducci response

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SheaSeals, May 24, 2007.

  1. SheaSeals

    SheaSeals Member

    I was just reading Verducci's mailbag on SI.com, and I loved his answer to this question. Not the part about Gibbons, but his take on being a journalist. I think it's what makes him such an excellent first-person writer: He's aware the reader doesn't care about his background or actions, so much as what's going on around him, and how that impacts him. (Hmmm ... Maybe I didn't state that well, but I just think he's great in this area ...). We are, sadly, mired in an era of me-me-me journalism, when an increasing number of us strive not simply to write excellent copy or—in the case of TV—produce an impactful piece, but to become stars/"personalities." I don't know Tom especially well, but he's never struck me as such a person.

    Q: I am envious. As a fan of the game and true dreamer I still play softball at the age of 42. Each time I'm on the field I think of it as my Major League moment. Did the team or stadium staff offer you anything to commemorate your day? Something to say that for one day you knew what all us "kids" dream of?
    -- Scott Miller, Trenton, Ontario

    A: Toronto manager John Gibbons did tell me after the game to keep the uniform, which was a very classy thing to do from a very classy guy. He's one of the few managers I've ever been around who really gets it, a John Wayne kind of competitor (ask Ted Lilly and Shea Hillenbrand) who still understands that this is a game and a public trust and doesn't take himself too seriously. And you can be assured that I know I'm sort of your proxy out there. I believe that's true even when I am interviewing and writing about baseball people, not just playing right field. I do this because, first of all, I love it, but I also do it because I know there are lots of people just like yourself who may not have the access that I do but still want to know and experience the game from the inside out.
  2. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    If Tom Verducci is reading this (or if someone wants to tell him), he got downloaded from the roster as a pinch-hitter and outfielder (just says T. Verducci, but I assume it's him) for the Blue Jays on my Verizon cell phone's version of MLB 07. The other day, virtual Verducci got a pinch-hit single and scored on a double in a win over the Orioles. Showed some good speed there on the bases.

    I presume there must be someone at Verizon and/or MLB07 who dug the Verducci experiment. But, Tom, you might want to check in to see if there are some royalties that should be coming your way. :)
  3. SportsDude

    SportsDude Active Member

    That is totally cool. As a big fan of that story, I got a real kick out of hearing that.
  4. novelist_wannabe

    novelist_wannabe Well-Known Member

    Sooo ... did he keep the uniform?
  5. rdeitsch

    rdeitsch New Member

    When I was 20 I wrote a pair of letters to two sports journalists I admired. One was a Buffalo News columnist. The other was Tom Verducci. The letters asked for advice. I wanted to know how I could become a great writer.
    I never heard back from the Buffalo News columnist despite the fact he lived less than 10 miles away. Verducci wrote me back about a month later. The note was handwritten in blue ink and offered more encouraging words than I deserved. I saved the letter. It's stored at my mother's house.
    Years later I got to serve as the reporter on Verducci’s cover story on Kevin Brown. Reporters at SI are responsible for the accuracy of stories. Every fact is to be checked and double-checked against multiple sources. The Brown piece was easy to check because, well, everything checked out. But the real treat was to marinate for a week inside the mind of Verducci. What was it like? It was like sitting behind van Gogh as he painted.
    Those who cover baseball can tell far more personal stories. I remember once working on a World Series commemorative. I forget the year, but it was close to 2 in the morning and an editor had forgotten to tell Tom that we needed a piece that night in order for the commemorative to close on time. That meant waking Tom up in the middle of the night following the final game of a World Series. (He had been filing a game-by-game recap of the Series and we needed the last game and an intro to the piece to close the book.) Fifty-two minutes after we jarred him from a deep sleep, Verducci filed 900 words. It was so good that I felt like throwing up, knowing I'd never write anything nearly as memorable.
    A couple of years later I came up with an idea for SI.com, a month-long project giving writers the opportunity to write short essays on their pick for Sportsman of the Year. It might be the best (only) idea I've had. The Red Sox were SI’s Sportsmen of the Year that year and the story that Verducci wrote is one of the best magazine pieces I've ever read. In one of the more ridiculous requests of the century, I emailed him asking him if he wanted to do a web essay in addition to his magazine piece. I should have been slapped. Sure, I didn't want him to miss out on a project most of the staff was doing, but the truth was I was looking for his cachet to help the first year of the project.
    Two days later the following showed up in my inbox:
    I'm much tighter with other writers and staffers at SI but there is no one I respect more. Verducci could be a superstar on television but loves the printed word. He treats people at SI, no matter age or position, with class and grace. When people ask me about Tom Verducci, I don't have many personal stories to tell. I simply utter a single word:
  6. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    That's a great post, RD.

    And goddamn. That Montgomery Expos piece was good. That guy is just so much better than the field--on and off the laptop, so to speak--it's not funny.
  7. Simon_Cowbell

    Simon_Cowbell Active Member

    Shivers, deitsch.


    I bow.
  8. CHETtheJET

    CHETtheJET Member

    I miss him in Newsday. Believe he last newspaper gig before S.I. I think at time Peter King was there for a few years too.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page