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Deford's confessions in SI

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by brettwatson, Mar 24, 2010.

  1. brettwatson

    brettwatson Active Member

    Frank Deford's multi-page effort in SI this week provides fodder for debate, starting with What the f--- is it?

    He traces the progress of modern-day sportswriting seen through the prism of .....Frank Deford.

    Self-indulgent, over-written and way too long, he comes across to me as a pitcher with an 82 mph fastball.

    I used to love this guy's work. But if this is the best he can do....oy vey.
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I haven't seen it yet.

    However, I still can't hit a 82 mph fastball.
  3. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member

    I skimmed it in the dentist's office today. Didn't read it thoroughly, but by the look of it, the two hours of dental work were the better choice.
  4. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

  5. mb

    mb Active Member

    Even Jamie Moyer thinks he should have packed it in by now.
  6. Den1983

    Den1983 Active Member

    Have yet to see it, but now I'm intrigued. I've always been a fan of Deford's.
  7. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    There was a time when I was an avid reader of anything Frank wrote but he went downhill almost as fast as Rick Reilly. Haven't paid any attention to anything he's written or said in about 20 years. He's completely irrelevant.
  8. Fran Curci

    Fran Curci Active Member

    Yeah, he's no Bill Simmons.
  9. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    I read it earlier today. I kept waiting for Deford's brilliance to shine, but in this story, it never happened. It just seemed like a bunch of random bits and pieces that never came together.
  10. fishhack2009

    fishhack2009 Active Member

    My SI arrives on Thursday. I'll at least read it. Deford's always been one of my favorite writers. "The Anglo Meets The Indian" from his best-of book was one of the saddest sports stories I've ever read.
  11. Small Town Guy

    Small Town Guy Well-Known Member

    It was strange because I didn't really get what the confession was. I thought he was going to admit to something heinous, like, the Toughest Coach Who Ever Lived actually wept at the end of Old Yeller. But I did like the anecdotes in it and I'm a sucker for inside baseball things so I enjoyed that. And I like reading about the history of SI - The Franchise is a must-read for anyone interested in Sports Illustrated's past - so I liked the little stories. But yeah, didn't really get what the point of it all was. I think it's unfair to say he hasn't written anything relevant in 20 years. He was gone from SI for a long time, but his occasional stories since returning in '98 have included some superb ones.

    And what writer doesn't go downhill? An honest question, is there a nonfiction writer out there whose stuff gets better and better as they go past the age of, say, 55, 60? It's not like it's unique with Deford or even sportswriters - Gay Talese wrote the most famous nonfiction piece perhaps ever - Frank Sinatra has a cold - and several other classics, including the Dimaggio one. But what's he done the last 30 years? Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe, Mark Kram, Curry Kirkpatrick, Reilly, Rushin, Deford, obviously a lot of people think Smith's best features are in the past. I think it's incredibly hard to maintain the commitment they put in to the longform journalism. In that MacCambridge SI book, Dan Jenkins talked about how difficult it was to maintain the drive and creativity. And Deford was struggling with it in the 80s even, when he started doing things like writing features as plays, shortly before he went to The National.

    But as long as he keeps ripping soccer, I'll be a big fan.
  12. VictoryGallop

    VictoryGallop Member

    Not to date myself, but in my parents' attic I dug up some of my old SIs I saved from 70s and 80s. Wow. The writing and storytelling in those days is just night-and-day compared to now. I mean night and day. You can grab any issue from any week back then and find a great, longform story to read. Now, almost never...
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