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Lupica: "I don't do that" and other great outtakes from The National story

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by WildBillyCrazyCat, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. I've killed most of the morning reading the excellent story at Grantland, "The Greatest Paper That Ever Died."

    Some of the best bits: A section devoted to the smugness of Mike Lupica.


    Also love the line, "Did Governor Weld really console us?"
  2. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Any talk about The National never gets old for me. I was lucky enough to work with/for several people who worked there and I never got sick of the stories that are just crazy.
  3. PaulS

    PaulS Member

    I worked in Oklahoma and frequently drove to Kansas in those days. The highlight of my trip was stopping at a gas station/Dairy Queen that had a National rack. Still have every issue I bought.
  4. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Charlie Pierce is one of my dearest friends, and I am friends with many National alumni. It's a great and funny story, no doubt about it.
    BUT, for 20 years, it has irritated me no end that National alums tend to speak about the experience as if they were veterans of some major U.S. battle such as Belleau Wood or Omaha Beach rather than employees of a bat-brained business venture that went toes up in spectacular fashion.
    I mean, there's a lot more bonding among these folks now than there ever was when the National was operating. It just strikes me as a weird thing to be nostalgic about. Do the former employees of Pets.com have reunions?
  5. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I think they wear it as a badge of honor that they were part of a group that was "the best of the best".
  6. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Amazing that Lupica was even that much of a colossal douche 20 years ago...
  7. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Mizzou, almost all the National writers were and are outstanding sportswriters. Were they the collective best of the best of 1990? No. At least, one could have assembled 2 or 3 other staffs of entirely different writers who would have been their equals.
    There are a LOT of talented people in this field, which is why I was always honored to be a small part of it. I dislike professional elitism intensely. For all I know, there's some kid knocking out high school volleyball stories in East Nowhere, No State I'd Ever Live who's the best sportswriter in the U.S.
  8. Twoback

    Twoback Active Member

    I'd been in the business about 7-8 years when The National came along, had an OK rep and three APSE awards. I remember feeling a little left out when my phone didn't even ring for an interview -- like, how come they called that guy and not me? But I never for a moment would have considered taking it.
    I was probably making 45 grand at the time at a metro daily in a major league city. They were paying more than 60 grand to the people they considered "beat writers." When I saw the product and that they were paying 60 grand to guys they were allowing to write 12-inch game stories, I knew they had zero chance to make it.
    Sportswriters are nostalgic for The National because it was a fantasy. Everybody does what they like, Everybody gets paid more than they're worth.
  9. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    I don't know if it was 'best of the best.' A lot of folks with really incredible jobs and established careers jumped from the sure thing into this unknown experiment; seems understandable that there would be a sincere sense of fraternity among so many people who made the identical career choice, with no clue whether it would work.
  10. Clerk Typist

    Clerk Typist Guest

    It was, however, a newspaper all-star team, much as Sports Illustrated's stable was a magazine all-star team under Andre Laguerre. Probably the best newspaper staff since the New York Herald-Tribune under Stanley Woodward.
  11. Cousin Jeffrey

    Cousin Jeffrey Active Member

    I feel like that story (which I loved) was a gift to this website. Next up: An Oral History on How People at SportsJournalists.com Feel About Bill Simmons.
  12. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Actually, the National was merely ahead of its time. It was basically a print version of ESPN.com, with the Mexican mogul's deep pockets instead of Disney Co.'s deeper pockets.
    Aside from its self-inflicted business wounds, which were deep, the National wasn't THAT much better than the big-city paper sports sections that it could compete for readers with the entire big-city papers offering news, comics, arts coverage, etc.
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