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Pat Jordan, interview wrangler

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by verbalkint, Apr 3, 2011.

  1. verbalkint

    verbalkint Member

    In the interest of craft discussion, just wanted to ask what people thought of Pat Jordan's handling of his Times Magazine piece on the Phillies p(h)itching staff. The story's here:


    Alongside some good analysis of their pitches, there's some description of how damn hard it was to talk to them, including sections like this:

    Surely, this kind of thing happens to every beat writer all the time, and these kinds of stories are more likely to end up on this message board than in the newspaper. But when is it a good idea to report it?

    In this case, it works for me, as it seems Jordan got limited (maybe 10-15 min. tops) access to each of the pitchers, and instead of trying to find their character during the interviews, he tried to find it in how they approached the interview itself. As I read it, I kept in mind that Jordan's "Chasing Jose," (http://deadspin.com/#!372409/chasing-jose-by-pat-jordan) which I consider a minor masterpiece, is essentially a story about an interview that does not take place.

    When should one write about difficult interview subjects, and "Greg Casterioto, the media guy," if ever? Did he make the right choice?
  2. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Just finished, It was a really well done story.
  3. Cousin Jeffrey

    Cousin Jeffrey Active Member

    Complaining about interview subjects like that only works when you're a writer like Pat Jordan. For one, he's been doing this long enough, and so well, he gets an enormous rope, and two, in this case, he was trying to draw a line between the old warhorses and the new breed, and that helped do it. I really liked this story, both for the technical specificity and the final myth-deflating judgment he bestowed on the group.

    If anyone hasn't read "A False Spring," do it soon.
  4. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Active Member

    Sometimes, not always, the best story is the one the dodging, roadblocks, maybes, spin, promises, laters, handling, big-timing, avoidance and egos leave you with.
  5. Elliotte Friedman

    Elliotte Friedman Moderator Staff Member

    Haven't read the whole story yet, but, from covering Halladay for awhile, he's extremely particular. If you interrupt his routine, he will say no. There are only specific times he does interviews.
  6. Raiders

    Raiders Guest

    Pat Jordan is such a fine writer. I've read "A False Spring" and all his other works, too.

    I love how he doesn't take shit from most athletes (hello, Canseco), and then writes it as he sees it. And he always sees his stories well. I read anything Jordan writes, and he usually leaves me hungry for more.
  7. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    I shouldn't be naive at this point in my career, but I was surprised that Pat Jordan and SI had these kinds of problems. I was still lingering under the old impression that SI got pretty much whatever it wanted, whenever it wanted, but I guess that's kind of dumb -- these guys didn't grow up with SI as THE main sports publication in the country.
  8. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    It's not SI, SF, the article was for the Sunday Times magazine. PS: I thought the piece was specious in the extreme.
  9. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I agree. He basically pandered like crazy to the old-timers. Did he consider that pitching might just be different these days, not worse? Bob Gibson only threw his hardest when he needed to; today's pitcher is asked to do that on every pitch.

    The writing, though, was absolutely on point. I love the part where he talked about watching Blanton briefly, then walking away to watch Lee and getting a nasty look.
  10. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    I'm trying to figure out how I was supposed to know that aside from, you know, the URL and things like that.
  11. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Maybe this is one of reasons that Lee wanted to go back to Philly. They seem to really shelter their players which allows them to focus more.
  12. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    My first thought in reading the beginning of the story was that nobody who's pitched in the last 20-30 years must be worth a flip. The most current pitcher he referenced on his own was Nolan Ryan. Greg Maddux was mentioned in a quote.
    Fortunately, I stayed with the story and was rewarded. It was really, really good. Like someone else mentioned, the way he and the Phillies pitchers broke down the technical aspects of their pitches was pretty fascinating. I love those kinds of stories. They work really well with baseball, where there's so many little things that go on during a seemingly mundane at-bat that you never even realize.
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