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The smaller the ball the better the writing?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Jake_Taylor, Jun 16, 2006.

  1. Jake_Taylor

    Jake_Taylor Well-Known Member

    OK, the baseball writers thread reminded me of a couple of years ago when I met most of my future in-laws for the first time. I was chatting with one of my fiance's aunts about my job and she said she had always heard that "the smaller the ball the better the writing."

    I had never heard that before, but I started thinking about it and it seemed like she might be right, at least to a degree. Anybody else ever heard this or thought about it? If it's true is there any reason behind it? The only thing I could think of was that golf and baseball have more day games and it's a slower game with more time to craft a story. Of course I have no idea where pucks and race cars fit into any of this.
  2. Flying Headbutt

    Flying Headbutt Moderator Staff Member

    Who are some of the top bocce ball writers?
  3. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Yeah, because of all the deadline pressure of those Sunday afternoon NFL games, which of course move at such a frantic pace you just can't keep up with the action.

    In case you haven't noticed, the vast majority of baseball games are now played at night.
  4. Jake_Taylor

    Jake_Taylor Well-Known Member

    Hey, I'm just trying to figure out why some people in general public think this way. And night baseball, that's crazy. Next thing you're going to tell me is they are putting lights up at Wrigley Field. It's quite possible that if there ever was anything to this idea, it's now an outdated one from the days of day baseball.

    You're right though football generally doesn't have a lot of deadline pressure. Usually it's been easier for me to craft a baseball gamer as the game goes on than other sports, but I know there are tons of people out there that write a better football gamer than I do.
  5. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    Jai-alai ... now, there's a sport you could wax poetic about.

    Seriously, though. To my memory (and it's been about 20 years), I never had much of a problem sitting down and crafting a football lede. Baseball, I had to think hard about sometimes. Basketball, even more often.
  6. sportsed

    sportsed Guest

    Ladies and gentlemen, I believe the winning joke is: Are features about John Kruk really that awesome?
  7. shockey

    shockey Active Member

    marbles beat writers are da best. 8) 8) 8)
  8. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Provided you still got all your marbles, shockey.
  9. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    The quote is generally, although perhaps wrongly, attributed to George Plimpton. But it wasn't about newspapers specifically, or even deadline writing in general. Another popular version of his little epigram goes like this:

    “The smaller the ball used in the sport, the better the book.”

    He was talking in broader terms about the body of American literature our various sports have produced over time in all forms and in all fields. And while, like any aphorism, it's as wrong as it is right, there is some truth in the statement.

    A great deal more good writing has come out of baseball than basketball or football. There's been more good writing about golf than there has been about volleyball or bowling. And so on.

    The reason being, most likely, that golf and baseball are games that can bear a great deal more metaphorical freight than other sports. They tend to be ruminative games; and they attract equally ruminative people to them. John Updike for example, who may have been the inspiration for Plimpton's catchy little homily, has written extensively and beautifully about both golf and baseball.

    For those of you despairing of making a mark in literature as prominent as his, however, there's this hope: The Great American Nine-Ball Novel remains unwritten.
  10. CarlSpackler

    CarlSpackler Active Member

    As a bowling and caber tossing beat writer, I take great offense to this assertion.
  11. Jake_Taylor

    Jake_Taylor Well-Known Member

    Thanks jgmacg, that was a much better answer than I ever hoped for.
  12. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member

    I think some of my best stories involved sports that don't even use a ball.
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