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Wright Thompson on McGwire

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by goalmouth, Dec 13, 2006.

  1. Herbert Anchovy

    Herbert Anchovy Active Member

    I don't remember that one, Double. Probably said it. I type a lot of shit here. Some of it I don't even believe in.

    Well, sorry to piss on Wright's thread. It's been fun as usual. Back to talking about this tremendous young writer...
  2. Columbo

    Columbo Active Member

    Almost Le Batardian.
  3. spinning27

    spinning27 New Member

    All you folks hating on Wright for this piece are silly.

    He obviously tried to get McGwire; I could be wrong here, but the story developed out of the fact that McGwire dosen't talk to anybody. I wasn't a fan of the Grbac piece, but I there is really no connection between that one and this one.

    It was one of Wright's best efforts, in my opinion.
  4. Editude

    Editude Active Member

    Good approach to a challenging subject who wouldn't talk. He's always been lower profile than his brother, going to a small, private high school (a tiny gym, too, if I can remember that far back) rather than the big public school in town, so the reserved existence is not new.
  5. Moland Spring

    Moland Spring Member

    Everyone talks about the writing, and this guy can definitely pen a phrase here or there. But I love the reporting. Just the few paragraphs about trying to find the trophy were worth it for me. Or this little bit of news:

    "The Martins stand inside the garage, just outside the door to the house. There's still a piece of freezer tape that the McGwires put up, letting people know that the button that looks like a buzzer actually raises and lowers the garage door. The next owners might never know who put it up."

  6. Piotr Rasputin

    Piotr Rasputin New Member

    Very well-written piece. I liked the structure of it, and it was probably easier for the writer to do it as a series of vignettes and visits rather than a standard story. Thought that was a good choice.

    BUT . . . . .

    It could have used some tighter editing. A grammatical issue or two, punctuation off in some places, and please . . it has never been, it is not, nor will it ever be, "DodgerS Stadium."
  7. Columbo

    Columbo Active Member

    Don't let Whitlock catch you writing that....

    Grammar schmammar!
  8. SixToe

    SixToe Well-Known Member

    Any other athletes like McGwire who have had great careers and then never given interviews in retirement?
  9. Pringle

    Pringle Active Member

    Sandy Koufax.
  10. I really liked the McGwire article.

    I also think at least mentioning/comparing it to the Grbac piece is warranted because essentially the same narrative device is used.
  11. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    My harsh take: Loaded with speculation, life philosophy and apparent only-Wright-can-see-it symbolism, the piece hems a catwalk dress on mostly uninsightful quotes and mundane "of course" details that are tricked up to create a psuedo-pyschological profile of McGwire that may or may not be true.

    Seriously. What gives a guy the latitude to write this:

    "He smiles. She does, too, but her eyes are vacant. Paul Martin understands the past is gone for his wife, and he understands that all we are, in the end, is a collection of the things that happened to us."


    "The best place to hide isn't in a cave or on an island. It's in the monotony of a daily routine."


    "By rejecting his past and creating a new future, McGwire is altering the arc of his family. He is changing all of their futures, and the way they will all view their past. Instead of the Hall of Fame defining them, his disappearance will. These are the decisions that shape a family."

    Let's not even dissect whether they're true or not, although the first two sound like Bill Murray lines in a Wes Anderson movie. What the hell are they doing in the story? Who called Mitch Albom? At least Albom copped to his tendency, said fuck it, and created a fictional heaven. The story's about a reclusive former beefcake. It ain't about the meaning of life. Or, if it is, it ain't about this meaning. Oddly, several of Thompson seems to take on this feel. At some point, you wonder if you'll stumble across the line "and a river runs through it" in one of his pieces.

    Thompson's a good writer. We know this. Of course, it's "good." But while he's not a "in this place, with those people, who did these things, in a time when they were young" word spender like Lupica, the article probably shouldn't be about all the people Mark McGwire hasn't talked to lately. There shouldn't be quotes from the guy who owned McGwire's house after his family left, or the son of the guy who used to be on McGwire's foundation. Some of it, obviously, works, like the USC material. But there's nothing particularly interesting or disinteresting about whether some old guy can find a plaque in a trophy case - and what the words say above the case in the new gym and how the sky looks and the wind smells...

    Can't you smell modern-day purple prose when you read it?

    McGwire's got family. Brothers. Where are they? Can we hear from them, maybe, or at least get a no comment, before we hear from the American Legion and Alaska league coaches? Has McGwire severed all ties with every former Cardinals teammate? Is that possible? Maybe. The guy never ventures outside the gates? Are we, I dunno, serious here? Does an editor not ask these questions? A news organization isn't the Iowa Writers Workshop.

    The story is genius in the sense that gives off the scent of tremendous effort - <i> I noticed the freezer tape </i> - until you start thinking about how much sense it makes that McGwire hasn't talked to all these people Thompson interviews.
  12. Baba_Booey

    Baba_Booey Member

    Well said, Alma. Wright is a great writer but this story was overwritten.
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