Sportswriting from The New Yorker

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

New Yorker editor David Remnick and longtime writer Roger Angell discuss the art of sports writing. The Only Game in Town, Sportswriting from the New Yorker is a classic collection of more than eighty years of some of the wisest, funniest, and most moving sports writing around—from reportage and analysis to profiles and tributes.


Roger Angell and David Remnick

Comments [6]

For Ms. Barrie on a "Spy in the House that Ruth Built." It doesn't take a feminist or post-feminist to understand and truly love this video. More than that, it is arrogant to suggest that she has special knowledge because of her academic creds. Is she saying that a woman needs to have this background to "get it"? And that a man can't? Go to a Yankee or a Met game, professor, if you can afford it, and see how many women who probably, and unfortunately, read only the NY Post, are enthralled with the beauty of the game. And ask the writer/director just how she came to feel about the game - where her impetus was bred. I know the answer. It's even right there, in the video. She made poetry, you write pose. Mis-spelling intended.

Jul. 30 2010 09:27 AM
Dorothy from Manhattan

I tuned in very late -- I never would have expected to have any interest in this subject, but it was very interesting - The top of my to-do list for this evening is to listen to the entire interview on line. Thanks, Leonard.

Jul. 20 2010 04:12 PM

For a beautiful text about baseball, beautiful writing embodied in the video as a whole, see this 29-minute 1989 art video “A Spy in the House That Ruth Built” by artist Vanalyne Green, distributed by Women Make Movies (WMM and Video Data Bank ( One has to understand feminism deeply and philosophically to get it though, rather than dismissing it as your guests imply they would do in their brief discussion of metaphors and those they found acceptable or laughable or ridiculous. One needs to watch repeatedly to understand the layers and composition of this unusual feminist intervention into conventional video-making and into baseball discourse. And then take down the written text and ponder it. Best done after studying a lot of feminist thought, inquiries and studies, and aiming at understanding a form feminist consciousness could take in a certain era or at a certain moment, and why, in context of that time but also with general implications. Suggest combining this project with a good close reading study of the essay by Luce Irigaray, "This Sex Which Is Not One" and the many related explanatory texts about it (the prime accurate ones, not the many inaccurate ones), as well as the history of feminist inquiries about female subjectivity and a theme of exile from language, where in this case & pov, baseball and its culture are thought and written. Writing has something to do with women (sorry to interrupt with this news!), gender, sexuality, and feminism, and the culture of baseball does too.

Jul. 20 2010 02:27 PM
Mike from Tribeca

JTA from Brooklyn -- speaking of David Foster Wallace and tennis, his review of Tracy Austin's autobiography ("How Tracy Austin Broke My Heart" and included in the collection "Consider the Lobster") had me laughing and cringing from start to finish. Talk about no holds barred!

Jul. 20 2010 01:52 PM
JTA from Brooklyn

I'd just like to give a shoutout to tennis writing. McPhee's Levels of the Game is my favorite of his; The Inner Game of Tennis taught me tons about mental toughness and life in general; and David Foster Wallace's piece on Roger Federer is fantastic. I think that individual sports (tennis, boxing and, in a way baseball) best lend themselves to sports writing as there is such intense psychological pressure and a player's true inner workings come to bear. Even Stefan Fatsis' book on trying out for the Broncos is about being the kicker - essentially an individual sport within the game of football.

Jul. 20 2010 01:42 PM
Mike from Tribeca

I hope your esteemed guests bring up A.J. Liebling. His writing on boxing is still the best. Then again, wasn't everything he wrote the best?

Jul. 20 2010 12:22 PM

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