Joe Posnanski deserves this SI position, and moreAugust 5, 2009 at 3:14 am | Posted in Media, Minda's Take, Writing | 2 Comments
My favorite writer is more than my favorite writer. And he’s finally getting the gig he has unquestionably deserved for a long time. Without getting too cheesy here – that’s your warning that I’m about to get too cheesy – Joe Posnanski, Sports Illustrated’s new Senior Writer, changed my life.
Somehow I’ve never shared that here, but it’s completely true. Without Joe (or Poz, or JoePo, however you know him), I wouldn’t be here and I don’t want to know where I’d be instead. As a college freshman a few years ago, I knew I wanted to be a journalist…of some kind. Buuut, I have always preferred to take in a ballgame over a political affair, and read the sports section way more closely than the front page news. I really was never worldly enough to go out into the wide world of news reporting, and I was never sure I wanted to become that way. I liked my cocoon.
But still, I didn’t know I wanted to do sports writing. I still took interest in all my general journalism courses, and read a few newspapers every day like any good journo kid. But then, in September of 2006, I read a Joe Posnanski column in the Kansas City Star, and I knew. Before that column – it was about then-new Royals GM Dayton Moore’s hopes for his new team – I didn’t know in my soul that a sports writer could move people quite like that.
What’s funny is, that column gets mocked now for the hope it carried in Dayton Moore. What at the time gave me the spark to throw myself wholly into sports writing is now a punchline for the pathetic Royals who have barely improved under Moore. “Where are the Royals going to have their World Series parade, again?”
But the fire Posnanski lit in me through that column is still there. Since then, I’ve gobbled up almost everything he’s written, whether it’s a 3,000 word blog post about random baseball history factoids, or a Sports Illustrated cover story about Zack Greinke or Albert Pujols, or his book, The Soul of Baseball.
And last year, I even got to help him do research for his forthcoming book about the 1975 Cincinnati Reds. I spent hours in the library, slack-jawed in awe at Sports Illustrated stories from that year by legends like Frank Deford. Now Posnanski is in Deford’s shoes. More people than ever will see each of his stories, and many will clip them out – or bookmark the online versions – to read a second, or third, or hundredth time. I would hope nobody would question how much Poz deserves this, and I hope some young kid picks up one of his SI stories and is forever changed by it, like I was three years ago.
(P.S. Huge tip of the cap to Andy Hutchins for digging up that column for me.)