07 January 2013

Collecting a Year's Very Good, Only Arguably the Best

You can't but love the idea of The Best American Sports Writing 2012, yet it is nearly impossible not to quibble (at least) with the execution.

Start with the title. The suggestion is that included  is the best prose from a specific year. And yet it is published in October so, most likely, all that is indicated by the numbers are the year in which this collection has  produced.  Next, consider that this year's guest editor — the (usually a) guy who picks out the 20 or so winning stories from the 300+ series editor Glenn Stout picks from thousands his way from magazine editors and interested others around the country hoping to win some favor — is ESPN yakker Michael Wilbon, perhaps not the biggest fan of sports writing today and pbarely remembered on the writing front for a couple attempts to co-author Charles Barkley. So, are these, good as they may be, really "the best"? ... And that's even well before we start to consider the the rumor that, perhaps, the long form is dying and Twitter is the sports writer's preferred m├ętier.

The writing and writers included are very good and lengthy prose has a place in the imagination that still shuts out micro-form reporting/commenting. Also, as a New York Times' piece from last year put it (the essay neither included nor deserving of a place despite its value), there is a certain Power and Glory to Sportswriting, or at least the best "sports writing" (a subtle but important difference) and that P&G is often on display and always worth collecting and reading.


  1. Are you shitting me? Twitter is the sports writers' preferred metier for those who like to write for free; for those that want a career, longform, as the thousands of emails I've received since being tapped to direct SBNation Longform provide evidence.

    Buit thanks for the shout out anyway, and good luck. -Glenn Stout

    1. Well argued. Thank you for dropping by and all good luck with this book and all other projects -- we really do prefer real writing.