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Friday, May 07, 2021

Thomas Boswell: After covering everything for 52 years, it’s time to see what I missed

In the movie “The Man with Two Brains,” Steve Martin stares at a portrait of his dead wife. “Becca, if there’s anything wrong with my feelings for Dolores, just give me a sign,” says Martin, who’s in love with Dolores.

The whole house shakes, objects fly around the room as if blown by an invisible wind, and the larger-than-life portrait of the widow spins in circles on the wall as a woman’s voice shrieks, over and over, “No, No, No, NO!”

Martin, covered with debris, his hair blown in all directions, says, matter-of-factly, to the portrait: “Just any kind of sign. I’ll keep on the lookout for it.”

That scene captures how I’ve felt about retiring after 52 years in The Washington Post’s Sports department. I didn’t want to see the signs.

But over the past year, with the pandemic and five eye surgeries, I’ve gradually gotten the memo, sent from me to myself: “This is the appropriate time.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 07, 2021 at 09:59 AM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: thomas boswell

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   1. Bourbon Samurai stays in the fight Posted: May 07, 2021 at 10:03 AM (#6017529)
He's remained a worthwhile read all the way to the end.
   2. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: May 07, 2021 at 11:05 AM (#6017541)
99 reasons baseball is so much better than football. One thing he was always able to do is demonstrate his love for the game.
   3. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: May 07, 2021 at 11:08 AM (#6017542)
Before the internet, as a child and teenager, a handful of writers really helped shape how I learned the game, in a way that if I were 10 or 16 today, it likely wouldn't have had the same impact. It would be difficult to recollect the development of my love for baseball without Tom Boswell. (It was Bill James, and reading Nine Innings, and Ball Four, and anything from Roger Angell, as well.) But there was something about the relative scarcity of regular content, in the form of newspaper columns, that included a level of anticipation that causes Boswell's work to leave such an indelible mark on my memories. There are wonderful writers today, of course - but there is so much content, and it is so easy to access, that I don't think you get that same feeling of, "I'm looking forward to the next time I can catch a Boswell column." What a wonderful writer.
   4. 57i66135 is available to babysit, for a price Posted: May 07, 2021 at 11:13 AM (#6017544)
Before the internet, as a child and teenager, a handful of writers really helped shape how I learned the game, in a way that if I were 10 or 16 today, it likely wouldn't have had the same impact. It would be difficult to recollect the development of my love for baseball without Tom Boswell. (It was Bill James, and reading Nine Innings, and Ball Four, and anything from Roger Angell, as well.) But there was something about the relative scarcity of regular content, in the form of newspaper columns, that included a level of anticipation that causes Boswell's work to leave such an indelible mark on my memories. There are wonderful writers today, of course - but there is so much content, and it is so easy to access, that I don't think you get that same feeling of, "I'm looking forward to the next time I can catch a Boswell column." What a wonderful writer.

i think the form of this (a newspaper column) has changed moreso than the substance (looking forward to content produced by a favored creator).

   5. Hombre Brotani Posted: May 07, 2021 at 01:48 PM (#6017595)
Boswell was one of those writers who shaped the way I looked at baseball early on. He was romantic about the sport, but also one of the few sportswriters who didn't look down on the new approaches to statistics. (I think he was the guy who came up with Total Average, right? A below average statistic, but whatever.) I have two of his collected baseball columns on my shelf right now, and it's always a pleasure to go back and reread them.
   6. Gator Guy Posted: May 07, 2021 at 01:50 PM (#6017597)
What a magnificent baseball writer. Gonna miss him. His column after the Yanks-Sox '78 playoff game was sheer poetry:

"When Captain Carl stood at the plate facing Gossage with the tying run dancing off third and the winning run on first, that moment should have been frozen...for once baseball had achieved a moment of genuine dramatic art - a situation that needed no resolution to be perfect. A game, a season and an entire athletic heritage for two cities had been brought to the razor's edge."
   7. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 07, 2021 at 07:38 PM (#6017665)
Boz was at his best when he was a beat reporter covering the O's in the 70's and early 80's. I only hope that now that he's gone, the Post doesn't pull a New York Times and cut back on its baseball coverage. The Times can go for days at a time without even a single column inch about baseball.
   8. AndrewJ Posted: May 10, 2021 at 05:23 PM (#6018122)
I got into Boswell in the 1980s because of his collections (HOW LIFE IMITATES THE WORLD SERIES, WHY TIME BEGINS ON OPENING DAY). They've been out of print for about 30 years now, for some reason.

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