Monday, August 28, 2006

Reading Plaschke's sports writing

I've written about this before; I'm writing about it again. The Sports section has some of the best writing in the entire newspaper. It's active writing, often with anecdotes, often that tell a story.

We root for the Angels baseball team in this house. We're not fanatics, but we've gone to games and we watch games on TV. So I scan the Los Angeles Times Sports section for Angels stories.

Yesterday (8/27/06), a piece by Bill Plaschke caught my eye and got me reading: "Angels Win This Battle by Choosing Not to Fight."

The piece begins like this: "They scored a dozen runs, slapped around 16 hits, slid into half a dozen doubles, sprinted to a couple of stolen bases, ran around Angel Stadium like kids trying to outrace the last shadows of summer."

I love that beginning. What a wonderful lead. It's visual, active; it's got the beat.

I suggest to my beginning students that they read the Sports section. You'll find few passive verbs and dull, abstract writing in the Sports section. Pieces like Plaschke's demonstrate active, visual writing.

I read the Sports section--to improve my writing as well as to read about our Angels.

Find Plaschke's columns, go to

(The photo above is from a Friday night Angel's game in Anaheim.)


Deborah said...

You are so right, I love the sports section. Last year I sponsored a March Madness event at my town's library. Complete with a sports writer and coach of a popular book here, The Miracle of St. Anthony. We had large screen basketball, an NBA bio books author... I'm reading with my 15 yr. old (in between 5 other books - like my knitting) The Bronx is Burning, about NYC, baseball and politics in the 70s.

Catherine T. said...

Newspaper Poem

Doubled into the left-field corner
Was thrown out
Thought it had been bobbled
Stop sign
Bloop single
Intentionally walked on a curveball
Harmless pop
Tagged up
Shot back
Whipped around
With a mix of bluster and denial
Bummed out snowball.

-Catherine Tharp
Fall 1999

IRENE said...

Such a breezy piece, indeed!
And I love fireworks!

amy said...

I disagreed with Plaschke on this one. It may have been good writing, but I don't agree that the Angels shouldn't hit back. They have been target practice this year; poor Rivera especially. I met Bill in San Antonio on the River Walk at the Final Four a few years ago. We saw him walking the other direction late at night, everyone beer buzzed. "LA TIMES!" I yelled, to see if he'd respond. He did, and we talked for a long time. I still email him tips; one turned into a beat story last week.

Laura Hoopes said...

Yes, Plaschke. But TJ Simers drives me nuts because he only writes about himself, not about sports. Sports writing seems to me to be a genre unto itself, but it does use colorful language and vibrant images. Where it steers away from the mainstream is in its tolerance, nay encouragement, of really bad, awful, disgusting puns.