April 06, 2011

Good NYT, Bad NYT

Two baseball pieces in the New York Times magazine of wildly divergent quality:

The bad one is this Pat Jordan piece about the Philies' rotation, which spent half its length talking about the author's unsuccessful attempts to talk to the pitchers by their lockers (always a riveting storyline), and then finding that none of them have anything interesting to say. Then he ends with a few paragraphs of Mike Schmidt giving his same old tiresome "kids today don't appreciate the game" rant that we've all heard a million times. Of the pieces I've read in the last six months about the Phillies' pitchers, this doesn't crack the top 20.

Much better is this sublime piece by Sam Anderson taking a cynical but ultimately admiring look at Derek Jeter's career:

But how do we even begin to think about someone who has been so thoroughly thought about? Jeter has been, since the middle of the Clinton administration, the signature player on the signature franchise in America’s signature sport — a sport that doubles as national mythology. He is the meta-Yankee: his legendary glories help us to experience, firsthand, the legendary glories of previous generations of Yankees. He’s like a wormhole to the world of our grandparents. His entire career might as well have been broadcast in sepia.

Jeter’s mythology is, at this point, basically impenetrable. His public image is almost scandalously banal — as Buster Olney once put it, he is “Jimmy Stewart in pinstripes.” He’s like an after-school special about the Protestant work ethic. His every motion expresses the quiet dignity of champion champion dignity champion dignity champion.

Anderson also gets points for referring to baseball as "a jumbo platter of deep-fried masculinity: it’s like a y-chromosome throwing a bachelor party for a penis with a beard."

Posted by Stephen Silver at April 6, 2011 03:23 PM
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