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The two principal articles in the December 22, 2008 issue of Sports Illustrated number that lies before me are why SI remains the uncontested leader in North American general sports periodicals. Jim Trotter’s ‘D As in Dominant’ connects the dots between the Pittsburgh’s Steel Curtain of yore and its present day top-ranked NFL defense. Joe Posnanski’s noir take on the winter baseball meetings in Las Vegas (!) captures the pathos and ridicule that are both required for a full understanding of this off-season institution.

Both are simply great sports writing. (more…)

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The late David Halberstam’s insightful baseball writing has been a boon for fans with long memories. There are more of them attached to this odd American sport than any other. A penchant for statistics and scars that never heal are practically the calling card of those of us who are drawn, inexorably, to the diamond with every new Spring.

This 2003 tribute to four skinny kids on the 1946 Boston Red Sox is not so much about the game as about the uncommon friendship that linked four of its iconic players. Halberstam has helped us to understand the grace that made Bobby Doer a lifetime interpreter of the gifted, irascible, and troubled Ted Williams; about the fealty to the sports unwritten rules that moved Johnny Pesky to accept the blame for a ball he never held (at least according to Halberstam’s reconstruction) until ten years after the true culprit had gone to his grave; and about the tragedy of a season that came so close to glory but ended up heralding a generation (these are short in baseball time) of mediocrity in the precursor of what we have come to know as Red Sox Nation. (more…)

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