“They come and they go…. I’ll be around here longer than you or anybody else here. I’m here to protect this game. I do it by making or breaking the likes of you. And after today whether you’re a goat or a hero, you’re gonna make me a great story.”
Max Mercy, in The Natural
Although he says it in a nasty way, Max Mercey, as portrayed by Robert Duval, is right. Before there was radio and television, the only way to learn about your teams and ballplayers was through the printed word. I won’t go into great detail here but there are several excellent collections of writers of the era. And there were still great scribes, like Red Smith, Jim Murray, Ira Berkow, Leonard Koppett, Shirely Povich, Jerome Holtzman, and others who probably had a tougher time once broadcasting became staples of fans’ education.
So when Roger Angell receives the Spink Award, it’s cause to celebrate. Normally, the honor goes to a full-time member of the Baseball Writers Association of America, so it comes across as even a greater honor for the veteran New Yorker columnist.
Richard Sandomir of The New York Times published this piece on Saturday.
And here’s Angell’s acceptance speech. I usually don’t watch these things and now that I have, it would have been nice if they edited it a little better; it somehow seems disrespectful to include people who are yawning while Angell speaks. It is sweet, however, to see Joe Torre get misty-eyed when Angell pays him tribute.
Well done, sir.