Where sports journalism will be in 20 years

I’m only guessing

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As someone who plans to be involved in sports media over the next 20 years, it’s about time I stepped back to take a look at where sports media is now and how it could move forward.

As society grows on into the future, people are only going to become more attached to technology. Newspapers are surviving at the moment, but digital subscriptions will likely eclipse physical papers in a few decades. What that doesn’t mean, however, is the elimination of storytelling. I’d like to get this point out of the way early. The quality of work that goes into sportswriting will not fall victim to time.

If I could throw sports in alongside death and taxes as life’s certainties, I certainly will. How could I not? Every year, people go back to their teams. Sports seasons are a part of society’s routine life. With those sports seasons must come sportswriters. Whether they report, blog, investigate, analyze, overanalyze or criticize, the media will always have a place in sports. Regardless of the medium, the sportswriting will remain as consistent as the sports themselves. The unscripted drama that sports provide is an unmatched thrill that spans generations. The media must take that unscripted drama and interpret in a way that makes the story just as important and memorable as the moment. It seems that the ways in which people receive their news is the only thing that’s changing. Other than that, people will always need their sports and their sports news.

The platforms on which people receive their sports news is a vastly growing horizon. Given that social media platforms are the quickest and easiest way to get news out there, sportswriting has adapted alongside it. Every major news outlet is now on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat or some other sixth one. If there’s a sports media outlet not on social media, they’re losing. As younger athletes of the technology age take over their respective leagues, social media has turned into a place where news is broken first. If a player wants out of their contract or if they are joining a new team or they just so happen to like Lucky Charms, social media provides a mean for reporters to gather content. Considering that social media is where any team or player can connect with their audience, any sportswriter, blogger or media outlet can connect with that same audience.

I don’t really see where social media adapts from here. As of now, the quick, clipped aspect of social media is what’s winning over many eyes. That doesn’t mean that sports media and the work that goes into it should completely put their eggs into the basket of brevity. If ESPN needed to trim a small portion of Lisa Salters’ interview with Kareem Hunt to promote that interview on social media, ESPN nor Salters should get upset with people engaging with that post. I’d say something like that trimmed promotion would get people to go watch the full interview. I think outlets like ESPN should have their interests across many platforms. Judging by the rise in social media, it’s best that all media outlets work just as hard in their social media department as they do in their investigative reporting department. There’s no foreseeable end to the social media platform, so I think that sports media should continue to rise along with it because that’s where both the audience and the athletes are.

For all the voices that are out there, I say keep speaking, writing, blogging, vlogging, or tweeting. The sports media market is home to so many voices. ESPN is clearly the behemoth of them all but places like Bleacher Report, The Athletic, The Undefeated, Sports Illustrated, SB Nation, Barstool Sports or any of the sports sides of the network television channels are all places to consume sports media. Each of them have unique voices and they’re all adapting to modern technologies while also sticking to classic, quality sports journalism. And yes, I include Barstool.

Here’re my two cents on Barstool. They were born out of the social media age and are thriving in it. I’ve noticed purists to sports media trash on Barstool, but I think it’s because they’re the new kid on the block. Just because it’s not sports media in the traditional way, people tend to hate their content. I don’t like all of their content. But I don’t like all the content that ESPN or Bleacher Report put out either. Barstool is good at what they do because they were born in the social media age. Some of the more distinguished outlets have even started mimicking Barstool’s habits whether they’ll admit it or not. I just think Barstool must be given their due in the world of sports media because there’s no foreseeable end to them just like all the others.

Given that there are many voices out there, it’s all about selective hearing in the new world. Technology has provided anyone with a phone or computer the ability to put their voice out there. Not everybody will absorb every bit of content out there. I think with all the voices out there though, each individual voice must continue to produce their content as if everybody will absorb it. ESPN reporters shouldn’t act high and mighty over Ol’ Billy Two-Shoes’ Sports Blog. ESPN clearly has more credibility but they have to stick to their quality guns. Given that they’re the behemoth, they must still report at a level they hold themselves to. That doesn’t mean Ol’ Billy shouldn’t have a blog. He should continue to write and work as if he had the same opportunity that an ESPN reporter has. The ESPN reporter may have a degree and all, but the reality of the situation is that you don’t need a degree to do what we do. It stinks to admit that but it’s true. But in journalism education, we’ve been prepped pretty well for the adapting world and we were taught the ethics and a quality standard. If you’re a better sportswriter than Ol’ Billy, show it. Don’t trash on Billy because he gets an audience. There may not be room for everybody at the top but there is room for everybody. To all sportswriters, just keep writing. Hold yourself to the ethical standards you were taught if you were taught them. If you want your voice out there, put it out there. The world is only going to continue being an open forum.

Of all things presented, I think in 20 years, as long as sportswriters stick to quality, sportswriting will survive in the ever-changing world. Quality has varying degrees of acceptance now but quality is in the eye of the audience. As long as any sportswriter or reporter or blogger etc. respects their audience and they want to continue telling sports stories, the field will exist. Time will only tell if social media or traditional newspapers will outlast the other. The only thing that can be guaranteed is that the Yankees will still suck 20 years from now and somebody will have something to say about it. That’s what sports journalism is about. That’s what it has always been about and that’s what it will always be about.

A comparative essay in sports journalism

A look at how Yahoo Sports columnist Pat Forde compares to ESPN feature writer Wright Thompson

When looking at the works of both Pat Forde and Wright Thompson, it’s safe to say that sportswriting is in good hands. Both are graduates of the University of Missouri’s Journalism School. Forde is a columnist for Yahoo Sports. Thompson is a feature writer for ESPN. The differences in their writing styles and forms are apparent however, their unique approaches both work successfully as great sportswriting.

When reading Wright Thompson’s piece on Michael Jordan, one can only notice the extreme detail that Thompson takes to build a setting and characters. The third graf reads:

“Back in the office after his vacation on a 154-foot rented yacht named Mister Terrible, he feels that relaxation slipping away. He feels pulled inward, toward his own most valuable and destructive traits. Slights roll through his mind, eating at him: worst record ever, can’t build a team, absentee landlord. Jordan reads the things written about him, the fuel arriving in a packet of clips his staff prepares. He knows what people say. He needs to know, a needle for a hungry vein. There’s a palpable simmering whenever you’re around Jordan, as if Air Jordan is still in there, churning, trying to escape. It must be strange to be locked in combat with the ghost of your former self.”

Let’s just say you didn’t know who Michael Jordan was. Thompson addressed in our class that it’s a very hard thing to picture, but it’s possible to write that way. The important point being is that the way Thompson writes about Jordan puts the reader right on the yacht with His Airness. He describes the inner emotions and thoughts of Jordan and makes readers well aware of what’s been eating at the Greatest of All-Time. It’s a very novelesque way of writing in the way that Michael Jordan could be a fictional character and the passionately competitive drive that helped him do seemingly fictional things on the court could be part of that. Another great part in that is building around the legendary Michael Jordan that wore No. 23 for the Bulls and putting that figure against the 50-year-old Michael Jordan that’s at the helm of the struggling Charlotte Hornets. Thompson does that by keeping the audience captivated with displaying how the same competitive drive exists in this man who just can’t take it out by dunking on someone any more.

Another piece of Thompson’s that I enjoy is his piece on the legacy and family of Ted Williams. Just like in the Jordan piece, Thompson is able to generate awe by making Ted Williams an ever-present figure in a story about his living family. In this story specifically though, he is able to weave between the past and present perspectives of Ted Williams’ daughter, Claudia, and piece together more information on how life in the Williams home really was. A little bit into the story Thompson writes:

“THIS STORY BEGAN two years ago, when I reached out to Claudia about meeting at her home in Hernando. The timing never worked for her because she struggles to look past her obsessions: nursing school and a book she wrote about her father, which started as a stocking stuffer about lessons she learned and turned into a cathartic exploration of the person she’s still trying to be. Finally she said yes. The first visit lasted a week in the fall of 2014, and we made paella and she told funny stories about her dad — he’d call the public phone in European hostels and boom at unsuspecting travelers, “Is CLAUDIA WILLIAMS there? This is her FATHER! OL’ TED WILLIAMS!” — and she got melancholy later and said, “We need to laugh more.”

I like this section because Thompson gives us a lot and a little all at the same time. We learn about funny instances between Claudia Williams and her father but also that these funny instances led to sadness. It’s unique because while there is Thompson’s trademark detail, there’s bait for readers to continue reading. It works excellently as a sports journalism piece.

The reason why Thompson’s feature writing works for sports journalism is because of how vastly detail oriented his pieces are. Like I said above, his writing his novelesque. The attention to detail alongside the rich storytelling makes his features on these sports legends seem like they’re only that; just legends. But since it is novelesque, there’s an opening to interpretation. There’s a lasting impact in Thompson’s style. So I’d say, Thompson’s ability to capture real-life people and real-life situations creates an astonishing sense of awe. Awe always works. Not only in sportswriting but in all writing.

Pat Forde, on the other hand, works mainly as a reaction columnist. In terms of sportswriting, this is a perfectly fine way to approach stories as well. Forde does an excellent job at inserting emotion into his pieces. One of the pieces in which this is evident is his column on Urban Meyer and Ohio State Football.

After identifying the ridiculousness in Meyer’s statements following the Zach Smith domestic violence investigation, Forde writes:

“Sorry to be cynical regarding Meyer and his motives, but what’s the point in trusting him? His statement Friday vaguely admitted to lying repeatedly at Big Ten media day when asked about Zach Smith’s 2015 incident. Meyer said in Chicago last month that he knew nothing about it, then Friday admitted he knew about it, trying to chalk up the multiple falsehoods to not being “adequately prepared” for that line of questioning.


The interesting thing about Forde’s writing is his conversational tone. He’s taking a very serious issue and he’s inflating the doubt around Urban Meyer’s denial and showing his distaste for it. By stating that he may be cynical allows the reader to interpret his writing but then after he mentions Meyer falsifying the situation, the “please” that is thrown in by Forde closes down the apology he had just made. This isn’t a contradiction. This is Forde using his columnist skills to their finest. Domestic violence isn’t ok. Knowing about domestic violence and then lying about it isn’t ok either. Forde is able to throw in a conversational tone to emphasize the ridiculousness in Meyer’s lies. There’s no room for interpretation because domestic violence can’t be interpreted in more than one way.

Forde’s writing style limits interpretation, however, his brash frankness presents the column in a unique light. Though Forde is a columnist, he does have experience writing features as well. A feature of his that I like is his on Olympian Cody Miller and his rise to stardom.

About midway through the feature, Forde writes:

“The reasons why Cody should never have been the happiest bronze medalist in Brazil are numerous, and not all of them have to do with a fractured family upbringing. You can go back to birth.

He was born with a condition called pectus excavatum, which basically is a sunken chest caused by deformities of the ribs and sternum.

‘It looks like I have a big hole in my chest,’ Cody said.

He was teased about it repeatedly as a kid, but the challenge of the defect goes beyond appearance. It also inhibits lung capacity, which is about as vital as any physical characteristic for a swimmer. But Cody and, in turn, his sister took to the sport at a young age and he overcame the sunken chest with relative ease.”

Forde’s frank tone and writing style is evident in this piece. However, Forde does his best Wright Thompson impression by writing a solid feature that pays close attention to detail and emotion. Clearly, even Forde as a columnist can pull off feature writing with great success. The reason why is that he has a unique enough voice and writes with brash frankness that gets the point across with a conversational tone. This works in both his columns and his features.

Overall, Wright Thompson and Pat Forde have unique sportswriting styles that both operate well under the umbrella of sports journalism. Thompson’s novelesque feature writing effectively draws readers in with awe and the opportunity for interpretation. Forde’s curt, conversational tone allows him to get his point across and persuades the reader to feel exactly how he feels. Though their styles are different, they each give an effective and unique voice in the collaboration of many voices that is sports journalism.


The Boston Red Sox are World Series Champions (again) and I am absolutely delighted

My year with the Boston Red Sox has been very special


After defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in Game 5 on Sunday, the Boston Red Sox reclaimed their throne on top of the entire world with a 4-1 World Series victory!

For me, this year was heavily involved with the Boston Red Sox. This year marked the rebirth of my love for baseball.

Let me tell you my story about how the 2018 Boston Red Sox season truly affected my life.

It begins in October of Last Year.

I knew the Sox needed to make moves after the disappointing Divisional Series exit last October to the eventual 2017 champions, the Houston Astros.

They began their off-season almost immediately. They fired John Farrell and signed the 2007 World Series champ with the Red Sox, Alex Cora.

Cora was just a bench coach for Houston and clearly had World Series experience both as a coach there and as a player with the Red Sox. I liked the move at first solely because it meant John Farrell was gone.

Then, the Yankees signed Giancarlo Stanton, the 2017 NL MVP and Home Runs leader, in December of 2017. I thought, well, there’s no way they have a chance now.

But, in February, just as the Sox are getting ready to start Spring Training, they signed JD Martinez. At that point, Martinez was the only other MLB player other than the Angels’ Mike Trout who had batted .300 with 125 homers and .550 slugging.

This was an incredible move. One that I thought the Red Sox truly needed to make in order to possibly move past the Divisional Series this year. If not, at least the Red Sox-Yankees series’ might actually mean something this year.

The Red Sox started their winning season with the best Spring Training record in the majors: 22-9. For all those that say Spring Training doesn’t matter, Alex Cora disagrees. He invited the players over to his house before the year started and there, a World Series championship was discussed.

After their Spring Training “championship,” the Sox began their regular season on March 29 and jolted out of the gate with a 17-2 starting record.

In their 20th game, the Sox were playing the Oakland A’s. As it was still really early in the season, I hadn’t watched too many of the games. Location restrictions also prevented me from doing so too but let’s not get into that because streaming exists.

Anyway, that night on April 21, I watched an entire Red Sox game for the first time this season. They got friggin’ no-no’d by Sean Manaea. The Sox dropped to 17-3 and I was appalled.

I felt personally responsible for the loss and the no-hitter against the Sox, but I had fun watching it. I thought “Hey, I hadn’t watched a full regular season game that actually mattered in a long time.” I noticed that my baseball watching habits were only present when it got to be August-October.

Watching the Red Sox getting 0 hits that night made me want to actually start watching more and get back into my love for baseball.

It was around this time I started listening to the Section 10 podcast, a Barstool Sports podcast all about the Red Sox.

This podcast helped me stay on track with every single Red Sox game this season and I’m so happy I started listening to it. By hearing Jared Carrabis at least twice every week, I stayed up to date with the team and I got so excited about all things Red Sox.

I was getting scoring updates to my phone and my Twitter had started to become invaded with Red Sox content. All the way through until now, the Red Sox have dominated my Twitter timeline.

My love for the game was growing again.

It was also around this time where I was getting interviews for internships. Actually, I wasn’t getting any interviews at all.

That was until I got in touch with Dan Rea, the GM of the Pawtucket Red Sox. This team being, of course, the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.

Thanks to my Uncle Bill Stewart III, I got an interview with Mr. Rea mainly because my Uncle Billy was his hockey coach in high school and had helped Mr. Rea a lot in school.

I didn’t just get the job because of that family connection. I got it because I worked hard and I looked good on paper. I still had to impress in the interview and I guess I did because I got the internship.

I spent my summer in Boston and Pawtucket working for the Red Sox organization and I’ve never had a greater experience in my whole life.

I got to be close with the organization as they continued to win and win and win and win again.

I was still listening to Section 10 and working every day. I was having so much fun with nothing but baseball on my mind.

Here are some of my pictures:

Me at Fenway

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Me and Red Sox Hall of Famer, Fred Lynn.


Me and PawSox co-workers Aaron Weisberg along with Alyssa Hajos, Karen Zenteno and Sabriya Chaudhry dressed as Princesses.


Me and PawSox co-worker Andrew Ciechanowski dressed as Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi on “Star Wars” night


Me and co-worker Luke Chiasson arm-and-arm with 2004 Boston Red Sox pitcher and World Series Champion, Bronson Arroyo.


Me with PawSox mascots, Paws and Sox.


Me back in CoMo wearing Pawtucket Hot Wieners gear to help promote the team’s name change on August 16.


I have so many more memories from this summer than I do photos.

To my co-workers that I don’t have pictures with: Addie Afonseca, Alex Hale, David Brake, Jacob Madsen, Jean-Manuel Martinez, Joe “K-Joe” McNamara, Kelly McGarry and Tommy Sullivan, I simply couldn’t have asked for better people to work with. You guys were amazing and made this season special all on top of the World Series! Thank you!

From Mr. Rea and management to all my friends who were the mascots, to the people who I just head-nodded at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, thank you.  It was an absolutely incredible summer and I’ll never forget it, ever. Most of the reason why I fell in love with baseball again was because of the PawSox and all of the people I worked with. I can’t stress that enough.

I learned so much about the team and the operations in baseball. I also learned that I want to spend the rest of my life working in baseball and I’m going to do my best to make sure I will.

I know I paused the Red Sox story to get into my sentimental PawSox bits, but let’s pick up where I know it’s good.

It does help that I was living at my Uncle Billy’s, a mere 30ish minute drive to Fenway. The stadium that kept seeing magic over and over again this season. This, too, helped me fall in love with the game and the team again.

They just kept on winning. You’d better believe that since I was in Boston and not Missouri, I watched or attended every single game the Red Sox played.

Then, by the time summer was over and I did have to leave the Northeast, I continued to stream and watch every Sox game.

So let’s run through a few of my favorite moments!

6/30 Sox blank Yankees 11-0 to take back a lead in the AL East

7/12 Mookie’s Time to Party Grand Slam

8/2-8/5 Red Sox sweep Yankees and take commanding 9.5 game lead of the AL East

That series was the biggest regular season moment for me. It felt like playoff baseball and the Sox killed them. There was no way the division would be let up after that.

So, the Red Sox finished the regular season with a 108-54 record. The best record in franchise history and a record great enough to clinch Fenway throughout the playoffs. They’d be starting the playoffs as a heavy favorite but their road was seemingly tough.

They played the Yankees in the Divisional Round. And after they split Games 1 and 2 at Fenway, Aaron Judge was seen and heard leaving Fenway with a boombox over his shoulder playing Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.”

The Red Sox outscored the Yankees 20-4 over the next two games and won the Divisional Series in 4. Red Sox 2B Brock Holt hit the first cycle in MLB Postseason history during Game 3 and that certainly helped break the backs of the Yankees and their fans.

With all of the bulletin board material that Judge and NY’s GM Brian Cashman had provided, the Red Sox-Yankees series finally felt like a rivalry again. One I could enjoy as an adult.

Of course I remember 2004. But I was 7. The context of the rivalry didn’t really hit me then. It has now. Destroying them in August and in October made this season worthwhile as a fan already.

Not to mention Giancarlo Stanton struck out 6 times and only had 4 hits with 0 HRs in the DS. And this was the man and the team I feared in December. Psh….

After destroying the Yankees and taking Cashman’s “Do Damage” slogan as their official playoff slogan, the Sox moved on to a tougher test in the ALCS. The defending champion Houston Astros.

The team that ended Boston’s season last year but the team that also began my reignited fandom in the Red Sox.

Jackie Bradley Jr. was a god in this series. He was JBJesus and the ALCS MVP. Let’s not forget his Grand Slam:

But, this ALCS series can be summed up with one other play:

Andrew Benintendi broke the backs of the Houston Astros on that catch. The Sox took a 3-1 ALCS lead on that catch and they never looked back.

Due to the fact that Astros 3B Alex Bregman hit that ball, it made it even more special. The Astros didn’t learn from the Yankees’ trolling mistakes.

Bregman posted an Instagram video trolling Red Sox RHP Nathan Eovaldi prior to Game 3 of the series. The video showed he and his Astros teammates blasting Eovaldi for 3 HRs while he was a member of the Rays earlier this season.

Eovaldi dominated the Astros and so did David Price.

Price, a LHP who’s struggled in the postseason throughout his entire career, started two games against the Astros. After leading the only loss the Red Sox took against the Yankees, Price had people worried.

I wasn’t in the slightest.

I’ve worn this shirt for every start Price has made all season:


Hell, I’m wearing it now. Want to know why? Because David Price is good. He got his first postseason victory in Game 2 of the Astros series. He clinched the ALCS in a dominating Game 5 performance.

Not to mention his World Series Game 5 effort. David Price is SO GOOD. And now He’s a World Series Champion! I’ve supported him to Hell and back throughout the entire season and now, he’s silenced his critics.

Just please, watch this and try not to get emotional:

Look, I can’t go too in-depth with the World Series. The Red Sox utterly dominated the series. If it wasn’t for that stupid 18-Inning Game 3, the Sox would’ve swept.

Though, this was how I felt after Game 3:

They came back from it. They won the next two games in dominating fashion. I mean, scroll through my Twitter after the above tweet.

The best part about the World Series was probably the final out. Red Sox LHP and Ace Chris Sale came in to close the game. Alex Cora defined himself as a players’ manager all season and he continued that in the playoffs when he kept putting starters in the bullpen.

Sale got through two guys. Then, he struck out that douchebag Manny Machado.

It speaks for itself. There are so many great moments I’m definitely missing, but they all lead to this:

Now, after 1800 words, we can celebrate.

It’s been such a long season. But it’s a season I’ve followed and have been a part of every step of the way.

It’s been so much fun to fall in love with baseball again and it was epitomized with this team; the team I’ve loved since I was literally a baby (Yes, this is me):


Pure delight came to me last night when Manny Machado struck out. This incredible season came to an end in the right way: A Championship Way.

My love for baseball is back and it came back alongside this blooming beauty of a Red Sox season.

I was supposed to be writing about Trauma Reporting this week, so let me report some Trauma:

Yankees, dusted. Dead.

Astros, dusted. Dead.

Dodgers, dusted. Dead.


Though some situations were incredibly stressful, the Red Sox only lost 3 postseason games. They won this World Series with ease because they’ve been the best team in baseball all year.

I’m so glad that it was this year.

My year with the Red Sox. It’s just been unbelievable.

My night last night was topped, not when the Sox won the World Series, but when I got featured on the MLB’s Snapchat story with this video:



The MLB censored me. But, I got on a National snap-story that was only featuring snaps from LA, where the Sox won, and Boston.

This was an honor for the ages. It’s got over 100,000 views now. My season with the Red Sox capped off on a national scale for everybody to see, including the Red Sox themselves!

Now, to complete my celebration, I’m flying out to Boston to attend the parade on Wednesday!

I just needed the time to get away from work and school in order to celebrate with my team. It just feels right.

I leave you off with the theme that powered this team to a 119-57 record this year and that powered me into falling in love with baseball all over again.

“It’s Time to Party!” LET’S GO RED SOX!



How sportswriting hasn’t really adapted within the last 70 years

The only difference between how a sports story is written now as compared to 1951, is the medium on which a piece is written

When considering the evolution of sports journalism within the last 70 years, one can’t help to also consider the culture that has changed around sports journalism itself. The way people consume news and information on a daily basis has certainly changed. With the advent of social media and 24-hour news networks, the average human is bombarded with more news and information that they barely even know what to with. Yes, technology and the countless amounts of mediums to receive news has affected the modern news consumption patterns of many.

However, what has remained consistent in sportswriting is the understanding of the beauty in words and sentences to tell a story. At the thicket of all the technological innovations that has morphed and adapted the way that mass audiences receive sports journalism, the one thing that remains the same is the ability to tell a story. Within the last 70 or so years, athletic competitions and the stories that make them memorable are two of life’s guarantees accompanying oxygen. Every single year (barring strikes and lockouts), athletes, fans and sportswriters fill arenas around the world to participate in unscripted drama. It’s the job of athletes to compete at a high level in athletic events. It’s the job of the fans to exaggerate the line between life and death as they filter their passion for their team and players during an athletic event. And it’s the job of the sportswriter to author a story involving the event, create a memorable account of a certain place in time and make that account available to mass audiences for a long time to come.

In order to peer closer at how sportswriting may have or haven’t changed within the last 70 or so years, two stories nearly 70 years apart can be analyzed for their similarities and differences. At the core, the writing in Red Smith’s 1951 story on Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard Round the World” home run and the writing in Zach Berman’s 2018 story on the improbable Super Bowl LII victory by the Philadelphia Eagles both capture the emotion and impact of an athletic event. Despite the gap in time, the effectiveness of storytelling by both authors shows how the beauty of storytelling can transcend both time and the adaptation of technology.

Before taking a look at Smith’s memorable account of the dramatic finish between the Giants and Dodgers in 1951, insight into why Smith’s account is so memorable can be given some context. In a 2014 lecture on sports journalism, sportswriter Frank Deford emphasizes the difference between reporting and storytelling within sports journalism. He basically considers Red Smith to be the pacesetter for storytelling in sportswriting being more significant than simply reporting and covering an athletic event.

When considering Deford’s praise of Smith and his mastery of both capturing a memorable moment in sports history and authoring a memorable story recounting that moment, there’s more of a significant lore around Smith’s piece.

To begin his account of Game 3 of the 1951 National League Pennant playoff series, Smith leads with one of the most memorable ledes in the history of sportswriting.

Now it is done. Now the story ends. And there is no way to tell it. The art of fiction is dead. Reality has strangled invention. Only the utterly impossible, the inexpressibly fantastic, can ever be plausible again.

When reading this, it’s hard to tell that it’s even a lede about a playoff baseball game. However, Smith acts as a composer with his written work being a symphony of historic delight over a specific moment in time. Because it’s not a typical lede for a baseball story, Smith catches the eye by drawing people in with blatant curiosity. This lede provides an air of mystery that forces readers to read on.

What follows Smith’s lede is an anecdote about a drunkard storming the field during this cross-river playoff matchup. By continuing to write not too much about RBI, hits and other baseball stats, Smith entertains the reader with detail that one couldn’t possibly have known unless they attended the now-late Polo Grounds in New York City. Despite this game being the first nationally televised baseball game, Smith gives a detail that adds substance to his account. There’s beauty in substance. Smith’s commitment to the beauty of words guides the reader to the impactful moment of Bobby Thomson’s home run.

By the time Smith mentions the moment readers came for, a broader context and a prelude to the moment can be understood by mass audiences. By writing in the largest moment later on, Smith knows that readers want to get there. So he incites readers to continue reading so that by the time they get to the home run, they’ve gotten to follow along a journey of why that moment is so important.

From an anecdote about the pre-mature storming of the field, to a minor tale about players interacting during the game and all the way to the impact of “The Shot Heard Round the World,” Red Smith gives readers an impactful and memorable account of this Giants victory for generations to come.

Similarly to Smith, Zach Berman draws in the wandering eye of modern readers with a hard-hitting lede in his account of Super Bowl LII.

This night will be remembered for decades in Philadelphia, when old friends reminisce about where they were on Feb. 4, 2018, and parents tell their children about the moment the Eagles won their first Super Bowl. They’ll remember when Doug Pederson called the trick play at the goal line, when Zach Ertz dove into the end zone in the fourth quarter, when Brandon Graham stripped Tom Brady of the ball, and when the greatest dynasty in NFL history fell to an improbable champion from Philadelphia.

With this lede, Berman creates an impactful allure of impossibility. Berman addresses that the impossible became possible on Feb. 4, 2018 and by grazing the surface of the key moments that made the impossible happen, Berman forces readers to continue reading his account.

As a note on the changes in sportswriting, Berman does give more of the “who, what, where, when, why and how” more early on. Knowing that audiences may not read as long as they used to, Berman put the thicket of the moment earlier on in his article in contrast to Smith saving Thomson’s home run to the end of his article. Berman writes in an era where anybody with a blog or Twitter account can write a story about this game. So, he has to draw readers in a slightly different way than Smith.

However, what would follow in Berman’s article doesn’t differ too much from Smith’s story. Berman authors in the impact that the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory has amongst the city of Philadelphia and the fans of the franchise. He gives readers context into how the improbability of the moment created a spectacle that night in Minnesota.

Even if you aren’t an Eagles fan, you understand the impact of the moment. I’m a Patriots fan. Reading this brought back painful memories from that night. Berman’s writing still instilled memories within me and made me understand the impact from Philly’s side of things. After explaining how the improbable and nearly impossible was accomplished by the Eagles, Berman guides readers through the game and brings up key moments in the game and even from the halftime performance. Berman, exactly like Smith, is married to authoring a memorable story that makes the memorable moment an impactful account that can span generations. Most importantly though, Berman’s storytelling in this article helps him fall into Deford’s class of sportswriters. He makes himself a master storyteller and not just a reporter.

Overall, these two sportswriters tell impactful stories that emphasize the beauty of specific moments through the use of beautiful words. Although Zach Berman’s story was written in a time where a plethora of people have access to writing and reading about the same exact moment in his story, he draws readers in by committing to the ideals of great sportswriting. Red Smith helped create those ideals by committing to the beauty of words to define a specific moment by writing stories within his story. Despite writing nearly 70 years apart, both Smith and Berman effectively write stories that emphasize the beauty of both sports and sportswriting.