Friday, June 15, 2007

Summertime, and the reading is lengthy

If you're reading this, odds are good that you're a baseball fan in addition to a Mizzou supporter. And if you enjoy the kind of minutiae that can provoke never-ending arguments, you need to be reading Kansas City Star sports columnist Joe Posnanski's blog, The Soul of Baseball, which ostensibly exists to promote Joe's book of the same name, but really serves as a jumping-off point for the author's wide-ranging thoughts on America's pastime.

I'm an unabashed Posnanski fan. He's an elegant technician who never resorts to the easy, cheap ridicule and half-analysis that plagues so much sports writing. He's also, quite clearly, insane. Joe Po's posts, to put it mildly, are long. My last post here was 23 words. The one before that was 84 words. Posnanski's most recent effort: 6,032 words. It came four days after a post that checked in at 2,621 words, which, in turn, followed by three days a 5,272-word offering.

To put this in perspective, the typical newspaper sports column runs 900 words. My book, which chronicled an entire century of Missouri basketball, year by year, checked in at around 107,000 words. I forwarded Posanski's blog to a good friend who is a sportswriter at a major daily paper (and who was with Joe in a McDonald's in Turin when an international curling incident was narrowly averted). His response was hilarious and unprintable, except for the observation that Posnanski's posts aren't just ramblings; they're remarkably coherent and meticulously researched ramblings. In essence, Joe Po is writing a book every eight weeks in his spare time. If you can spare the time, you should read it.