Baseball and the Media: How Fans Lose in Today's Coverage of the Game

By George Castle | Go to book overview

ONE
A Long, Strange Journey to the
Press Box and Clubhouse

The path to a Major League clubhouse is decided early in life. A select few have the natural gift to play baseball, sport's most mentally challenging game, at its highest level. A larger group is athletically challenged, but either talented enough or lucky enough or both to end up in the locker room with pen and notebook or tape recorder.

But it's not certain where a dual passion for writing and baseball originates.

Some of it is environmental. Your mother brings home two newspapers each day and you learn writing style by osmosis and repetition. The local team, in this case the Chicago Cubs, starts winning after two decades' wandering in baseball's desert, with saturation TV coverage providing an easily opened window for you to get close to the game.

Perhaps the rest is just embedded deep within you. Those who are fated to be good in math go on to clean up in the tough courses and, in many cases, help rule the world because they can work the numbers so well. Baseball and basketball mogul Jerry Reinsdorf was surely a math whiz in school back in Brooklyn. Those less fortunate go into literary or creative pursuits. I liked history and current events, so naturally I'd read and follow the news.

In my formative 1960s, Chicago was blessed with four distinctive daily newspapers—the Tribune, Sun-Times, Daily News, and American. By age thirteen, while living in West Rogers Park, five miles northwest of Wrigley Field, I read three of the papers daily, the Tribune excepted because it was reflexively conservative and Repub-

-5-

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