Sports Biblio

The Imagination Of Sports In Books, History And Culture

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The Athletic and Its Sports Journalism Gamble: Sports Biblio Digest 2.18.18

I want The Athletic to succeed beyond its founders’ wildest ambitions, its writers’ and editors’ most optimistic hopes and its growing subscriber base’s deepest passions for quality sports journalism.

The AthleticIts motto—”fall in love with the sports page again”—is simple and brilliant. Its look is clean and uncluttered. No automatic video pop-up ads, newsletter sign-up boxes, or clickbait headlines that would demean a toddler.

The subscription plans are affordable, and when you sign up for one vertical, you get all the rest. It’s a grand bargain for a sports fan who doesn’t want to be bombarded with the above, as well as hot takes, babes, pop culture inanities and LaVar Ball’s latest machinations. Continue reading

The Abundant Art of Basketball Writing: The Sports Biblio Digest 2.11.18

The narrative and historical strands of a sport not much older than the modern age and incubated in blank-slate form haven’t always been woven together in consistent fashion. While basketball writing has existed as long as the game invented to fill the dead of winter, its evolution has required some dedicated caretakers to give it shape for contemporary readers.

Basketball Great Writing About America's Game, Alexander WolffThe very first sampling of Alexander Wolff’s new collection “Basketball: Great Writing About  America’s Game” (Library of America, published Feb. 27) comes from James Naismith, the game’s inventor, and it’s a clear exposition of the physical educator’s aims that passionate fans will appreciate.

While trying to devise a new version of a team ball sport, Naismith gives us a revealing glimpse of an innovator who knew what he wanted to achieve conceptually but had to experiment quite a bit to get there. Continue reading

The Roots of a Gymnastics Scandal: Sports Biblio Digest 1.21.18

The gymnastics scandal that has engulfed some of America’s most recent Olympic champions, a legendary coach’s training facility and the sport’s governing body in the United States has been hiding in plain sight for years.

Little Girls in Pretty Boxes, Joan Ryan, gymnastics scandalIt’s been more than 20 years since journalist and author Joan Ryan published an expose of the cloistered, often punishing cultures of American gymnastics and figure skating, where very young girls were coaxed, prodded and often abused by mostly male coaches to reach the pinnacle of Olympic success.

In 1995, Ryan’s book “Pretty Girls in Little Boxes” did kick up a storm of controversy, and rankled the establishments of those sports. But troubling developments inside the elite gymnastics world were still to come. Continue reading

Winter 2018 Sports Books Preview: Sports Biblio Digest 1.7.18

Just a short drumroll for this: Sports Biblio’s Winter 2018 Sports Books Preview, a selection of new releases from January through March of this year.

A Season in the Sun, Mickey MantleI’ll have more frequent updates on sports books, new and otherwise, on the blog, which I’m revamping for more frequent posting very shortly, including a midweek post on new and noteworthy titles, paperback and e-book releases and more.

I’ll also have weekly posts on sports journalism and media, sports history, sports art and culture (including photography, films, music and collectibles), as well as a weekend review. This post, which will run on Saturdays, will include book reviews and essays on the broader topics examined on Sports Biblio. Continue reading

Sports Biblio’s year in sports reading, 2017

Enjoy some of the best newspaper, magazine and online reads (as well as some podcasts and a few videos) collected by Sports Biblio for the year 2017 and that we included in our newsletter, the Sports Biblio Digest (you can subscribe here if you haven’t already, and browse through the archives).

Pull Up A Chair, Vin ScullyThese 100 or so pieces are rounded up by topic and more or less appear in chronological order. They’re only a small sampling of what I would have liked to have included here.

Thanks to many of you who have passed along links along the way, and who continue to read and subscribe and make Sports Biblio better. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! Continue reading

A Centenary of Olympic Films: The Sports Biblio Digest 11.12.17

The first Olympic film I ever saw was the most notorious one of all, in a college history class.

Olympia, Leni Riefenstahl, Olympic filmsThe professor was more than just a film buff with a Ph.D.; he was a dead ringer for Douglas Fairbanks (and Junior), all the way down to his stylish brim and pencil-thin mustache.

He also possessed a healthy desire to shake students out of their polite and unconflicted youthful stupor, and relished the contentious conversation that ensued after screenings of “Birth of a Nation” and “Triumph of the Will.” Continue reading

Monday Night Football At A Crossroads: Sports Biblio Digest 11.5.17

Does “Monday Night Football” matter any more?

Kicking Off the Week, Monday Night FootballYes, it’s still an exclusive-window game held the day after the usual Sunday NFL regimen, and it counts in the standings just the same.

Since its experimental beginnings in the late 1960s—just as the age of the Super Bowl was beginning—then-commissioner Pete Rozelle’s idea to build a highly-rated “event” around a single game in prime-time weeknight hours helped solidify the professional game atop the American spectator sports heap. Continue reading

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