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Review: "Best American Sports Writing, 2006"

J.R. Moehringer began an article titled "The Unnatural Natural" as follows:

"I checked my watch and peered into the distance.
I was starting to think he'd never show. I was
starting to think he didn't exist.
In a way I was right."

If you can read that opening and not want to read what follows, then what the heck is wrong with you?

"The Unnatural Natural," Moehringer's story of a damaged and gifted ballplayer, whom his teammates know only as Homeless John, is one of the best stories in this year's edition of Best American Sports Writing. Since it first appeared in the Los Angeles Times Magazine, I'd probably never have seen it if it hadn't made the anthology. That alone would have made the book a bargain at $14.00, although it was an even better bargain at free.

Actually, the introduction by guest editor Michael Lewis is worth more than the price of the book. Of sports he writes "what people care about is the writer's path to their inner lives." I don't know how many people writing about sports and athletes are consciously probing "inner lives," but the most accomplished and ambitious writers writing about anything find themselves in that territory, and there's no lack of writers of that caliber in this collection.

This program aired on December 7, 2006. The audio for this program is not available.

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