The failure of one of America’s finest sportswriters to do anything really meaningful with unique access to the main players in the biggest sports story of his generation would ideally prompt changes. Editors might grant their better stylists more time to do careful work. Columnists might write less often but more thoroughly, trusting their readers to come up with their own opinions on the latest in the infinite series of vital debates over postseason awards and Halls of Fame. The public might even become more demanding.
While any of that might yet happen, I’d doubt it. Posnanski’s book was published on August 21. Within a few days he ran a 5,000-word piece on a baseball statistic, two 2,000-word pieces on baseball’s Hall of Fame, and another on the heartwarming story of how his iPad was lost (“it was one of those moments—and there are many throughout childhood, into college, into early adulthood, into mid-life, on and on—when the world becomes just a little bit darker place”) and then returned to him. His new website Sports on Earth, a rival to Simmons’s Grantland, also went live. Over the next few weeks its pages filled with content. A lot of it was good. Most of the writers sounded a little bit like Posnanski.