I'm going to be hitting the road for a week today, so I won't be able to post my weekly media roundup this weekend. But rather than leave you empty-handed, I thought I'd give you a few of my all-time favorite long-form journalism articles (at least the ones available for free online). As you'll see, I'm partial to smart coverage of sports and Christian culture. Enjoy.
— In honor of baseball's postseason, a couple of wonderful baseball stories: First, one of the all-time classics, "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu,"
by the New Yorker's incomparable John Updike
. It's a beautiful account of Ted Williams
' last game with the Boston Red Sox in 1960, and it's about as canonical as it comes in American sportswriting.
Second, "The Ripples From Little Lake Nellie,"
Gary Smith's heartbreaking story of a 1993 boating accident that killed Cleveland Indians pitchers Tim Crews and Steve Olin. Smith
, who's been at Sports Illustrated since 1983, is one of the nation's best sportswriters, and one of its best feature writers, period. And thanks to the amazing SI Vault
, it's all there for the reading.
— ESPN columnist/yukster Rick Reilly may have turned his career into a punchline for bloggers
, but believe it or not, he used to actually write good stuff
. My favorite of his is "The Mourning Anchor,"
his 1988 profile of Bryant Gumbel. It's understanding, but not exactly kind. Most importantly, it's an honest and perceptive look at a flawed man.
— There's been a pretty good amount of fantastic writing about evangelical Christian culture in the past few years. I'm partial to John Jeremiah Sullivan's first-person foray into a Christian music festival, "Upon This Rock,"
which ran in GQ in February 2005. His vulnerability in the piece is striking and offers a lot of illumination into a very idiosyncratic subculture. Jeff Sharlet is the dean of this type of long-form Christian-subculture writing, and his May 2005 profile
of Ted Haggard
and his Colorado Springs megachurch is one of his finest works. It's pretty surreal to read this in light of Haggard's subsequent meth-and-male-prostitute bust.