January 03, 2014

My Sporting News

My Sporting News 

The first issue arrived in December of 1982. It had Cardinals' manager Whitey Herzog on the cover. If I remember correctly, he was the Sportsman of the Year. I had tried reading Sports Illustrated for a year, previously, but it had too much focus on all other sports. This new weekly claimed to be the "Bible of Baseball" or something cool like that. 

I was 10 years old watching the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. I think I was rooting for the Cardinals because the Brewers had ripped out the hearts of all Tigers fans back in '81. But I might have been hoping for a Brewers championship because … well, they had ripped out our hearts a year ago. It's irrelevant really. 

Because an advertisement ran and I just knew I had to get a subscription to The Sporting News. I just had to. They billed themselves as the "Bible of Baseball" and that sounded just about right to me. Especially with the Tigers finally getting so good and competing for the pennant every year. 

"Mom, can you please subscribe to that magazine. I think you'd really like it!" 

Of course, I never thought it would be possible. It was expensive. 

"Please! I'll read every single issue. It's the 'Bible of Baseball.'" 

I would read every issue. That was a big promise. But, it became true. 

Man, TSN was with me through a great many ups and downs in the coming years.
  • The 1984 Detroit Tigers World Championship season
  • The Tigers incredible rally in 1987
  • A move to college in the early '90s
  • A short hiatus in the late '90s when the magazine lost focus
  • A great run in 2006, again with the Tigers

Then the end (or a beginning) 

Did you know that a couple of years ago, TSN went totally digital. They no longer would be providing a subscription to the print copy. I guess I understand why because I had stopped my subscription in around 2008 or 2009. Everything the magazine covered newsworthy was already out on websites and such. The magazine's change to digital was awkward, but TSN has created a niche for itself. 

The changing world of sports writers

I have several favorite sports writers. Naturally, most of them write about baseball. And the online world has taken away from the value of the magazines and newspapers of years past, but many good writers are still out there. I quite subscribing to TSN in the '90s because they suddenly decided to get rid of many writers I enjoyed. One of them was Joe Falls, who I personally knew. So my cancellation of TSN was personal in the '90s. I took a year hiatus (or less) and joined again. I didn't like the new size of the newsweekly, but (like them) adjusted. 

The Story

You have already read my 2006 story about The Sporting News on I–96. I couldn't help but reference it once again. I guess that's one of my best stories. A late arriving magazine, a trip to see the Fort Wayne Wizards, and a chance meeting with the columnist of a story about the Detroit Tigers in a national magazine. Yeah, I think that counts for something. 

Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker were in about their fifth seasons when I started reading the greatest sports weekly ever. They've been retired from baseball for several years now. I believe both of them should be in the Hall of Fame but the voters don't seem to agree. 
 Even with those ridiculous hats, these two men could turn a double play. 

At my parents house in Elk Rapids the other day, I grabbed a couple of 30 year old issues. I'll read them. There's a lot of history in those fading old news weeklies. Not everybody thinks its cool to go into the garage and dig through bins, but I can't help thinking those Sporting News are pretty cool. 

If they keep on writin', I'll keep on readin'. Every issue. I promise. 

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