Daily Archives: September 2, 2008

Buzz Bissinger Talks On the DL

Listen to Dan and Nick talk with Buzz Bissinger.

Click here for more information and a clipped up version of the show.

Buzz Bissinger, Pulitzer Prize winning author and foil to the sports blogosphere, joins the show to talk about his career as a writer, interviewer – and yes – new media-discussing town hall panelist.

Listen, our audience is very diverse so there are some of you who only know Bissinger for what he said on Costas Now, and the aftermath that ensued. There are some of you who read sports books or live in Philly and just said, “what’s Costas Now.” There’s something in this for both of you.

We start with a conversation about his what he is most proud of, A Prayer for the City. We follow by asking him about Ed Rendell, and which career he thought Rendell was mostly likely to have – governor or football analyst for CSN.

We talk about his most famous work, Friday Night Lights, specifically about picking up his entire life and moving to Odessa Texas on a chance a book might come out of it.

We talk a lot of baseball, including a New York Times article from 2007 about Kerry Wood which we translate to how the Phillies treat Cole Hamels. This leads discussion about the overuse or underuse of pitchers in the minors and references his recent op-ed about the overbearing phenomenon of the parent-coach and how it ruins kids early.

We also talk about many of his articles for Vanity Fair, including one on Don Imus (he doesn’t like Imus very much) and one on Stephen Glass that was turned into the movie Shattered Glass. That leads us to a discussion about the need for editors, which spins us nicely into the world of internet writing. Venerable sportswriter Murray Chass wrote in an email to me last week that he does not need editors. And clearly in the case of Stephen Glass, editors did not do their due diligence. Buzz has said before that one of his issues with sports blogs is that they have no editors and no one to clean up the content, both in quality and in substance. We ask him what he thinks of Chass’ comments and what he thinks about the importance of editors.

Yes, we talk about blogs. And Costas. Now.

We talk briefly about that night and what his thoughts are many months later. Does he regret anything? He answer that and talk about his relationship with Will Leitch, Big Daddy (Balls) Drew and some of the others blogs out there.

We also try to find out why he decided to do every interview that asked him in the weeks following. I’d have probably just gone into a shell, but he was out there taking punches from anyone. Anyone. His response is quite interesting, given his initial comments on the veracity and validity of blogs.

We also discuss how that night extended the conversation about newspapers and new media. What does he think about the Mariotti’s of the world now saying newspapers are dead? Always good when you can take a shot at Mariotti.

Finally, we talk about his legacy. What will his Deadspin Hall of Fame induction speech say? Is he concerned that this is going to stay with him the rest of his life? And we somehow find a way to take a shot at Stephen A. Smith.

We had no clue what to expect with this interview. He could be sick of talking about it. He could have been angry that we called him unprepared. But he was contrite, informed and in a way, soft-spoken. I hope it’s worth your time to listen.


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