The Only Game in Town: Sportswriting from The New Yorker
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The Only Game in Town: Sportswriting from The New Yorker

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  64 ratings  ·  18 reviews
For more than eighty years, The New Yorker has been home to some of the toughest, wisest, funniest, and most moving sportswriting around. The Only Game in Town is a classic collection from a magazine with a deep bench, including such authors as Roger Angell, John Updike, Don DeLillo, and John McPhee. Hall of Famer Ring Lardner is here, bemoaning the lowering of standards f...more
Paperback, 512 pages
Published June 14th 2011 by Modern Library (first published 2010)
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Good New Yorker articles are like black holes: when you get sucked into one you cease to exist in time and space...for about 25 minutes. A compilation of the best sports articles from the New Yorker is just a bigger black hole, in a good way. There are 512 pages in this collection, and I read it slowly, over the course of a few months, picking it up and putting it down at leisure. Of every five articles, one was just pretty good, three were great, and one was so incredibly consuming that I brief...more
Remnick, David (ed.). THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN. (2010). ****.
Subtitled “Sports Writing from the New Yorker,” this is a marvelous assemblage of articles drawn from that magazine dealing with a variety of sports and atheletes. I’ve been a reader of this magazine for many years, but never – that I can remember – read any of the articles dealing with sports. That’s not why I read the New Yorker! I was impressed, however, by what I’ve missed over the years. Articles included in this collection like: Jo...more
It's a little depressing that the quality of writing about sports seems to have declined quite a bit, based on the evidence herein. The best essays tend to be the earlier ones, such as AJ Liebling's 1955 "Ahab and Nemesis" about the Archie Moore - Rocky Marciano fight; or John McPhee's in-depth profile of Bill Bradley which later become the book _A Sense of Where You Are_. The later essays tend to be entirely solipsistic; or obsessed with the BUSINESS of sport rather than the non-monetary detail...more
Some great essays, such as classic profiles of MJ and Ted Williams. The older works are the better ones, as they show us how the role of sport has changed in America over the past century.

But frankly, Adam Gopnik's essay stands head and shoulders above the rest ---- (it's also available in his own collection of essays "Through the Children's Gate"), and it's one of the single most beautiful essays I've ever read. Kinda/sorta about his friend Kirk dying, it involves football and teaching, and is...more
Jul 27, 2010 Matthew marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I saw both Remnick and Roger Angell on Charlie Rose last night, and that convinced me to pick up this book. I might not read all the essays, but the Updike on Teddy Ballgame's last ballgame and Angell on Ron Darling's 10-inning no-hitter in college, where his Yale team lost the game in the 11th to Frank Viola's St. Johns sounds like must reads.
Just a very few clunkers keeping it from 5; Bill Bradley: Rich and White, Not Poor and Black! is not an essay, John McPhee. Also underwhelming: A. J. Liebling (bummer). However: everything else. They're all there...Michael Jordan, Michelle Kwan, Tiger Woods, Shaquille O'Neal, and a bunch of others you've never heard of.
A lot of the pieces in here were a bit overwrought and ultimately turned some very interesting subjects into incredibly boring material. Sometimes, I was amazed at just how painful some of the reading was. But, ultimately, it was OK. Maybe it's a New Yorker thang, and I wouldn't understand.
Loved "The Web of the Game"; "The Only Games in Town"; "A Sense of Where You Are"; "El Unico Matador"; "Net Worth"; "Dangerous Game"; "Last of the Metrozoids" (best); "Tennis Personalities"; "The National Pastime" (best); "Home and Away"; "A Stud's Life" (best)
i found myself skipping portions of it--i had hoped that the high quality of writing from the new yorker would make things like horse racing, cycling, and golf interesting to me, but i did not find that to be the case. this is disappointing, but the rest was good.
Excellent sports writing from The New Yorker. The most intriguing stories are from the early-to-mid 20th century, as they reflect a time in which sports were viewed and experienced in a very different manner from today.
Some of the finer essays ever produced on baseball alone, including Angell's "Web of the Game"; Updike's "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu" and Cheever's "Father and Sons". Masterpieces.
Kevin Hodgson
Lots of great stuff in here. I didn't read everything -- some of the stylized writing is not to my taste -- but it's great to stumble over something unexpected.
Mar 06, 2012 Joel rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: owned
The best essays are the ones about insane skiers and surfers and boxing managers. Screw the pieces on Lance Armstrong, Shaquille O'Neal, and Tiger Woods.
It's an anthology - what's to review? Some good pieces, some not-so-good; three stars. If you're a fan of sports and/or The New Yorker, it's a pleasant read.
Overall, a good book, though it tapers off at the end. The individual profiles were as good as they always are, but some of the older pieces did not age well.
3.5. So many great stories here; Malcolm Gladwell's The Art if Failure and the profile of Bill Bradley at Princeton probably resonated the most.
Ray Charbonneau
All those different writers, across multiple decades, and they all read like "New Yorker" pieces :-)
A fantastic collection of great sports writing. A must read for any sports fan.
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