I’ve been doing a ton of baseball research as part of a bunch of projects I’m writing, and I miss old-style game reports. Today’s game recaps go
Result, big event or two as selected by the reporter. (“The team won 5-4 in league play today on the strength of four solo home runs and a suicide squeeze in the ninth.”)
Quote or two.
Lesser events, notes of interest.
Quote or two.
Wrap it up. (“Jason Barker’s sacrifice bunt in the eighth was his 28th of the season, tying a team record”)
It’s based on the application of the pyramid style of newspaper story writing, where the more you read the more atomic knowledge you gain. Read the headline, you’ll see if the team won or lost. The lead sentence, you’ll get the who/what/when/where/why/how.
It wasn’t always like this. There was a time when baseball games were laid out chronologically, and the writers tried to give the reader a sense of what it was like to be there, including the highs, lows, when it seemed like there was hope, or even what it felt like to be crushed in the first inning. Interesting plays were applauded as they happened. There are drawbacks to this approach: the writers often try wayyyy too hard, and the purple prose gets thick and hard to read. And yet, it reminds me of the finer qualities of Dave Niehaus in the 1980s, when the rhythm and interest inherent in the event drove the coverage, but the love of the game brought forth a kind of… quest for the hidden item.
That’s lost now. Game recaps don’t sing with the emotions of that game, and I miss it.