Paschal: Of chipmunks and knights: a baseball writer on baseball writing

From John Paschal at The Hardball Times on October 12, 2017:

Ted Williams called them–called us, I suppose–the knights of the keyboard, with a derisive tone duly attached. Thus dishonored, the knights called themselves chipmunks, provided they were skilled in the ways of quip and keyboard. Blackie Sherrod, the Dallas wordsmith, reckoned sportswriters “got an early start by having their mamas drop them on their little heads as infants,” and that a career in sportswriting is “habit-forming, true, but cheaper than dope.” Grantland Rice, whose prose helped elevate sportswriters from the rank of ink-stained wretches to that of semi-respected craftsfolk, thought himself a member of “The Greatest Profession” and that “a little thing like money or the lack of it never gave us much concern.”

As a writer in search of words to write, I recently read this stuff– learned this stuff–following a brief run of good old serendipity. Stranded without a topic, I stumbled across three old books whose content became a savior, rescuing me from that dreadful place of wordlessness and pushing me toward a better place where an idea can at last attach to letters. I discovered one book in an antiques store (don’t judge me) and the other two in an old cardboard box I had retrieved from storage and unpacked as if it were a Christmas stocking, and together, if just for a time, the books restored my standing as a writer by turning me into a reader again. The letters are out there, the old books told me…in not so many words. We must go and find them.

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Originally published: October 12, 2017. Last Updated: October 12, 2017.