People and Pop Culture

Longtime baseball writer Roger Angell dies at 101

Former New Yorker Senior Editor ROGER ANGELL, the "elegant and thoughtful baseball writer who was widely considered among the best America has produced," died last Friday at his home in Manhattan at 101, according to Dwight Garner of the N.Y. TIMES. MARGARET MOORMAN, his wife, said that the cause was "congestive heart failure." Angell's voice was "original" because he "wrote more like a fan than a sports journalist, loading his articles with inventive imagery." The baseball season "didn't seem complete until, as he did late each fall, Angell wrapped up its multiple meanings in a long New Yorker article." Angell was sometimes referred to as "baseball's poet laureate." He wrote well into his 90s, and in '14 he was awarded the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, the Baseball HOF's honor for writers (N.Y. TIMES, 5/21).

A UNIQUE VOICE: THE NEW YORKER's David Remnick wrote Angell's prose and editorial judgment "left an imprint that's hard to overstate." Like BABE RUTH and SHOHEI OHTANI, he was a "freakishly talented double threat, a superb writer and an invaluable counsel to countless masters of the short story" (, 5/20). THE ATHLETIC's Lindsey Alder wrote Angell "covered baseball like no one else." He came to it "late in life -- at age 42 -- and was unconventional in his literary approach to chronicling the games he'd loved since he was young." He "had luxuries that most writers never get." He wrote for The New Yorker, which "gave him space, time, and freedom to explore topics that moved him, rather than being beholden to the day-to-day issues and performances that drove most baseball writing then and now." He was baseball's "living history, its institutional memory, and one of its all-time greatest ambassadors for the magic of the game" (, 5/20).

MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING: In DC, Thomas Boswell writes Angell "respected beat writers and columnists who covered sports daily because he knew us from countless batting cages, press boxes and clubhouses." He "knew the hours we worked -- the months' worth of days a year on the road and, thus, the loss of 'life'" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/23). In Denver, Patrick Saunders wrote, "We live in the Twitter era when so much content is mean, crass, a mile wide an an inch deep. We don't have time, or so we think, for the thoughtfulness and appreciation of well-crafted stories." Angell was "a man and a writer from a different era" (DENVER POST, 5/22).

SBJ Spotlight: TikTok’s threat to traditional sports media

While tech companies are consumed with finding ways to compete with TikTok, almost no one in conventional media “spends any time talking about it,” said Recode senior correspondent Peter Kafka in an Spotlight interview with SBJ’s John Ourand. “To me, that’s just an obvious disconnect.” Kafka authored a recent column headlined, “It’s TikTok’s world. Can TV live in it?” He said the main response to TikTok’s growth from traditional media execs has been to “punt and hope it’s someone else’s problem a quarter from now or two years from now.” But Kafka said that ignores the trend of conventional broadcast audiences growing older while a billion younger consumers spend most of their media time watching short video after short video. “If you’re in the business of getting anyone under the age of 30 to look at what you’re putting on a screen, you have to think about the fact that you’re probably asking them to put down TikTok and watch your thing instead,” said Kafka. “That’s a very difficult ask. … [TikTok] is insanely addictive.”

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