Best Sportswriter (2007)

Joe Capozzi Palm Beach Post

Few things are more depressing than the steady deterioration of the sportswriting craft. The best writers in the business used to congregate on the sports page, where the lighter subject matter allowed for a bit more creativity and whimsy than, say, business coverage. But those days are gone. Now you have sportswriters who treat the games as if they're city commission meetings, who write about X's and O's with little passion or wit, who treat the blessed calling of sports coverage as if it were insurance sales. Not Capozzi. His work might not quite hark back to Ring Lardner or Red Smith, but you can count on the guy to make it worth your while. On the Marlins beat, he's true as Miguel Cabrera's swing. Want to know something about new manager Fredi Gonzalez? Read Capozzi's piece on the "Bagel Boys," a "southern-fried fraternity" of Gonzalez buds that meets at an Einstein's bagel shop to "solve the world's problems." He conjures Fellini in a retrospective piece on Mark McGwire. When the slugger arrived at the ballpark, Capozzi writes that "morning calm gave way to desperate chaos" with " faces pressed against the black gate — kids, mothers, grandfathers, all reaching between the bars for an autograph from the man..." Takes you back, doesn't it?

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