Two Writers Slinging Yang is my weekly podcast, featuring a one-on-one conversation with writers of myriad mediums and genres. Why is it called “Two Writers Slinging Yang”? Well, it sorta made me laugh—mixing what should be a pretty solid and dignified conversation between two practitioners of a craft with one of my all-time favorite terms for talking shit. So, yeah.
I started the podcast in 2017 using the now-defunct Bumpers.fm software. When that went down I switched briefly to Anchor, and now record using ringr. Although the majority of the guests pertain to sports, I want to continue to diversify and branch out.
Episode 131: Steve Politi, Star-Ledger sports columnist: On starting in the business at age 15; on the story of a high school baseball coach sued by the player he instructed to slide; on 355 Eli Manning-related bylines.
Episode 130: Amber Skye, writer of lesbian erotica: On words like clit and cunt and making them work; on thinking up sex scenes.
Episode 129: Jerry Brewer, Washington Post sports columnist: On watching the winless Dolphins face the winless Redskins; on what makes the best sports writers brilliant.
Episode 128: Andrew Maraniss, author: On researching a subject where every single person is dead; on life with the 1998 Devil Rays.
Episode 127: Lindsay Jones, The Athletic NFL writer: On visiting prison with a Broncos’ wide receiver; on early Tim Tebow; on whether a football writer needs to attend football games.
Episode 126: Peter King, NBC Sports NFL writer: On aging with the game; on riding buses with John Madden and dining with Brett Favre; on a splendid career.
Episode 125: Mark Kriegel, ESPN boxing guy and New York Times best-selling author: On finding Joe Namath; on dealing with Mike Lupica; on watching a fighter die.
Episode 124: Liz Astrof, veteran sitcom TV writer: On working on “2 Broke Girls” and “The King of Queens”; on the heaven/hell of the writer’s room; on sharing a bed with her son.
Episode 123: Joan Niesen, former Sports Illustrated staff writer: On being laid off by Sports Illustrated in a purge of quality employees; on the sadness of watching a magazine crumble.
Episode 122: Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star sports columnist: On transitioning from hot takes loudmouth to serious scribe; on the Andrew Luck shock retirement.
Episode 121: Garrett M. Graff, “The Only Plane in the Sky” author: On chronicling 9.11; on interviewing people about the worst day of their life.
Episode 120: Mina Kimes, ESPN senior writer: On rooting for an NFL team while writing about the sport; on cheering in the press box; on breaking down Baker Mayfield.
Episode 119: The Rookie: A breakdown of my first year as a journalist at The (Nashville) Tennessean. My screwups were legendary. My lessons learned invaluable.
Episode 118: Pat Jordan, legendary sports scribe and author of “A False Spring.”: On transitioning from typewriter to computer; on a kinship with Tom Seaver; on pissing off Roger Clemens.
Episode 117: Tom Passmore, The (Corning, N.Y.) Leader sports writer: On running a one-man section; on interviewing kids; on life inside the offices of an 8,000-circ paper.
Episode 116: Jesse Dougherty, Washington Post Nationals best writer: On being 24 and covering a big-time beat; on life without Bryce Harper; on the Major League boredom problem.
Episode 115: Clementine von Radics: Six-time National Poetry Slam competitor: On the power of the word “meat” when describing a sliced-off ear; on writing about a beloved uncle and his demise; on the power of a great poem.
Episode 114: Keri Blakinger, Houston Chronicle crime, death penalty writer: On her past as a heroin addict, heroin dealer and prison inmate; on watching a man be put to death; on jailhouse reforms sparked by writing.
Episode 113: Tim Alberta, Politico Magazine writer, author of “American Carnage”: On a 40-minute sitdown with Donald Trump; on making yet another political book stand out; on his future covering the Detroit Tigers.
Episode 112: Chad Finn, Boston Globe sports media columnist: On his remarkable profile of Dennis Eckersley; on David Price v. Josh Beckett; on inviting oneself for a ride.
Episode 111: MC White Owl, hip-hop artist: On the weird days of Bad Ronald and stuffed penises; on putting words to a beat; on 100 meanings to a sentence.
Episode 110: Tim Layden, longtime Sports Illustrated senior writer: On leaving the magazine after 25 years; on being threatened by a ballplayer in a gun store; on the deep dig.
Episode 109: Levi Weaver, Texas Rangers beat writer for The Athletic: On covering a baseball team after a lengthy music career; on learning the nuances of the beat; on writing thru depression.
Episode 108: Chris Jones, former Esquire writer and two-time National Magazine Award winner: On adjusting to a career in TV; on aging in the business; on Roger Ebert and delicious chocolates.
Episode 107: Erik Sherman, New York Times best-selling sports biographer: On a final interview with Bill Buckner; on finding the voice of Mookie Wilson.
Episode 106: Amy Chozick, New York Times writer at large and author of “Chasing Hillary”: On life on the campaign trail; on profiling the woman who famously chopped off her husband’s penis.
Episode 105: Lindsay Gibbs, Think Progress sports reporter and WNBA writer for The Athletic: On covering women’s hoops; on the roles for women writers in 2019; on Notre Dame’s coach deciding not to hire male assistants.
Episode 104: Seth Wickersham, ESPN senior writer: On his amazing profile of Y.A. Tittle; on his appearance in “Draft Day”; on the art of the long feature.
Episode 103: Darren Sands: BuzzFeed News political writer: On covering the 2020 presidential campaign; on Mayor Pete and Joe Biden and Cory Booker; on weird Trump times.
Episode 102: Rebeccah Glaser: Editor, The Panther—Chapman University’s student newspaper: On college journalism’s highs and lows; on breaking into the business; on whether college scribes are taken seriously.
Episode 101: Bill Pennington: New York Times sports writer: On his new book, “Chumps to Champs: How Worst Teams in Yankees History Led to the ’90s Dynasty”; on knocking on doors; on discovering the real Billy Martin.
Episode 100: The John Rocker Experience: Travel back in time to 1999, when I profiled an Atlanta Braves pitcher named John Rocker and the world went bonkers.
Episode 99: Georgi Boorman: The Federalist writer: On why social media wars are dumb; on Donald Trump and media weirdness; on picking the right words.
Episode 98: Will Leitch: Deadspin founder, New York Magazine editor and MLB correspondent: On why the website he began still rolls along; on Eddie Van Halen talking golf and the tao of John Rocker.
Bonus Episode Live from LA Times Festival of Books: Daynabelle Anderson: Author of “Letters to My Son: A Mother’s Journey Through Grief”: On managing grief through writing; on why she wrote letters to her deceased son; on self-publishing success.
Episode 97: Grace Raynor, Clemson beat writer, The Athletic: On finding a star quarterback’s best friend in a small-town Burger King; on dealing with superstar coaches; on a summer inside the Yankees’ clubhouse.
Episode 96: Jeff Legwold, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: Live from a Denver Starbucks. On the struggles of a young writer; on covering a league that’s tough to cover; on Odel to the Browns and Flacco to the Broncos.
Episode 95: Dan Wetzel, Yahoo Sports National columnist: Live from the campus of Ohio University. On Tom Brady at his lowest moment; on asking uncomfortable questions; on four pieces of advice for aspiring journalists.
Episode 94: Wayne Coffey, former New York Daily News sports writer, author of book on ’69 Mets: On bringing to life a 50-year-old team; on the heartbreaking saga of Stanley Jefferson.
Episode 93: Master Tesfatsion, Bleacher Report writer: On Adrian Peterson and the fallout from a profile; on Antonio Brown giving limited time; on jerseys and more jerseys.
Episode 92: R. Eric Thomas, Elle staff writer and author of the “Eric Reads the News” column: On humor in crazy political times; in the breathtaking tiara atop the head of Cory Booker’s mom; on a playwright’s euphoria.
Episode 91: Rob Williams, comic book author of Judge Dredd, Suicide Squad, etc: On bringing life to fictional characters; on doing much with words in a small space; on being blown off by Reggie Bush.
Episode 90: Tommy Tomlinson, Pulitzer finalist, sports writer superstar and author of “The Elephant in the Room”: On looking in the mirror and describing what one sees; on forming a bond with a former Kentucky quarterback.
Episode 89: Susan Orlean: Author of “The Library Book” and staff writer, The New Yorker: On choosing the perfect word; on writing a book on an obscure 33-year-old fire; on quoting less and paraphrasing more.
Episode 88: Nora Princiotti: New England Patriots writer for the Boston Globe: On the Super Bowl lockerroom; on finding a story alongside 500 other reporters; on a big beat at the tender age of 24.
Episode 87: Zach Berman, Eagles beat writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News: On covering the Super Bowl; on Media Day hell; on the true feelings of Carson Wentz.
Episode 86: Stanley Herz, author of “Conquering the Corporate Career”: My dad on 1986 book PR; on relocating product from one shelf to another in the Jefferson Valley Mall Waldebooks.
Episode 85: Adam Kennedy, HoopsHype NBA writer: On landing his first press credential at age 14; on the kindness of Steve Francis; on whether to ask kobe Bryant about his alleged rape.
Episode 84: Doug Donovan, Baltimore Sun investigative reporter: On finding the personal stories behind the opioid epidemic; on interviewing people in the toughest of circumstances; on demoting me at the college newspaper.
Episode 83: Jane Leavy, New York Times best-selling biographer and author of “The Big Fella”: On devoting eight years to a book project; on the madness of small errors; on Babe Ruth’s riveting youth.
Episode 81: Kent Babb, Allen Iverson biographer, Washington Post scribe: On finding answers to the life of The Answer; on chronicling Larry Johnson’s post-NFL highs and lows.
Episode 80: Halle Roberts, editor of the Har-Ber (High School) Herald: On fighting the school board for editorial independence; on Hockey Dad.
Episode 79: Marshall Ramsey, Clarion-Ledger editorial cartoonist: On capturing the death of George H. W. Bush; on laughter when one feels like crying.
Episode 78: Steve Buckley, The Athletic scribe and author of the greatest story ever: On Stanley Teeven and going back in time; on coming out via column; on the kindness of Robert Kraft.
Episode 77: Les Carpenter, Washington Post Redskins beat writer: On jumping into a beat without much warning; on whether it matters if players know your name.
Episode 76: Kimberley A. Martin, Yahoo Sports NFL writer: On leaving a dream job for another dream job for another dream job; on breaking through NFL players.
Episode 75: Melissa Schuman, former singer from the pop group Dream: On writing a blog post about being raped by a Backstreet Boy—and the backlash that followed.
Episode 74: Daniel Dale, Washington correspondent for the Toronto Star: On listening to every … single … word uttered by Donald Trump—and chronicling it all.
Episode 73: Ian O’Connor, ESPN senior writer: On his new biography of Patriots coach Bill Belichick; on profiling someone when that someone has no interest.
Episode 72: Elaina Plott, The Atlantic staff writer: Breaking down her amazing profile of Heidi Cruz, wife of Sen. Ted Cruz.
Episode 71: Grant Wahl, Sports Illustrated soccer writer: On his rise from Miami Herald intern to SI star; on his love of the world’s game; on being mugged at gunpoint.
Episode 70: Gary Myers, former Daily News NFL writer: On how the National Football League has made itself increasingly difficult to cover; on Jerry Jones and the Cowboys.
Episode 69: Tyler Tynes, SB Nation staff writer: On his amazing piece about Donald Trump, sports and race in America.
Episode 68: Stephanie Apstein, Sports Illustrated baseball writer: On her amazing Chris Davis profile; on having players know who you are.
Episode 67: Ellie Douglas, horror writer: On why blood and guts make her happy; on how to scare via words.
Episode 66: Jeff Pearlman, big loser: My wife, Catherine Pearlman, talks to me about my new USFL book, “Football for a Buck.”
Episode 65: Mirin Fader, Bleacher Report writer at large: On emerging in a tough profession; on finding confidence of voice; on tracking the Ball Family to Europe.
Episode 64: Michael J. Lewis, retired journeyman sports writer: On leaving the business; on why the profession no longer worked for him.
Episode 63: Lesley Visser, pioneering NFL journalist: On what it was to be the first female NFL beat writer; on dealing with pigs; on covering tragedy on a football field.
Episode 62: Dana O’Neil, The Athletic senior college basketball writer: On working the locker room; on getting coaches to open up; on John Thompson and Jim Calhoun.
Episode 61: Chris Nashawaty, EW film critic: On writing about cinema; on the beauty of Caddyshack.
Episode 60: Gary Smith, former Sports Illustrated writer: On Richie Parker and Radio; on finding a person’s makeup via reporting; on flip phones and leaving the magazine world.
Episode 59: Richard Sandomir, New York Times obituary writer: On the art of the obit; of defining a life lived in 800 words; on his book about a classic Gary Cooper film.
Episode 58: Mike Vaccaro, New York Post sports columnist: On jousting with a Mets general manager; on the rush of Big Apple competition; on Yogi Berra and his father.
Episode 57: Emily Block, South Florida Sun-Sentinel community reporter: On being 24 and entering a rough profession; on having your work lifted; on a genuine passion for reporting in the aftermath of Parkland.
Episode 56: Maurice Patton, Columbia (Tenn.) Daily Herald sports editor: On whether the small-town newspaper still matters; on being let go from a big paper at age 50; on loving high school athletics.
Episode 55: Jonathan Martin, New York Times national political writer: On the buzz of the presidential election; on #fakenews when the news is real; on politicians behind the curtain.
Episode 54: Mac Engel, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram sports columnist: On the craziness of Jerry Jones; on leaning left with a right readership; on whether columnists still matter.
Episode 53: Lane DeGregory, Tampa Bay Times Pulitzer-winner feature writer: On the story of a feral girl and the family that didn’t care; on finding pieces that move people to tears.
Episode 52: Ken Rosenthal, The Athletic MLB writer: On whether age matters when working the beat; on life with Cal Ripken, Jr. during the streak.
Episode 51: Candace Buckner, Washington Post Wizards beat writer: On John Wall and Bradley Beal and the NBA life.
Episode 50: A.J. Cassavell, MLB.com Padres beat writer: On covering a bad team and staying sane; on working the clubhouse.
Episode 49: Tommy Shaw, Styx singer/songwriter: On writing the perfect song; on Mr. Roboto; on lyrical bliss.
Episode 48: Steve Rushin, Sports Illustrated veteran: On writing a back-page column; on toying with words; on arctic golf.
Episode 47: Jose de Jesus Ortiz, St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist: On discovering a voice in a new town; on dealing with online hate; on profiling the widow of a pitcher.
Episode 46: John Pavlovitz, blogger/pastor: On evangelical Christianity and Donald Trump; on writing with passion; on building an audience.
Episode 45: Dave Coverly, cartoonist: On being funny; on writing huge messages in few words; on the comedy of Mike Huckabee.
Episode 44: Jane McManus, former ESPN football writer: On going through a very public layoff; on moving on from ESPN; on covering Rex Ryan and the Jets.
Episode 43: Elizabeth Weil, New York Times Magazine writer: On the 70-year-old Polish kayaker who captured her heart and imagination.
Episode 42: Nicole Auerbach, The Athletic college basketball/football writer: On covering March Madness; on locating nuggets in reporting.
Episode 41: Alan Sepinwall, Uproxx television writer: On great TV v. bad TV; on reviewing with precision and depth.
Episode 40: David Maraniss, Vince Lombardi biographer: On discovering a person’s life; on writing amazing books.
Episode 39: Joel Sherman, New York Post baseball writer: On working a Major League clubhouse; on the good/bad of Albert Belle.
Episode 38: Keldy Ortiz, Bergen Record crime/police reporter: On developing relationships with police; on arriving at tragedy.
Episode 37: Danny Wallace, author of “F You Very Much”: On the rude hot dog waitress who inspired a book; one why manners have vanished.
Episode 36: Jenny Vrentas, SI.com/MMQB senior writer: On the latest Super Bowl; on covering huge games and huge events; on finding stories while surrounded by 1,000 other writers.
Episode 35: Chris Palmer, longtime NBA writer: On covering the Ball family; on bias in media; on social media and the damned if you do v. damned if you don’t nature.
Episode 34: Chris Ballard, Sports Illustrated writer: On the heartbreaking saga of Monty Williams and the joy of Jamal Crawford.
Episode 33: Drew Snyder, minister: On how to write the perfect church sermon without sounding overly judgmental.
Episode 32: L. Jon Wertheim, Sports Illustrated editor/writer: On breaking down subjects, on the Carolina Panthers scandal.
Episode 31: Tyler Kepner, New York Times baseball writer: On the fraud that was ARod; on covering a young Ken Griffey, Jr.
Episode 30: Joel Anderson, ESPN writer: On finding Michael Sam’s father; on writing with sensitivity and decency.
Episode 29: Chip Scoggins, Minneapolis Star-Tribune columnist: On covering the Vikings as they march toward a Super Bowl; on the little girl who stole a coach’s heart.
Episode 28: Rick Reilly, former Sports Illustrated/ESPN writer: On uncovering insanity at The Citadel; on the cigarette-smoking, dog shit-ignoring Cincinnati Reds owner.
Episode 27: Kaira Rouda, best-selling novelist: On writing a book without knowing how it will end; on outsourcing the sex scenes for a romance novel.
Episode 26: Jessica Luther, freelance sports writer: On her groundbreaking piece on the Baylor football scandal; on the ballet dancer who was raped—and open to discussing it
Episode 25: Jodie Wagner, Palm Beach Post sports writer: On two decades of preps reporting; on breaking a dazzling story on local high school football recruiting; on what to bring to a press box and how to respond to angry coaches.
Episode 24: Catherine Pearlman, author of “Ignore It!”: On landing your own book deal; on writing advice.
Episode 23: Chantel Jennings, The Athletic college football writer: On how writing one letter changed the course of her career; on profiling a pass-catching bibliophile; on rising straight from her college paper to ESPN.
Episode 22: Chuck Creekmur, AllHipHop.com co-founder: On facing artists when they don’t want to see you, on Jay-Z and Jay Electronica and Eminem and Vic Mensa, on a kid from Delaware living his dream.
Episode 21: J.A. Adande, Northwestern’s director of sports journalism: On teaching the art of sports writing to the Twitter generation, on Iverson at Georgetown, the Fab Five at Michigan and life after ESPN and the Los Angeles Times.
Episode 20: Jack McCallum, former Sports Illustrated writer: On the Sports Illustrated dream, on the death of Len Bias, on Jordan, Bird, Magic and on his riveting new book, “Golden Days.”
Episode 19: Dana Golberg, standup comedian: On writing funny from life’s experiences, on leaving the lights on for a blind chihuahua and reexamining Eddie Murphy’s “Delirious.”
Episode 18: John Branch, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times writer: On the Facebook post that turned into the most gripping piece from the Las Vegas massacre, the avalanche that brought forth thousands of words and his love-hate relationship with the craft.
Episode 17: Jonathan Eig, Muhammad Ali biographer: On uncovering new details about The Greatest, convincing sources to talk when they have nothing to say and saying hello and farewell to an icon.
Episode 16: Tom Junod, ESPN senior writer: On “The Falling Man,” inside the planning of Muhammad Ali’s funeral and a day with Mr. Rogers.
Episode 15: Chely Wright, country music star: On writing good songs v. great songs, the riddle of rhyming and why one should visit as many truck stops as humanly possible.
Episode 14: Wright Thompson, ESPN.com senior writer: On digging into a subject, tackling Michael Jordan’s mortality and seeking out enlightenment inside the Cleveland Indians’ clubhouse.
Episode 13: Rick Jervis, USA Today Texas-based reporter: On the rigors of covering Hurricane Harvey, the fear/euphoria of embedding with troops in Iraq and the yin and yang of a life in print.
Episode 12: Jemele Hill, ESPN writer/personality: On TV v. print, dealing with online nastiness, recovering from errors and making it in a rough business.
Episode 11: Dylan Gwinn, Breitbart sports editor: On working for the arch-conservative outlet, his stance on liberal media bias and why Colin Kaepernick deserves his exile.
Episode 10: Jessica Huseman, ProPublica national politics and civil rights reporter: On surviving a terrifying flight, covering Donald Trump and the art of the journalistic cold call.
Episode 9: Kevin Van Valkenburg, ESPN senior writer: On Twitter beefs, social media brain decay and Michael Phelps’ bong.
Episode 8: Lee Jenkins, Sports Illustrated senior writer: On two men and one profile of USC quarterback Sam Darnold.
Episode 7: Mike Tollin, award-winning producer, director, writer: On Varsity Blues and Summer Catch and Radio; On 30 for 30s.
Episode 6: Marcus Thompson, The Athletic’s Bay Area writer: On writing a Steph Curry biography; on leaving newspapers after 18 years; on the preposterousness of Rocky v. Clubber.
Episode 5: Russ Bengtson, former Slam Magazine editor: On LeBron, A.I., Starbury, Shawn Bradley, dead snakes and the merging of hoops and hip-hop.
Episode 4: Paul Kane, Washington Post congressional correspondent: On the weirdness of Trump, the savvy of McConnell, the Beltway highs and lows.
Episode 3: Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle Oakland A’s beat writer: On covering a perennially bad team, the flaws of Moneyball and life with a young Shaw.
Episode 2: Howard Beck, Bleacher Report NBA writer: On the modern world of pro hoops, leaving newspaper for the web and enduring James Dolan.
Episode 1: Howard Bryant, ESPN.com senior writer: On uncovering the intricacies of Hammerin’ Hank, fighting racism in sports media, writing with brilliance.