Jeff Pearlman

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Two Writers Slinging Yang


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 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.

You can visit my iTunes page for every episode, my Overcast page for every episode, my Google Play page for every episode or click on individual links below.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Episode 96: Jeff Legwold, 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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, 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.

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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.

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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, 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.

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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.

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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, 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.”

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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, senior writer: On digging into a subject, tackling Michael Jordan’s mortality and seeking out enlightenment inside the Cleveland Indians’ clubhouse.

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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.

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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, senior writer: On uncovering the intricacies of Hammerin’ Hank, fighting racism in sports media, writing with brilliance.

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Showtime Book
Love Me, Hate Me Barry Bonds Book
Sweetness Walter Peyton Book
The Bad Guys Won Book
The Rocket that Fell to Earth Book
Boys Will Be Boys Book

Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life