A sad moment in sports journalism

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Found out today that Hal McCoy, the Dayton Daily News‘ Reds’ beat writer for the past 37 (yes, 37) years will no longer cover the team after this season.

A sad day, it is.

Besides being a Hall of Famer and the dean of baseball scribes, Hal has been, for the past six or seven years, legally blind (yes, legally blind). But nobody would know it from his work. Hal’s a tremendous writer—the perfect merging of insight into the ballplayer psyche and intelligence about the game.  He was never a me-me-me journalist—had no interest in becoming  “a personality” or winding up screaming  at Mike Lupica on ESPN. No, Hal simply loved the gig.

More important, he is a great man. Back when I was covering baseball for Sports Illustrated, there were a fair number of beat writers who would have nothing to do with a mid-20s magazine punk coming into town for this or that. I’d be ignored, mocked, etc. But Hal was always pure class. Through this past February, I always looked forward to seeing him at spring training and—if I were lucky–meeting him for breakfast at a small dive across the street from the club’s Sarasota facility. The man never ran out of joy and glee and appreciation. He loved covering the game. Hell, he loved the game. Just loved it.

Damn. Breaks my heart. F—ing newspapers …

2 thoughts on “A sad moment in sports journalism”

  1. They told Hal, “They wouldn’t be covering the Reds the way they had in the past,” which translates to, “You’ve been here for 40 years, cost us way too much and work in sports.”

    I’ve only been in the industry since January and last month had to sit and watch my editor, who hired me and gave me my first chance, get laid off along with 5 others in our department that employs about 20 people.

    I try to follow as many beat writer blogs as I can just to learn and Hal’s was easily one of the top 5 best in the country, if not the best.

    Very disheartening to see that sports is the always first thing to go in most places, too many sections getting turned into a repository for the AP.

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