Hal McCoy’s career as a Cincinnati Reds beat writer for the Dayton Daily News ended Sundayâ€”after a mere 37 years of covering the team. Here’s his brilliant farewell column, an absolute must-read.
I’ve blogged about Hal before, and hopefully I’ll blog about him again. I’m just extremely sad that he’s been shown the door and even sadder that this is where we are in the profession. Hal was the only legally blind beat writer in MLB historyâ€”an ode to strength and confidence and, mostly, love.
Hal McCoy loved covering baseball. Absolutely loved it. When I left Sports Illustrated back in 2002, it was because I was sick of the whole sceneâ€”standing in a clubhouse being blown off by Arthur Rhodes; sitting in the press box watching a 10-2 Pirates-Braves thriller; having some two-bit TV reporter shove his mic in the middle of my one-on-one interview with Albert Pujols. I was drained and beaten up, and I wanted no more of it. But Hal … Hal never seemed to have a bad day at the stadium. He looked forward to talking to the players; to the informal chats with the managers after the tape recorders were shut off; to long games and short games; close games and blowouts. He did a mean George Foster impersonation, and was quick with a story about Pete Rose or Joe Morgan or, to my delight, Bruce Berenyi and Ron Oester. I will miss our annual breakfasts at the little diner outside of the team’s old spring training facility in Sarasota (which, like Hal, is being shut down).
I hate what journalism has become, and this seals it. Just today I was speaking with Rick Jervis, the excellent USA Today scribe who interned with me at The Tennessean in 1993. We often discuss the good ol’ days, and how our dream was to write for
a major newspaper and one day, just maybe, a magazine(!). Now, who could possibly think in such a way?