Not sure how many people here saw this, but Marty Noble died today. He was 70.
For those who don’t know, Marty was a longtime Newsday baseball writer who predominantly covered the Mets. He was on the beat when I came along on the Major League Baseball scene at Sports Illustrated in the late-1990s and—to be blunt—he wasn’t particularly friendly or helpful.
But here’s the thing—and it’s important: Marty Noble had no reason to be particularly friendly or helpful. I was the competitor when media competition truly mattered. Not only that, I was a young guy at a magazine; some dickhead in a backward cap who might parachute in to speak with Timo Perez or Al Leiter. Imagine being Marty, embedded in Queens and knower of all one needed to know about the franchise, willingly assisting a punk newcomer. No fucking way.
I dig that. Like, I really dig that. I’m not sure what it’s like now, but back then the New York scene was no joke. Newspaper writers went at one another hard. You were handed nothing. Opposing bylines were the enemies. It was a fight for scoops, a fight for details. With this gray beard and nonstop rotation of sweaters, Marty was a sight to behold. But he wasn’t soft, and he guarded his turf relentlessly.
I wish there were more reporters like that in 2019.
More Marty Nobles.
PS: Anthony DiComo with a lovely ode here.