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The Best American Sports Writing 2020 (The Best American Series ®)

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The latest addition to the acclaimed series showcasing the best sports writing from the past year. For over twenty-five years, The Best American Sports Writing has built a solid reputation by showcasing the greatest sports journalism of the previous year, culled from hundreds of national, regional, and specialty print and digital publications. Each year, the series editor a The latest addition to the acclaimed series showcasing the best sports writing from the past year. For over twenty-five years, The Best American Sports Writing has built a solid reputation by showcasing the greatest sports journalism of the previous year, culled from hundreds of national, regional, and specialty print and digital publications. Each year, the series editor and guest editor curate a truly exceptional collection. The only shared traits among all these diverse styles, voices, and stories are the extraordinarily high caliber of writing, and the pure passion they tap into that can only come from sports.


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The latest addition to the acclaimed series showcasing the best sports writing from the past year. For over twenty-five years, The Best American Sports Writing has built a solid reputation by showcasing the greatest sports journalism of the previous year, culled from hundreds of national, regional, and specialty print and digital publications. Each year, the series editor a The latest addition to the acclaimed series showcasing the best sports writing from the past year. For over twenty-five years, The Best American Sports Writing has built a solid reputation by showcasing the greatest sports journalism of the previous year, culled from hundreds of national, regional, and specialty print and digital publications. Each year, the series editor and guest editor curate a truly exceptional collection. The only shared traits among all these diverse styles, voices, and stories are the extraordinarily high caliber of writing, and the pure passion they tap into that can only come from sports.

30 review for The Best American Sports Writing 2020 (The Best American Series ®)

  1. 4 out of 5

    K

    Apparently, this is the last of the series. It's a shame because I've enjoyed it immensely. Unfortunately, it doesn't go out at the top of its game. While there a few good articles, there are several strange selections and clunkers, and even those that are chosen are not well-written, though they cover interesting angles on topics. First, the good. I liked the first essay about baseball helping people with Alzheimer's; sweet and concise. I liked, "The Believer," which looked at one of those peopl Apparently, this is the last of the series. It's a shame because I've enjoyed it immensely. Unfortunately, it doesn't go out at the top of its game. While there a few good articles, there are several strange selections and clunkers, and even those that are chosen are not well-written, though they cover interesting angles on topics. First, the good. I liked the first essay about baseball helping people with Alzheimer's; sweet and concise. I liked, "The Believer," which looked at one of those people who is nowhere near true Olympic caliber but gets into the Olympics by 'gaming' the system by competing in an obscure sport for a country that has nobody else who pursues that sport. But instead of laughing at or hating this person, the author shows you why this person's dedication is real and should be respected. A story about a lawsuit over a baseball player injured while sliding is one of those only-in-America litigation pieces. And it's nice to see Venus Williams get her due in a lengthy profile. On the other hand, the rest is forgettable, and sometimes worse. I have no idea why this ridiculously long piece by a person who says she knows nothing about tennis is in there; it's such a cliche to have an outsider drop into a major sporting event and write about how it's a strange environment, but then transcendent when you see an athlete's grace. It's been done a thousand times, and most often much better. Same thing with a piece on a bunch of people dying while trying to climb Mt. Everest. There's been a tremendous magazine article, book and even movie about similar events 15 years earlier. Why do we need a replay that tells us nothing new? I guess there had to be something about sex abuse, as it's continued to be a sporting shame. But we've had them in the last few books as well, and this story doesn't shed any new light. Same for something about how steroids messed up someone's life, though the story about how VP Mike Pence almost held a photo-op with an opioid pusher was a moderately interesting piece. There are a bunch of other crime pieces, and they're only peripherally about sports and not very interesting. Robert Kraft, owner of the Patriots, and his massage parlor adventures is an ok entry because it reminds us of the double standard for rich white guys and immigrant women. The author's brief reference to being solicited herself as an unaccompanied Asian woman at a bar in Palm Beach, Florida, is a lingering, icky image. But the one about a former bicycle racer who became a bank robber, blah. Same for the one about an NBA executive who embezzled a bunch of money. I'd rather have something uplifting than those 3 stories (or at least drop any 2 of them). In sum, this book is ok, but it focuses a lot more on the dirtiness of sports as a business and the dirtiness that comes with competing in sports at all levels than it does on anything ennobling or even fun about sports. And in a year in which fun was hard to find, it's a shame that a book about sports pre-COVID (all articles from 2019) couldn't deliver on the release from life that we've come to enjoy.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Doug Carpenter

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Another great collection of sports stories and excellent writing. Sad to see this wonderful series discontinued. Looked forward to reading these stories every year.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Edward Guo

    This series was never about just sports. Over its lifespan, it has shown, time and time again, the power of good stories. This year's edition is no exception. As always, it forces one to reflect on all aspects of one's lived experience and life: hope, despair, dedication, luck, persistence, failure, death, and being reborn (in some ways). It shows the best and the worst of what we are capable of, and all the coincidences in between. While it's sad to see the series end, I don't think there should This series was never about just sports. Over its lifespan, it has shown, time and time again, the power of good stories. This year's edition is no exception. As always, it forces one to reflect on all aspects of one's lived experience and life: hope, despair, dedication, luck, persistence, failure, death, and being reborn (in some ways). It shows the best and the worst of what we are capable of, and all the coincidences in between. While it's sad to see the series end, I don't think there should be much regret. Just look at the fruits of its life. Personal Favorites: The Symptoms, Gritty All Day Long, Champion Moves, The Bicycle Thief, The Exiled and the Devil's Sideshow, Olympic Cyclist Catlin Was Driven to the End, The Champion Who Picked a Date to Die

  4. 5 out of 5

    Joe Desmond

    This final edition of the series was very disappointing. With a few exceptions, the overall tone of the selections was dark. For a number of the stories, sports was an afterthought. It almost seems as if the editor had an agenda. I’ve read most of the books in this series and this one was, by far, the least enjoyable. It’s hard to believe that these features represented the best of American Sports Writing for 2019. I’ve noticed more downbeat articles in the last few editions. If this is indeed t This final edition of the series was very disappointing. With a few exceptions, the overall tone of the selections was dark. For a number of the stories, sports was an afterthought. It almost seems as if the editor had an agenda. I’ve read most of the books in this series and this one was, by far, the least enjoyable. It’s hard to believe that these features represented the best of American Sports Writing for 2019. I’ve noticed more downbeat articles in the last few editions. If this is indeed the direction of this series, it is time to pull the plug. Sad.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    The best sports writing isn’t for sports fans, it crosses cultural lines and goes beyond scores and statistics. These are stories framed in sports but are impactful even if you no nothing of rules, positions and plays. My favorites: The Bicycle Thief Chaos at the Top of the World Champion Moves How NBA executive Jeff David Stole $13 Million from the Sacramento Kings Whatever Happened to Villanova Basketball Star Shelley Pennefather?

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    While I admired the writing... ..I didn’t find these stories tremendously uplifting. But it did inspire me to check out some stories that didn’t make the cut. I’m sad to see this series come to an end.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    A pleasure as always. So bummed to read that they're discontinuing this series for next year. I truly hope that some other version takes its place. Standout stories include "Chaos at the Top of the World", "So I made this deal with God" and "The Bicycle Thief". A pleasure as always. So bummed to read that they're discontinuing this series for next year. I truly hope that some other version takes its place. Standout stories include "Chaos at the Top of the World", "So I made this deal with God" and "The Bicycle Thief".

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michael Romero

    Much more than writing about sports or athletes I was very pleasantly surprised by the stories included. I expected athlete profiles or game summaries but it was stories about interesting characters and the writing was top-notch in most cases.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    4.5

  10. 4 out of 5

    arthur nakata

    This is the last year they are publishing this collection after 30 yrs. Its a good one!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mason Wittner

  12. 4 out of 5

    D'Anne

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sean Xavier

  14. 5 out of 5

    Howard Garb

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jason

  16. 4 out of 5

    Budd Bailey

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kris

  18. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Berg

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jake

  20. 5 out of 5

    Karl

  21. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Egan

  22. 5 out of 5

    Phil

  23. 4 out of 5

    Don Gorman

  24. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  25. 5 out of 5

    Elan Pratzer

  26. 5 out of 5

    julie chenu

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tyler

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nestor Flores

  29. 4 out of 5

    Matt Lieberman

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mr. Book

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