I discovered Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post in 2010, the first full year of Stephen Strasburg’s professional career. It was an historic time in baseball, given that Strasburg had signed the largest amateur contract since Mark Prior in 2001 and had done it just 77 seconds before the deadline. So talk about pressure on this 21-year-old kid, right? There were so many story lines to follow for whoever was brave enough to do it.
And there was Dave Sheinin. He spent all of 2010 chronicling Strasburg’s foray throughout the Minor Leagues and into the Majors. One of the articles that sticks with me, and still reminds me why I wanted to be a sports journalist in the first place, is his April 25 piece, “Stephen Strasburg: In minor leagues, phenom tries to blend in while his talent stands out.” You can read the entire article here. As someone who’s always dabbled in fiction, this piece stood out to me because of Sheinin’s prose. It was a nice surprise to discover that even “flowery” language is acceptable in sports writing, and that it could lend a hand to mundane descriptions of ground outs to first.
(Plus, Sheinin wrote a profile over a month ago about an amateur car race that might be one of the best things I’ve read this year.)