Word in today's New York Times sports section is that Dave Anderson is finally calling it quits as a full-time sports columnist after 36 years, and will pop up in an emeritus role from time to time, mostly on Sundays.
Good for him that he's lasted this long. While it might not be fashionable to knock a guy on his way out the door, allow me a few raps nonetheless.
Anderson was the nice-guy columnist, the glass-half-full writer whose space was filled with gentle observations rather than pointed comments that brought another dimension to a game story. You know, sort of like sports columnists are supposed to do.
I read Anderson regularly because, well, the Times is the one paper in the morning delivered to my door with a regular sports section. But rarely did I get any added perspective, even less seldom was I entertained, or did I get a sense of genuine reportage.
Part of the problem is that Anderson was more fixated in later years by golf, the sport that dominated his column in recent months. Paint-drying play and another anti-climactic win by Tiger begets similar prose.
You kept hoping for the big zing, the lingering food-for-thought moment. Too often, though, Anderson left you hungry.
Fortunately, the Times' other columnists, Harvey Araton, Selena Roberts and Bill Rhoden (who deserves a hustle award for banging out a short column despite being hospitalized yesterday during the Jets' game with vertigo) are not as meek with their views.
With the Times' penny-pinching that has compromised and diminished its sports coverage, it remains to be seen whether Anderson would even be replaced, and, if so, is there an in-house candidate at the ready. Joe Drape? Bill Pennington?
Also, look to see whether the Times will replace Lee Jenkins as its West Coast sports correspondent, now that he has decamped to Sports Illustrated.