Saturday, August 13, 2016

How about that local sports team

I choose to believe this Pete Finney anecdote is not true.
No job was too small for him. Izenberg recalled a story Mr. Finney told about a reporter in pre-computer days who had a story due but was assigned to ride in a Carnival parade. To get the man's story, Mr. Finney went to the parade, and the reporter threw it to him from his float.
I know, toward the end, a few of us couldn't help pointing out when Finney appeared to be phoning it in or when he was a little too much in awe of some of our city's most powerful people. Also when he wrote sentences like this. 
Tom Benson is saying this, unable to restrain a roar of Category 5 laughter.  
Or as his New Year's Day "predictions" column became more Get-Off-My-Lawnish
In town for the NBA All-Star game gala at the Saenger, Miley Cyrus is arrested for lack of talent. Police Chief Ronal Serpas tells reporters her foam No. 1 finger has been locked away in the evidence room. "She's a modest girl, but then again, she has so much to be modest about," Serpas says.
Or jingoistic 
At the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, wearing earphones and a hidden mic, carries the Olympic torch in the opening ceremonies and high-fives Russian president Vladimir Putin, calling him a "misunderstood genius."
But, as they say, ninety percent of the job is just showing up. And Finney certainly did that for decades.  No one can deny that he knew his city well.
Peter Paul Finney was born Oct. 17, 1927, in New Orleans and lived there his entire life with the exception of his time in the Louisiana Air National Guard in the early 1950s.

Between his graduation from Jesuit, where he was editor of the Blue Jay, and his freshman year at Loyola, he embarked on his sportswriting career with the New Orleans States.

The States became The States-Item in 1958 and in 1980 was merged with The Times-Picayune.

Working as the lead columnist for all three publications, Finney turned out an estimated 15,000 columns and 12 million words touching on local, national and world events and personalities.

Although he had numerous opportunities to leave New Orleans for more lucrative opportunities, he never did, a decision longtime Newark Star-Ledger columnist and close friend Jerry Izenberg said was both the right one and fortuitous for his home town.
With the way our media persons (especially in the sports department) seem to hop from place to place every few years, is a career like Finney's even possible anymore?  Or are we just trudging on toward the day when every word written about everyone's local sports team is produced by the same robot in Bristol, Connecticut?

No comments: