Tim Kurkjian, marvelous sportswriter for ESPN, laments the end of his personal sports "streak" -- one he legitimately compares to the streaks of Ripken, Gehrig, DiMaggio:
For the first time since 1989, I no longer clip every box score of every baseball game from the nearest newspaper and tape each one into a spiral notebook, a daily task that I've estimated, at roughly 15 minutes per day, has cost me 40 days of my truly pathetic life.
And why? Could it possibly be marital bliss, or encroaching maturity? No:
my equally unbreakable streak was stopped by the slow death of the newspaper business, the business I grew up in, the business I will always love. But in 2009, it became clear that my Washington Post, due to deadline issues, was no longer providing enough box scores in the edition delivered to my house in Darnestown, Md.
I enjoyed having the hard copy of the box score at the ready, be it in a car, a cab or a plane. Having every box score of a season by my side wherever I went gave me a sense of comfort. If I wasn't sure how the Padres were using their bullpen, for example, I could go through a month of Padres box scores, and I would know. I remember in 1993, right about the start of the steroid era, counting by hand the number of players that had gotten four extra-base hits in a game that season. The search took from Dallas to San Francisco. ... The box scores start every day for me because there's always a chance you'll see a pitching or batting line that you've never seen before, and might never see again, such as Ben Petrick's 3-0-0-4 a few years ago. Four RBIs without a hit!
I find this public confession of Kurkjian's comforting, myself. It is the sort of thing I could see myself doing, in a slightly different cosmos (I still buy 2 packs of baseball cards every spring training). And I understand his delight in scanning page after page of data, attempting to tease information out of it. I completely "grok" that. It is, in fact, a good part of how I make my living.
Roger Ebert has been Twittering ironic twits (tweets?) contrasting e-books to real books. Kurkjian and I (and my mom, actually) have a sympathetic preference for hard-copy as well. Touch, and smell, as well as see.
Today, I raise my glass of RC Cola (since I can't get Dr. Pepper in a glass bottle any more) to Tim Kurkjian and his 20-year streak: Hoopla!