Wednesday, April 15, 2009

King Kaufman hangs it up

I once commented that King Kaufman was one of my favorite columnists, or words to that effect. Well, now he's announced that he's no longer going to be writing his regular sports column for Salon. He insists it's a positive move for him, and who am I to say he's blowing smoke, but jeez, it's a drag to know he won't be doing his regular column anymore.

I'm not what you call a sports fan, not really. I enjoy watching the football on a weekend afternoon, just like Hyman Roth, and I can dig about three innings of baseball before I get bored (unless it's the Red Sox, and they're in the playoffs against the Yankees), and I can appreciate soccer if I'm in the right mood, etc. But mainly my interest in sports is cultural: I'm passively fascinated by the psychology of rooting for a team, by the pageantry of the modern NFL, by the historical patina of baseball (not necessarily by the actual history), by the concept of the Olympics, by the beauty of fit bodies in motion.

So I don't read the sports pages, as a rule. But King Kaufman was an exception. He's such a damn good writer, for one thing. And for another, he's less a sports analyst per se than a guy who sits back and asks the big questions and the small, and then gamely tries to answer them. Like, why does Fox Sports hate baseball? Why do we care if Barry Bonds was on steroids? Et cetera.

He's like that friend you might be lucky enough to have whose opinions are so well-thought-out, so original, so aprodamnpros, and so pithily presented that you'll listen to him talk about anything, even if you haven't got the slightest inkling of an opinion on the subject yourself.

I'm going to miss his column.

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