“Somehow, even in other sports, the salaries are not a big thing. Probably because baseball looks easy, and actually it’s the hardest game to play. But it looks like the most fun. It’s fun to be out there, and you don’t want some kid to be paid for having that much fun. And of course they fail, over and over.”—Roger Angell
Lewiston Daily Sun:Sportswriters are often criticized for taking sports too seriously. Do you agree with that?
Roger Angell:No, I think our trouble is that we don’t take sports seriously enough. I mean, we’re always trying to turn sports into something else—into entertainment, or into another television show.
In sports at its best, there’s something really stirring and moving and different about it. It isn’t entertainment, it has an entirely different meaning. It’s not something you can buy, because you can’t guarantee the result. That’s why there’s boring games—there’s diversity; we don’t know how it’s going to come out.
But a lot of the people involved in sports, certainly some of the owners today, don’t seem to be aware of that. George Steinbrenner wants a guaranteed result of every game that’s played; he wants the Yankees to win. And winning isn’t all there is to it. Winning is nice, but you have to deserve to win, you know?
“Frank [Thomas] always wanted to be the man. Frank wasn’t afraid of being great. He was a kind of a guy that would look at the numbers all the time, he always wanted to be the best hitter and he wanted to beat everybody and get the most home runs. So the numbers turned him on, and a lot of people took that the wrong way. They thought of it as a negative thing. I thought it was a positive thing.”—Walt Hriniak, White Sox hitting coach 1989-95