Monday, April 16, 2012


"Aw ----," someone said.

That was all they said. They worked quickly, the two vets removing the broken bones as evidence for the insurance company, the crowd silently watching. Then the heavens opened, the rain pouring down, the lightning flashing, and they rushed for the cover of the stables, leaving alone on his side near the pile of bricks, the rain running off his hide, dead an hour and a quarter after his first start, Air Lift, son of Bold Venture, full brother of Assault. —W.C. Heinz, "Death of a Racehorse."


  1. Chris,

    I'm incredibly sorry to see this blog go. I discovered this blog, almost at random last year, and reading your posts helped me learn of both the joys of this big wonderful world of journalism, as well as the anger and hostility always near. I can honestly say that reading your work has, in at least some small way, made me a better journalist. The piece on Ebert is one of something like five stories that brought tears to my eyes. Your post on the edits made to that story made me more aware of the simple power of words. I'm incredibly sad to see this blog go, and I hope you leave aware that you did make an impact on your readers. Thank you.

    -Riley Snyder

  2. Sorry to see this go. I will continue to use your work as example for our writing students at UF. Thanks for what you do for reporting, writing, storytelling and print. -- @ProfSpiker

    (And good luck with kicking Coca-Cola.)

  3. Dear Chris,

    It's been an absolute pleasure to read your occasional writings here. Discovering your work via the Ebert piece, and in turn the blog, has been wonderful.

    Plus, as a guy with an MA degree in journalism struggling to find a way through this market, your advice posted here has been helpful. As Riley says above, you've made quite an impact. Thank you for that.

    Jim Barg

  4. Hey,
    So you know: there are people out there fulfilling your hope of inspiring young writers. Me and some friends major in magazine journalism at Syracuse University. We're seniors. We read your pieces in and out of class. We talk about them in and out of class. And the first page of "Animals" actually hangs thumb-tacked to the wall in front of my desk, staring me down as I write.

    We'll be reading. And writing. And we all want to knock you on your ass.

    Nate Hopper

  5. The blog will be missed. You are one of the good ones.

    All the best.


  6. It's better to keep it up. Don't be so rash, kid.

  7. I really hope you reconsider deleting all of your posts other than Five for Writing, unless it's for the privacy reasons of your family. If that's the case, then you should do what is best for you and your loved ones.

    The advice and passion you offered to young writers was genuine and valid as a blog is intended to be perspective based. Although your view of the blog has changed, it is a living archive for a time and place in your life. Your published stories can be accessed by anyone willing to search for them --it would be a shame to take down something that obviously means something to both you and your readers.

  8. Thanks for your honesty. I'll keep sending music recommendations via Twitter. Good luck,


  9. The interwebs is a better place for the work you've done here, and it's a damn shame that you've decided to pull the plug. Regardless, I look forward to reading your work in print and wish you continued success. Thanks, Jones, for being honest and for being worth the clicks.

  10. Chris,

    Only minutes ago I saw Craig Custance's comment to your announcement on Twitter, so I decided to check it out. Five minutes later I'm already panicking, hoping that I have enough time to copy every story you still have up on this blog before you pull the plug.

    Dude! I NEED someone like you! I have been a blogger (here on since 2004 and writing has now become my preeminent obsession. Nevertheless, I took no writing courses in school and have spent my entire professional life as a graphic and web designer. So basically, I need all the help I can get, especially from someone such as yourself, a person of honesty and heart -- characteristics I hold in the highest of regard, and have always attempted to incorporate into my own writing.

    I can't believe that I feel as badly as I do right now, as I am all but completely unfamiliar with your work. However, after just reading this single post, I feel as though I've read you for years.

    I'm so sorry to hear about your decision and even more so about the pettiness that led to it. I wish you nothing but the best in the future.

    Goodspeed; continue to create well.

    AJ in Nashville

  11. Sorry to see the blog go, but I can certainly understand why it's time, Chris. Thanks for the stories, advice, and honestly you shared. This blog was always entertaining, always inspiring. I think what I loved best about SOBV were the writers you introduced us to. As much as I read, and as much as I love reading, I'm almost embarrassed to say that before this blog I'd never read Joe Posnanski or Kevin Van Valkenburg or Wright Thompson (who's since become my favorite writer). Every time I get to enjoy one of their stories, I have you and this blog to thank.

    I only wish I would've simply remained a reader on SOBV and shut my mouth--especially on one occasion when I inexplicably took shots at another reader, Andy, on the comment board. Never mind that I had no right to lash out like that on another writer's blog, but I was just a supreme asshole that day. I still remember Andy's response to me. He was humble and polite, but he sounded hurt. My actions and words still make me sick.

    Andy, if by chance you're reading this, I apologize sincerely. And if you're ever in New York, I'd welcome the chance to say I'm sorry in person. Drop me a line ( Bourbon's on me. Same goes for you, Chris.

  12. Hey Chris, I had pretty much figured that the blog wasn't getting new material posted... and certainly couldn't complain since it wasn't you know, your job to write on it. That said, the content was always excellent and though I may or may not ever be a working (paid as my sole income) writer, your stuff both on writing and otherwise inspired me to spend more energy on my own writing and I'm grateful for that.

    The flak you've taken lately has been absurd and I totally get your removing your more personal posts from the blog... I will say though, you might want to consider keeping online some of the not as personal by yourself stuff like "A Parting Glass", "Opening Acts" or "Lydia Could".

    Regardless of whether you do or not, the blog was great, your effort put into it a very generous thing and I'm gonna close out my sucking up by echoing what Scott Warden said in his comment to the KVV Five for Writing post...

    "This might sound a little too kiss-assy (just pretend that's a word, folks, and move along), but on a smaller scale, the way Kevin felt that night is how I feel when I read this blog. We get to chat up Chris and share the comments section with Scott Raab, Gene Weingarten, Mr. Charlie Pierce, etc. For most of us, it's the closest we're going to come to rubbing elbows with legends. Really, it's as good as it gets for those of us not on an esteemed masthead. Twelve years ago or so, when I was younger, hungrier, I e-mailed a handful of my favorite writers, wanting to pick their brains. As a huge fan of The Sporting News growing up, I was thrilled when Dave Kindred e-mailed me back. His advice was great, but the thrill was more "Holy shit, Dave Kindred now knows my name! It's the same thrill I get with this place, this bastion of words and truths."

  13. I'll wear a black armband for the next week while listening to #musictowriteto.