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Longtime SI writer Gary Smith, regarded as the "most revered sportswriter in America," is retiring from magazine writing, according to S.L. Price of SI.com. Smith is the "most decorated magazine writer, ever," with a record 13 stories selected for "The Best American Sports Writing" compellations. He also accumulated a record "four National Magazine Awards." Price wrote, "All too often the man was competing only with himself" (SI.com, 4/28). MEDIA BISTRO's Chris O'Shea wrote Smith, who has been at SI since '83, is "highly regarded as one of the best magazine writers in the nation." He would write four "longform articles a year for SI, and they were all must reads" (MEDIABISTRO.com, 4/28). Smith's announcement drew plenty of reflections and memories from the Twittersphere. Yahoo Sports' Pat Forde wrote Smith "set the longform bar for a generation of sports writers." Columnist Tommy Tomlinson wrote Smith "showed so many of us what sportswriting could be." Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman: "Most talented sportswriter of his generation. No one else is even close." SI's Lindsay Schnell: "Have long referred to him as 'my version of Michael Jordan,' because he set the standard." The Washington Post's Mike Wise: "Someone complained to me once that Gary Smith tried to make every story the greatest story ever. My reply: 'He very nearly did.'" FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal: "Don’t know that I’ve ever heard a writer say, 'I want to be the next Gary Smith.' There is only one, man. Only one." CBS News' Armen Keteyian wrote, "Outside of incomparable Frank Deford nobody probed the human psyche better than Gary Smith. On Mt. Rushmore of SI greats. ... 34 years ago Gary Smith uttered a phrase in my home I never forgot: most people write about the leaves. I write about the roots." ACC Digital Network Exec Producer Andy Siegel: "Love how much admiration those in the industry have for the retiring Gary Smith." SI's Richard Deitsch: "Gary Smith is trending on Twitter. That's pretty awesome."
MAX IS MAD: Tigers P Max Scherzer is featured on the cover of the current issue of SI, and while he called it a "very special moment," he said he is "frustrated that they chose to put the contract stuff on the cover." The headline on the magazine is "Mad Max's $144 Million Bet," and the story inside talks about how Scherzer turned down a contract extension from the Tigers during Spring Training. He said, "They assured us it wasn't going to be like that. They chose a different route, and we felt like we were lied to and misled." SI Assistant Managing Editor Stephen Cannella said that he "knew of Scherzer's feeling but no promises were made" (FREEP.com, 4/28).
UCLA's football team will be the "featured participant" on Pac-12 Network's second season of "The Drive," an in-depth, documentary-style show "chronicling the behind-the-scenes aspects of Pac-12 football," according to Ryan Kartje of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER. Like on HBO's "Hard Knocks," cameras will "follow the Bruins through much of the upcoming season, going inside the locker room, inside the huddle, and behind closed doors." Last season, the show followed both Arizona State and Cal. The net will "run 15 30-minute episodes beginning in September -- all of which will run concurrent with UCLA's season." UCLA football coach Jim Mora Jr. had "initially expressed some concern" on KLAC-AM last week about the "idea of having cameras chronicling UCLA's private moments and serving as a distraction this season." But yesterday, Mora had "changed his tune, explaining that working with the conference had 'eased his concerns' a bit." Mora explained that he will have "full editorial control" of the show. He said, "If something goes on the network that I haven't approved, that'll be the last show. I'm not worried about that" (OCREGISTER.com, 4/28).
Golf Channel analyst Notah Begay III will be off the air indefinitely after suffering a heart attack last Thursday. Begay, who has a family history of heart disease, was taken to Methodist Hospital in Dallas and had a stent inserted to unblock his right coronary artery. Begay in a statement said, "I anticipate a full recovery and feel lucky to be at home resting with my family. I appreciate the outpouring of well wishes I've received from family, friends and fans, and I will be back covering golf once I'm fully recovered" (Golf Channel). Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman said of Begay, "He gives support to so many different people. It’s only right that we show a huge outpouring of support for him because he warrants that. He’s just such a warm guy." Golf Channel’s Damon Hack said, “He is a great man and an asset here to us at Golf Channel. We hope he gets well soon." Golf Channel’s Holly Sonders added, "You never know if anything like this is going to happen. It just reminds you how precious life is but thankfully, he is surrounded by those that he loves and they got to him quickly and saved his life" ("Morning Drive," Golf Channel, 4/29).