February 19, 2003

I Smell Pulitzer! For sheer StephenKingEsque chills, it's hard to beat the opening few lines of ESPN.com's uncredited "The Chilling Final Journey of Ted Williams."
What would Ted Williams have thought if he knew his body would be hanging upside down in a nitrogen-filled tank with perhaps four other full bodies and five heads at a cryogenics lab inside a strip mall in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Williams' close friend, Buzz Hamon, said the last time he spoke with The Splendid Splinter, Williams said, "I need a lawyer ... Because I made a mistake."

Then the phone went dead.
The ESPN.com piece definitely improves upon the original New York Daily News story by Bill Madden, which not only buries the nugget in the second-to-last paragraph, but goes for the more descriptive and less bone-chilling:
'In my last phone conversation with Ted, two weeks after I left the museum, he told me he wanted to write a story on his last 20 years," Hamon said. "Then he said: 'Buzz, I need a lawyer.' I said: 'Why?' and Ted said, 'Because I've made a mistake.' At that point, someone apparently walked in the room where he was and yanked the phone out of his hand."
"Apparently?" What the heck kind of word is that to use, Mr. Bigshot Yankee Suck-Up? Where's the zing, the whack in the face?

In fact, Paul Frankenstein (who I consult in such important matters) and I are so taken with this particular journalistic style, we wouldn't be altogether upset if it found its way into more articles that can use a dash of spice. For example:
Wachovia Buys Prudential Brokerage Unit
Wed February 19, 2003 06:00 PM ET By Brian Kelleher

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wachovia Corp. WB.N said on Wednesday it agreed to buy Prudential Financial Inc.'s PRU.N brokerage business, creating a new firm large enough to compete with top industry rivals such as Merrill Lynch & Co.

"This new company makes sense because it gives us the scale necessary to compete," said John Strangfeld, who ran Prudential's brokerage operations and will be chairman of the new firm.

Then the phone went dead.
See that, Mr. Brian Kelleher? That's friggin' journalism!!!
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