Whatever Happened to "The Sporting News"?

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One of the great mysteries of the twenty-first century has to be "What happened to 'The Sporting News'?"

Back in the twentieth century, where I grew up, there was this incredible magazine called "The Sporting News". It came out every week and—from about 1981-1993 I read it cover to cover 50+ times a year (sometimes they only did 51 issues a year, putting out a big double-sized issue at the end of the year).

TSN, as we called it, was the magazine about sports. But it wasn't necessarily built for the casual fan. See, it had information about every team. I mean every team. From the Whalers, Astros, Cowboys and Knicks to the rookie league baseball teams and minor league hockey teams. Wanted to find out how the National League was doing against lefties? You looked in TSN. Wanted to find out about recent preseason workouts and how that first round draft choice was working out? Check TSN.

TSN is gone now, presumably never to return.

Now, if you go to your local newsstand (do they still have those?) or library (check Google for info on what those were), you'll see a magazine called "The Sporting News", but it's no more than the bastard step-child of the publication we grew up with.

Gone are the numbers and hard facts, replaced by fluffy paragraphs by east-coast elites who think (incorrectly) they're funny and are trying to talk as if they had street cred. Or, maybe they're trying to talk like the people on CBS Monday night shows. In any case, they read like they were written by the guy sitting next to you at the sports bar—not the knowledgeable guy, the loud guy. The loud drunk guy.

Want to know who's hitting, who's pitching, standings, or what's really happening behind the headlines of the sports world? Go somewhere else, because "The Sporting News" sure won't tell you. Oh, they might tell you which NBA game Carmen Electra was seen at last week or why the logo on the front of some NASCAR driver's car looked off-kilter last week, but you'll be hard pressed to find who won a game—any game—unless it was a championship game in one of the big three sports (and, maybe, hockey).

And did I mention Dave Kindred? This once great, insightful sports columnist is apparently still smarting over the fact that TV wanted Peter Gammons instead of him and his "columns" have degenerated into grumbling screeds apparently designed to mimic Andy Rooney but without the humor or talent. I can remember when reading Dave Kindred gave one insight into the world of sport, now they just give one insight into debilitating bitterness.

If someone can tell me where TSN went, I'd sure like to know. Maybe they got tired of fighting against the internet and swimsuits and just capitulated to the "USA Today" brand of McNews everyone else puts out. Still, if there's a real source for sports news out there, one that comes in the mailbox once a week or so, I'd sure like to know.

And if there's a place where I can send flowers to the grave of the dearly departed magazine of my youth, let me know. I need a place to grieve.