Two Writers Slinging Yang is my weekly podcast, featuring a one-on-one conversation with writers of myriad mediums and genres. Why is it called “Two Writers Slinging Yang”? Well, it sorta made me laugh—mixing what should be a pretty solid and dignified conversation between two practitioners of a craft with one of my all-time favorite terms for talking shit. So, yeah.
I started the podcast in 2017 using the now-defunct Bumpers.fm software. When that went down I switched briefly to Anchor, and now record using ringr. Although the majority of the guests pertain to sports, I want to continue to diversify and branch out.
Episode 60: Gary Smith, former Sports Illustrated writer: On Richie Parker and Radio; on finding a person’s makeup via reporting; on flip phones and leaving the magazine world.
Episode 59: Richard Sandomir, New York Times obituary writer: On the art of the obit; of defining a life lived in 800 words; on his book about a classic Gary Cooper film.
Episode 58: Mike Vaccaro, New York Post sports columnist: On jousting with a Mets general manager; on the rush of Big Apple competition; on Yogi Berra and his father.
Episode 57: Emily Block, South Florida Sun-Sentinel community reporter: On being 24 and entering a rough profession; on having your work lifted; on a genuine passion for reporting in the aftermath of Parkland.
Episode 56: Maurice Patton, Columbia (Tenn.) Daily Herald sports editor: On whether the small-town newspaper still matters; on being let go from a big paper at age 50; on loving high school athletics.
Episode 55: Jonathan Martin, New York Times national political writer: On the buzz of the presidential election; on #fakenews when the news is real; on politicians behind the curtain.
Episode 54: Mac Engel, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram sports columnist: On the craziness of Jerry Jones; on leaning left with a right readership; on whether columnists still matter.
Episode 53: Lane DeGregory, Tampa Bay Times Pulitzer-winner feature writer: On the story of a feral girl and the family that didn’t care; on finding pieces that move people to tears.
Episode 52: Ken Rosenthal, The Athletic MLB writer: On whether age matters when working the beat; on life with Cal Ripken, Jr. during the streak.
Episode 51: Candace Buckner, Washington Post Wizards beat writer: On John Wall and Bradley Beal and the NBA life.
Episode 50: A.J. Cassavell, MLB.com Padres beat writer: On covering a bad team and staying sane; on working the clubhouse.
Episode 49: Tommy Shaw, Styx singer/songwriter: On writing the perfect song; on Mr. Roboto; on lyrical bliss.
Episode 48: Steve Rushin, Sports Illustrated veteran: On writing a back-page column; on toying with words; on arctic golf.
Episode 47: Jose de Jesus Ortiz, St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist: On discovering a voice in a new town; on dealing with online hate; on profiling the widow of a pitcher.
Episode 46: John Pavlovitz, blogger/pastor: On evangelical Christianity and Donald Trump; on writing with passion; on building an audience.
Episode 45: Dave Coverly, cartoonist: On being funny; on writing huge messages in few words; on the comedy of Mike Huckabee.
Episode 44: Jane McManus, former ESPN football writer: On going through a very public layoff; on moving on from ESPN; on covering Rex Ryan and the Jets.
Episode 43: Elizabeth Weil, New York Times Magazine writer: On the 70-year-old Polish kayaker who captured her heart and imagination.
Episode 42: Nicole Auerbach, The Athletic college basketball/football writer: On covering March Madness; on locating nuggets in reporting.
Episode 41: Alan Sepinwall, Uproxx television writer: On great TV v. bad TV; on reviewing with precision and depth.
Episode 40: David Maraniss, Vince Lombardi biographer: On discovering a person’s life; on writing amazing books.
Episode 39: Joel Sherman, New York Post baseball writer: On working a Major League clubhouse; on the good/bad of Albert Belle.
Episode 38: Keldy Ortiz, Bergen Record crime/police reporter: On developing relationships with police; on arriving at tragedy.
Episode 37: Danny Wallace, author of “F You Very Much”: On the rude hot dog waitress who inspired a book; one why manners have vanished.
Episode 36: Jenny Vrentas, SI.com/MMQB senior writer: On the latest Super Bowl; on covering huge games and huge events; on finding stories while surrounded by 1,000 other writers.
Episode 35: Chris Palmer, longtime NBA writer: On covering the Ball family; on bias in media; on social media and the damned if you do v. damned if you don’t nature.
Episode 34: Chris Ballard, Sports Illustrated writer: On the heartbreaking saga of Monty Williams and the joy of Jamal Crawford.
Episode 33: Drew Snyder, minister: On how to write the perfect church sermon without sounding overly judgmental.
Episode 32: L. Jon Wertheim, Sports Illustrated editor/writer: On breaking down subjects, on the Carolina Panthers scandal.
Episode 31: Tyler Kepner, New York Times baseball writer: On the fraud that was ARod; on covering a young Ken Griffey, Jr.
Episode 30: Joel Anderson, ESPN writer: On finding Michael Sam’s father; on writing with sensitivity and decency.
Episode 29: Chip Scoggins, Minneapolis Star-Tribune columnist: On covering the Vikings as they march toward a Super Bowl; on the little girl who stole a coach’s heart.
Episode 28: Rick Reilly, former Sports Illustrated/ESPN writer: On uncovering insanity at The Citadel; on the cigarette-smoking, dog shit-ignoring Cincinnati Reds owner.
Episode 27: Kaira Rouda, best-selling novelist: On writing a book without knowing how it will end; on outsourcing the sex scenes for a romance novel.
Episode 26: Jessica Luther, freelance sports writer: On her groundbreaking piece on the Baylor football scandal; on the ballet dancer who was raped—and open to discussing it
Episode 25: Jodie Wagner, Palm Beach Post sports writer: On two decades of preps reporting; on breaking a dazzling story on local high school football recruiting; on what to bring to a press box and how to respond to angry coaches.
Episode 24: Catherine Pearlman, author of “Ignore It!”: On landing your own book deal; on writing advice.
Episode 23: Chantel Jennings, The Athletic college football writer: On how writing one letter changed the course of her career; on profiling a pass-catching bibliophile; on rising straight from her college paper to ESPN.
Episode 22: Chuck Creekmur, AllHipHop.com co-founder: On facing artists when they don’t want to see you, on Jay-Z and Jay Electronica and Eminem and Vic Mensa, on a kid from Delaware living his dream.
Episode 21: J.A. Adande, Northwestern’s director of sports journalism: On teaching the art of sports writing to the Twitter generation, on Iverson at Georgetown, the Fab Five at Michigan and life after ESPN and the Los Angeles Times.
Episode 20: Jack McCallum, former Sports Illustrated writer: On the Sports Illustrated dream, on the death of Len Bias, on Jordan, Bird, Magic and on his riveting new book, “Golden Days.”
Episode 19: Dana Golberg, standup comedian: On writing funny from life’s experiences, on leaving the lights on for a blind chihuahua and reexamining Eddie Murphy’s “Delirious.”
Episode 18: John Branch, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times writer: On the Facebook post that turned into the most gripping piece from the Las Vegas massacre, the avalanche that brought forth thousands of words and his love-hate relationship with the craft.
Episode 17: Jonathan Eig, Muhammad Ali biographer: On uncovering new details about The Greatest, convincing sources to talk when they have nothing to say and saying hello and farewell to an icon.
Episode 16: Tom Junod, ESPN senior writer: On “The Falling Man,” inside the planning of Muhammad Ali’s funeral and a day with Mr. Rogers.
Episode 15: Chely Wright, country music star: On writing good songs v. great songs, the riddle of rhyming and why one should visit as many truck stops as humanly possible.
Episode 14: Wright Thompson, ESPN.com senior writer: On digging into a subject, tackling Michael Jordan’s mortality and seeking out enlightenment inside the Cleveland Indians’ clubhouse.
Episode 13: Rick Jervis, USA Today Texas-based reporter: On the rigors of covering Hurricane Harvey, the fear/euphoria of embedding with troops in Iraq and the yin and yang of a life in print.
Episode 12: Jemele Hill, ESPN writer/personality: On TV v. print, dealing with online nastiness, recovering from errors and making it in a rough business.
Episode 11: Dylan Gwinn, Breitbart sports editor: On working for the arch-conservative outlet, his stance on liberal media bias and why Colin Kaepernick deserves his exile.
Episode 10: Jessica Huseman, ProPublica national politics and civil rights reporter: On surviving a terrifying flight, covering Donald Trump and the art of the journalistic cold call.
Episode 9: Kevin Van Valkenburg, ESPN senior writer: On Twitter beefs, social media brain decay and Michael Phelps’ bong.
Episode 8: Lee Jenkins, Sports Illustrated senior writer: On two men and one profile of USC quarterback Sam Darnold.
Episode 7: Mike Tollin, award-winning producer, director, writer: On Varsity Blues and Summer Catch and Radio; On 30 for 30s.
Episode 6: Marcus Thompson, The Athletic’s Bay Area writer: On writing a Steph Curry biography; on leaving newspapers after 18 years; on the preposterousness of Rocky v. Clubber.
Episode 5: Russ Bengtson, former Slam Magazine editor: On LeBron, A.I., Starbury, Shawn Bradley, dead snakes and the merging of hoops and hip-hop.
Episode 4: Paul Kane, Washington Post congressional correspondent: On the weirdness of Trump, the savvy of McConnell, the Beltway highs and lows.
Episode 3: Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle Oakland A’s beat writer: On covering a perennially bad team, the flaws of Moneyball and life with a young Shaw.
Episode 2: Howard Beck, Bleacher Report NBA writer: On the modern world of pro hoops, leaving newspaper for the web and enduring James Dolan.
Episode 1: Howard Bryant, ESPN.com senior writer: On uncovering the intricacies of Hammerin’ Hank, fighting racism in sports media, writing with brilliance.