A long time ago, when I didn't give a shit, I ripped Tom Verducci a time or three for what I considered shoddy baseball analysis. Since then, I've come to appreciate his many talents, especially his writing. He really does seem to care. To wit, here's a bit from a recent interview:
Imagine Johnny All-Star tells you his father used to throw bottle caps to him to hit in their basement to improve his hand-eye coordination. Great story. But now you’ve got to ask him to describe the basement, to tell you what drinks the caps came from (Yoo-Hoo? Root beer? Ginger Ale?), to tell you if he ever nailed his father in the eye with one of those caps—all the things that turn a generic story into a specific time and place for the reader. The time to think about those details is not when you’re sitting down to write, but as you’re listening and reporting. There are great reporters who are not great writers. I can’t think of any great writer that’s not a great reporter.
To get a sense for what sets Verducci apart, compare the book he wrote with Joe Torre a few years ago to Tony La Russa's new memoir, co-written by a few guys who aren't as good as Verducci. You'll see what I mean, and you might come to appreciate Verducci as I do. There aren't many great writer-reporters, but he's one of them.