Friday, February 04, 2011

Worst lede of the week

Becoming a baseball prospect in the St. Louis Cardinals' farm system was the stuff that dreams are made of* for young Roger Weber. Instead, he heeded the call to serve his country during World War II and showed all the right stuff as a captain in the Air Force.

It isn't just the cliches that annoy me here (mightily as they do), or the Salad Shooter way in which the whole thing is assembled. But do you think maybe, given that the guy came back with several Bronze Stars and the Distinguished Flying Cross, the audience really doesn't need the reporter's assessment of how much of the "right stuff" he had?

Quite a bit of wasted space for one lede. Wondering whether Mr. Weber got into the farm system after all, and if so, how far he went? Too bad for you; the reporter doesn't seem interested. How real was that choice? How much of a prospect was he? (He graduated from high school in 1936, so both he and the Cards would have had an idea by the end of 1941.) Did he try again after the war? Anything?

That strikes me as a fundamental failure in storytelling: packing the top with too much "now, children" when the events themselves -- wolves, witches, huts on chicken legs, whatever -- spin a far better story themselves. The stock of stories like Mr. Weber's is diminishing. A little less hotdogging by the reporter would go a long way toward helping ensure that they're told well.

* "This, Mr. Spade," the fat man said, "is a simple game." He placed one pasty hand delicately on the head of the falcon. "You hit the ball. You throw the ball. You catch the ball."

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Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

Ow. The footnote has me laughing so much it hurts!

12:39 PM, February 05, 2011  

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