Bill Plaschke

Longtime journalist and panelist on ESPN’s Around the Horn ESPN Bill Plaschke received the Red Smith Award from the Associated Press Sports Editors on Friday. And after receiving the award, he detailed how he at one time believed he would never get the chance to accomplish all that he has in the sports media landscape.

Plaschke, who has been with the Los Angeles Times since 1996 and has been a panelist on Around the Horn since 2001, was at one point unsure that he would be getting an opportunity as a writer out of college.

During his acceptance speech of the Red Smith Award given to journalists who have made “major contributions” to journalism,  Plaschke recounted applying for 50 internships out of college and not receiving a single reply through much of his senior year at SIU-Edwardsville.

“I was set to go to work at my dad’s printing plant,” Plaschke said via The Telegraph. “As a writer, I was done.”

Plaschke finally did end up getting his shot with the St. Petersburg Times.

“My two roommates were on the balcony in their boxer shorts, smoke pouring out of the sliding glass door behind them – they were dopers,” Plaschke said. “They were shouting, ‘Bill, Bill, somebody called; somebody called.'”

The rest of course is history, as Plaschke would go on to become one of the most iconic sports journalists of a generation.

But his humble beginning stuck with him. Plaschke detailed that he has always written about people more than stats and covered off-beat stories more than mainstream topics, particularly because there simply weren’t many big mainstream stories to be had for him at SIU-Edwardsville.

“Today, when people ask me why I write so many off-beat stories like this. Because I was raised like this,” Plaschke said. “I couldn’t write stars. We didn’t have stars. I couldn’t write stats. They didn’t do stats. You had to write humans; had to survive with words. Being an unconventional writer from a school not known for sports, I had little chance on the national job market.”

It’s hard to argue that taking perhaps the more difficult road of covering sports at a smaller school ended up paying off for Plaschke in the end.

[The Telegraph]

About Reice Shipley

Reice Shipley is a staff writer for Comeback Media that graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Sports Media. He previously worked at Barrett Sports Media and is a fan of all things Syracuse sports.