This award is very special because it recognizes what I think of as members of the infantry -- reporters who do the heavy lifting, even though they don't personally have the high public profile that some journalists in print and broadcast media attain. Their commitment to reporting difficult stories over the long haul, often against the conventional grain, is a tremendous public service, and the example of endurance and honor that they bring to the profession is a reminder of what journalism is about at its best.
I am made nervous, as someone who works in the same vineyard, by the idea of inventing himself as a fictional character, ... It seems unnecessary. It seems taking a major liberty. And the problem with it is if you invent the fictional character and you take this liberty, then the reader is going to think what other liberties?
DiMaggio's grace came to represent more than athletic skill in those years. To the men who wrote about the game, it was a talisman, a touchstone, a symbol of the limitless potential of the human individual. That an Italian immigrant, a fisherman's son, could catch fly balls the way Keats wrote poetry or Beethoven wrote sonatas was more than just a popular marvel. It was proof positive that democracy was real. On the baseball diamond, if nowhere else, America was truly a classless society. DiMaggio's grace embodied the democracy of our dreams.
The Patriots had picked Brady in the sixth round, and he soon turned out to be one of the two or three best quarterbacks in the League, and absolutely perfect for the Belichick system and for the team's offense. So, as the team continued to make a series of very good calls on other player personnel choices, there was a general tendency to talk about how brilliant Pioli and Belichick were, and to regard Pioli as the best young player personnel man in the League. Just to remind himself not to believe all the hype and that he could readily have screwed up on that draft, Pioli kept on his desk a photo of Brady, along with a photo of the team's fifth-round traft choice, the man he had taken ahead of Brady: Dave Stachelski. He was a Tight End from Boise State who never a played a down for New England. Stachelski was taken with the 141st pick, Brady with the 199th one. 'If I was so smart,' Pioli liked to say, 'I wouldn't have risked an entire round of the draft in picking Brady.