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7

SUNDAY

Though it may be hard for the unconverted to imagine, there is more to sports journalism than number worship and pun-heavy headlines. (Admittedly, it was satisfying to see the New York Daily News’ back page dominated by the line “The Choke’s on Us” after the Red Sox eliminated the Yanks from the ALCS.) Richard Ben Cramer, co-editor of The Best American Sports Writing 2004, argues that we have entered a new era for sports scribes—the age of celebrity. The new anthology includes a great, creepy piece about taxidermy by Susan Orlean, who, though not technically a sportswriter, certainly qualifies as a celeb now that she’s been portrayed by Meryl Streep. And you can hardly cruise through the cable networks without seeing Boston writer Bob Ryan’s ruddy mug. He offers a piece on the heretofore woebegone Sox, “Misery Has More Company,” which reminds that even though jock journos may find new sources of income as the talking heads of the sports world, they are still judged by the strength of their written words. But one of the book’s best articles is about the rare six-man version of football spreading throughout small Texas towns, titled “Friday Night Lite.” Perhaps the genre hasn’t strayed too far from the puns after all. Cramer and Michael Leahy discuss the collection at 5 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (David Dunlap Jr.)