Swingin’ Saturday

Something big is coming on Saturday. It’s going to be an old-fashioned sportswriter day.┬áIn the golden age of sportswriting, there were three sports that mattered — three.

Nobody cared about pro football, and you better believe nobody even knew there was an NFL Draft. Pro basketball — nobody cared. Golf — get back to me when the U.S. Open is happening. Hockey — there were six teams in the NHL. Six teams — that’s not a league, that’s a slumber party.

Three sports mattered in America: baseball, boxing, horse racing. That’s all.

Those three sports made up 80 percent of your morning paper and 90 percent of the talk around the neighborhood. Those three sports were everything.

Saturday, for a brief moment, those three sports are back. There are (seven) baseball day games, including the Yankees and Red Sox. Then, there’s the most exciting two minutes in sports, the Kentucky Derby, the one time America still stops to watch a horse race. And at night, we have Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, the fight people have been clamoring to see for a decade.

It’s a day right out of 1954, and, in the end, it’s an illusion. We’re just not that country anymore.

Baseball still thrives, but not as America’s pastime — that’s football. Horse racing tries to find a place in a less innocent world. And boxing has died a thousand deaths. Even this fight of the century has not grabbed America’s attention as people thought it would.

Truth is, sportswriters are struggling to find our place in these new times, too. Fedoras — gone. Cigars — gone. Newspapers — going, too.

Saturday will be a nice step into the past, but then Sunday comes, and the past disappears again like the cigar smoke of the old pressboxes.

— Joe Posnanski