"Finally, Something I Know About!": Sports Illustrated's Joe Posnanski on Being Wrong

When I emailed sportswriter Joe Posnanski to ask him if I could interview him about being wrong, I got a response right away: "Finally," he wrote, "something I know something about."

That wisecrack doesn't square with Posnanski's reputation; he's better known as one of the country's best and smartest sports journalists.  A senior writer at Sports Illustrated and longtime sports columnist for the Kansas City Star, Posnanski has twice been voted Best Sports Columnist in America by the Associated Press Sports Editors, and has garnered a passel of other honors and awards. He is also the author of three booksmost recently The Machine, about the 1975 Cincinnati Reds.

None of that expertise has interfered with Posnanski's self-described "awe-inspiring track record of being wrong." Perhaps thanks to that record, he is extremely thoughtfuland extremely funnyon the subject of screwing up. His reflections about wrongness touched on Babe Ruth, Tiger Woods, the myth of clutch hitting, the misery of the mistaken umpire, the dilemma of instant replay, and the enduring heartache of the Indians fan.  You can read the interview here on Slate, temporary home to the Wrong Stuff.

Okay, maybe you don’t have strong beliefs about the “right” way to load a dishwasher, or about your sweetheart’s propensity to do it “wrong.” In that case, either you are unusually saintly or (like me) you don’t own a dishwasher. But you almost certainly get involved in domestic disputes about who’s right and who’s wrong all the time; we all do. Although interpersonal arguments can have a number of causes – from serious and painful breaches in trust to the fact that we haven’t had our coffee yet – an impressive number of them amount to a tug-of-war over who possesses the truth. We fight over the right to be right.