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Three Cheers and Three Cheladas: The Great Thomas Boswell Retires from The Washington Post


Thomas Boswell, a towering figure in sports journalism for decades, is retiring today from his job as a Washington Post columnist. Summarizing his legacy is a task better suited to a writer of greater ability — a writer like Boswell himself. As a columnist he was a five-tool player: wise, warm, rigorous, funny and fearless. His kindness and humanity shone through even as he relished speaking truth to power. His prose was diamond sharp — economical and artful in equal measure. He tackled all of the major sports in the DC area, but his greatest passion was for baseball, and no one this side of Roger Angell has written about it with more effervescence and joy. Although it seemed that MLB would never come back to the District after the Senators packed up in 1973, Boswell never stopped beating the drum for its return. When the Nationals arrived in 2005, Boswell thrilled to the experience of covering them, even as the franchise struggled to a sometimes comic extent during their early years. On a personal note, when I first relocated to DC the Nats and I were still finding our legs, and a lot of times they seemed like my only friends. Boswell’s narration of their rise from borderline laughingstock to perennial contender to World Champions in 2019 was a chronicle of long-simmering wish fulfillment at an almost indescribable scale. I can still go back to his columns from that miraculous Autumn run and feel a rush of pure I-can’t-believe-it-happened serotonin — and I do so routinely. Pleasure aside, I read old Boswell columns to remember how sportswriting gets done correctly. Any of us who ever aspired to do it at any level cannot spend enough time under that learning tree. His final column, published today, is every bit the walk-off home run you’d expect. He’s still so damn good. Selfishly, I want him to go on forever, providing the cheer and insight that I’ve come to take for granted. But he’s moving on, on his own terms and on his own timeline, just the way it ought to be. Thank you Bos and see you in the box scores.

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