View Full Version : Congrats to John Blanchette

03-14-2007, 09:04 AM
...and thanks for your great work following GU Bball.

From today's S-R (a snippet of the entire article):

Sports columnist John Blanchette this week was named Washington state sportswriter of the year by members of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. He will be honored during the weekend of April 28 in Salisbury, N.C.

Angelo Roncalli
03-14-2007, 09:41 AM
Although I haven't seen anything about it published anywhere, John received an award from the WCC at the tournament in Portland two weeks ago. He's on a roll.

03-14-2007, 12:43 PM
imo, is a treasure. We are lucky he sticks in Spokaloo.

I go back to & through Johnson, van sickle, missilidine, derrick, stewart, Paine and a host of well respected Spokesman and Chronicle sports writers.

JB is and remains the best of the lot, imo.

El Voce
03-14-2007, 01:07 PM
imo, is a treasure. We are lucky he sticks in Spokaloo.

I go back to & through Johnson, van sickle, missilidine, derrick, stewart, Paine and a host of well respected Spokesman and Chronicle sports writers.

JB is and remains the best of the lot, imo.

I agree with you that John Blanchette is very good, and we are extremely lucky to have him in Spokane. However, I must stick up for my old friend and say that Bob Payne was, IMO, just as good, or better. I believe it was his stellar coverage that helped make Spokane known as a runner's town.

I got to know John pretty well when I was the Zag PA guy and he was the Zag beat writer. He is a good guy who very much deserves his awards.

03-14-2007, 01:17 PM
I consider it a treat every time I get to read John's stuff. What do you mean Voce saying John is a good guy? He's a great guy and better writer.

03-14-2007, 02:23 PM
I suspect I'd rather have Payne on my chess team, him being a Stanford guy.

And I'll grant you he was THE track guy & a whale of a writer and a good, beer-drinking friend as well. We used to close Joey's and a few other bars after hours back in the day. He also did a great job on High school fb, among others.

But it also didn't hurt that Gerry Lindgren grew up at Rogers (beat the Russians and wound up in SI while still in high school, if memory serves) and went on to WSU and track history and posterity. Or that Henry Rono was one of the best in the world. or that chapman was perhaps the best, then the dean, of Pac 8 and 10 track coaches, after Mooberry.

then, along came don Kardong and the Bloomsday run, which grew to be the second largest fun run in the nation at one point, as well as the highest paying 12k in the nation for the world class runners.

I am almost positive Bob helped there, too, as a writer. But the bloomsday board had to fight the court fights that made it successful. I know first hand. VanSickle was mostly an obstacle when the AAU tried to take over the run and force everyone to get an aau card to participate.

don't want to take anything away from my friend BP, or you, but there were also some really, really good track and field "stars" and programs from which to launch one's sports journalism career, too.

Blanchette brought a measure of enthusiasm to what looked like some dead-end beats, imo, and he, for the most part, has not become the biggest fan of those he covers. that means he had to sit in empty gyms and fieldhouses and press boxes for a long time and still managed to bring home the story about what happened, versus what should have happened or why it didn't happen (like too many others).

JB covers them from a reader's perspective and I like that. He respects his customers even though, at times, the customers would like to string him up.

He writes really good features, whether an obit like the one on Billy Frazier (whom I don't think he knew) or a top notch analysis of the upcoming NCAA's, or a tie in, or an historical reprise, or what batista is doing in europe, or whatever. He keeps us posted.

I can only imagine how much crap has been hurled at him for the times he has taken the position that (pick a crappy year) the cougs or zags or ewu or whomever, wasn't performing up to its (admittedly already low) standards.

It seems like there were many, many times rabid fans from (mostly) wsu or (less so) GU would call for his head, blame him for bad mouthing this or that team or program and blah blah blah.

but his stuff and JB have stood up to friends and foes and we, the readers, have greatly benefited.

this isn't to say BP didn't incur some wrath, but mostly he was trying, imo, to get people interested in running and track than to take on the mobs and work crowd control. there were not that many crowds, except at WSU.

I think the most popular sportswriter of the bunch, outside spokane anyway, was harry missildine.

A great guy who enjoyed moments of brilliance, imo, but in the final analysis, was closer to the schools, the coaches and all those ex-players than to his readers. he became too much of the story. he wanted it that way and it worked for him, so I say, fine.

but imo & fwiw Blanchette has the backs of those who like their info raw, without varnish, and with a flair for fairness, humor and cleverness. But not too much cleverness.

I am thrilled to see him get some props from the sports industry.