Episode 69 with Observant Veteran Sportswriter Based in Tokyo and Author of the Well-Researched and Engrossing Going 15 Rounds with Jerry Izenberg, Ed Odeven


Show Notes and Links to Ed Odeven’s Work and Allusions/Texts from Episode 


On Episode 69, Pete talks with Ed Odeven about the Tokyo Olympics, Ed’s interesting writing history and work in Japan, and his well-researched and engrossing biography of the great writer Jerry Izenberg.


Ed Odeven is a veteran sportswriter based in Tokyo. Currently writing for JAPAN Forward, he spent nearly 14 years at The Japan Times. Odeven, who reported from the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Games, served as the sports editor for Arizona State University's State Press and the Arizona Daily Sun.


Buy Going 15 Rounds with Jerry Izenberg  (Amazon)

Buy Going 15 Rounds with Jerry Izenberg (Bookshop)

Ed Odeven’s Website

Ed Odeven’s Twitter Page

‘I’m old, not dead’: Columnist Jerry Izenberg’s historic streak of 53 Super Bowls comes to an end - nj.com

Jerry's nj.com archive 

News flashback: Track meet at LBCC in October 1993 – Ed Odeven Reporting

Promoting ‘Going 15 Rounds With Jerry Izenberg’ – Ed Odeven Reporting


At about 2:20, Ed talks about covering the Olympics and what stories to write, as well as efforts to postpone/cancel the Olympics (the episode was recorded on June 7), and Pete and Ed talk about the uncertainties

At about 6:35, Ed talks about his relationship with sports and reading as a kid, including his love of daily news in the press; Pete and Ed talk about Dickens’ greatness, Hemingway, particularly his masterful “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” and Roots and The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley

At about 14:25, Ed talks about his interests in reading books that were purely about sports and about books that featured sports in tandem with social issues

At about 15:40, Ed talks about moments in which he realized that he loved and was good at writing 

At about 20:25, Ed details how he began writing in Japan and connections to the great Hideo Nomo

At about 24:00, Ed discusses the ways in which his physical distance from the US has changed his views of sports in society and its importance, as well as the culture of “Wa”, as shown in the book that Ed recommends-You Gotta Have Wa, by Robert Whiting

At about 28:10, Ed explains the genesis of his book idea about Jerry Izenberg, as well some of the writers, like Peter Vecsey and Peter Kerasotis, Linda Robertson, and Marc Stein, who have inspired him throughout his career and even before

At about 32:45, Ed outlines the book and its first and second part delineations and the blog articles which make up the bulk of the first half of the book

At about 34:20, Pete and Ed discuss some legends who influenced and were influenced by Jerry Izenberg, like Dick Schaap, Stanley Woodward, and Shirley Povich; this leads to Pete asking Ed his thoughts on “old journalism” versus “new journalism” 

At about 40:45, Ed puts Jerry’s writing style into perspective, with respect to a famous quote from Stanley Woodward about “newspaper men” versus journalists and how this phi

At about 43:30, Ed describes how part of Jerry’s greatness comes from the fact that he has straddled different eras and writes with so much depth

At about 45:20, Ed gives background on the connection between Jerry’s religious and ethical concerns and his writing and Project Pride

At about 50:00, Ed speaks about the unique relationship that Jerry had with Muhammad Ali and some of the interesting stories related in Ed’s book

At about 52:00, Pete and Ed discuss Jeremy Schaap, Wallace Matthews, and others and the ways that they praise Jerry in Ed’s book

At about 53:20, Ed recounts incredible Jerry’s Super Bowl streak

At about 57:40, Ed talks about Jerry’s relationship with boxing, as recounted by Wallace Matthews, and how and why Jerry’s obituary written for Muhammad Ali went viral

At about 1:01:55, Ed is asked to speak to Jerry’s legacy and mentions even more lasting relationships that weren’t extremely well-known, including with Roberto Clemente, Yogi Berra, as well as the importance of Larry Doby

At about 1:06:10, Ed talks about the balance of the book being a labor of love but also a long grind

At about 1:08:30, Ed quotes Alex Belth as calling Jerry a “Zelig” in a sporting sense

At about 1:10:00, Ed describes the book’s iconic cover photo and some background 

At about 1:11:00, Ed talks about post-publishing plans and gives contact information for him and for buying his book


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