Goodbye … to “Only A Game.”


In the early years of home ownership, we used to awaken on Saturday mornings to the clock radio emitting the dulcet tones of Charles P. Pierce as he commented about the week in sports on “Only A Game” at public radio. We’d stay in bed and listen to the show before making coffee. That’s loyalty.

At some point the habit waned. It happens; I started following Charlie Pierce at Esquire, when he graduated (?) to writing about politics. The show kept going, and as this farewell essay notes, it was Bill Littlefield’s retirement in 2018 that suggested the end was near.

But I look back on it fondly.

After 27 years, WBUR’s ‘Only A Game’ — a show about stories you never wanted to end — is coming to an end, by Chad Finn (Boston Globe)

For 27 years, “Only A Game,” the sole sports program on National Public Radio and WBUR, told the kind of compelling, satisfying stories that a listener never quite wanted to end.

Somewhere along the way, it became one of those stories itself.

So it is with a sense of distinct accomplishment, but one of some melancholy too, that the people behind the program prepare to sign off for the final time, the show a casualty of budget cuts at WBUR in the economic maelstrom of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Only A Game” is one more lovely story ending.

The final original hourlong program will air Saturday at 7 a.m. on WBUR and on more than 250 NPR stations nationwide.

Naomi Kresge and Arne Delfs