Is Deadspin relevant anymore?

Father Scott

Long ago, Pax wrote a post saying that Deadspin was necessary reading for sports fans. I’m not sure this is the case anymore.

Since Leitch’s departure last year, the site’s content isn’t the same. Daulerio’s just not as good of a writer. From a purist standpoint, there are a lot more errors. From an entertainment standpoint, it’s not as funny. The only guy on staff who can hold his own with Leitch is Dashiell Bennett, whose posts are few and far between (comparatively). There are really only about 40 must-read columns a year — Drew Magary’s and Leitch’s weekly football posts. For a site that posts 25 times a day, this is probably a problem.

It also has veered from its mission statement: without access, favor, or discretion. The discretion part is partially true, but as Daulerio has gotten closer and closer to ESPN, Deadspin is becoming an insider now. They have access to things. They interview Linda Cohn. They have Simmons on speed dial. They have plenty of sources; this isn’t some rogue operation. And the idea that they are, or have ever been, without favor is laughable. They pick on the same athletes repeatedly (often justifiably, but at the root we are talking about favor), and natually like the teams they like.

The other problem is this: Deadspin has seemingly always been about the community it fosters, where people go on and try to outdo each other in the comments section of articles. Most of them aren’t funny and are just crass — it becomes sports radio in print. And with the options available to people for expressing themselves on the Internet, what’s the point in spending your time in the dregs of Deadspin? You can get your information from all kinds of sources. There are a gazillion (official count) places to get breaking news, reaction, or humor for your sports information, and I think Deadspin is getting passed on all accounts.

As Simmons is constantly saying these days (for specific examples, check out his two-part podcast with Chuck Klosterman), the best thing about the Internet is that it’s forcing you to be good. If you’re not talented, you won’t last. Leitch lasts. Magary lasts. The best sports guy on the Internet, JE Skeets, will have a long career. (Note: His takeoff of the Costas Now video about Deadspin is the funniest thing in the history of the Internet.) But Deadspin as currently constructed is failing on its mission statement and doesn’t have the talent to hold up. It has name recognition, but is there any substance behind it?


Filed under journalism, sports

5 responses to “Is Deadspin relevant anymore?

  1. I agree to a point. I actually think Daulerio is a funnier writer than Leitch ever was, though his new position as managing editor limits the amount of original content he has time to produce. For confirmation of this fact, see the Pax Arcana post entitled “Sometimes it makes orange oil shoot out of your ass.”

    Deadspin has really become the standard maker for online sports bloggery. It’s not the funniest or wittiest sports site anymore, but it’s the hub — and a stamp of approval from Deadspin has the ability to boost the page views of a minor blog by something like 50,000X.

    So in that sense, the answer is yes — Deadspin is still very, very relevant.

    As for the comments, I don’t have any idea. I don’t actually read comments that aren’t on this blog.

  2. Also, if the Internet forces you to be good, can we please get Chuck Klosterman there so people can finally see his schtick for what it really is (boring ass middlebrow pablum wearing last year’s Halloween costume)?

  3. So Deadspin’s best quality is essentially the same as some company having a really, really good contact list, then?

    I don’t know the site’s history front and back, but since I’ve been reading it, the material that has interested me or made me laugh has decreased greatly. I still have it in my reader, but for quick announcements, Fanhouse beats it almost every time. Most of the jokes aren’t that good, and like you I have no interest in the comments. I just don’t see what’s useful about it anymore, beyond the fact that people have heard of it. What I’m saying is: is it just turning into an online version of a local columnist who everyone reads just cause they’ve heard the name?

  4. I agree with everything you just said. I only argue that Deadspin remains relevant despite the decrease in quality (I agree) because of its position at the top of the heap. Until people stop thinking of it as the clearinghouse for all the bloggy-style sports goodness they need, it will remain there.

  5. I think you’re probably right. I should have just said “good” instead. I hate the word relevant anyway.

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