Tag Archives: bill simmons

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

Simmons “Gone Fishin'”

Father Scott

To the shock of precisely no one, Bill Simmons posted on his ESPN site that he’s taking ten weeks off from the Worldwide Leader to finish up his second book, the subject of which is unknown. Here’s the official statement, as it appears on his site:

Quick announcement from Bill: ESPN was gracious enough to give me 10 weeks off to finish my second book. My column will return right before Week 1 of the NFL season, just in time for another year of crappy football picks! If you’re a fan of the “B.S. Report,” we’re still doing weekly podcasts, but that’s it. Enjoy the summer, and I’ll see you in September.

Simmons’ relationship with ESPN has soured lately, between comments he’s made on his podcast about censorship, slight digs in columns about his best jokes being edited, the starting of his own non-ESPN blog (which he’s more obvious about), ESPN canceling his Obama podcast, and his interview with Deadspin.

I’m sure more will be following, and the guys at Deadspin (AJ, here’s your chance to make your first big post-Leitch splash) will probably get to the bottom of it with their ESPN sources. But I don’t think it’ll take too much digging to see this more as a trial separation than an amicable sabbatical. Either way, I’m sure these guys are happy about it.


Filed under sports

The Globe almost has this Web thing figured out…

Pax Arcana

Here is what famed Boston sports yahoo and pop culture enthusiast Bill Simmons has to say about the L.A. – Boston basketball rivalry in the most recent edition of ESPN the Magazine:

Boston beat L.A. for the title eight straight times before falling in 1985. If that’s a long-standing rivalry, so is Tom vs. Jerry, Andy vs. The Sistas and hammer vs. nail. Isn’t it more of a “recent rivalry that was once a relentless butt-whupping”?

Here’s what Globe columnist Bob Ryan has to say that about that on his blog at Boston.com:

There is a younger writer of great renown who loves the Boston Celtics, which is fine. He commands an enormous national audience, who have come to regard him as The Authority on all things Celtic. And he has an exhaustive knowledge of the current team. No problem there.

I’d tend to forgive him on the basis of him not being there, but that would mean that history requires that you had to be there. I wasn’t present for the Gettysburg Address or the Bobby Thomson home run, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a good idea of what it must have been like to be there. That’s what being an historian entails. You do your homework.

And if this pundit had done his due diligence on the Celtics and Lakers of the ’60s he would known that it was very much a rivalry. The Celtics might have won all six meetings, but it didn’t always feel like it, not with Elgin Baylor and Jerry West around.

I don’t particularly care who wins this argument, as long as it ends soon.

Wait. Was it Gene Simmons Bob Ryan doesn’t like, or Richard Simmons? Who’s this Bill Simmons?

I do care to point out Ryan’s refusal to name the object of his derision or, God forbid, link to the offending article. It seems that Ryan is falling into the trap of playing by print rules on Web turf. I don’t advocate using the Web as a platform for slander or ad hominem attacks on other writers — I’m arguing that where print venues once conferred upon columnists the ability to call down the thunder from on high with thinly veiled insults, the Internet requires greater frankness. If you hadn’t read Simmons’ column already, you may have no idea who Ryan is talking about. Even if you could guess who he was referencing, you’d still have to click multiple times to find it — only to be disappointed that you waded all the way over there for what amounts to a minor schoolyard dust-up.

Just sayin’.

I can be objective about the Lakers. And, objectively speaking, I say they suck [ESPN]
Tinseltown Boys


Filed under media, sports