I’m not a huge sports fan. I gave up sports fandom four years ago, the first time the Rangers lost the World Series. It stressed me out too much. I said things I still think about. My relationship with my brother was on the rocks for a couple of weeks because of it. So I don’t go crazy about sports anymore. But I like to stay conversant. I find sports interesting even as I maintain a safe distance from them. And the most interesting place to read about sports was Grantland.
It’s been a while coming, but ESPN decided today to immediately discontinue publication of Grantland. Didn’t even wait until the World Series was over, just BOOM like that. “Grantland distinguished itself with quality writing, smart ideas, original thinking and fun”, ESPN said in the statement announcing the indefinite suspension. They are “grateful to those who made it so”, though not so grateful that they will continue to support its ludicrously talented staff and forward vision and excellent angles.
Grantland was the best of the best. During baseball season, I’d read all of The 30 every week. I loved Wesley Morris’s movie reviews, though only slightly more than I loved reading the Facebook commenters who claimed he hated everything he watched. I followed Steven Hyden from the AV Club to Grantland, where he only got better. Rembert Browne and Shea Serrano always wrote straight fire. The TV coverage often indulged in histrionics, but I enjoyed Alexes Greenwald and Pappademas too. From time to time, they’d bring in ringers like Brian Curtis and Tevis Thompson when they really wanted to crank the heat. The Masked Man even got me to care about wrestling a little. And it was all masterminded by Bill Simmons, who for all his faults, flaws, and idiosyncrasies did ESPN better than ESPN does ESPN.
I will follow many of those writers and personalities wherever the winds take them. In the meantime, for hilarious sports coverage that can be enjoyed by filthy casuals like me, there’s always Block & Tackle.