August 22, 2011

Gladwell on Grantland: Everyone's favorite-to-hate New Yorker pundit writes his first column for everyone's favorite-to-hate sports-column site. It's about the "psychic benefit" of owning an NBA team, and why exactly the owners need to shut the hell up about the revenue numbers. Fire away, folks.

posted by Etrigan to basketball at 11:25 PM - 8 comments

I'm no Tom Yawkey fan, but Gladwell heavily embellished the anecdote about the Robinson/Mays tryout. I have never seen it written that Yawkey ran onto the field yelling epithets. I'm not even sure that it was said to have been Yawkey that cursed at the players (from the stands).

I'm not defending Yawkey against the overall charges of racism, he was basically the human embodiment of the "curse," but Gladwell is playing pretty fast and loose with the facts in this article as per usual.

posted by Venicemenace at 09:11 AM on August 23, 2011

Whoa, what? Supposedly it was Pinky Higgins, the then-GM who was cursing them. Which itself may be apocryphal. Why would Yawkey be at a random tryout when he lived in South Carolina?

posted by yerfatma at 10:12 AM on August 23, 2011

Grantland is "everyone's favorite-to-hate sports-column site?" I rather like it and I've never been a huge fan of Simmons.

posted by tron7 at 12:18 PM on August 23, 2011

I like it just fine, I'm simply not sure on picking a group of writers on sport based on how much Bill Simmons wants them to come to his birthday party.

posted by yerfatma at 01:27 PM on August 23, 2011

My take on Grantland:

-- Overall, I am glad to see it around. Some really enjoyable long-form writing and I've discovered some new writers I have really enjoyed, and a new one-stop platform for other writers I have enjoyed from other sites (e.g., Jonah Keri and Bill Barnwell).

-- With very few exceptions, the pop culture stuff is pretty much a yawner and waste of space. Some gems here and there (including well-written pieces on topics that otherwise would not interest me). Does anyone really care about all that reality TV stuff?

-- Some of the other columnists expose Simmons to be a pretty inferior writer (at least within certain categories of pieces). He has his merits and a somewhat unique voice, but reading some of the pieces by others you can see why Simmons' biggest ticket items are mailbags, podcasts, and gimmicky pieces -- he just does not appear to have the chops to do more long-form expository, opinion, or point-of-view pieces/essays that measure up to the standard of some of the other writers.

posted by holden at 02:22 PM on August 23, 2011

That guy who wrote about his World Series of Poker journey was an epic sad bastard. I like the site, but I guess I was expecting more. I'm willing to give it time.

I think Simmons' plan back-fired a bit in that he doesn't come across as strong a writer with some of those other guys around as he did at ESPN. I think his strength is the podcast now anyway. Those he's made for.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 07:56 PM on August 25, 2011

Since this quickly evolved into people's views on grantland, here's my .02:

1) Somehow (maybe just in my own mind) the site got over-hyped. I think it is pretty good, and worth a daily check for interesting pieces, but so far it has under-delivered. I really enjoy Klosterman, so it will always be worth checking to see if he has anything new.

2) I think a lot of the hate stems from envy or fear. For example, while I'm not super familiar with deadspin, if i understand correctly grantland could potentially cut into their site's relevance somewhat. So even though grantland may not have lived up to the hype, it is still pretty enjoyable and some people's disdain stems from their agenda, not the actual content of the site. Further, sometimes people just dislike things out of spite when they see someone else get to do exactly what they want to for their job. Simmons gets paid (a lot) to fundamentally be a rabid sports fan (I've heard his friends call that his "brand"); who doesn't want that job?

posted by brainofdtrain at 02:41 PM on August 27, 2011

I don't like Grantland because it's another over-hyped, cross-promoted-out-the-ass ESPN product. I'll read articles there if somebody recommends them, like this interesting Gladwell piece, but otherwise it's not something I'd seek out.

As for Bill Simmons, he writes too long. Reading him is a lifestyle choice.

posted by rcade at 03:05 PM on August 27, 2011

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