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Grantland

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Grantland

Unread postby swerb » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:44 pm

Say what you want about Simmons, the collection of talent he has put together is outstanding. I also like the simple layout of the site.

Small sample sizes noted, it's as good a collection of columns and columnists that I've seen on the web. I find myself there every day, and reading most of whats on the front page.
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Re: Grantland

Unread postby motherscratcher » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:53 pm

Couldn't agree more. I'm really impressed with the site so far. Some very good reads. Simmons even seems tolerable again.

The site looks great and the content is outstanding.
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Re: Grantland

Unread postby peeker643 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:31 pm

Didn't want to like it but I do.

Very much.
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Re: Grantland

Unread postby Jumbo » Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:42 am

It's very well done, and it fills an important gap online in terms of professional, general interest writing that hasn't had any innovation since "e-zines" were popular a decade ago. Recently the field has been abandoned to sites of more specific interest (like this one), personal blogs, Twitter, and news aggregators (digg, etc.).
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Re: Grantland

Unread postby e0y2e3 » Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:46 am

Simmons and Klosterman are the worst part of Grantland, by far.

The talent is amazing and speaks for itself. Once Simmons stops writing daily again and making shit up and Klosterman gets board and goes to write another book it'll jump to top of my online visits.

But those two are intolerable.
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Re: Grantland

Unread postby motherscratcher » Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:11 am

e0y2e3 wrote:Simmons and Klosterman are the worst part of Grantland, by far.

The talent is amazing and speaks for itself. Once Simmons stops writing daily again and making shit up and Klosterman gets board and goes to write another book it'll jump to top of my online visits.

But those two are intolerable.


I know you used to like Simmons. When did you drop out on him? Was there a specific "fuck this guy" turning point?

Did you ever like Klosterman? I know you think he's some kind of pseudo-intellectual or something, but I think he can write some interesting stuff. Of course the only things I've read by him are the occasional article and Sex, Drugs, Coco Puffs, which I enjoyed quite a bit (even if I've never seen a single second of the Real World or played the Sims), but is all of a sudden a decade old.
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Re: Grantland

Unread postby e0y2e3 » Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:00 am

W/ Simmons I’ve always defended him on basketball as he actually seemed to watch the sport and put a lot of thought into what he was publishing. However when he came back from his Book of Basketball hiatus he never seemed to really give a rats ass and was obviously too busy being media titan to push anything on the public beyond half assed theories he spent four seconds coming up w/, false observations from not watching games, a Wire column that was actually pretty good but was 100% ripped off conceptually), word from his “sources” and Hollywood stories. The last two are obviously something he has so desperately wanted his entire life that he is now using every single chance he gets to remind us how important and awesome he is w/ those stories. I mean Christ, his best column in ages right now is a quick rip on The Killing that anyone here could have driven by and produced.

I went from just disliking him to actively hating him w/ one simple episode of the BS reports…. The Barkley Episode from a couple of weeks ago. Him and Klosterman was so intolerable, so long winded, so loud and so reprehensible Barkley could barely get a fucking word in. Charles Barkley!@#$!!

The BS Report is another thing… I used to enjoy it because it used to be random guests (Ross, Oswalt, SNL guy, etc) all talking about stories from their pasts and what not. Now those guys rarely get on and if they do they get to play match a story w/ Simmons constant bragging about writing from Jimmy Kimmel at some point and going to cool parties now. Beyond that the sports guests now just seem to get to listen to Simmons half brained theories and spend their time debunking them rather than getting to be actual guests again.

Listen to WTF, as a show where the interviewee (even though Maron is admittedly self centered) runs it and compare that to a BS Report back to back. I dare you.

As for Klosterman, he is what he has always been. A guy that makes random shit up, twists it around and tries to shove it down America’s throat as some sort of pop-intellectualism.

This raping of Klosterman from ages ago is perfect:

http://www.nypress.com/article-8054-the ... -king.html

And there is this raping of Simmons, Klosterman and Grantland’s preview:

http://www.mrdestructo.com/2011/05/bill ... tland.html

I used to defend Simmons against things like this. Did it to the end w/ that effing guy. Now I relish reading them and sometimes read them two or three times just to laugh.

And a lot of people I read regularly are now at Grantland. They are now being edited by effing Klosterman and that bothers me. So much talent that deserved to get paid but Klosterman and ESPN’s influence are scary.

I mean just read the Tommy Craggs story from Deadspin. He had already had his going away party at Deadspin to come on as an editor (and the perfect counter to Klosterman) when ESPN stepped in because they didn’t like some things he had said about them. Now He’s still at Deadspin.
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Re: Grantland

Unread postby Jumbo » Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:23 am

I still like Simmons and Klosterman, even while recognizing their deficiencies - as alluded to in e0's links. Also, while Simmons did do a very good job with basketball (and seemed to have an excellent memory for players, teams, and events), he couldn't care less about other sports beyond the story of the week and the Boston team. In particular, he has (and, it seems, celebrates) a schizophrenic relationship with baseball: he can't decide whether baseball is in a golden age or withering away, advanced statistics are a revelation or a curse, and so on.

I get the sense, though, that theree's a layer of envy underlining both of those criticisms: "Pseudo-intellectualism isn't that hard. Anyone can do it. So, why the heck are Simmons, Klosterman, and Gladwell rich and famous...........and I'm not?!"

The problem, I think, is that in any kind of writing or analysis that tries to present cross-genre issues to a mass audience with any depth will eventually struggle with a comprehension problem. If, for example, you're trying to analogize Historical Event X with Contemporary or Pop Culture Phenomenon Y, you have to make both X and Y sufficiently accessible to people who have a background in only one camp or the other. Repeat the process often enough, and you're an easy target for criticism of pseudo-intellectualism that looks smart but doesn't stand any kind of heavy scrutiny. This isn't just limited to the sports/pop culture area either: the one comment comparing Klosterman to Tom Friedman is spot on. (And I liked The World is Flat, despite its problems.)

To put it another way, is there anyone out there who does what those folks do, with as much success as they have achieved, who can't succumb to the same critcisms?
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Re: Grantland

Unread postby peeker643 » Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:35 am

I agree that a lot of it is just life's natural progression.

The younger Simmons was edgier and funnier and the Vegas trips, running diaries, etc were fresh and written with the pen of a guy who was hungry and who demanded to be heard.

Things change.

Simmons is in protect and defend mode far too often and the long-suffering Boston fan shit is played out.

I don't blame him so much for defend and protect because it's natural human inclination. But it does result in a safer and more repetitive column, one that gets preachy and one that I just don't care as much to read when the edgy stuff is still being done by the next generation.

Honestly, when visiting Grantland, I didn't read Simmons or Klosterman. I read everything else.

And there's quality in that everything else for sure.
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Re: Grantland

Unread postby e0y2e3 » Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:47 am

Yes – these guys are mass producing what is supposed to be intellectual entertainment for the general population and that yields an inferior product. No problems there.

Where my problems come and I diverged from understanding the limited product I was getting to hating the producers are when the egos became other worldly.

I and most anyone with half a brain understands what these guys are. Klosterman is a pop culture toolbox who I just can’t stand but certain people like to ooh and aah at (Yeah, the Friedman point is dead on). Simmons used to care about sports a lot and write like an everyman. Now, with the success both have achieved when they look into the mirror they see greek gods, not guys filling niche roles for the masses. Instead of continuing to show skill and effort you get douche and douchier telling everyone how awesome they are or how cool their latest theory is instead of actually trying to succeed at their jobs.

Simmons basketball is the biggest example of this but just listen to that week of podcasts from when Klosterman was in LA w/ Simmons. They are unbelievable at this point. I understand your envy point but it also is hard to absorb any entertainment value from ego stars who either slack at their main job (basketball w/ Simmons) or decide they are so smart they have to trick every single person into agreeing w/ them through douche tactics (Klosterman).

And again, they got an insane collection of awesome writers there (who wouldn’t want the chance to get paid and be featured on a site guaranteed to pull that kind of traffic). Carles from Hipster Runoff? Are you serious? The guy that wrote the amazing book about basketball on the Philippines? The entire Parks and Rec staff has done a piece at this point?

I hope the place succeeds. I just hope the stench of douche from those two is drown out more and more as time goes on. And rest assured another major problem I have is that Simmons and Klosterman cannot hold a candle to the talent they have writing for them at the moment. The fact that THEY have editorial power is effing mind blowing.
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Re: Grantland

Unread postby e0y2e3 » Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:14 pm

Also, I wanted to set myself on fire the first time I was forced to read The World is Flat.
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Re: Grantland

Unread postby e0y2e3 » Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:23 pm

Also, the Federer piece from @runofplay is awesome.
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Re: Grantland

Unread postby Jumbo » Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:32 pm

Instead of continuing to show skill and effort you get douche and douchier telling everyone how awesome they are or how cool their latest theory is instead of actually trying to succeed at their jobs.


That part I agree with 100%. My disagreement is this: although douchiness comes through in podcasts and the like(as you mention, your big issue came from the Barkley podcast, which I actually haven't listed to), it doesn't *necessarily* impair the quality of the writing or the validity of the argument (*). To take another example, Joe Posnanski covers a lot of the same subject matter, and with a lot of the same style, as Simmons et al....including the "Baby's First Hegelian Dialectic" specifically mentioned in the second link. I wanted to get an example, and Poz provides actually provides one in his most recent article for SI, about Jose Bautista. It starts:

Do you believe in miracles? Can you? This is the question for our blurry time. Do you believe that a man ravaged by cancer can return to win the Tour de France seven times? Can you? Do you believe that a 37-year-old man in the supposed twilight of a brilliant career can turn on fastballs and hit 73 home runs in a season? Do you believe that the best pitcher of our time, maybe the best pitcher of all time, can throw blazing fastballs and still be the best in the world at age 42?

and concludes:

Do you believe in miracles? Can you? Or maybe those are the wrong questions. Maybe the real question is: Do you believe that people who never stop trying or believing are capable of doing amazing true things? And if not: What's the point of watching?

The advantage that Posnanski (at least in print) has is that he carries enough of a reptuation of humility that we assume these questions are honest, rather than set up as a foil for his assumed genius.

(*) Except for Tom Friedman. Speaking of which:

Also, I wanted to set myself on fire the first time I was forced to read The World is Flat.


As I mentioned, I liked it when I read it. But then, I liked Tom Friedman back then. Only after he took his attitude to new heights in the past few years did it reflect back on his prior work and show how intellectually bankrupt his ideas are: half of them are common-sense, and the other half are simply wrong.
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Re: Grantland

Unread postby e0y2e3 » Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:40 pm

To a degree, sure, but w/ the print stuff Simmons has gone morally bankrupt as well. He wrote one good NBA column this entire year.

1.

He stole the idea behind it.

The lack of effort comes through in Simmons basketball writing now every single time he writes. Simple fact check matters are off by miles and he grows more and more disconnected from the daily goings of the league and more reliant on what source x tells him and crazy whacked out hypothesis.

Pos puts effort in on the daily to follow the subject matter he writes about. Simmons is too busy signing writers, producers documentaries, partying in hollywood and talking to Jimmy Kimmel to put in enough time to actually follow what he is writing on.

The douche comes through in pods, sure, but Klosterman has always been a douche (just is a bigger and prouder and louder one now) and Simmons ego growth has directly related to the shitty columns (FACTUALLY, I have NEVER expected high brow writting from Simmons).
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Re: Grantland

Unread postby swerb » Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:43 pm

My feelings are most aligned w Peeker and Jumbo. Re: Simmons, I agree, people evolve. I hate the elitest edge that he's developed, especially given he made his bones writing from the Man of the People angle. But I enjoy him no less as a writer. I really enjoy reading his columns.

Klosterman - never been a huge fan. I'll end up reading some of his stuff these next couple months out of sheer curiousity. I did enjoy his latest piece on developing a VORP style rating system (VORM) for bands and musicians.

One thing I think is for sure though. They've hit a grand slam HR with this site and the talent they've compiled. You've got two big name front men, the ESPN/Simmons promotional machine behind it, the pop culture slant opening them up to a much wider visitor base than just a sports only site, a simple well designed layout, an evolving and massively talented collection of supporting columnists, and the ability to do and say things you couldn't on a site like ESPN.com.

I would kill to be able to see a copy of the contract for this thing ... ESPN allowing it and promoting it, and what they are getting in return from Simmons for that privelege.
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Re: Grantland

Unread postby e0y2e3 » Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:51 pm

Rafe Bartholomew is the guy that wrote this: http://www.amazon.com/Pacific-Rims-Flip ... 0451229991

It was phenomonal and supposedly (according to him) he is coming on board for Grantland as well.

So is JP Abrahms from the NY Times.

I mean a lot of the big names they grabbed haven't even contributed yet.
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Re: Grantland

Unread postby GodHatesClevelandSport » Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:18 pm

Always enjoyed Klosterman. Not sure if any here remember it, but he cut his teeth at the Beacon Journal. I didn't really know of him then. So far I've enjoyed his stuff most of everything on Grantland.

He did write a novel a couple years back which I found disappointing. He's got another due out in the fall.

While Grantland is getting the publicity and big names writing for it, Yahoo's The Post Game actually already is what Grantland wishes it could be -- interesting perspectives on stories that have kind of left our consciousness. Right now they have a story about what Greg Anderson (Bonds' trainer) is doing now, what happens to a failed MLB prospect, and an article defending LeBron (sure to be popular here). I believe they also published the story about Voros McCracken and his DIPS theory. Their site is much busier than Grantland, which is a drawback.

The Post Game features more stories while Grantland features more essays. Grantland is a much bigger jerk-off site. Many of Grantland's writers are very concerned with pleasuring themselves if you ask me, especially the Chris Jones essays about Chris Jones covering baseball.

I don't find Simmons' articles on there to be a draw. They don't make Grantland special. It's just taking his articles from ESPN.com and posting them somewhere else. Big deal.
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Re: Grantland

Unread postby e0y2e3 » Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:53 pm

Like Clockwork or almost as if I summoned him, Raef (again, you really should read his book, best sports book I've read in ages) showed up today.

http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-trian ... rs-history

He not only showed up, he wrote on the Cavs and reviewed Jonathon Knight's 2009 Cavs book
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Re: Grantland

Unread postby swerb » Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:23 pm

Good work eo.

The summons almost makes up for reccommending The Killing. Meet me for a brew when I'm in Bahstahn and you're alive to me once again.
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Re: Grantland

Unread postby motherscratcher » Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:26 pm

e0y2e3 wrote:Like Clockwork or almost as if I summoned him, Raef (again, you really should read his book, best sports book I've read in ages) showed up today.

http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-trian ... rs-history

He not only showed up, he wrote on the Cavs and reviewed Jonathon Knight's 2009 Cavs book


That's nuts. I hit Swerbs link in the other thread and thought "wait, isn't that the guy...". Sure enough.
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