Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Worldwide Web Leader

Last Thursday, Dan Patrick referenced deadspin.com in regards to news about Corey Lidle's passing. As in, he stated live on his radio show, "Deadspin.com is reporting....". I literally had to turn around and look at my radio to make sure Howard Stern hadn't somehow taken over the ESPN network. And as you all know, for a small monthly fee, you can become something of an "ESPN Insider" and go back and listen to the segment yourself. (It's not worth the money, take my word for it. If you sign up, you also wind up getting this rather large piece of mail every Friday that's packaged as some sort of sports magazine with big ESPN letters on the front. Come Saturday morning, you'll find that your ass hurts from wiping it with that very piece of mail.)

I knew the second that a high profile talking head like Patrick gave a shoutout to Deadspin, somebody would pay attention. Oh sure, Bill Simmons had been given subtle references to the site for almost a year, but no major ESPN figure had even come close to saying the 8-letter word on air. And wouldn't you know it, first brought to my attention from the local ESPN radio affiliate here in town and almost immediately thereafter posted on deadspin.com, detailing that the so-called worldwide leader would simply ignore the popular deadspin site's existence.

After over 25 years of existence, ESPN really had no true competitor to try and rival it in terms of sports coverage. It looked like Fox Sports might have had a small window to try and break through by hiring the likes of Keith Olbermann, but other than getting the NFL and MLB, they're basically playing Double-A Ball. For the first time probably ever, ESPN has a legitimate threat in the form of an "underground" website called Deadspin. It's become the new sports homepage that everyone who cut their teeth during the good old days of Sportscenter has now bookmarked as one of their top 3 favorites. It's become water cooler talk. It's no longer, "Did you see that on Sportscenter last night" talk. It's now, "Have you been to Deadspin today." Moreover, it's millions of people emailing deadspin links everyday. We can get all of our needed sports news and updates on Deadspin. There are days where Deadspin reports more stuff than I'd want or need to find at ESPN or any other sports sites. Take for example last Saturday. As Game 4 of the ALCS was starting, they went to the announcers, introducing Thom Brennanen, Captain Cub Lou Piniella, and a guy who sure as hell wasn't Steve Lyons. Not having any clue where that nut job was (but gleefully hoping he finally got shit-canned). I immediately went on the computer, straight to Deadspin, to see if they had anything. Sure enough, in something like two minutes, they had the whole story. I didn't even bother to search ESPN first because I knew there was no way in hell they'd do a story on a guy from Fox getting fired -- hell, they still haven't acknowledged Harry Reynolds firing from their OWN network. But it was still a legitimate and interesting news story. Available on Deadspin before any google search could even bring anything. Just like when ESPN first made local sports casts irrelevant as Sportscenter became was cutting edge and became a household phrase, Deadspin is now turning the tables on the former worldwide leader, offering a true outlet for those of us who after ten years, still don't quite understand how the likes of Stuart Scott and Chris Berman are even gainfully employed.

When I wrote my first blog about what a buffoon Billy C could turn out to be (and yes my fingers are still crossed on that one), Deadspin posted it as their first entry on the next day's "Blogdome" section. Over 40 people found it necessary to leave COMMENTS on the blog, and the site visits alone we got from that post were unbelievable to Mackenzie and I. More importantly, I got a ton of emails saying how great and refreshing it was that there was a voice that wasn't afraid to call the Huskers as they saw them and not bow down to the University like every other local schmuck in the papers and TV. So we took off from there, still continuing to tell it like it is about Billy C and the Corn (weekly), picking apart ESPN Radio and even casting the Moneyball movie. In a lot of ways, our takes on Billy C and Husker football fans are in the spirit of what Deadspin is all about.

On one of the first Seinfeld DVD's, Jason Alexander explains what he thought about Seinfeld when it first started. He said that they show was this great garage band that a very small group of people were head over heels in love with, and eventually they'd invite a few friends over to listen to the band and see if they liked it or not. But he never saw the show be anything more than a garage band. My hunch is ESPN never saw Deadspin as anything but some "underground" website similar to Alexander's hunches in the early days of Seinfeld. But like that sit-com, there are much bigger things happening with Deadspin. It's become the go-to site for all of us sports fans who were and are so sick and tired of having to suck from the corporate tit that ESPN has become. It's given an outlet for sites like Kissing Suzy Kolber, The Big Lead, and even this very site of ours to name a few. It all beats the hell out of having to see or hear Michael Irvin and somehow convince ourselves that it certainly could NOT have been HIS crackpipe in that car with him when he was pulled over last November. Or at least that's what ESPN is trying to convince everyone to believe.

Face it ESPN, Deadspin is more than underground. It's GOLD, Jerry, GOLD! To treat it like a non-entity just further confirms what an absolute joke you've become. I can get more substance reading an article of People Magazine at times. Oh, and on the occasion that your website actually DOES have an article we need to read? Don't worry. Deadspin always links to those for us as well.

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