Bill Simmons has a new site called Grantland. Apparently, it’s named after a really bad baseball writer.
But names shmames. I thought I’d react to Bill Simmons’ introductory article, because I’m conflicted about it.
There are some things I like about the piece. Simmons, in easy-to-read Simmons style, talks about the leap of faith it takes to start a project. He compares Grantland to the time he helped launch Jimmy Kimmel’s late night show. He does a good job of describing that feeling of just not knowing what is around the next bend. On a visceral level, I relate to that feeling. But I also think any writer knows that feeling. It’s the same emotion we feel whenever we hit “publish” on any piece. Every piece is a debut, every article a project, and every blog post a venture. You never know if they’ll work until they’re in the public eye. Not exactly rocket science.
And the elevation of the somewhat mundane (at least for a writer) to the epic is sort of Simmons’ wheelhouse. Too much of his writing has the same feel as an episode of Entourage. Simmons will say ‘what’s up’ to some famous people, there will be talk of farting, drinking and drug use, throw in a dabble of the ladies, say one semi-profound thing, and drop the microphone. It’s there even in his introductory piece.
That said, as one twitter bro said yesterday, yes I would come running if I was lucky enough to write for them. Long form, intelligent writing about sports with ESPN-level pay – yeah, that’d be nice. Some of the names involved are interesting enough for me to keep reading as a consumer, too. But I also have the same issues that the general public might have. Will I have the time to sit down and read these long pieces? So far I’ve only managed about one and a half. There’s a reason the general trend has been towards shorter blog posts.