Friday, June 6, 2008

Will Leitch Moves On

This was originally posted late last night. I'm sure a lot of folks missed it, so I'm moving it up. The recaps and a couple of new posts are just below.

As a blogger, I took a blood oath to Regard All Things Deadspin (seriously -- they wouldn't teach me how to hyperlink stuff until I swore fidelity), so I am concomitantly required to note Will Leitch's announcement that he is stepping down as Deadspin's editor. Details remain scarce, but he's going to become a Contributing Editor for New York Magazine. I presume that means he'll write whatever he wants, whenever he wants. Good for him.

While it is impossible to overstate Leitch's influence on the sports blogosphere, I have long had the sense that he is a much better writer than has come to be expected of him at Deadspin. I think he knows it too. Yes, he changed the game with a fresh, funny voice and an original and provocative point of view, but for the past few months he's been Dylan circa 1967. Everybody still wants x, but he'd been on y for a long time, and had begun to move on to z. If I had to pick a date when things started to change I'd peg last year's World Series when it was obvious that he enjoyed writing long, column-length pieces for the New York Times far more than making 150 word Papi-jokes on Deadspin. Know what? I enjoyed reading them more too, as did most people I know. In light of that, I couldn't be happier to hear about his move. Like he says in his announcement, it's time.

I look forward to seeing what Leitch can do when given more time and space to ponder his next sentence than Deadspin would allow. To more liberally employ his honest, expressive, and -- surprising to most people but not to those who pay attention -- non-cynical voice without having to worry if he remembered to link back to the half-dozen tired in-jokes he is expected to reference.

Most of all it's going to be funny to watch the many, many people who wake up in the next several months and realize that the very person they had been holding up as an example of all that is wrong with sports writing is actually the person who is saving it. Not through the overplayed iconoclasm or snark, but through the good, solid craftsmanship of which anyone who ever read the Black Table or his longer form work is aware. Sure, it will be a while before people stop associating Leitch with Barbaro and Buzz, but ultimately he will be better remembered for introducing a new crop of people to Pat Jordan, and that's God's work.

In the next few days there will be gallons of virtual ink spilled about Leitch, almost all of it covering the low-hanging fruit. My suggestion: wait it out and let it die. Go to sleep for a while. Then wake up and realize that rather than having lost a hotshot sports blogger, we've gained a mature and vital sportswriter.


Jason said...

I was going to post something about Leitch and then I read this, threw my hands up and said "there's no way I could have said it half as well."

Nice tribute CC

Vegas Watch said...


I think that pretty much sums up my thoughts on this post. Well done.