Sports Eviscerated

That’s right, pal, bend over and fondle that ball.

Sports Illustrated has gotten the VeloNews-CGI treatment: Pharaoh bids them make bricks without straw.

I’m not and never have been a sports fan, though I appreciate certain subsets of sportswriting (see Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, et al.). Thus I can’t speak to the quality of today’s Sports Illustrated, though the new management’s strategy certainly sounds familiar.

“Bricks, bitches. Chop chop. No, you don’t get straw. Who do you think you are, Frank Deford?”

But boy howdy, have some big hitters ever swung through SI’s pages over the years.

I’m talking Deford, Roy Blount Jr., Dan Jenkins, George Plimpton, Rick Reilly, Kurt Vonnegut … that’s right, Kurt fuckin’ Vonnegut. Not your basic dime-store jargon-jockeys, is what.

Over at Deadspin, Ray Ratto posits that the gutting, as has become traditional, “was pointless, needlessly cruel, stupid and thoroughly corporate.”

And Ratto expects more of the same:

I want to be more depressed and affected by what seems to have happened to Sports Illustrated, but it is the fate that awaits everything. Some corporate lamprey is coming for every generation’s best and brightest, dimmest and thickest, because you can count money and clicks but not curiosity and discovery. Others will have to provide those last two things now, and will have to do so while knowing that it’s a finite world out there. We will lament its passing too late because we have come to accept the mortality of things we thought would never die, and watch with a shrug as the monuments of our formative years are demolished and turned into Stalin’s Finest coffee stands, and eventually into parking lots.

I’d say that about sums it up. Back to you, Jamie “Mr. Awesome” Salter.

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6 Responses to “Sports Eviscerated”

  1. Pat O'Brien Says:

    After a few paragraphs of corporate bullshit and doublespeak, Salter says, “We have to be smart about it. We have to change some of the soldiers. You need different skill-sets.” In other words you need to salute and execute orders until we strip this joint, sell off anything of value, and move on to the next target.

  2. JD Dallager Says:

    Adam Smith’s so-called “Invisible Hand” at work again?

    Much like Mother Nature: A cold, cruel, dispassionate bitch. Eat or be eaten. Darwinian. Etc.

  3. SAO' Says:

    Magazine journalism is a weird economic space. You know who never goes out of business? The gossip mags at the grocery check out. No one subscribes, and I’ve never seen anybody pick up a copy and put it in their grocery sack. And yet, every week, there’s a new cover (although, to be honest, we only have about four covers and we cycle through them year-in and year out).

    Somehow Lapham’s Quarterly is still in business. It’s a great read, but definitely an acquired taste.

    Best sports mag ever was the NYT quarterly Play Magazine, which featured heavy hitters like Daniel Coyle. But the NYT couldn’t make it work. That pretty much tells you that no one knows anything, as William Goldman famously said about movies but which pretty much applies to anything having to do with public whims and fancies.

    Aside: It’s funny not funny that The New York times offers 57 different ways to subscribe, trying to get at least a nickel out of everybody, but a lot of the old Play content is still out there for free. We are all collectively losers for not getting something like this for Mr. Coyle once every three months:

  4. khal spencer Says:

    Another one bites the dust. Scotty, beam me up.

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