Editor Tom told me to post a picture of Tim Thomas hoisting the cup. I say fuck that.
So Grantland, the new sports venture between Bill Simmons and ESPN, launched last week — apparently to much fanfare, although I stumbled on it by accident through the Atlantic’s website (they poo-poo-ed it). I like it, although Klosterman and Eggers, two of the fancy names attached to it, have been pretty mediocre so far. Bill Simmons stuff has been pretty entertaining, but all in all, it had better get better — and soon — because it’s a good idea, and there needs to be more long-form sports writing out there, and I want it to survive.
So far the site appears to have two women writers out of ten or so, Katie Baker and Molly Lambert, which isn’t bad as far as representation goes, but isn’t great either. Molly Lambert, according to her byline, writes about pop culture for the site, leaving Katie Baker as the lone female sportswriter. Good thing she’s so frigging awesome.
I fell in love with Baker’s writing when I read her article “I Was Teenage Hockey Message Board Jailbait: The Confessions of a Former Adolescent Puck Tease” on Deadspin, about her days in the late 90s and early 2000s doing, well, exactly what the title says she did. It’s a great read. So far she’s written about hockey for Grantland — so jealous, want to steal her job — and she’s been awesome so far: funny, feisty, and knowledgeable about hockey, which is more than I can say about most American sportswriters.
“Nice! What’s the over/under for the cameras showing Steve Nash?
9½, and he’ll be waving a rally towel in all of them. Definitely three times as much as they’ll show the Green Men.
And which Bruin will be shamelessly fawned over?
Tim Thomas, the 37-year-old goalie who spent nearly 10 years toiling in various minor and European leagues before making it to the NHL, and who as recently as last year was banished to the bench. He’ll likely win the Vezina trophy for best regular-season goaltender, and there’s an excellent chance that, win or lose, he’ll go home with the Conn Smythe trophy for MVP of the whole playoffs. (If he did, he’d be only the second American other than Brian Leetch to win the award.)
Fans and the media love Thomas for his affable quirkiness and make-you-gasp play. He’s always reminded me of a camp counselor: in great shape, approachable but a little bit distant, bearded, hangs by the pool on his off days, pauses and looks off into the middle distance before speaking, went to the University of Vermont.”
“Soooo … (whistles casually) what’s this I keep hearing about redheaded Swedish twins?
Settle down. “The Sedin Sisters” is just a derogatory name. Vancouver’s Henrik and Daniel Sedin are two of the leagues’ top players. (During the regular season they were so preternaturally precise that highlights of their power plays were set to the Harlem Globetrotters theme song.) But they’ve been held to two goals against Boston, which has caused them to become a target for the media, fans, and, literally, to players. This is not a new phenomenon: In 2002 Vancouver’s then-GM Brian Burke famously ranted that “Sedin is not Swedish for punch me or headlock me in a scrum.””
“In many ways the Green Men, the Vancouver Canucks’ writhing, jiving, Carrie Underwood sign-ing semi-official mascots, are shiny Spandex-unitarded distillations of the team itself. They are entertaining and irritating, derivative but inventive, silky and showy, and a little too satisfied. They are very often found upside-down.”
I’ve been pretty “meh” about the Stanley Cup finals and didn’t think I would miss hockey when it was over — now that I’ve found Baker’s writing about it, though, I wish the hockey season never ended. I’m looking forward to next October. Hopefully Grantland will still be around then.
UPDATE: Throwing a bone to the B’s fans out there. Too funny not to post.