The Wild Cards
Drew Magary, Kissing Suzy Kolber – Will Leitch famously took the high road when Buzz Bissinger flipped out on sports bloggers, calmly sitting there and providing a rational counterpoint to the lunacy spewing forth from Bissinger. In so doing, he showed everyone that hey, maybe these strange “bloggers” are just…regular people. Using a slightly different tactic, this is how Magary, who also contributes to Deadspin, handled the Bissinger situation.
The post is Magary in a nutshell – mind-blowingly over-the-top, unfathomably profane – but wow, pretty funny, too. He does a reader mail Deadspin feature with the same qualities, his Asshole Coach Digest documents some truly horrifying behavior, and he also writes occasional scripts on Kissing Suzy Kolber that often feature stunningly bawdy roles for New York Jets coach Rex Ryan. And Magary gets bonus points for lampooning this Chris Berman rant.
Gregg Doyel, CBS Sports – Writers need a unique style, a persona, to truly stand out. Gregg Doyel has it: it’s called being a…well, as Deadspin once diplomatically put it, a “rather disagreeable little fellow” (and as they not-so-diplomatically put it in that same post, “a genuine douchebag”). Doyel does keep a CBS Sports blog, but that blog is secondary to his column, which is where he really makes his mark.
In it, he says he’s paying attention to the Winter Olympics only to see if anyone else dies and disagrees with everyone pretty much just for the sake of disagreement – and that’s just in the last few weeks. He has a reader mail column, too – “Hate Mail” – where he revels in his “rather disagreeable” image, and does much the same thing on Twitter. He’s such a contrarian that he makes a not-very-bold-statement sound like a leap of faith – while flat-out admitting the claim he’s making is actually not very bold at all. Also, he once did this with his hair, which should prove he fears no mocking, and if anything, lives for it.
Jason Whitlock, Fox Sports – Whitlock, who is affectionately referred to by Bill Simmons as “Big Sexy,” combines traits of several other well-known sportswriters. Like Joe Posnanski, he’s written (and still writes) for the Kansas City Star. Like Stephanie Wei, he has a strong background in sports (he played football at Ball State). Like Simmons, he raised his profile at ESPN, and like Gregg Doyel, he makes his bones on unapologetic, provocative opinion pieces (and tweets).
Speaking of tweets, one area where Whitlock stands alone: his hilariously photoshopped Twitter picture. Like Simmons, Whitlock is more of an online-heavy media personality (lots of similarities between these two – maybe it’s why they get along so well, certainly better than Whitlock and ESPN itself). We’ve linked a tweet here where Whitlock strongly criticizes Deadspin, and an interview where he does the same to ESPN. Clearly, this is someone unafraid to mix it up with the big influencers in the sports media world – and that candor is the reason Whitlock’s an influencer himself.
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org