Does anyone remember when ESPN’s Page 2 was good? I do. In fact, like many bloggers out there, Page 2 was my link to the underground. It was a different take on sports, one that reminded you of what you did with friends when watching the game. Bill Simmons was there, Dan Shanoff had the Daily Quickie, and it made ESPN.com something that was more than just “news.” In fact, one of the first times I heard of “Deadspin” was on a Page 2 post.
Then something happened. First of all, some of the best writers of a generation died. Ralph Wiley and Hunter S. Thompson died within a year of each other, and suddenly the page seemed… empty. New writers moved in, but Shanoff went on his own, and Simmons moved to his own sub page and stopped writing as much.
In the opinion most people I know, the page went to hell. Now that may not actually be the case, but it certainly took a turn for the worst. I went from an everyday reader to an occasional glance once or twice a week, and even then it was mostly a check on Simmons’ page. Once I hit the blogosphere and found people really worth reading, well, it was no contest.
The problem with Page 2 is that they just don’t get it anymore. They found a model that worked and ran with it to a fair amount of success. But when your stars disappear and you try to run that model with Jemele Hill, well, good luck buddy. As great as Uni Watch is, he has his own blog with much more content on it and notifies of an ESPN update. No sense in checking for that.
The fact of the matter is that Page 2 has “jumped the shark”, and this post is more than enough proof.
I mean, seriously? F#$k that post. How hard pressed are you for content that you need three people to put together something as unfunny and uninformed as that garbage? We get it guys, hockey is a joke and you don’t understand it. It’s a “niche sport” just like Norby says. Whatever. So stop talking about it. Don’t scrape together something about glow pucks and Elisha Cuthbert and expect it to fly.
What bothers me so much about this post is not that it is uninformed (it is) but that people still read this garbage and think it is the mainstream because The Four Letter tells them it is. I may not know much about the corporate aspect of the blogosphere, but reading Mirtle’s interview with Greg Wysnyski really makes me think we are moving in the right direction with things.
There is an audience for a hockey blog on a site like Yahoo Sports, and people can read Wysnyski or Mirtle or even a blog like this and decide for themselves how they feel about hockey and how the game itself is growing. You don’t have to listen to some talking head tell you what to think; go read someone’s blog and decide if that fan is seeing his team right. I know I wasn’t reading some San Jose newspaper when Campbell was shipped off, I was on Battle of California seeing what they think of him.
One of the things I’ve heard said about hockey is that there are not many causal fans, you are either hardcore or not paying attention at all. Looking at our site numbers and the reaction our posts about other teams get, I would have to say it applies to the blogosphere as well. There isn’t much room for someone with only a passing glance at hockey to talk about it. There are too many people who give a damn out there that deserve to be read over some retreads trying to make a five-hole joke.
In a way , though, Page 2 is right. This year’s Finals match may prove to be something that gets people interested in the game. Playoff numbers are already up a noticeable amount, and the quality of information in the hockey blogosphere is only increasing. That quality of information, however, isn’t going anywhere in the MSM. Even with all the vitriol many have for ESPN, it is certainly a big deal and will continue to be until all the little kids named after it sue for damages. Even with a groundswell of independent interest, hockey will continue to struggle with clowns like this knocking the game on major sites.
Even so, it’s good to see things slowly but surely changing for the better. Norby and his writers may not care much about Malkin versus Zetterberg, but I know a whole lot of you out there do. That doesn’t stop it from pissing the s#$t out of me, though.