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June 12, 2008
by Ryan Hudson
If you haven't heard yet, Will Leitch, editor of Deadspin since its inception, announced last week that he is leaving that position to take over as a contributing editor for New York magazine.
The general reaction among the sports blogs, I think, was fear - a general "what now?" Leitch has long been considered the "Godfather of Sports Blogging." He has been the figurehead, and the talking head. He's the one who sat there on HBO and smiled as Buzz Bissinger spewed his ignorant insanity. One look at the comments on Will's post and it's clear that he will be missed.
The initial question was obvious: who will replace him? Michael David Smith at AOL Fanhouse even put out odds, with A.J. Daulerio, Deadspin Senior Writer, as the 2:1 favorite (if I had my pick, it would be MJD of Yahoo! Sports, one of the best writers the sports blogs have; current odds: 4:1). But perhaps the more important question is one raised at The Sports Point: With Leitch Gone Who Will Represent Sports Blogs?
The sports media landscape is undergoing a full fledged revolution, as newspapers fight with blogs for your readership. What the future holds is anybody’s guess, but as blogs not only approach the territory of the mainstream, but become part of it, the heir(s) to Leitch’s throne may very well become the most important figure(s) in all of sports media (what up now Costas?)
This is why it may actually turn out to be a good thing that Leitch is moving on. That is not meant to diminish his work in anyway - truth be told, he's probably the one reason I'm writing on this site now. He was the leader of this blog "revolution," and that place will always be his. But that influence has cast a shadow on other blogs, some of which are very good in their own right. As good as Deadspin is at promoting and helping to establish other blogs, it is seemingly Deadspin and Deadspin alone that is cited when the "mainstream media" references the blogosphere (see: "Costas Now"). Losing Leitch is just that: everybody's loss. But, as sports blogs continue their rise, this should allow for the voices of others to be heard on a more national level of importance.
There are a lot of people saying a lot of great things out there - it's time they were heard, too.