Presenting The Grantland Staff Bracket (Round One)

I wish I could claim this idea as my own, but it is indeed borrowed from SI’s Richard Deitsch via Twitter.  It was created solely in jest to poke fun at Grantland’s affinity for making up brackets and polls.  I used a combination of the staff’s quality of writing, quantity of production for ONLY, and my own personal bias in creating the seeds (thus a guy like Wright Thompson gets dinged because he has produced maybe five pieces for Grantland while writing extensively for ESPN).  Admittedly I could have used additional help in creating it.  I was more in a rush to be the first to devise and publish Deitsch’s great idea.

Please scroll below the actual bracket to take part in the first round of voting.  We’ll update the brackets Wednesday morning with the winners of the first round and continue until we get a champion.

Presenting the 2012 Grantland Staff Bracket: 

1 bill simmons               chuck klosterman 1
16 mark titus               carles 16
8 david shoemaker               chris ryan  8
9 jonah keri               robert mays 9
5 brian phillips               shane ryan 5
12 patrice evans               michael kruse 12
4 jay caspian kang               jonathan abrams 4
13 mark lisanti               rany jazayerli 13
6 rembert browne               rafe bartholomew 6
11 michael weinreb               louisa thomas 11
3 bill barnwell               molly lambert 3
14 jonah lehrer               colson whitehead 14


mark harris

hua hsu

              wesley morris

alex pappademas



2 charles p pierce               katie baker 2
15 david jacoby               wright thompson 15

1. Bill Simmons vs 16. Mark Titus

Bill Simmons
Mark Titus

8. David Shoemaker vs 9. Jonah Keri

David Shoemaker
Jonah Keri

5. Brian Phillips vs. 12. Patrice Evans

Brian Phillips
Patrice Evans

4. Jay Caspian Kang vs. 13. Mark Lisanti

Jay Caspian Kang
Mark Lisanti

6. Rembert Browne vs. 11. Michael Weinreb

Rembert Browne
Michael Weinreb

3. Bill Barnwell vs. 14. Jonah Lehrer

Bill Barnwell
Jonah Lehrer

7. Hua Hsu vs. 10. Mark Harris

Hua Hsu
Mark Harris

2. Charles Pierce vs 15. David Jacoby

Charlies Pierce
David Jacoby

1. Chuck Klosterman vs. 16. Carles

Chuck Klosterman

8. Chris Ryan vs. 9. Robert Mays

Chris Ryan
Robert Mays

5. Shane Ryan vs. 12. Michael Kruse

Shane Ryan
Michael Kruse

4. Jonathan Abrams vs. 13. Rany Jazayerli

Jonathan Abrams
Rany Jazayerli

6. Rafe Bartholomew vs. 11. Louisa Thomas

Rafe Bartholomew
Louisa Thomas

3. Molly Lambert vs. 14. Colson Whitehead

Molly Lambert
Colson Whitehead

7. Wesley Morris vs. 10. Alex Pappademas

Wesley Morris
Alex Pappademas

2. Katie Baker vs. 15. Wright Thompson

Katie Baker
Wright Thompson


Joe Posnanski: Roger Goodell Possibly “Overestimated”

The SI writer is on an incredible hot streak right now and is producing content as good or better than the column I’m about to share with you.  I wrote yesterday how Goodell’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal came off as desperate and insulted his audience’s intelligence.  Seems I wasn’t the only one.  Posnanski wrote an awesome analysis/critique of the NFL commissioner and, well, take a look at his brilliant conclusion.  From his blog on SI:

In the Point After of this week’s SI, I wrote a little something about Bud Selig … and how people cannot help but underestimate him. This has to do with Bud’s almost mythical ability to look baffled. Who can forget the Bud after the All-Star Game tie? Who can forget his rambling press conference when he held up the rule book after the rain-delayed World Series game? Who can forget … well, he’s just Bud. One day, he will come out and say that maybe Abner Doubleday did invent baseball, and he will come out another day and say that he had never even heard of steroids until two weeks ago, and so on.

But Bud Selig has utterly transformed baseball. I’m not saying that he has always transformed it for the better. That’s a discussion for another time. But at the end of the day, baseball has been transformed — expansion, wild cards, interleague play, increased revenue sharing, drug testing, relative labor peace, new stadiums, All-Star games that determine homefield advantage, the World Baseball Classic, on and on. Maybe baseball stumbled into some of these things. Maybe it was pulled kicking and screaming. But this stuff happened. And Bud, unquestionably, was a force behind this stuff happening. He works the back rooms. He coaxes and ponders and considers. And sometimes he boldly acts. When he rushed in and took the Dodgers away from Frank McCourt, he was not really doing anything out of character. Bud Selig might be the most influential baseball commissioner ever.

But he does not SEEM that way, does he? He just does not present that sort of image. You know that story about the difference between a schlemiel and schlimazel — the schlemiel is the guy who spills the soup, and the schlimazel is the guy who gets the soup spilled on him. Bud Selig seems like, well, both.

I bring this up now for an entirely different reason: Roger Goodell is clearly no schlemiel or schlimazel. Roger Goodell looks, as the cliché goes, right out of central casting. He’s a powerful looking guy, fills out a suit, gives every impression of being in charge at every moment of every day. If you were in a group stuck on an elevator with Roger Goodell, there is no question that he would be in charge, even if you had CEOs of companies and three-star generals in there. There are just people who exude authority, people who will walk down the street and people will just know that they are CEO of something or other. Goodell has that aura.

But, while watching this NFL labor mess, something has occurred to me, something that cuts completely against looks and aura and everything else. It has occurred to me that Roger Goodell might about 20,000 leagues over his head. It has occurred to me that while Bud Selig is destined to be underestimated because of the way he carries himself, that Roger Goodell is destined to be overestimated for exactly the same reason.

He couldn’t be more spot on in this idea.  He takes this logic way further in his analysis of the situation and it’s a must-read if you’re following the NFL labor situation in any capacity.

What you need to know: the owners are going to lose, and they’re going to lose in historic fashion if they maintain their current position.



Great Sports Writing: “The Curious Case Of Sidd Finch”

It’s the first day of April and baseball season is in full swing. Keeping the day in mind take a trip back to 1985 and please read George Plimpton’s legendary Sports Illustrated profile on Mets prospect Sidd Finch.  It’s one of the best examples of humor ever allowed to reach the pages of a major sports publication and Plimpton does an extraordinary job crafting perhaps the greatest April Fool’s joke in sports writing history.  From Sports Illustrated:

The secret cannot be kept much longer. Questions are being asked, and sooner rather than later the New York Mets management will have to produce a statement. It may have started unraveling in St. Petersburg, Fla. two weeks ago, on March 14, to be exact, when Mel Stottlemyre, t