Remember the good old days, when sports bloggers were potty-mouthed reprobates who fired off ill-informed rants from a couch in their parents' basement? Well, in 2008 they showed their sophisticated side. In February, "Ken Tremendous" of the popular (but, alas, defunct) site Fire Joe Morgan outed himself as Michael Schur, an Emmy-nominated writer for The Office. During the summer Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus became a sought-after political analyst when his electoral-projection site, fivethirtyeight.com, took off.
And then there's FreeDarko.com, a melange of stat-based analysis and pop-culture riffs on the NBA. (A recent post dealt with how the late-19th-century writings of British urban planner Ebenezer Howard apply to pro basketball.) Free Darko's five writers—who use pseudonyms such as Bethlehem Shoals—can also be flat-out funny. They've put together pithy previews of every game to be played this season. (Sample: "Apr 08 Minnesota@Golden State: Mark Madsen makes plans to take Kevin Love to a Stanford frat party, but Love bails on him to go to a strip club with Stephen Jackson.") This month the FD crew crossed over into traditional media, with sublime results. Their book, The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac—with a foreword by Gilbert Arenas—combines the trenchant wit of the site with some stunning artwork. It's definitely not the kind of thing one throws together in his parents' basement.
NOV. 13 AFTER 3 1/2 YEARS OF SKEWERING JOURNALISTS, FIREJOEMORGAN.COM SHUTS DOWN
TOM NICK COCOTOS (COMPUTER)
JACOB WEINSTEIN (ARENAS)
BOOK AGENT Arenas wrote FD's foreword.