If you’ve not yet heard, ESPN has pulled the plug on Grantland. Now, Jonah and Ben on baseball, and other Grantland sports writers, are being folded back into the generic ESPN family. But, nonetheless, I’m thinking this can’t be good news for longer-form sports journalism over there, or for more in-depth sabermetric-type writing there in general. It’s also interesting that ESPN chose to announce this during the middle of the World Series rather than a week or two later.
Even before ESPN got rid of Bill Simmons, it was giving out other indications that cuts were on the way. This may not be the last of them.
Deadspin, at the time Simmons first went on contractual thin ice, noted that Grantland, for all of ESPN’s hyperbole, just didn’t draw a lot of traffic, relatively speaking.
Update: Deadspin now has the backstory on the bomb being dropped. Interesting info there on the contractual difference between editors and writers, and more.
Also, if I am Kevin Merida, hired just two weeks ago to run ESPN’s delve into longer-form, ethnic specific sports journalism at The Undefeated after Jason Whitlock was clearly not up to par, I have to be wondering about my professional future, don’t I?
Update 2: Fredrick deBoer gives a more upscale take on Grantland’s demise.