If there is anyone in Detroit who should be excited about a new sports website dedicated to providing an alternative to the Freep, News and MLive it is me. For over 14 years I have been attempting to provide that service through this domain, various TV shows, podcasts and my toxic Twitter feed.
This town has been in obvious need of a substitute for the mainstream trash masquerading as legitimate sports coverage of the Big Four professional teams in the Motor City since Mark “The Bird” Fidrych was talking to a baseball on the mound at Tiger Stadium. Hell, the “papers” I just mentioned in the above paragraph aren’t even TRYING any longer.
The Freep had its top sports columnist (in terms of actual copy) drop dead (Not the Sharpest Drew) and they didn’t even bother to replace him even though their other two columnists — Jeff Seidel and Frodo the Keebler Elf Albom — either can’t write columns (Seidel is a glorified feature writer) or don’t write about SPORTS any longer (Condescending Baggins is about as much of a sports writer these days as Dwayne Johnson is a wrestler.)
MLive still hasn’t figured out a way to monetize web clicks so they’ve abandoned covering the Wings and Pistons ON THE ROAD and are allowing stooge homer Ansar Khan to write about BOTH teams since they now share the same address.
And I don’t even know where to begin with the News other than to say they still employ Suicidal Officer Barbrady McCosky who just last week handed out his All-Star break Tigers grades and gave Brad Ausmus a “B.” The same mark as Alex Avila. And that “B” Avila received was the same as John Hicks, who is currently on a bus to Pawtucket with the Toledo Mud Hens. For fuck’s sake, Jamie Farr HIMSELF wouldn’t give TOLEDO’s catcher the same grade as the team’s big league backstop (who had a 2.4 WAR through the break).
So the news a few weeks ago of The Athletic coming to Detroit after debuting in Toronto and Chicago should have been an oasis for Motown sports fans. Finally, an alternative to the Helene Scarf Jameses and Anthony Fenechs of the world. Well, if this new publication has been some sort of oasis, it’s been way more of a “Champagne Supernova” than a “Don’t Look Back in Anger.”
For one, ya gotta pay for it. Secondly, there is nothing remotely WORTH doling out your hard-earned cash for on the pages of the Athletic Detroit. The place is like the Island of Misfit Unemployed Sports Writers in Detroit.
The main attraction to the site? Craig Custance? He left ESPN.com in May before the Worldwide Leader could broom him like they did Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside while decimating their NHL coverage.
Since its inauspicious debut a month ago, the website that charges $5.99 a month (!!!!) has placed articles by James Schmehl and Matthew B. Aggressive Mowery behind a PAYWALL. Two losers who were respectively FIRED by MLive and that media powerhouse The Oakland Press. This would be the equivalent of going onto Tube Galore to watch a sex tape of Chris Christie and Rebel Wilson and having to provide your credit card information for it!!!!!
The other “big hire” was Katie Strang who, for a short period of time, covered the Tigers for ESPN.com. Strang got pregnant last season and basically disappeared from existence. I have no idea what ESPN was doing with her before she made the leap to The Athletic. Maybe she was hidden in the same broom closet where Fox Sports is keeping Katie Nolan.
Strang was decent enough on the Tigers beat (especially considering her competition was a sexual-harassing millennial dipshit and a dude who once Tweeted that Joba Chamberlain was going to get a $50 million contract as a free-agent) but never ONCE did I say, “Wow, I’d pay for these tepid opinions if given a chance.”
And maybe the worst part about this website that is asking you to PAY FOR IT is the fact that it’s basically the same shit you can get EVERYWHERE else on the web. Custance’s pieces have been the same Ken Holland apologist bullshit that you can find with any other Detroit outlet. Here’s a good tip for ya: If Holland lets you in his office for an interview, you’re going to get the same down-the-middle trash that Ted Kulfan or Art Regner is going to spew.
We’ve seen multiple employees of the website trying to defend Dennis Cholowski’s honor by crying that it’s not fair to compare him to Jakob Chychrun — the same diarrhea of the keyboard that you can get gratis from George Malik. (And if you want to find my weekend takedown of that Dan Milstein-financed shitbag, click here.)
The collection of “talent” this PAY SITE has been throwing out there is hilarious. When they aren’t posting columns from the recently unemployed, they are providing content from people whom you’ve never heard of before. Folks whose blogging was free a couple of weeks ago — and you weren’t clicking it then.
Fangirls like Emily Waldon and Michelle Thomas. Here are some past Tweets from this pair. Just remember when reading these that this website is actually CHARGING YOU. Also, try not to poke your eyes out with an ice pick ……
And trust me, I am only giving you a small sampling here. Peruse these Twitter timelines and you will start comparing Gregg Krupa to Edward R. Murrow.
The Athletic contributors have the same level of quality as the Bargain Bin in an old record store. Now, I am not saying ALL of the content is worthless. I have been a fan of Prashanth Iyer’s work for years (Hell, I have probably done more than anyone in town to bring attention to his knowledge) but I am sure as shit not going to pay for it after I’ve been getting it for free. Just like I wouldn’t ask the cardiology pharmacist or YOU to pay for MY content.
Look, I am not averse to spending money for valuable resourses. The number of charges I get on my credit card bill is obscene. Just off the top of my head, I pay for the following monthly services:
New York Times
Daily Racing Form Insider/Formulator
Sirius/XM Radio (Two Cars & Internet Radio)
OK, that last one is a joke. I actually just lurk on that swinger’s website. Fuck, whenever I lose my credit card, it takes me a half a day just to remember all of the pay sites I belong to and provide them my new information. And I am not even counting having to pay for extra storage on Gmail and Dropbox and for services like Microsoft Office 365.
Where do you draw the line on all of the monthly $4.99 charges here and $14.99 charges there? I’ll tell ya. A superfluous Detroit sports website that isn’t providing me anything I couldn’t get for free elsewhere. Even if that means in my OWN HEAD.
The Detroit Athletic or whatever it’s called isn’t saving the free world (like WaPo and the NYTimes) or proving me unfettered access to the King of All Media or giving me David Lynch’s pure heroin version of Twin Peaks.
If I want lame prospect updates, milquetoast Ken Holland soliloquies or shocking revelations like the Tigers need to sell at the deadline — and why would I? — I have all of the FREE usual suspects I have been ignoring for years.
This whole thing is a scam, an affront to someone like me who has been providing you free content for two decades that ACTUALLY does separate itself from the norm.
I do find it funny that the 17-year-old, Ryan Phillipe wannabe CEO of the site is kind of obsessed with me though ….
P.T. Barnum once famously said there is a sucker born every minute. And if you want further evidence of that, let me point you to Custance’s appearance on Channel 7’s “Sports Cavern” this morning where he said, “their (Adam Hasmann and his partner) thought is diehard fans will be willing to pay three or four bucks a month – or whatever the number is – to get that level of sports coverage.”
So even the site’s main contributor admits the monthly charge is DOUBLE what it should be.
I don’t ask for much from you people — hell, this site remains free — so hear me out on this ….
The Athletic is merely an aggregator of copy that was FREE on June 18, 2017 — mostly written by the recently unemployed.
There was already a place like that before this scheme made its way to Detroit. One website where you could customize an accumulation of content you desired from a variety of different journalists.
It’s called Twitter.
You don’t pay for Bill Barnwell, Dan Wetzel or Zach Lowe but you ARE going to for something named Frank Provenzano or Blake Murphy? Get the fuck out of here.
Please say no to this grift.
(You can follow Moss on Twitter @JeffMossDSR. You can discuss this article on Facebook by clicking here. You can also go fuck yourself if you’d like. Totally up to you.)