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  1. I learned about espnW about three days ago, when they had a feature up on the MLB front page about Brett Lawrie and his sister, The Fightin’ Lawries. I thought it was weird that a non-American, non-MLB centered article was being given so much press, but perhaps they were showing of espnW a bit, too.

    Comment by sc2gg — February 16, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

  2. Even if they have a nice article, I still find the whole premise insulting. Do we need ESPN for black or one for gays?

    Comment by Franco — February 16, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

  3. That’s really one of the most common criticisms of the very concept of having an ESPN “for women.” And they clearly haven’t quite answered the question of why it exists yet — it’s a pretty muddled site. It’s not ugly, it’s not embarrassing, and the stories are well-written, if there aren’t yet very many of them. But I don’t think they totally know what it is.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 16, 2012 @ 4:25 pm

  4. How about ESPN actually publishes some article with good analysis done by female writers?

    Comment by GotHeem — February 16, 2012 @ 4:30 pm

  5. After reading both of the 2002 columns linked to, I have decided that Simmons was sexist but McKendry was sexist and hypocritical. Both lists were equally wrong imo.

    Comment by Hal Jordan — February 16, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

  6. I can’t believe you’re getting paid to write posts like this.

    Comment by Al — February 16, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

  7. It’s more similar to ESPN LA or ESPN NY, like a specialization for a particular group of fans that have particular interests. However, it does suggest that women are a particular group of sports fans whereas men are just sports fans, which is not ideal.

    Comment by Bip — February 16, 2012 @ 4:49 pm

  8. Don’t worry, Al, you get to read me for free.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 16, 2012 @ 4:50 pm

  9. Got to love the contradictions here: “[Time for ESPN] to put more money where their mouth is” preceded by the complaint that ” At the top of every page, there’s a Nike swoosh”. I get it: you want ESPN to sink money into an unproven idea while simultaneously mitigating the financial gains they can make with that idea through commercializing the website. All while ignoring that the page your article is written on has a Nike add directly next to the ‘Leave a Reply’ box.

    I also enjoyed your not-so-subtle advocation that ESPNW hire you: ” Hire more writers, including male writers, because having no original baseball content in three and a half months is sort of embarrassing.”

    There’s probably a good reason that ESPNW isn’t expanding in the way — speed and size — you’d like it to, and I would overwhelmingly place my eggs in the ‘not profitable enough’ basket. And if they do what you advocate by removing commercial sponsors and simultaneously expanding, it will only accelerate its demise.

    Comment by Marver — February 16, 2012 @ 5:03 pm

  10. I can’t believe you don’t get paid to write comments like this.

    Comment by Bradley Woodrum — February 16, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

  11. First, forgive me if I was misleading. I’m not asking ESPN to hire me, for espnW or anything else. I am a full-time student. I’m not looking for a job.

    Second, call me old-fashioned, but I think there’s a difference between an advertisement and a “partnership” — it makes me uncomfortable to see ESPN consider five of its advertisers as “partners.” It makes me think that Nike is directing the news coverage on espnW, which I think is inappropriate.

    Third, I’m sure that if espnW were more profitable, it would get more money. The point is, I’m not sure what it is right now, and I’m not sure ESPN knows either. It’s neither fish nor flesh; it’s “lukewarm.” Either kill it off or staff it up. Right now, there just isn’t much there.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 16, 2012 @ 5:14 pm

  12. I wonder how much Al thinks I get paid. I am absolutely certain that it is more than I actually get paid.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 16, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

  13. I’d guess around $15 per post.

    Comment by Al — February 16, 2012 @ 5:23 pm

  14. If ESPNBlack or ESPNGay was profitable in its existence, I’d consider it far more insulting for people to decry that a product that people successfully support economically shouldn’t exist. So long as there exists a market for it, people who neither gain nor lose from its existence shouldn’t influence its existence. If ESPNW or ESPNBlack or ESPNGay flourishes, it’d be far more insulting for someone uninterested in the product to kill its existence.

    Comment by Marver — February 16, 2012 @ 5:28 pm

  15. Kind of a weird post for Fangraphs but I like the outside the box approach I guess.

    Comment by Tyler — February 16, 2012 @ 5:29 pm

  16. Less.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 16, 2012 @ 5:34 pm

  17. The only way Remington’s absolute certainty makes sense is if he earns $0.00

    Comment by Marver — February 16, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

  18. That’s true. I wouldn’t be able to justify absolute certainty. I was still correct, however. I make more than $0.00, but less than $15.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 16, 2012 @ 5:40 pm

  19. lol

    Comment by Al — February 16, 2012 @ 5:41 pm

  20. I don’t think it’s a problem. There are magazines and tv networks targeted at women, blacks and gays. Different groups have different interests. It’s not pandering, it’s more capably servicing their interests. Now if this was a site run by men who were choosing the “girly” type articles, that would be pandering. If it’s women trying to create a site that more directly services their interests I don’t see anything wrong with it.

    Comment by Preston — February 16, 2012 @ 5:45 pm

  21. So as someone who has done quite a bit of work on the issue of “Corporate Social Responsibility” when it was first really getting started, I am 99% certain that espnW is not intended to be profitable, and it’s existence is due almost entirely to it’s partners’ CSR initiatives.

    Many of these large public corporations require that their partners, contractors, etc. change their HR policies to reflect their CSR initiatives. They don’t do this because they are do-gooders. For example, when Corporation X decides to build a smelter on some remote island that they will pollute like you wouldn’t believe and expose workers to deplorable chemical toxicity risks, they can counter activist stockholder campaigns with all their CSR initiatives. They also create groups that confer “awards” on them. Believe it or not, awards that everybody in Corporate America knows full well are phony are highly sought after. I guess it must be PR. If you can put it on your website, an AP writer is willing to cut and paste a snippet close to deadline, or your lobbyist can read it into a congressional hearing record, I suppose that’s pretty valuable.

    I have seen so many examples of transparent CSR scams that there is really nothing that can convince me that this is not what this is, especially since we know it will never actually make money. Keep on a lookout for the publication of this “partnership” by these great American socially responsible corporations, and importantly, in what context.

    Comment by Paul — February 16, 2012 @ 5:56 pm

  22. That’s a really interesting perspective on this, Paul, and one I absolutely hadn’t considered. You may well be right, though I still wonder what influence ESPN’s “partners” have on the process of selecting and editing the pieces that go up on the site.

    I just don’t understand why the site necessarily has to be unprofitable. It’s clear that women are a large sports audience. It seems like ESPN should be able to monetize them — if not through a specialty site targeted exclusively to women, then through the main site.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 16, 2012 @ 6:02 pm

  23. Just throwing out there that the writers over at Aerys Sports have also done a bunch of posts on Sabremetrics. You can read them on our “Around The Horn” site:

    http://aeryssports.com/around-the-horn/alphabet-soup-getting-defensive/

    Comment by Julie DiCaro — February 16, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

  24. Here are a bunch of Megan Wells’ posts on metrics:

    http://aeryssports.com/around-the-horn/author/girlnoir/

    Comment by Julie DiCaro — February 16, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

  25. Thanks, Julie. I looked for your original post on espnW but it looks like your October 2010 posts aren’t live any more, so I had to link via archive.org.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 16, 2012 @ 6:11 pm

  26. I’ve moved over to Aerys Sports.

    Just a quick note: I love Amanda Rykoff, and I consider her a fantastic writer, a great baseball fan, and an all-around cool chick. My issue with espnW are things like that fact that there were no baseball posts for over 3 months (at least, this is what I’ve been told). Serious fans cover their teams and their sports all year ’round, no matter what their gender is.

    Comment by Julie DiCaro — February 16, 2012 @ 6:15 pm

  27. I wouldn’t say the idea is necessarily unprofitable, just that having an extensive staff at this juncture, in their current format, probably wouldn’t help. In all honesty, blending pop culture with sports, ala Grantland, would probably also be a profitable route for a women’s sports website.

    Comment by Marver — February 16, 2012 @ 6:33 pm

  28. “There are a lot of guys who watch the WNBA.”

    ……………………………lol

    Comment by real sports — February 16, 2012 @ 7:06 pm

  29. They need to get good female writers first. Jemele Hill doesn’t quite count.

    Comment by 20389438 — February 16, 2012 @ 7:19 pm

  30. It shouldn’t be shocking that Bill Simmons, who could be replaced by any drunk idiot at a bar, is sexist.

    Comment by 20389438 — February 16, 2012 @ 7:25 pm

  31. It isn’t for the basketball, that’s for sure.

    Comment by sc2gg — February 16, 2012 @ 7:25 pm

  32. The partners certainly would not edit content. In fact, what makes this all so unpalatable is that the content is completely irrelevant. It’s a site designed to “empower young women in sports,” or some such phraseology that a $400/hour DC lawyer will concern him/herself with. The key to remember in all this is that it apparently started in board rooms and was taken to a whole new level by lawyers. Just do a little quick research about how extensive CSR practices are at major law firms who are also heavily into lobbying.

    As far as ESPN monetizing female entertainment participation, how have they not already? Do you really think all those beer and pizza commercials that mock men as morons and posers are directed at you, with your male parts? Sure, they encourage peer pressure, but it’s also a nice gimmick to bring the ladies into the convo, yes? I’ve seen it in action I don’t know how many times.

    What I’m saying is the site can’t make money because it is obviously frivolous for the overwhelming king of sports entertainment to have to do, especially in light of the figures you cite in the article. Their model is and was working, and no doubt has been appealing to more and more women over time.

    Please don’t confuse some gimmick invented by lawyers and corporate pukes to something like OWN. The latter may or may not be a successful venture, but it was obviously a serious attempt by a woman who started with nothing and has dominated television entertainment for a generation.

    Comment by Paul — February 16, 2012 @ 7:39 pm

  33. Oh and now I just saw you said the same thing about the last baseball post on espnW. Sorry. Derp.

    Comment by Julie DiCaro — February 16, 2012 @ 8:16 pm

  34. I think if we all stop commenting and clicking on the Remington articles, he will eventually go away.

    Comment by Bob — February 16, 2012 @ 8:21 pm

  35. We need a new site called FangraphsR for all of Remington’s stuff. As long as it isn’t anywhere near Fangraphs.com, I am happy.

    Crap, now you made me late for the Mystics/Liberty game (and yes, I had to look those team names up).

    Comment by Guy Smiley — February 16, 2012 @ 8:59 pm

  36. I don’t have any problem with ESPN patronizing or pandering to women. Why shouldn’t they treat women the same way they treat men?

    Comment by MikeS — February 16, 2012 @ 9:05 pm

  37. I think this is actually a really revealing comment. ESPN’s crass gender essentialisms go both ways. But they’re certainly not alone. Almost all media involved in sports play to a really debased form of masculine pandering. It gets pretty tiresome when all I want to do is just watch some friggin baseball.

    Comment by ben — February 16, 2012 @ 9:35 pm

  38. I think Paul is correct to point out that this is a case of CSR (one of the newest, most widespread, and perverted forms of use value). But I think Alex is right to question whether or not to call espnw “unprofitable.” CSRs are really abstract forms of profit generation. It’s why people will spend the extra 50 cents on organic fruit: not because it actually tastes better, but because (they think) they’re doing something good.

    Comment by ben — February 16, 2012 @ 10:07 pm

  39. ok. you start.

    Comment by ben — February 16, 2012 @ 10:08 pm

  40. “Do you really think all those beer and pizza commercials that mock men as morons and posers are directed at you, with your male parts? Sure, they encourage peer pressure, but it’s also a nice gimmick to bring the ladies into the convo, yes?”

    I completely disagree. I think those commercials are absolutely directed towards men, and if they’re anything they’re sexist towards women. Men are made to seem morons, but victimized morons – nothing more than tongue lashed, pussy whipped dupes subject to psycho bitches. But do you want sympathy? Want to know that you’re not alone? Everything will be ok. Drink beer x.

    Comment by ben — February 16, 2012 @ 10:12 pm

  41. If I was a broad, I’d probably check out ESPNW after I was done vacuuming and baking and folding laundry.

    Comment by John — February 16, 2012 @ 10:41 pm

  42. OMG. You are, like, so edgy.

    Comment by ben — February 16, 2012 @ 11:58 pm

  43. Alex & Julie,

    One thing re: the no baseball for 3 months, Amanda herself has actually posted other baseball pieces recently.

    http://espn.go.com/espnw/more-sports/7484960/the-biggest-baseball-offseason-storylines

    http://espn.go.com/espnw/commentary/7451951/amanda-rykoff-says-goodbye-new-york-yankee-jorge-posada

    The only *issue*, for lack of a better word, I had with the piece was using Amanda’s piece as an entree into a completely different topic. I think suggesting the piece is an overarching indication of ESPN/espnW’s thought process and directives is off-base, too.

    This was something done by Amanda on her own to help novice baseball fans (novice in terms of stats, not necessarily in terms of baseball fandom) ease their way into the sometimes (OK, let’s be honest, always) icy pool that is the stats world, a process she somewhat recently went through herself as she learned more about next level stats.

    It is also in no way related to the Simmons primer. His was written two years ago and a lot of headway has been made with those stats as far as entering the mainstream so they are worth covering still. Just because most FG readers know them like the back of their hand doesn’t mean there isn’t still a large contingent of fans who haven’t quite jumped on board.

    In fact, it might behoove Simmons to cover a lot of them again on Grantland (and add some if he wants) partly because he could definitely use the refresher (baseball is far & away his weakest sport knowledge & comprehension-wise… it’s painful listening to he & Jack O discuss the game), but also because repeated exposure can be good, especially because he might be reaching new targets two years later.

    Comment by pjs24 — February 17, 2012 @ 12:17 am

  44. I feel the same way about the Oscars. Why have best female actress and best male actor? Isn’t that kind of a relic of a bygone era?

    Comment by Plank — February 17, 2012 @ 12:53 am

  45. Thanks, pjs24. That’s bizarre that Rykoff was writing and her pieces didn’t make it to the espnW MLB page. Seems like someone’s asleep at the wheel.

    Believe me, I fully appreciate the value of a sabermetrics primer. I got brought on at Fangraphs because of a sabermetrics primer I wrote at Yahoo a couple of years ago. I’m not saying that Rykoff and Simmons’s posts were related in any sense other than the fact that they were very similar.

    And much as Simmons was trying to bring his audience along into baseball advanced stats, I think Rykoff was trying to do the same.

    Right now, espnW appears mostly to be about human interest stories, which is something that ESPN has apparently discovered women like: “Women like basic statistics and personal narratives.” Rykoff’s piece seems to be slightly different, which I think is a cool thing, and possibly a way forward for the site.

    But, again, it seems like they really haven’t figured out what they want it to be.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 17, 2012 @ 1:22 am

  46. Ben: I prefer to call most CSR initiatives straight-up gimmicks intended to deceive, but I can accept “abstract forms of profit generation” also. I’m not so sure about the organic food take. I know a lot of people who eat organic because they truly believe it tastes better. Personally, I think you have to be vegetarian or close to it to notice the taste in most instances because most of our meat is so fatty and salty, but a lot of people who eat organic are heavily veggie eaters. I’m sure there are plenty of people who eat organic solely because they think are being socially responsible, but even then it’s a perceived direct benefit, not a clearly designed gimmick. They’re not duping themselves, and it’s at least arguable that there is a social benefit to buying organic. Perhaps espnW is really intended to do some good. It looks like a transparent CSR gimmick to me.

    Comment by Paul — February 17, 2012 @ 11:07 am

  47. Regarding the ‘basic stats and personal stories” angle, this method has worked fantastically well with the Olympics in terms of not just getting women to watch the Summer Games in particular but lots of men who otherwise have no interest in watching dudes run around a circle for 10 minutes. *People*, not just women, want to have personal reasons for watching a given sports match. Not all of us played the game in high school or college (personally I played football, wrestling, and basketball for a year but by far my favorite sport is baseball, which I never played beyond the sandlot level).

    Comment by Johnny Slick — February 17, 2012 @ 11:07 am

  48. Alex – When did you start writing for Not Graphs? This is simply brilliant satire.

    Comment by Guy Smiley — February 17, 2012 @ 11:27 am

  49. The entire thing is baffling.

    On one hand, defenders of ESPNW want to argue that the site isn’t patronizing and implicitly insulting to women by cordoning them off into their own cutesie little corner of the internet where they gossip and paint their toenails and, “oh, sports too!” It’s supposed to be more than that. I’m not 100% sure what “more than that” looks like, but whatever. It’s beside the point.

    The problem is that you send the message that ESPNW IS VERY MUCH that sort of cutesie little corner of the internet when you go around publishing a piece like that. Primers like that have been written literally dozens of other places (and have been written without suggesting that UZR created Moneyball) so what’s the implication? That women/readers of ESPNW don’t read ESPN or Fangraphs or team blogs? That they need the internet boiled down and hand-fed to them while they paint their nails?

    Until that disconnect is resolved – and I doubt it will be – it’s going to send confusing and bizarre messages to the readers. At least to me, anyway.

    Comment by sprot — February 17, 2012 @ 11:31 am

  50. Either way you are overpaid Alex. The Vernon Wells of Fangraph writers.

    Comment by Socal Baseball — February 17, 2012 @ 12:10 pm

  51. If Alex Remington is being accurate that an FG writer (or even only he) gets paid less than $15 a post, this site should be embarrassed. The writers here turn out quality work, and deserve to be paid for it at going rates. It’s this sort of attitude — I’m doing it for the exposure — that has resulted in lower rates of pay for all journalists.

    Comment by AJS — February 17, 2012 @ 12:51 pm

  52. I can’t presume to speak for the other writers, but I assume that different people get different amounts.

    That said, while my columns occasionally contain exclusive interviews, most of what I write is based on research of news clippings and blog posts on the internet. I consider myself a blogger rather than a journalist, and I am happy with my lot at Fangraphs.

    I don’t get paid a lot, but it’s alright.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 17, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

  53. I’m not a huge fan of Hill, but they have clearly hired a lot more women writers in the last few years than they used to have. Stephania Bell is pretty good, and so is Johnette Howard; I don’t know Dana O’Neil and Ashley Fox, but I see that they’re columnists for the NFL and college basketball.

    I agree, getting good writers is the key.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 17, 2012 @ 1:22 pm

  54. Of course choosing organic has a social and more specifically economic benefit. I’m not sure there is even a mild argument against that assumption. Organic will generally be food grown within a certain shortened mileage of the place it is sold at. Keeping the money flow within the area retains wealth there as opposed to feeding wealth systems outside of the area.

    Comment by hans — February 17, 2012 @ 2:10 pm

  55. “Organic will generally be food grown within a certain shortened mileage of the place it is sold at.”

    There is simply no guarantee of that with an “organic” label.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 17, 2012 @ 2:52 pm

  56. The agronomist says Alex wins.

    Comment by Paul — February 17, 2012 @ 4:16 pm

  57. Hans — the local stimulus argument for organic farming is just a statistical trick. I’m actually a proponent of localized agriculture, and it’s a shame that the Federal Government subsidizes large-scale agriculture so much that the benefit organic farmers should have due to saved transportation expenditures is substantially mitigated. But the economic aspect of purchasing local (with a currency from a larger area) is largely a farce, unsupported by substantial statistical evidence.

    Comment by Marver — February 17, 2012 @ 6:40 pm

  58. “it’s a shame that the Federal Government subsidizes large-scale agriculture so much that the benefit organic farmers should have due to saved transportation expenditures is substantially mitigated.”

    I agree.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 18, 2012 @ 12:35 am

  59. Remington, it’s okay to troll Simmons, gigantic target on his back and all, but don’t you dare touch my beloved Pos. I could go for an anti FJM post to stir up some more fervor though, you’re on a roll sir.

    Comment by Fredchuckdave — February 19, 2012 @ 5:32 pm

  60. I’m not really trolling Simmons. I think it’s a legitimate critique. I’ve been reading him for a decade, like most of us. And I used to love him.

    Unfortunately, it’s really hard for me to read him any more. “The Book of Basketball” had a lot of really good content that was completely ruined by the same jokes he’s been making about porn, gambling, and farts for over 10 years.

    On the other hand, writing really isn’t his primary medium any more, and you could say the same for virtually all the ESPN personalities who came from print. He’s the editor in chief of Grantland, which frequently has excellent content; he created 30 for 30, a series of universally acclaimed documentaries hailed as some of the best work ESPN has done in years; and he has one of the most popular podcasts in America. (I used to listen to that, too, before it got incredibly repetitive.)

    I love Joe Posnanski. I think he’s warm, smart, and insightful, and most of the time he finds just the right balance between sentiment and cold-eyed analysis.

    Simmons is capable of great work when he tackles something new. But he repeats himself a lot, and I don’t think it makes me a troll to say so. Criticism is legitimate, when it has a legitimate basis.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 19, 2012 @ 6:21 pm

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