ESPN announced today that they are suspending operations — in other words, closing down — Grantland, the site that was originally built around Bill Simmons but grew into a place with some of the best sportswriting on the planet. Their baseball coverage was phenomenal, as Jonah Keri (hired away from FanGraphs when they decided to bring in a full-time baseball writer) and Ben Lindbergh regularly put out the kind of in-depth, intelligent-but-still-approachable writing about the sport that made me jealous of their abilities.
So, as a celebration of their work, here are some of the best baseball pieces I read at Grantland over the last few years. This is just off the top of my head (and a few of FG authors who kicked in suggestions while I was writing this), so I’m certainly going to be missing a good number of great pieces, but feel free to add your own favorites in the comments below.
The Art of Pitch Framing — Lindbergh’s seminal piece on the topic.
Rocked — An oral history of the 1989 World Series earthquake.
Ty Cobb as Detroit — Anna Clark on the Tigers legend.
The Website MLB Couldn’t Buy — The story of Twins.com.
Before Beane — Lindbergh on the early days of analytics in baseball.
The Year of Living Less Dangerously — Lindbergh on MLB’s changing home plate collision rule.
Eephus Influence — Keri on the most fun pitch in baseball.
Just so much great work was published over there, because Grantland hired really talented people and gave them the ability to do creative interesting stories. I’ll miss Grantland as a one-stop place for this kind of writing, but with writers this good, I’m sure we’ll keep seeing great work from them at other places in the not too distant future.
Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.