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AN OPEN LETTER TO WILL LEITCH ON HIS LAST DAY

7/23/2008
Goodnight, sweet prince. Getty Images

Dear Will,

It's no secret your relationship with ESPN has been, um, rocky since you emerged from your mother's basement. And while we can't speak for Sean Salisbury or Chris Berman, most of us at our little wing of the WWL have always felt that you were kinda on our side. For one, you never posted drunk photos of us (thanks!). But more importantly, you made it okay to talk about the fact that the crazies in sports weren't only the ones playing games. For many oldsters in sports journalism, Deadspin was a nightmare. For us, it was a tool. A tool that helped us remind our bosses of The Mag's original purpose—to be there for fans who still think sports are fun. Fans. Fun. That's about right.

So thanks for drunken Matt Leinart. Of course athletes go out and misbehave sometimes. They're grownups, they get drunk and fall down. It's funny and then they go to work the next day. Deadspin constantly reminds us that while sports is a business, it's very rarely a serious business, and we're lucky to work in it.

And kudos for not hiding your Cardinals crush. Fandom is why sportswriters have jobs. More bad writing has come from guys trying to spin bias into plausible objectivity, than actual overt homering has ever inspired. Your critics have always said Deadspin is dangerous because it has no standards, integrity or accountability. These critics interview naked men for a living. But you (and our other fave sports blogs) have forced "traditional" media outlets like ours to be smarter, bolder and more creative—lest we be made fun of. For that, we thank you. No one may act as your system of checks and balances, but Deadspin has added a layer to ours. Go figure.

Happy trails!

ESPN The Magazine*

*most of us, anyway