Say what you will, Deadspin produces some terrific sports content. Today, the site’s editors offered several topnotch stories, including:
- an analysis of the crazy riots in Lexington, Ky., where fans started fires, fired guns at one another, set off fireworks and surfed atop cars.
- a compelling, thorough and sometimes humorous series on umpires by Erik Malinowski that also serves as a terrific model for multimedia reporting, entitled “Better Know an Umpire.”
Deadspin’s editor Timothy Burke chronicled the foolishness in Lexington by reviewing, analyzing and citing what he heard on the city’s police scanners that night. Ultimately, Burke produced a sort of greatest hits from the scanner that he offers as a three-plus minute audio feed. Burke also lists the key moments in the audio, such as police saying homeowners can deal with a couch burning in their driveway, somebody yelling “Everybody said they’re gonna shoot everybody,” and UK fans assaulting police with rocks and bottles. Hearing these reports brings the story to life.
In addition, Deadspin relies on several terrific sources to offer insights into umpires Bob Davidson, Tim Tschida, Phil Cuzzi and Dale Scott as part of a series to educate fans “on the human elements who have ultimate decision-making power over some 2,500 Major League Baseball games a year.” In a sense, the series reads like a report card, offer basic physical details (height/weight), along with more fascinating info (career ejections/no-hitters called/cities where ump is hated). Best part: a sample PITCHf/x strike zone that reveals called pitches in a game where someone had been ejected for arguing balls and strikes.
You can also find a video of a strikeout call, along with scouting reports from both an experienced baseball writer and from Major League Umpires’ Performance 2007-10 by Andy Goldblatt. This is a solid, entertaining report – and all without the alleged trademark fart jokes or sexual innuendo. Dammit.