Friday, March 25, 2011

Hey, the new guy's pretty good

I just thought I’d publish a few thoughts on the new guy, David Schoenfield. A couple of days ago, he officially debuted on the SweetSpot as the replacement of Rob Neyer – big shoes to fill according to us, little shoes according to Neyer. You have to love the humility.
Anyway, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t eagerly awaiting his replacement. For one, Neyer vowed a hunger strike until his replacement emerged, and I don’t wish him to die. Of course, he was almost certainly as apocryphal about the fast as he was about the “small shoes to fill” comment. Or else he’d be quite gaunt.
The other reason is that I think I was ready for consistent, cohesive content on the SweetSpot. I thought handing the space over to the Network writers was a phenomenal idea, one that gave most of them a really great chance to showcase their talents. It also exposed a gamut of topics given the different styles and interests of each writer. Even better, I think the best of the bunch really shined. But as I said, I was ready.
His inaugural post was but an introduction, and I enjoyed it. As his furious pace continued in day one, I continued to read. Most importantly, when every so often a new post appeared on my Twitter feed, I found myself compelled to read it. This was always why I found myself coming back to the SweetSpot when Neyer was at the helm (and why I continue to do the same at his SB Nation page): I genuinely wanted to read everything he wrote. I don’t always agree with him, but there’s something about his writing that makes me feel as if, were I to miss a single post, I’ll have missed something important.
I also like this about the new guy’s style: it’s different. I won’t say they could have cloned Neyer, but maybe they could have hired someone to do something similar. Instead, they hired Schoenfield and he’s taken a different approach – as was evidenced by his posting of the Random Old Photo of the Day, which reminds me of something I quite enjoy about Roger Ebert’s blog. Another example: how he “teases” the ESPN Podcast – that’s one of David’s words (tease), by the way. Different. Joel and Ethan Coen could have casted someone to mimic John Wayne in the True Grit (2010) remake. But they astutely plugged in Jeff Bridges, allowed him to steal the show – alongside a brilliant performance by a 14-year-old girl – and forged a new classic. Brilliant.
I don’t know that I’ll continue to read David day after day, but I hope I do.
ESPN: you done good.
On a side note, I’ve joined Chris Quick and Otis Anderson at Bay City Ball, the San Francisco Giants’ representative at the ESPN SweetSpot Network. Many of you already know this. Both are great writers and I was thrilled to join Chris’ “nerd-squad.” We’ll be covering the Giants all year long, and Chris will continue to provide the blurb for the weekly Power Rankings. Good stuff.
Paapfly isn’t disappearing. I’ll probably update it from time to time. I don’t know. That’s the honest answer. But, as you can see, I just posted this, so I don’t have immediate plans to shut it down. What’s more, I plan to continue to excerpt what I write elsewhere here. Most of all, I’m confident if you truly enjoyed reading my writing that you’ll find it, wherever it is.

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