The shortest increments of time known to humanity are the following, beginning with the most brief:
— One week
— A New York minute
— One decade
— A sec
— Like five minutes
It's that decade, so wily. Writers love using the word so they don't have to do math. Something invented in 1938 has "been around for decades." Wow, decades! That's like, forever. Except they fly by quick. Live through two or three of them, and you realize, Oh, shit, if that's how fast 10 years can trickle by, I'm going be dead in like five minutes.
But rest assured that 10 years can also be a really, really long time, at least when we're talking about sports blogs. Why, back in 2003, when "Hey Ya!" was the song of the moment (it holds up!) the Web was still in an prolonged pubescence. People relied newspapers and magazines and news crawls for their sporting informations. There was such a thing as sports-talk radio, but it would be unrecognizable today, as it was full of white men in fedoras barking in their classically trained 1930s play-by-play announcer voices. The notion of going "online" to write "opinions" about "sports" seemed as laughable as putting a person on the moon! (Because the Space Race had been over for decades, you see, not because we didn't have the means.)
For one indication of how benighted 2003 was, have a look at this list of "Best Sports Blogs" that Forbes assembled in September of that year. It begins by describing a dystopian hellscape and then heads downhill from there.
Just turn on your radio, watch TV or go to a cookout, and you'll inevitably hear one know-nothing or another comment on the sports story du jour.
You're no doubt cringing at the memory of all the conversations you had at cookouts about how the Yanks were due to win a World Series or how Carmelo would surely defend Syracuse's title or how Lance Armstrong's cancer treatments made him so good at winning Tours de France. People knew nothing back then. Yet the nightmare only festers from there:
Surprisingly, that sports-centric stream of consciousness hasn't flourished on the Web. Sports blogs, i.e., Weblogs—Internet journals that give their creators and visitors a soapbox to air ideas—are few and meager. That may be because established sports Web sites—like Disney-owned espn.com, AOL Time Warner's si.com or the online sports sections of outlets such as The Washington Post or News Corp.'s Fox News—give fans their fix. Indeed, there is no economic incentive to start a sports blog—even the finest ones we perused were barely able to cover costs.
With the benefit of hindsight, we know most of this would be considered true even today. Blog is still short for Weblog, which is still technically an Internet journal that serves as a forum for ideas, except now the Web is so pregnant with blogs that people scarcely distinguish them from websites at large. ESPN.com and SI.com and the Washington Post and Fox are all mainstays in sports coverage, but they've also become ecosystems for their own blogs, which are themselves a mixture of reporting and idea-soapboxing. There is still almost no economic incentive to start a sports blog. That is, unless you're going to hump the living hell out of it, perhaps yoking a human raft of free labor to the enterprise and then sell it to a company eager to take possession of a vehicle for cheap or unpaid labor. But you'd never do that, because that would be wrong.
So what were the top sports blogs of 2003, in the estimation of Forbes? These five merited mention: badjocks.com, Off Wing Opinion, fuckedsports.com (now defunct), fanblogs.com and yankeefan.blogspot.com. That last one was in the midst of some serious growth back in the summer of aught-three: "1,000 hits in May, 2,000 in June, 3,000 in July and 6,500 in August." Gosh, if that exponential trend had continued for the past 10 years? Why just think of the page hits.
But that didn't happen. Instead, starting in 2005, you got the likes of Deadspin, an independent newsgathering and commentary site known for its fearless, intrepid journalism. You're welcome.