I first got to know your work as a writer many, many years ago—which I guess is implied by the phrase "your work as a writer." I was stunned by the poise of your sentences, the sharpness of your insights, and the way you'd figured out how to make everyone look up to you even though you never fucking wrote anything.
Your entire productive output in those years consisted of three post-it notes and one 250-word capsule review of The Big Book of John Updike Descriptions of Baseball Parks, and yet you couldn't roll out of bed without the entire sports world leaning forward to see if you were about to drop part of a sentence. Maybe a verb! It was like:
PALEOZOIC ERA: Craggs column called "Trilobites Are Bullshit," an unflinching look at the injustices of the emergent arthropod economy
MESOZOIC ERA: [silence]
CENOZOIC ERA: [Craggs coughs]
TWITTER: Craggs klaxon!!!!
As a lazy person, I found this intensely inspiring. I was star-struck when I met you for the first time, and our annual breakfasts in New York were one of my favorite things about covering the U.S. Open — even the last one, when you showed up haggard and bleary-eyed, white-knuckling a copy of Billy Budd and staring grimly into the distance. I was worried about you. Weirdly, none of your friends seemed to notice anything unusual.
I never told you how sad I was that you decided not to take that job at Grantland. It would have been great to get to work together. That said, I've always admired the integrity, iconoclasm, and forthrightness you brought to slavishly obeying the will of that singing pink monkey. I have no doubt that you bring those same qualities to being bullied by people in animal suits in every other walk of your life. I guess everyone at Gawker will know how to ace their performance reviews next year.
Best of luck in your new gig, buddy. This weird corner of the Internet couldn't be in better hands. And remember, if you ever wind up with a picture of my dick...that was meant for YOU PERSONALLY. NOT the entire Internet.
Brian Phillips is a staff writer at Grantland