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Who's Next? Odds on Deadspin's New Editor

Jun 9, 2008 – 3:15 PM
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Michael David Smith

Michael David Smith %BloggerTitle%

With Will Leitch leaving his post as Deadspin editor, one of the most coveted jobs in online sports media is now open. So who are the top candidates?

I've broken down (subjective) odds below, keeping in mind that Deadspin is a successful, popular site in the Gawker Media stable, and that Gawker is unlikely to want to shake things up -- but also that if the right candidate became available, Gawker isn't the type of company that hesitates to rock the boat.

Note: Some of the people whose names you see below are friends of mine; I did not consult with any of them before putting this list together.

A.J. Daulerio, Deadspin Senior Writer: 2-1
As Leitch's right-hand man at Deadspin, and as a smart and funny writer, Daulerio has to be considered the favorite. Daulerio wrote one of Deadspin's most frequently criticized posts, which might count against him if he were applying for a mainstream media job, but as far as the bosses at Gawker Media are concerned, that likely counts in his favor.

MJD, Yahoo Sports Shutdown Corner: 4-1
The original Weekend Daddy, MJD would probably be the first choice among Deadspin's famously picky commenters. But would he leave Yahoo after only a few months?

Dan Shanoff, and Sporting Blog: 6-1
Gawker Media was rumored to be interested in hiring Shanoff to work with Leitch when Deadspin launched three years ago, and he's likely near the top of their wish list now.

Matt Ufford, With Leather editor/Kissing Suzy Kolber co-founder/FanHouse contributor: 10-1
As the editor of a blog that takes an irreverent look at the day's sports news -- and that takes its name from a catchphrase popularized by Deadspin -- it's hardly a stretch to see Ufford getting the job.

Brian Powell, Awful Announcing/Sporting Blog: 12-1
Powell already has the whole ESPN criticism thing down pat. He built Awful Announcing from scratch and has turned it into one of the most popular sports blogs. But is his focus too narrow to do the job at Deadspin?

Big Daddy Drew, Kissing Suzy Kolber co-founder/Deadspin contributor: 15-1
Already a popular writer, Drew's blogger cred was boosted when his work became the subject of a profane debate on HBO's Costas Now.

Michael Tunison, Kissing Suzy Kolber co-founder/Deadspin contributor: 15-1
A former Washington Post reporter, Tunison has the background to mix in serious journalism with the off-color humor KSK is known for.

Unsilent Majority, Kissing Suzy Kolber co-founder/Deadspin contributor: 15-1
Like Drew and Tunison, his writing style lends itself to Deadspin's approach. If Gawker hires any (or all?) of the KSK guys, it would be a watershed moment in the sports blogosphere, as that site got its start as a collaboration among Deadspin commenters.

Rick Chandler, Deadspin associate editor: 20-1
Chandler doesn't get enough credit for Deadspin's popularity; how many people remember that he -- not Leitch -- wrote the original "You're with me, leather" post? But Chandler has always seemed content to work in the background and let someone else be the public face of the site.

Bethlehem Shoals, Free Darko/Sporting Blog: 20-1
Shoals is one of the few sports bloggers around who was in the business before Leitch launched Deadspin. But would his style fit? Most of his readers think his best work comes in longer essays, rather than short blog posts.

Chris or Jamie Mottram Sporting Blog /Yahoo/Mr. Irrelevant: 25-1
From AOL to Yahoo to the Sporting News, the Mottram brothers display a knack for signing talent. If Deadspin is moving a bigger and more diverse set of voices, Gawker Media might prefer an editor with a more managerial style.

Sarah Schorno, Strike Zones and End Zones/Huffington Post: 28-1
A frequent Deadspin commenter, Schorno gets what the site is about. Her work at Huffington Post indicates that she's one of the few candidates who could take the site in a different direction without losing the loyal readers who have been there from the beginning.

Spencer Hall, Every Day Should Be Saturday, Sporting Blog: 30-1

Leitch has praised the "daily brilliance" of Hall's writing, and he's widely regarded as the blogosphere's most consistently funny college football writer.

Matt Sussman, Futon Report, Sports by Brooks/Deadspin contributor: 32-1
A sharp and funny writer, Sussman isn't well known but would be a strong dark horse candidate.

David Hirshey, author, editor: 35-1
Hirshey writes The Closer at Deadspin and edited Leitch's book, so he knows what the site is about. But would he want the job? And would he have a hard time connecting with Deadspin's audience, considering that he's been a professional writer since before most Deadspin readers were born?

Seth Mnookin, author, editor: 35-1
Like Hirshey, he's a well-connected Manhattan media insider who knows the sports world. Also like Hirshey, he might not want the job.

Dan Steinberg, DC Sports Bog: 40-1
Fans of Washington-area sports teams are nearly unanimous in their praise for Steinberg's work. But with Steinberg's journalistic background, he'd probably view going from the Washington Post to Gawker Media as a step down.

Jason McIntyre, The Big Lead: 45-1
With years of experience running one of the most respected sports blogs around, McIntyre would be a great hire for Gawker. But would a guy who owns his own site want to leave it behind to work for someone else?

Brooks, Sports by Brooks: 50-1
Brooks has an eye for news and a proven track record for managing a stable of writers. But, like McIntyre, Brooks already owns his own site and likely wouldn't leave it behind.

Nik Richie, 100-1
Has a proven track record of moving the needle with sports-related photos. But as Leitch has noted, there's much more to Deadspin than pictures of athletes. Does Richie have the writing chops to keep the site fresh on days when there aren't any athlete pics?

Bill Simmons, 250-1
Simmons would generate the most buzz of anyone on this list, and he's expressed displeasure with ESPN recently, which could provide Gawker Media with an opening. Still, it's unlikely that Gawker Media would pony up the kind of cash it would take to get him.

Michael Schur, The Office (aka Ken Tremendous, Fire Joe Morgan): 500-1
Schur is one of the few sports bloggers with a wit to rival Leitch's. But while blogs have come a long way in recent years, they haven't come far enough to lure Mose Schrute off the beet farm.
Filed under: Sports