Unfortunately, not one literary agent or publisher was interested. Although everyone said it was a great idea, there was the dilemma of copyright and compensation. How would I pay each of these bloggers who originally published their work for free? What about bloggers who were more established than others? What about blogs on sites such as ESPN or Deadspin? What would be the qualifications for a blogger to be featured: published, never-been-published, laid-off but still writing?
(Speaking of Deadspin, if I had somehow gotten a deal, I really wanted former Deadspin editor Will Leitch to write the foreword. He would have been perfect as most sports blogs acknowledged him as sort of the "godfather" of sports blogs.)
Now, nearly six years later, sports blogging as a "thing" is pretty much dead. Most bloggers have let their websites die and moved their voices to twitter and other social media platforms. Or they have joined bigger platforms that allow anyone to post and pay a pittance. A small percentage of the bloggers I wanted to feature have actually turned their writing into a career.
Also dead is my hope for this project. Therefore, I've decided to post parts of the proposal here. I'll eventually post links to the stories that are still online, so you will have what I thought were the Best of the Blogs here, instead of in a nice hardcover book on you coffee table.
I guess you can print them out and staple them together, if printers and staplers are still a "thing".
We Are The Fans: The Best of Sports Blogs
Proposal by: Michael Lortz
During the past five years, the sports media landscape has drastically changed. Fans who used to be at the mercy of the ESPN monopoly of national sports reporting now express themselves through sports blogs and other interactive media. These online venues have given average fans ways to broadcast their own opinions and engage in conversation with other fans with similar views.
The creative freedom of blogging has opened doors for fans to showcase their skills in a number of different ways. Some have used their blogs as daily diaries, writing about their favorite team and chronicling their views on each game, score, or transaction. Others have used their corner of the internet for general sports musings, usually providing commentary on news from throughout the sports world. Yet another group has used their forum to fill gaps in mainstream reporting, filling statistical niches and focusing on deeper analysis. Lastly, a fourth group of fans have published insightful, well-written posts that could compare to any mainstream editorial or feature piece.
Unfortunately, due to the cacophony of the blogosphere, the best independent blogging voices are often only heard by a select few. Although members of the sports blogosphere generally promote each other and share admired work, the best blogged sports writing is barely read by a fraction of the audience held by the mainstream sports media outlets. To illustrate, the most read sports blog, Deadspin.com, receives an average of approximately 8 million readers per month. By comparison, ESPN.com receives a much greater average of 20 million readers per month.
By showcasing the best and most creative entries of the sports blogosphere, We Are The Fans introduces readers to a new group of voices. Voices that speak much like their own, think as they think, laugh as they laugh, and cheer (or boo) as they cheer. We Are The Fans is not only a collection of essays, musings, and commentary, it is the voice of real sports fans.
- Nostalgic – Past Events: Among the freedoms of bloggers is the ability to chronicle those moments that meant so much to them. This chapter will highlight blog entries in which authors recall their special sports moments.
- Satire: Quite a few sports bloggers use satire as a way to highlight and poke fun at hot sports topics. This chapter will be comprised of posts from those bloggers who skewer their intended targets with over-the-top hyperbole and often create humorous caricatures of athletes.
- New Media versus Old Media: This chapter will highlight some of the best posts on the subject of the evolution of communication in sports writing and the effect the advent of sports blogging has had on sports media.
- Race and Gender in Sports: Race and Gender are as much an issue in sports as in any other aspect of society. This chapter will highlight some of the best writing by bloggers of both sexes and various ethnicities on the subject of race, gender, and equality in sports.
- Live Blog: One of the biggest advantages of the blogging medium is the ability to update work and react immediately to an event. This chapter will feature some of the best live blogs in the sports blogosphere during the biggest events.
- Reflective – Current event: Similar to the chapter on past events, this chapter will sample the best blog writing on current events that affected the writer. Among the possible examples are a long-awaited championship, death of a favorite athlete, or anything thing else that moved the blogger to write.
- Analytical/ Statistical: Bloggers often fill the gaps in mainstream reporting with extensive analytical research. Without the pressure of deadlines, bloggers are able to look deeper into the statistics of sports and shed light on the nuances of the games. This chapter will gather the best of these analyses.
- International: Many sports bloggers come from different ethnicities and bring these international perspectives to their blogs. These fans look at sports from a non-American viewpoint. This chapter will highlight the best international sports perspectives.
- Top 10 Lists: Many sports bloggers have taken their queue from late night talk show hosts and gotten laughs through top ten lists. This chapter will list the best of the sports blogosphere’s top 10 lists.
- Pop culture comparisons: Proving that the analogy part of the SAT test never dies, many sports bloggers use the familiar if X is to Y, then A is to B formula to compare sports entities to popular culture figures. This chapter will feature the best of these posts.
- Comedy/Humor: As fans, many bloggers are able to take an outside look at sports and approach their posts from a humorous, light-hearted perspective. This chapter will highlight the best and funniest of these posts.
- Insightful: This chapter will feature those posts that discuss sports, athletes, or events in an insightful, non-conventional way. Many of these posts are longer, well-written pieces that give insight to a perspective that most fans might not think about.
- Miscellaneous: The final chapter will collate all posts that do not fit in the above categories. This chapter may discuss elements such as sporting equipment, memorabilia, or sports businesses.