The Ringer

Cellar-Door

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Probably time it gets its own thread instead of clogging up the Simmons thread.

Overall, pretty decent in the Grantland mode, some people have been shaky, but the core seems strong.
Tech seems like the only real expansion from the Grantland Sports/Pop Culture model.
 

Blacken

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Speaking of awesome, this is awesome.

If this is what The Ringer is going to be, I'm pretty excited.
 

Guapos Toenails

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Speaking of awesome, this is awesome.

If this is what The Ringer is going to be, I'm pretty excited.
It was a good read, but was any of that really a surprise to you? How many threads here complaining about Red Sox VWR and tickets on StubHub before they are released? You are shocked that artist/sports teams are "scalping" their own tickets on the secondary market? I guess that it was interesting that the CEO of Ticketmaster actually came out and admitted it.
 

NortheasternPJ

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I agree, everyone knows the game is rigged. Where i do think he's incorrect is I think he's overblowing it in certain areas to make his point.

Specifically around the presales for radio stations, AMEX, etc. They're not always an example of holding back for the elite, but it is a way to screw more people over which is the overall goal. Often those tickets suck and are worse than the general onsale. They use the "presale" for AMEX to dump shitty tickets that people think they're lucky to get. I can't count how many times I've done both ways and ended up with much better tickets in the general sales.

Secondly, I think he overblows the "no good tickets are ever available" point. There's not a lot but I've pulled great tickets for a number of events from the general onsale. Are there many? Nope Is it luck? Yep. but they are there for the lucky few.
 

nattysez

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It looks like they're no longer putting "Game of Thrones" on the list of subject headings. It now says "pop culture" instead. Maybe that header changes from day to day?
 

donutogre

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It looks like they're no longer putting "Game of Thrones" on the list of subject headings. It now says "pop culture" instead. Maybe that header changes from day to day?
Yeah, looks like the first two slots there are for trending topics. I imagine the rest of that nav is locked, though (podcasts / sports / pop culture / tech / about). Sums up the site pretty well.
 

DLew On Roids

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I've dropped in on the site a few times, but I've mainly been consuming The Ringer through podcasts. I've found myself largely disappointed. There's an emphasis on the surface elements of topics at the expense of thinking about things (just like that old poster sptguy33's writing here, now that I think about it--wonder what happened to him). The tech podcast was about...emoji. 1600, while entertaining, is mostly about messaging, not policy. I'd expect that from Favreau and Pfeiffer, who make it interesting because they're really fucking smart and funny, but it's all sizzle. The Euro 2016 podcast didn't even get as in-depth as podcasts like MiB and the Football Ramble, which emphasize fun over analysis.

A notable exception is the baseball podcast, where Rubin is killing it with smart guests who share smart ideas. The Rany episode this week was outstanding.

It's podcasts for dilettantes, really, which is fine if you don't watch the Bachelorette but are fine listening to some entertaining chatter about the show that doesn't take itself seriously. But I think there's another level that these podcasts could go to where the hosts are still light on their feet but have guests on who know a lot and are drawn out by the hosts (Favreau and Pfeiffer are really good at this in their political messaging world).
 

johnmd20

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Greenwald and Ryan, on the Watch, consistently have great podcasts. Simmons' pods are also pretty good. Channel 33 is definitely for fans of reality TV and the Bachelor. I don't really listen to that anymore because the vocal fry breaks my brain.

But there is talent there and I think The Ringer will be a great destination website once it gets a little time to find its footing.
 
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I've dropped in on the site a few times, but I've mainly been consuming The Ringer through podcasts. I've found myself largely disappointed. There's an emphasis on the surface elements of topics at the expense of thinking about things (just like that old poster sptguy33's writing here, now that I think about it--wonder what happened to him). The tech podcast was about...emoji. 1600, while entertaining, is mostly about messaging, not policy. I'd expect that from Favreau and Pfeiffer, who make it interesting because they're really fucking smart and funny, but it's all sizzle. The Euro 2016 podcast didn't even get as in-depth as podcasts like MiB and the Football Ramble, which emphasize fun over analysis.

A notable exception is the baseball podcast, where Rubin is killing it with smart guests who share smart ideas. The Rany episode this week was outstanding.

It's podcasts for dilettantes, really, which is fine if you don't watch the Bachelorette but are fine listening to some entertaining chatter about the show that doesn't take itself seriously. But I think there's another level that these podcasts could go to where the hosts are still light on their feet but have guests on who know a lot and are drawn out by the hosts (Favreau and Pfeiffer are really good at this in their political messaging world).
weren't Favreau and Pfeiffer part of Obama's comm team? I would expect they would discuss through the comm lense
 

coremiller

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So far there are a few things that bug me so far about the ringer.

The first is that it's just not nearly as good as Grantland was. I know it's not trying to be Grantland 2.0, but it's hard not to draw the comparison. Who would you rather read on the NBA Finals, Jonathan Tjarks or Zach Lowe? Tjarks is ok, but it's not a fair right.

The second is that it seems way too pop culturey. Not so much in that they are writing about pop culture, but that even the non-pop culture topics, like sports, get covered from a "how does this effect pop culture/what's a cute pop culture angle I can take." So e.g. after Game 7 of the NBA Finals, they have "Did Wrestling Help the Cavaliers Win the Championship?" and "The Warriors Went From Heroes to Villains in Record Time".

Third is that their soccer content has been obnoxiously condescending to anyone who actually follows soccer. I know American soccer fans are famously sensitive, but nobody would ever write about football/baseball/basketball like this. They just had their NFL writer write a story headlined, "Hey, USA, Go Watch Lionel Messi Before It’s Too Late", and it's basically a "soccer newbie went to a game and realized Messi is awesome and wants to tell everyone!" story. Hey buddy, no shit. Nearly every soccer piece has some horribly forced analogy to a traditional American sport, which stopped being clever and became an awful cliche like 15 years ago. So e.g (from 3 different articles):

- "Led by a prowling Javier Mascherano, Argentina’s defense is reminiscent of Kevin Love’s in Game 7",
- "[Gareth Bale]'s not quite Steph Curry spotting up from 40 feet, but he’s the closest thing that soccer has to it"
- "What’s most incredible about the Pogba Experience is how much it seems like he’s playing an American sport. He’s taken the classic, consistent precision of central midfield play and turned it into a slam dunk contest."
 

johnmd20

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When it first started, Grantland was pretty lousy, too. It might take some time for the site to find its footing but I think it's been great thus far.
 

jimbobim

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So far there are a few things that bug me so far about the ringer.
The second is that it seems way too pop culturey. Not so much in that they are writing about pop culture, but that even the non-pop culture topics, like sports, get covered from a "how does this effect pop culture/what's a cute pop culture angle I can take." So e.g. after Game 7 of the NBA Finals, they have "Did Wrestling Help the Cavaliers Win the Championship?" and "The Warriors Went From Heroes to Villains in Record Time".

"
Agree with this so far. I think it has tons of potential but the quality of Grantland vs the takes theringer is shooting out right now is to borrow a terrible sports metaphor like Lebron v the rest of the ECF.
 

kenneycb

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It also went live June 1, so they had like one week of NHL playoffs and two weeks of NBA playoffs while MLB is only like 40% of the way through its season and they missed the NFL draft. So there's just not a ton of sports to talk about right now.
 

Drocca

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I like the technology stuff right out of the gate. I didn't read the pop culture stuff (unless it was recommended or something really appealing) on Grantland and don't here either so I don't have an opinion on that. The NBA stuff has been weak by comparison, but I don't remember Zach Lowe or Kirk Goldsberry being with Grantland from the jump ---- Simmons will find the right NBA writers. Tjarks has been good for what he is. The site could use some levity, it's not nearly as punchy as I would like. The humor tends toward references, which just isn't my style. I'm rambling.

It's an ok website today and I would bet will be a great website in 18 months, maybe less. The graphic design is pretty botched though.
 

Kliq

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I haven't found a whole lot to interest me on the site. I think people expecting to be similar to Grantland are ignoring all of the stuff Simmons has been saying since he announced The Ringer. He has commented on how Grantland was built using an outdated format and that while it generated a reputation for being a great long-form site, he never envisioned it as a place known for long-form journalism. The Ringer is going in a different direction, targeting quick-reads that are designed to be read on mobile devices. Keep in mind that Grantland was never really financially soluble for ESPN; and know that Simmons has even more at stake with The Ringer, I think he is going with a more universally appealing method. It isn't quite like Buzzfeed, but it's closer to that mentality; it is no longer going to have many of those long, New Yorker-style pieces and instead be built on things like "Kanye and Wiz Khalifa had a fight on Twitter, Who Won?".

The pop culture stuff doesn't move the needle for me at all; but that may be more indicative of how stupid I think 90 percent of pop culture analysis and in general is. If you are into that kind of thing it may be great. I agree that they seem to dumb down anything that is not completely mainstream in their articles. It is one of the reasons I don't really care for David Shoemaker and it isn't really his fault. When you spend half the article explaining rudimentary aspects of the topic it is hard to give any real enlightening analysis on the subject.

What kept me coming back to Grantland was that they had two of the best writers in their respective sports (Lowe and Keri) turning out solid pieces week-in-and-week out. If they had a new piece out it was the perfect thing to read for 15 minutes during lunch. They don't even have close to that level of coverage right now, so I don't have any real incentive to visit the site frequently.
 

BS_SoxFan

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I've enjoyed the MLB podcast for the most part, but the last two have been dreadful. I realize they're not trying to be Baseball Prospectus in terms of how in depth they're going, but the podcasts offer almost zero insight/analysis. Today they had their MLB "All Star" pitching staffs and the reasons for including each of the guys had basically nothing to do with performance on the field at all. I'm all for a light podcast, but this was just completely devoid of any substance at all.
 

nattysez

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Every time I have read something on the Ringer that is so impossibly bad or dumb that I feel like I MUST know who wrote it, I scroll back up to see that the writer is Sam Donsky. I am not exaggerating when I say that this has now happened at least five times. Crikey.
 
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shlincoln

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Every time I have read something on the Ringer that is so impossibly bad or dumb that I feel like I MUST know who wrote it, the writer is Sam Donsky. I am not exaggerating when I say that this has now happened at least five times. Crikey.
Donsky is so bad it feels like performance art. That being said.

And who the fuck cares about Bradley Cooper watching Wimbledon?
Is exactly the sort of story Grantland would've run on the Hollywood Prospectus.
 

allstonite

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Donsky is so bad it feels like performance art.
He's like the writer version of that kid on a college campus who rides a unicycle and wears a propeller hat. Cersei and Jamie Lannister RomCom LOL look how wacky I am. He's just not at all funny
 

allstonite

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I'm glad that The Ringer grabbed Shea Serrano.

He's my favorite person on the internet.
Yes

https://theringer.com/what-would-be-different-if-okc-won-game-6-7b07c91410b6#.tj122s2a1

Whoa. What does Westbrook wear to the induction ceremony?

Bro. BRO. BRO. He wears fucking sunlight to the induction ceremony. Literal, pure, perfect, warm sunlight. His body is cloaked in it; it’s just glowing. Some fashion reporter calls to him as he’s walking the red carpet (there’d never been a red carpet walk at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony before, but Westbrook demanded it): “Russell, Russell. What’s that you’re wearing? Is that actual sunlight?” “Yeah,” he says. “Where’d you get it from?” “From the sun,” he says dismissively, and then he walks inside the building. “Did he say from the sun?” the reporter asks aloud to anyone who will listen. A giant, booming voice is heard from above: “Yes.” The reporter looks up at the sky. The sun is wearing a pair of sunglasses and smiling like when little kids draw it on construction paper. “Yes, he did,” the sun says.
 

Blacken

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Their NBA podcasts remain consistently good to really good, but on a whim I listened to "The Ringer Tech Pod" and now I know what shoegaze in podcast form sounds like. I don't know how you can make something sound both aimless and lockstep-regimented, but Molly McHugh manages to do that.
 

Kliq

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I feel like The Ringer is falling into a Buzzfeed method of posting articles that I believe intentionally work to antagonize their audience. This article by Allison Davis is I think a prime example of that. I don't know if it actually has a valid point to make (to me the whole concept seems dumb but people certainly disagree) but the fact that before I even clicked on the reactions on the site and on Twitter I could easily predict what everyone's reaction to it was going to be, is annoying. Posting articles that seem designed to antagonize their audience is a huge staple of web journalism, but I feel like The Ringer does it much more than Grantland ever did.

https://theringer.com/chris-hemsworth-male-privilege-heartthrob-63b391b84d05#.3tj0ezfei
 

cheech13

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My biggest problem with the site so far is that everything seems so disposable. You can skip visiting for a day or two and you don't really miss anything. I think that's by design but I'm not really sure what it accomplishes. I'd rather they be a day or two late on a story and come at it from an interesting angle. That seemed more like the Grantland model and I miss it.
 

kenneycb

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Simmons has been on record saying he doesn't want to try to replicate Grantland. He's focusing more on short-form that people can digest on a mobile device.
 

cheech13

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I know that's the intent but I'm not sure why. I guess I'm not the target audience, but then who is? I've been reading Simmons since 2003 and I went to Grantland multiple times per day.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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I know that's the intent but I'm not sure why. I guess I'm not the target audience, but then who is?
Why? Because Grantland didn't make money for ESPN. It was basically subsidized.

Who? People that ingest their media in a different fashion than you do and can hopefully monetize it more effectively, in order to - ya know - make a profit.

Why would they create a replica of Grantland to cater to an audience such as yourself that they didn't profit from? His brand wasn't strong enough when attached to ESPN, why would it be on his own?
 

Kliq

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I think it is understandable why The Ringer is the way it is, and Bill even told everyone that it wasn't going to be like Grantland, that is going to be mobile friendly and that it was not going to be a hub for long form writing. However, I don't think that excuses the fact that a significant amount of the content has been cringeworthy.
 

heavyde050

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I know that's the intent but I'm not sure why. I guess I'm not the target audience, but then who is? I've been reading Simmons since 2003 and I went to Grantland multiple times per day.
Simmons' article on Page 2 after Boone hit the home run still moves me to this day.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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I think it is understandable why The Ringer is the way it is, and Bill even told everyone that it wasn't going to be like Grantland, that is going to be mobile friendly and that it was not going to be a hub for long form writing. However, I don't think that excuses the fact that a significant amount of the content has been cringeworthy.
Yeah, my issue so far isn't the length of articles or the style. It's been shitty topics I don't care about written by people who aren't nearly as cool or funny as they think they are. I'd love it to be long form, because I thought that was what made Grantland great, but as stated, it didn't work, financially at least. Which sucks, because long form is dying a far too rapid death and while Grantland had its share of clunkers, a lot of people found their voice there and they would occasionally churn out some awesome pieces. The oral histories, for example, were almost always fascinating whether the topic interested me at all or not - for example the WS of Poker one. I'm not a poker player anymore and I don't watch but that article was a great read.
 

TheRooster

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The Aaron Hernandez piece on si and the Spears piece on Spencer Haywood both seemed like grantland articles. Bill should fond a way to work some of these in. I'm close to giving up on the Ringer.
 

kenneycb

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It's not Grantland and Simmons doesn't want it to be a Grantland redux. The sooner you give that up, the sooner you can accept its an avenue for short form journalism that's digestible fairly easily, especially on mobile. It's certainly still finding its legs but it doesn't suck, which is nice. Still not great but it's been alive for less than a year (6ish months maybe?) so the jury is still very much out as it finds its legs.

Edit: The Shank piece is probably 8 minutes longer than any other article included so it may sense a slight, gradual shift but it may also just be a special piece.

Edit 2: Love that the only real "praise" came from Felger and Minihane. Speaks volumes.
 
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johnmd20

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The Ringer started in early June, it's only been two months. And it's been good. Not great, but it could be. I think it's been an ok start.
 

gtg807y

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I rarely visit the site but will see interesting items on their twitter feed and click through, and too often end up regretting it when I see Sam Donsky's name.
 

shlincoln

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What I appreciate about The Ringer is that it has more wide ranging interests than Grantland ever had. Like Grantland would have never covered WWDC, and they certainly wouldn't have gone as political as The Ringger has.
 

Cellar-Door

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They just added Kevin O'Connor to their NBA coverage. I don't know much about his in-season work, but he does really good work on the draft, and the draft book he produces every year is very good.
 

Scott Cooper's Grand Slam

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A great piece on the new Accessibility emoji in iOS 10, and the origins of the Accessible Icon project. It's short, but I feel like this type of civic, cultural tech was out of Grantland's wheelhouse.

Glenney and his team didn’t use traditional means to get their icon into the emoji set. “A lot of people told us to go through the [International Organization for Standardization],” he says. The ISO is responsible for legitimizing and establishing different “real world” standards internationally, and it has a number of committees dedicated to symbols, including committees that decide on “safety identification, signs, shapes, symbols and colours” and “public information symbols,” which, presumably, the icon would have had to go through if it wanted to be officially standardized. Glenney did say that there was an additional hurdle. “[The ISO] doesn’t really like our design.” Despite eschewing this path and choosing a grassroots sticker campaign, the icon found legitimacy. “[Apple using the icon] shows you the symbol is a success … the public decides what represents them.”
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Shea Serrano is a really talented writer. On my mobile but his "Love Letters To Usain Bolt's Body" may be his best work yet.
 

allstonite

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Shea Serrano is a really talented writer. On my mobile but his "Love Letters To Usain Bolt's Body" may be his best work yet.
He is what they seem to think Donsky is. They both write about silly or dumb topics but Serrano is actually funny. He also takes the topics and writes mostly earnestly not just looking for the irony in every single little thing. He really shines when he writes about a topic he truly cares about like the Spurs or rap music. Really glad they got him
 

jon abbey

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I just unsubscribed to their daily e-mail blasts, it's so consistently terrible, even for free.
 

Cellar-Door

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I find it highly amusing that Simmons and staff keep trying to use the phrase "adult movies" when talking about small indies aimed at middle aged white people. It already has a meaning guys.