Skip to contents
Podcasts

What Are They Doing To The Baseballs, With Will Leitch

Jarred Walsh of the Angels seen here getting frustrated after striking out, or remembering he's on the Angels.
Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

It is unlikely that any of us are here, on this website, reading this post or listening to the podcast embedded within it, without Will Leitch. This is a value-neutral statement of fact, because if Leitch did not create Deadspin, and Deadspin did not become what it became, and if it did not deviate from that initial vision sufficiently that I was briefly permitted to work there—well, who’s to say that the world is worse off, really, but also I can’t imagine what that world would be like. I don’t know what I would be doing, and while it is unlikely that I would be a four-time NBA All-Star power forward, like a stretch-four type but with the size to defend bigs and the quickness and savvy to help out on switches as needed, it would be irresponsible to rule it out. That is the kind of impact we are talking about here.

All of which is to say that having Will Leitch on one’s podcast, when you work at a website that exists in no small part because Deadspin existed, is a profound thing. And yet, as it turned out, it was also pretty chill and pleasant, given that he’s easy and enjoyable to talk to. The proof is embedded below.

Leitch talked a bit about his new novel How Lucky, which was blurbed by literally fucking Stephen King, and he and Drew talked about Acclaimed Novelist Things and what it’s like to write a book while I kind of booped around on my phone and thought about what I’d done with the previous few decades of my life and waited for the conversation to turn in a direction that would better accommodate my objectively blog-grade intellect. That happened in the second half of the program, as things turned to baseball. I have not written even one acclaimed novel, but I do know that some dumb executive tinkering from MLB’s dour goofball power elite—with rules, but also with the damn baseball itself—has had some notably lame effects on the game this season, and Leitch and I were more than happy to get upset about that. We also stared into the desperate abyss within which the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim reside, and the different types of bad sports owners, and the refined aesthetic pleasures of Willie McGee. Stuff even non-novelists can enjoy!

The Funbag’s horrors were equally accessible. A consideration of which sports would be most and least fun to play at the highest level allowed me to resurrect my deeply held, entirely unreasoned belief that European pro golfers are kind of chill and fun where their American counterparts are joyless rich-kid droids. The Zack Hample Problem was addressed, and solved. A delightfully perverse question posited that the decline of high-quality network television dramas anticipated and perhaps spurred a turn towards reactionary cruelty in American culture. The inherent conflict the Andrew WK and LMFAO styles of partying was limned. That sort of thing, the usual mess we make every week, just this time with the guy who first started making it.

If you would like to subscribe to The Distraction, you can do that at Stitcher, or through Apple PodcastsSpotify, or wherever else you might get your podcasts. If you’d like to listen to an ad-free version of the podcast, you can do so on Stitcher Premium; a free month of Stitcher Premium can be yours if you use the promotional code “DISTRACT.” Thank you as always for your support.