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Monday, September 10, 2007

Worst News Ever    

Some of you may have figured out that The Dugout is closing its doors in the next couple days, having been bought up by the soul-sucking profanity-unlaced piggybackers at AOL Fanhouse (which despite its imperialist tendencies is probably the best sports news site out there).

The general consensus, to nobody's surprise, is that this sucks.  It sucks, and it stinks, and it sucks.  It's uncertain what the new-look Dugout will be like, but if it's anything like the diet versions they've posted in the past, we're all in deep, deep trouble.

I don't begrudge them their well-earned payday.  They absolutely deserve to be compensated for doing what they're good at.  But I haven't got much faith in AOL to allow them to do what they're good at.  Look at what those rat bastards have done to poor Bethlehem Shoals of Free Darko fame.  What the hell's the point of hiring an mad absurdist genius like Shoals if all he can do is post YouTube videos and news updates like everyone else?  He's not for a mass audience.  He's great, but he's not for everyone.  They should have just faced it and embraced it.

But that's not what they do, which makes their hire of the Dugout crew all the more mind-boggling.  What does AOL think they're getting here?  These guys get laughs by making up words like "vagooter."  If they'd adhered to AOL-like rules from the beginning, we would never have seen the most classic stuff they've conceived.  For every Thome, Manny, and THE! PECOTA!, there's a Brothers Young, Gay Cuban A-Rod, and Professor Farnsworth, all of them cursing up a glorious storm, of whom we'd have been deprived.  That's bullshit.

It's as if they've hired a world-renowned chef to make some snot-nosed four-year-old kid a peanut butter sandwich.  Sure, the chef makes the peanut butter from scratch, bakes a fresh baguette, adds a light touch of Nutella to the top etc., resulting in the finest, greatest peanut butter sandwich ever assembled.  Folks, there's no way in HELL that kid eats the sandwich, because it's all crust, and it tastes weird, myahhh!  Because that's what happens when you try to give good shit to a stupid kid.  And that's exactly what I see happening when The Dugout appears in its neutered form on the Fanhouse.  The expression "pearls before swine" would rarely be so apt.  (That's right, AOL... Jesus said not to give nice shit to morons.)

As you can see, I'm a little distraught over this.  I'm trying to give everyone involved the benefit of the doubt, and failing miserably.  I really hope it works out, but I can't see it happening.

Anyway, the good news is that the Dugout crew is going out at the top of its game.  Their ongoing "goodbye" series has been top-notch from start to finish.  If you haven't been keeping up, catch up while you can.  And keep your fingers crossed that they update the real site every now and then.

1 Comments:

  • True to form, they make veiled allusions to their own situation on the Dugouts posted overnight.

    Again, just to be clear, my concerns aren't a reflection on the authors. I don't begrudge the decision on their end. I'm eternally grateful to Jon and Nick and B for having done the Dugout so well for so long; the internet is a better place as a result. And I'm confident that they'll still be a worthwhile read after the move. The spirit and perspective that makes it all work won't be absent.

    But it's a little facile to suggest that it's merely a matter of changing venue, or of longtime readers growing up and accepting change. That doesn't answer the concerns about what we've seen so far from the Diet Dugout.

    It's naive to think a sanitized Dugout won't affect the comic's quality. The bottom line is that the only change that would improve the Dugout is to make it longer and more frequent. If that's what we're getting, then maybe the substantial changes in content will be easier to stomach.

    It'll be fine in the end. If they can use their new situation to their advantage as well as ours, fine by me. I just hope they know what they're doing.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 12:49 PM  

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