Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 29, 2011.

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Smart sportswriting for smart readers. No snark, no cheerleader slideshows, no aggregation: Just brainy sports journalism, every day.

The Classical is a daily web publication. We’ve written about sports and other things for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, GQ, The Nation, Yahoo! Sports, New York Magazine, Vice, Pitchfork, and more. We’ve started blogs you love, written books you’ve bought, and tweeted with you about critical theory, punk rock, and Kevin Durant. The Classical is the place where we write about those things some more, but on our terms, for ourselves and for the audience we know is out there.

Every day, The Classical will deliver several regular columns, a host of quick, random goodness, and a fun, smart community for talking about the sports world. There will be long features (a 25,000-word piece on Pete Alexander, say, or introductions to particular niches of sports fandom) and contributions from the world: prizewinning novelists, internet celebrities, guys and girls we went to school with who are unappreciated geniuses, members of the public. There will be theme weeks in the spirit of FreeDarko’s “Dream Week,” on-the-ground reporting when we can, and essays commissioned by you, the readers.


We will make no attempt to be comprehensive, or even to offer a reliable guide to the world of sport at a given moment. We will not try to be a smarter version of what you can find elsewhere. Instead, The Classical will be a running, wide-ranging conversation between us and our readers about baseball, basketball, soccer, football and fighting, and about things that aren't sports, too. Our model in this regard is The Awl, a site for which many of us have written and which all of us love.


Writing about sports the way that smart people talk about sports is a simple idea, and a good one. To do it right, though—to set up a sustainable business, rather than yet another blog or Tumblr—takes some money. Site design and hosting, lawyering and other businessish stuff, and keeping a couple of us at this full time while we show and prove ourselves will require resources. We need to fund our budget for one year, and we need your help to do it.


We are:

PETE BEATTY: Who is registered to vote in Brooklyn, NY, and edits books during the daytime hours, including Craig Robinson’s Flip Flop Fly Ball. He has written for GQ.com, the Chicago Tribune, Pitchfork.com, Time Out Chicago, and the Internet. He is the only Cleveland Indians fan you have ever met and has stated that he plans to have a string quartet play Double Nickels on the Dime at his wedding (he is single).

TOM BREIHAN
: Who is a writer from Baltimore who lives in Virginia. He used to write the Village Voice's Status Ain't Hood blog and also used to work for Pitchfork. He's written, mostly about music but sometimes about pro wrestling, for GQ, Spin, Blender, the Chicago Reader, the Baltimore City Paper, and a bunch of other publications. He is taller than you, and his daughter will also be taller than you soon enough.

FREDORRARCI: Who is a writer from Ireland. He is the owner/operator of Sport Is A TV Show, and has contributed to Norman Einstein's Sports & Rocket Science Monthly and The Run of Play. He follows Arsenal, and will tut at anyone who tries to tell him that snooker is not a sport.

ERIC FREEMAN
: Who is a writer from San Francisco, CA. He contributes daily to Yahoo!’s Ball Don’t Lie NBA blog and has written for GQ, The Awl, and FreeDarko. He was also a co-author of The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History. In his spare time, he reads long novels, watches weird movies, and yells at his television.

TIM MARCHMAN: Who is a writer out of Chicago, IL. Currently a Knight-Wallace fellow in journalism at the University of Michigan, he has written for various publications including the Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated and the New York Sun, where he was the baseball correspondent from 2003 to 2008. He admires The Mekons and Jon Fitch.

ERIC NUSBAUM: Who was a U.S. Census Crew Leader in Seattle, WA, where he still lives. He founded and co-edits the baseball blog Pitchers & Poets. His writing has appeared in Slate, Deadspin, GQ.com, TheAtlantic.com, and The Best American Sports Writing anthology.

KATE PERKINS: A pro basketball and tennis enthusiast who has edited at n+1 and Verso Books. Resident minimalist.

DAVID ROTH: Who is a writer from New Jersey, and who lives in New York. He co-writes the Wall Street Journal's Daily Fix and writes the unpopular sports column The Mercy Rule for Vice. He also writes about sports and other things for The Awl, New York Magazine and GQ, among other places. He's a Mets fan, so he knows all about how that feels.

TOM SCHARPLING: Who is the host of the radio show "The Best Show on WFMU." He was a writer and executive producer of the Emmy-Award winning show Monk and wrote for SLAM magazine as a young lad. He is currently developing two shows for Comedy Central and finds himself rooting for Kevin Durant but relating more to Monta Ellis.

BETHLEHEM SHOALS
: Who is the founder of FreeDarko and a co-author of The Macrophenomal Pro Basketball Almanac and The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History. He has written about sports for GQ, Sports Illustrated, McSweeney’s, and Deadspin, and about non-sports stuff for The Nation and The Awl.

LANG WHITAKER
: Who is SLAM magazine’s editor-at-large, and a contributor to NBA TV. He is the author of The Time of Bobby Cox: The Atlanta Braves, Their Manager, My Couch, Two Decades and Me and a co-author of The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History. He has also written for the New York Times, GQ, Sports Illustrated and Esquire. He plays a lot of video games.

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    You get a sticker of our elite Jacob Weinstein-designed, masculine-yet-tender orange-and-black logo. No one leaves this fundraising drive with empty hands.

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    You get a shout-out from one of our popular Twitter accounts or, if you prefer, you get a postcard from an exotic locale such as Michigan or New Jersey. Plus a sticker.

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    You get a Classical-branded chip clip. Where are the obligatory Cheetos? Hey there, Frito-Lay! Plus a sticker and a Twitter shout or postcard.

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    You get a set of letterpress greeting cards, made by hand, with inspirational quotes from such sporting heroes as Derek Bell ("I'm going into 'Operation Shutdown'") and Metta World Peace, f.k.a. Ron Artest (“I’m a big fan of the Nobel Peace Prize”). Plus a sticker, a Twitter shout or postcard, and a chip clip.

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    You get an exclusive e-book of The Classical's eponymous first anthology (think of it as our product number FAC001), full of not-available-elsewhere essays from all of our writers and contributions from our friends—some famous, some Internet-famous, some just quietly awesome. Note that this anthology is literally exclusively available through this Kickstarter drive. Think about whether you can afford *not* to give us this $50. Plus a sticker, a Twitter shout or postcard, a chip clip and a greeting card set.

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    You get a stylish T-shirt designed by Jacob Weinstein and featuring our home logo. We don’t need to sell you on the socioromantic possibilities this shirt will open for you. (Note that this, too, is available exclusively through our Kickstarter drive.) Plus a sticker, a Twitter shout or postcard, a chip clip, a greeting card set and the exclusive e-book anthology.

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    You get a handsome limited edition hooded sweatshirt designed by Jacob Weinstein and featuring our Sunday road colors. Twenty years from now, while mourning the replacement of the internet in favor of direct transmission to the brain, you’ll wear this and enjoy a sense of wistful nostalgia. (Note that this as well is available solely through our Kickstarter drive.) Plus a sticker, a Twitter shout or postcard, a chip clip, a greeting card set, the exclusive e-book anthology and a T-shirt (layering possibilities).

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    You get any one of the famous FreeDarko prints that you’d like! These are not available anywhere else, so if you ever wanted one and missed out, this is your chance to ride with Doc Brown. Plus a sticker, a Twitter shout or postcard, a chip clip, a greeting card set, the exclusive e-book anthology, a T-shirt and a hooded sweatshirt.

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    You get an essay on the subject of your choice, at a rate so far below market that it may violate European trade law, from the writer you love best (demand pending). You tell us what you'd like to read about—the significance of sports in Saul Bellow? the 1993 Charlotte Hornets? string theory and the SEC?—and we will write it up for you. Plus a sticker, a Twitter shout or postcard, a chip clip, a greeting card set, the exclusive e-book anthology, a T-shirt and a hooded sweatshirt.

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    You get a bunch of stuff from all the folks down with The Classical! That might sound underwhelming, but consider this: We're all avid readers, serious about our music, and stashed up with bizarre sports memorabilia. It might improve your life, or maybe just your record collection. Do you need glasses? We might have some of those in your size. This is not a joke, or a test. We will give you a part of ourselves, just shy of extracting essential organs. Plus a sticker, a Twitter shout or postcard, a chip clip, a greeting card set, the exclusive e-book anthology, a T-shirt, a hooded sweatshirt and your choice of an essay on the subject of your choice OR a FreeDarko print.

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    You get a signed page from Jacob Weinstein's sketchbook! And believe us, this is not a lazy scrawl, this is the center of all future conversation in your living room. (If interested in supporting at this level, please contact us for a .pdf file of available sketches.) Plus a sticker, a Twitter shout or postcard, a chip clip, a greeting card set, the exclusive e-book anthology, a T-shirt, a hooded sweatshirt, an essay on the subject of your choice, a FreeDarko print, and a large box full of awesome stuff.

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    You get a day of our time! Want to go bowling with Bethlehem Shoals, have David Roth lecture your Rotary Club, or swill brandy with Tom Scharpling? This is your chance to make that happen, and our writer will hand-deliver presents as well! What will these be? We don’t know, but they’ll be good. Plus a sticker, a Twitter shout or postcard, a chip clip, a greeting card set, the exclusive e-book anthology, a T-shirt, a hooded sweatshirt, an essay on the subject of your choice, a FreeDarko print, a large box full of awesome stuff and a page from Jacob Weinstein's sketchbook.

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    You get to edit The Classical for a week! If you’d like, you can impose your beliefs as regards the serial comma and start arguments about formatting. Mainly, though, this is a chance for you to make The Classical your own. Want to see certain writers on the site? We’ll work with you to get them on there. Have story ideas? We can help you shape them and make them a reality. Your name will go at the top of the page in lights, and your resume will prosper. It’s all the prestige, glamour, and exhilaration of running a trick-ass boutique magazine, minus the headaches (we absorb those) or the paper. Plus a sticker, a Twitter shout or postcard, a chip clip, a greeting card set, the exclusive e-book anthology, a T-shirt, a hooded sweatshirt, an essay on the subject of your choice, an essay on the subject of your choice, a FreeDarko print, a large box full of awesome stuff, a page from Jacob Weinstein's sketchbook, and a day of our time.

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    You are a saint or a corporation. This will not be forgotten. You get all the stuff, to be evenly distributed among your employees, lienholders, and/or the ones you love, and you also get exclusive sponsorship rights to the site for an entire month or a February plus 2-3 bonus days. Promote your brand, direct our readers to a worthy charity or spare our audience unsightly ads—it’s up to you!

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