DL552: Josh Zerkle & Bethlehem Shoals On Why We’re All Quitting This Week


This show has always served as somewhat of a living, breathing therapy session for me. I honestly and truly believe that there’s a 50% chance I go insane on Friday. Until then, we have a few shows left and this one is one I hope you download and stick into some kind of time capsule to play in two years when the internet is, once again, completely different than it is right now.

Josh Zerkle of KSK and With Leather and Bethlehem Shoals of Free Darko are both on the show to talk about recent announcements that they, both, are transitioning to new things. Zerkle is stepping down from the helm of With Leather to focus on other, non-sports projects. He’ll still be around the site, writing a few times a month, and he’ll still be doing his podcast and contributing to KSK, but by the sound of it, it was time for him to do something new…even if that wasn’t really anything specific, yet.

Shoals is a little different, in that Free Darko is what made him — and his cohorts at the ‘basketball as thought’ internet experiment — famous, but it was not his primary source of income. That, sadly, was AOL, so the conversation is as much about the demise of Fanhouse as it is the final days of Free Darko. Shoals has a kid on the way, is working on a solo book deal and suddenly finds himself without an internet home. How scary is freelancing for living, even when you are as unGodly talented as Shoals? Seriously (and that’s a stupid way to start a sentence, because why would I be anything but) if you asked me to name the five best writers in the sports blogosphere it would be Spencer Hall at EDSBS and Shoals, and I wouldn’t name any of the other three out of respect for the quality of writing those two have given us over the last handful of years.

That’s not to say that there aren’t other great writers on the internet, or in the sports blog world. Many writers are great, but those two are on another planet (sometimes, I feel, literally.) If you need something written, especially if it’s about an orange sphere going into an orange circle suspended ten feet in the air, hire Nathaniel Friedman to write it for you.

Okay, I’ve lost focus in trying to convince people out there to hire Shoals. Shit, hire me. Hire Zerkle. Hire any number of great writers and smart internet minds that find themselves without jobs right now. Someone out there has to be smart enough to do this.

That actually brings me back to Zerkle. What a set of balls on that guy. He’s quitting on his own! He has a gig, running one of the bigger sports blogs in the country and he’s giving up for “other opportunities.” Damn you, Zerkle. Well, in a way, I guess that’s what I’m doing, except for the ‘one of the bigger sports blogs in the country part.” So I see where his mind is. It’s just…different now.

I’ll actually be excited to listen to this show in a few years. I wonder if we’ll all be laughing about how depressed we sound or how scared we feel about what’s next or how disenfranchised we are about the corporate takeover of sports blogs. It’s impossible for me to talk to either Zerkle or Shoals and have any modicum of perspective, which is why I feel this show is perfect. This show, is a moment in time where everything is transitioning and none of us have any clue what’s going on, is perfect. It might sound ridiculous tomorrow. Hell, it might sound ridiculous today. This is sort of like life on a plate, or as it were, in your ears. This is lying on the couch…’tell me how you really feel.’ So yeah, in two years it’s going to sound ridiculous. And on Friday, it’s going to sound ridiculous. I think we’re all okay with that.

Oh…right…sports. Zerkle and I do talk about the Masters, and I believe he calls Charl Schwartzel “Charles Shultz.” Cue the Peanuts theme now.

Thanks for listening, as always.

Comments are closed.