Kang says that's part of the plan: "For us, it's better than having a bunch of sports reporters who have been weaned on the same track. What we're doing is just sort of more maximalist."

Then again, there's nothing to be ashamed about for just dressing up the same old games in a new uniform.

It's a concept NPR's Bill Littlefield ought to know a little something about. The Yale and Harvard grad has hosted WBUR's Only a Game since 1984, literally writing poems about baseball for the tote-bag set. Littlefield points to the need for good stories to get told, period: "A good sports piece is made by the same thing that makes a good piece no matter what — the determination to tell a good story as well as it can be told." Whatever the voice, whatever the audience.

"Sports has always had nerds," says Littlefield. "In the old days, nerds collected baseball cards to collect and memorize the statistics on the back to astonish their friends."

With Grantland's eye for detail, it's a sure bet Simmons was one of them.

Matt Parish can be reached at  mattparish@gmail.com.

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