I had no idea that ESPN was finally shutting down Page 2 today, but that’s at least in part because I can’t remember the last time I visited Page 2. As Jack Dickey explains over at Deadspin, there was a time when Page 2 was something of a proto-sports blog. I didn’t arrive in time for the Hunter Thompson/David Halberstam/Ralph Wiley era; I got there when it was fully, undeniably Bill Simmons and Friends.
Also, to echo something else Dickey said, there was a time when Page 2 seemed greater than the sum of its parts. I also went through a phase where I even anticipated Greggg Easterbrook columns (though that was just a phase). I used to visit ESPN.com just to skim the headlines, but I’d head to Page 2 in order to do some actual reading and be entertained.
As time wore on, so did the appeal of Page 2. We all grow up and find our entertainment elsewhere. The quality receded while other outlets (Deadspin included) emerged to take Page 2’s place. ESPN.com became a behemoth. The launch of Grantland — Bill Simmons’s own subsection of ESPN.com, complete with its own standalone URL — signaled that the end was nigh.
I visited Page 2 today and found that the site had been redesigned at some point since my last visit (I have no idea if that happened today, a week ago or months ago). There are some remembrances on the site, odes to a time when it was a destination unto itself. For what it’s worth, there was a time when that was true. A new page is launching to take its place on Monday, and I suspect it’ll just be another page within the greater ESPN.com empire. That’s perfectly understandable, and it’s also what Page 2 became a long time ago.