With the launch of the SI Photo Blog on Tumblr, Sports Illustrated is providing its fans with a new destination for 57 years worth of iconic, award-winning photography. It’s a treasure trove of thousands of photos dating back to the magazine’s birth in 1954; some of the photos are classic, some are funny and some are just plain weird. All of them will be managed and posted by SI.com special projects producer Andy Gray (@si_vault). So how did Andy develop this idea?
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do ever since I started a Twitter feed for the SI Vault,” he says. “Whenever I posted photos — especially quirky ones from the 70s and 80s — they got a ton of response. So I started thinking of what I could do to branch out.”
There is the classic sub . And there is the super sub.
Now, there is the SI iPad sub.
As the SI iPad app—born in the mind of a visionary three springs ago and clairvoyantly developed soon thereafter —approaches it first birthday, SI, in conjunction with its parent, Time Inc., and Apple have agreed on a subscription model that enables each of its 3.1 million subscribers to download the app on their iPads for free, gratis. The how-to, articulated very clearly by the aforementioned visionary, can be found here.
So what do our newbies get? The magazine, of course, designed with an intuitive navigational system that mirrors the reading experience of the paper copy, but also includes plenty of interactive extras, including Luke Winn’s look at the top 10 uncommitted high school basketball recruits, which accompanies Bruce Schoenfeld’s fine piece on the lonely life of the college hoops recruiter; additional Leading Off photos, further enhanced by a slideshow on the career of the magical, maniacal Seve Ballesteros, who passed away this week at age 54; and a multimedia behind-the-scenes look at the Kentucky Derby, shot and produced by our Bill Frakes.
I’d like to single out another enhancement, which appears only on the iPad. This extra especially captures the sensibility and possibilities for the tablet experience going forward. It is authored by Bethlehem Shoals, one of the masterminds behind the basketball blog that—to this mind, at least—reshaped not only the way we view a beautiful game, but the possibilities for smart, occasionally long-form content in the digital ether. The great Tommy Craggs does a far better job than I will of explaining the significance of FreeDarko.com as a leading edge of the blogging culture. I will merely relay that Bethlehem is still working his magic, this week in an iPad exclusive timeline of The Guy in the NBA over the last half century, from Wilt and Russell, to Kobe and the King. It is, like his entire oeuvre, worth checking out.
Also, worth noting about the SI app is our ability to tap into the bottomless and rich reserve of archival material that stretches over the 57-year history of the magazine. This week, we offer a once-in-a-lifetime hitting roundtable between Ted Williams, Wade Boggs and Don Mattingly, hosted by Peter Gammons in the spring of 1986. Like so many treasures in the SI Vault, this one rings as relevant today as it did 25 years ago. Give it a lookee. As we move forward, you will notice us tapping more into the Vault, marrying current stories and photographs with related ones from the past. In the coming weeks, we will also be introducing some technological tweaks that will enable you to access some of the best, relevant features from our website, SI.com, and our social media networks.
Good times. Exciting times.
- Chris Stone
Joe Posnanski, and his name has been—and will continue to be—evoked often in this space, is one of the most astute baseball observers out there, with a marvelous ability to reconcile the poetry of the game with the science that has our advanced our understanding of it. He will tell you—in curiously long, but entertaining and patient, fashion—why the Angels are nowhere near as good as their record indicates, why Bobby Grich has a strong Hall of Fame case, or he just might take three hours of his life that he will never get back to host an interview with an advanced statistic. As I do, Joe loves numbers, but he never uses them as a cudgel but rather a tool to persuade, to amuse, to edify.
Joe loves big numbers, such as 755, 61, .406 and takes a nuanced view even of 762 and 73, but his favorite baseball number, I can assure you is this one.
That is his career home run total of his boyhood idol.
Joe’s boyhood idol was no September callup. He put in 12 seasons in the bigs, a career that included nearly 3,400 at-bats, but only one dinger. In this iPad issue Joe will do a much better, and more thorough job than I, of explaining his partiality toward light-hitting middle infielders from bottom-feeding Midwest teams. He will also, in his fourth podcast, host a rollicking dialogue with one of the best baseball announcers in the game and elicit several rich anecdotes, one of which I will share here. The interviewee got married here, but chose to honeymoon here. It is vintage Poz. Next week he cycles back to this guy.
This week also marks SI’s annual NFL Draft Preview and the list of goodness is comprehensive, from Peter King’s lessons to be learned about drafting a quarterback (perhaps you remember how this turned out) to profiles of three of the most highly rated quarterbacks to still more Peter King wisdom in the form of 32 one-minute videos breaking down the draft needs of all each team. The issue also has an interactive mock draft board. Very cool.
A new twist for this week and going forward: With each of our feature stories, we will be linking to a related classic from the SI Vault. When you hear Rex Ryan, perhaps you think of his old man. When you read about budding Indians star Shin-Soo Choo, perhaps you recall another young Tribe phenom. The trove of literary excellence doesn’t have to end with this week’s issue.