Welcome to the latest edition of the Fury Files, the favorite Q&A of people who think the world really is ending on December 21. Check out previous editions with Tom Linnemann, John Millea, David Brauer, Joe Posnanski, Pat Coleman, Kevin Van Valkenburg, Michael Kruse, Chris Jones, Chris Ballard and Roland Lazenby.
This week’s guest is writer Will Leitch. I’d put a magazine or website name in front of writer, but Leitch works for such a wide variety of publications, it’d be impossible to put just one title there. Leitch is a contributing editor at New York Magazine, where he usually writes about sports but displays his versatility on a regular basis, like when he interviewed Spike Lee. Earlier this year he became a contributing writer for the new website Sports on Earth, a fun site that includes contributions from writers like Joe Posnanski, Chuck Culpeppper and Gwen Knapp. There he writes about a variety of topics. A defense of Joe Buck? A story on the Nets-Knicks game? A piece on the beleaguered Arizona Cardinals? They’re all on Sports on Earth.
Leitch is a regular contributor to GQ, where he’s written in-depth profiles of Michael Vick, Derrick Rose and Jeremy Lin. It’s not all about sports, though. With longtime friend Tim Grierson, Leitch regularly reviews movies for Deadspin. Leitch is the founding editor of the Gawker empire’s sports site, which he left for New York magazine in 2008.
A native of Mattoon, Illinois, Leitch is a passionate fan of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team and the Arizona Cardinals football team, who earned his undying loyalty when they were losing games in bewildering fashion in the Midwest instead of the Southwest. Leitch graduated from the University of Illinois and is still in love with the football teams and basketball teams. He might still have a Kenny Battle poster hanging in his bedroom and at some point in his career — either for Slate or a weekly paper in Illinois — he’s likely written 3,500 words about why Jack Trudeau to David Williams was the most underrated quarterback-receiver combo in NCAA history.
His enthusiasm for his favorite sports — for the players, the teams, the games, the moments — remains one of his greatest strength as a writer, but he’s also great at writing. And he can handle it any form, from long magazine profiles to short opinion pieces on the web. In addition to all of his other work, Leitch is the author of four books, including his most recent, Are We Winning? Fathers and Sons in the New Golden Age of Baseball. If you need more of his writing? There’s always his Tumblr page. Or Twitter.
Here, Leitch talks about Spike Lee and Woody Allen, the 1987 World Series (Twins!), Letterman, the difference between magazines, websites and books, what motivates him as a writer and a lot more. Thanks a lot for your time, Will.