The other, better contributors at Epic Carnival have come up a list in honour of the blogfather, Will Leitch, who as you know is leaving from Deadspin.
It's probably too cliché by a factor of ten to say that Deadspin, particularly in its early stages, late 2005 through late '06, evoked that famous line about the Velvet Underground: It might have only had a few readers, but every one of them started a blog.
Deadspin made following sports fun again. Perhaps the sports media industry would have been shaken up over the past couple years without its existence, but we only know what has happened. Hell, talking about being a sports fans three years ago seems like ancient history -- and that's the Deadspin influence.
Not to go all navel-gazey, but Will Leitch also came through with encouragement, links, support (especially with during the beer baron brouhaha) that helped this site win a following. Words fail at describing what it's like when someone with legitimate writing chops comes through for you in such a way, and it will not be forgotten any time soon.