Saturday, May 24, 2008


I’ve just about had it with the concept of blogging.

My cup bubbled over when I tripped upon a website that proclaimed a new day in sports journalism; that you, the reader and fan, can contribute to this site with your opinions on sports. Poof! You’re a journalist.

There would be no remuneration for your efforts, of course, not that somebody’s totally uninformed and, in many cases ignorant, ravings are worth any compensation. But this website is going to make the learned prose espoused in places like The New York Times, Washington Post and Boston Globe obsolete. Yeh, right.

Let’s put some keen analysis into what you get on such websites – and you can lump a goodly percentage of these inane electronic media-generated talk shows in with them.

You’re getting the opinion, in most places clumsily arranged, of someone who is watching games on TV or listening to them on the radio and coming up with profound revelations that have no basis in fact.

These “new sports journalists” aren’t talking to the athletes about whom they write. They’re not given credentials to venture into clubhouses to conduct interviews or perceive any other clues that an athlete may project about why a team is winning or losing. Imagine if they did get credentials. The grandstands would be empty and the press boxes would be jammed with phonies out to get free meals and access to their heroes.

They shoot from the hip, taking aim at somebody like beleaguered San Francisco Giants pitcher Barry Zito or New York Mets manager Willie Randolph because an ERA is high or their beloved team is on a losing streak.

I was aghast recently when I heard a commentator utter that he’d love to have a job like Zito’s; where he can have a job that pays get paid $126 million for doing nothing. Yeh, like Zito is soft-tossing meatballs to home plate, lounging around the swimming pool between starts and amassing a 7-plus ERA because he’s lazy or doesn’t care. Get a grip. If Zito strings together 10 straight wins, and pitches two or three shutouts, such “faux” journalists will be first in line for autographs.

All this may lead you to say, “Why is this guy dissing the art of blogging when he blogs himself?”

Trust me, when I was told I needed to do some blogging to keep up with new industry standards, I cringed. I don’t mind writing. I love to write. I love to delve into subjects and report on them. But please can we call what I do something other than blogging? After spending more than 25 years involved with professional baseball and more than 15 writing about local high school and amateur sports, I like to think that I know a little something about the subjects I cover.

You’ll notice that it’s extremely rare that I “blog” about something I don’t cover.

I “blog” about the Rock Cats, and people who know me also know that the number of Rock Cats home games I’ve missed since 1997 can be counted on two hands. That’s less than 10 out of about 850.

I have unique access into the Rock Cats and Minnesota Twins organizations, which I’ve earned by nurturing my contact with some pretty wonderful people. They tell me plenty on the record. They tell me things off the record that I can use indirectly to keep you informed about matters of interest.

I “blog” about New Britain sports, but never without getting the proper perspective by talking to people like venerable former Herald sports editor Bart Fisher, equally venerable retired New Haven Register scholastic football maven Bob Barton, another ex-Herald sports editor Gerry deSimas who enlightens me on scholastic wrestling and many coaches – active and retired – who shaped the landscape that I continue to tread.

If your interest lies with the Red Sox, Celtics or Patriots, there are numerous professionals at places like Associated Press, The Globe, The Boston Herald, The Courant and papers in Springfield and Providence who can tell you much more beyond the score. Don’t rely on the ranting of dolts who want players dumped because they struck out with the bases loaded.

We have people in our midst who can keep you informed on all things UConn. New York fans have The Daily News, The Post, Newsday and The Times.

The next time some computer geek who can’t tell the difference between a split-fingered fastball and a circle change tells you that he’s revolutionizing sports journalism, all he’s revolutionizing is a scam similar to those Nigerian bank account e-mail schemes to make easy money by doing nothing.


Ryan Pipke said...

You might be curious to learn that this past season, Mark Cuban very publicly announced that he would open the Mavericks press area to all bloggers, regardless of their affiliation (or lack thereof). I forget the exact situation that sparked it, but it was in reaction to somebody who said he wasn't open to criticism or something of that nature.
I'm not sure how that worked out. But I would have been excited to be a Mavs fan in Dallas at the time with internet access.
But before you get too worked up, I don't think you need to worry about people suggesting that average bloggers are replacing sports journalists. In fact, the best bloggers work very much like journalists. And most people recognize that the rest are no more informed than they are. It's just a marketplace for opinions and discussion, which is never a bad thing.

Dianna said...

Ah...what I wouldn't give for some opinion, clumsily arranged, from some enterprising Rock Cats fan who is watching games on TV or listening to them on the radio and coming up with profound revelations that have no basis in fact.

At least it would be on-line coverage, which the Rock Cats seem to lack.