A bunch of people have e-mailed to ask what I thought of the sports media special hosted by Bob Costas on HBO, particularly the blog segment.
Well, I thought it was a big waste of time. They broached all these far-ranging topics and tried to find all the answers in 10 minutes. The panelists were also a curious, awkward mix.
The blogging segment was about what I expected. They trotted out Will Leitch of Deadspin, the king of sports bloggers and the perfect stereotype of blogger evils. Will is smart, snarky and his blog allows all manner of profane, racist and sexist comments. Oh, the horror.
Predictably, they had him spar with an old white mainstream media guy. The role was played by Buzz Bissinger, a fine writer who appeared to have had a few too many scotches before going on set. He actually had printed out some Deadspin comments and cursed at Will about them.
Costas seemed to delight in it. Meanwhile, poor Cleveland Browns WR Braylon Edwards was there for some unknown reason other than for HBO to prove it has cred with athletes.
There are no easy answers for any of this. I’m a blogger and I work for the largest newspaper chain in the country covering the most popular team. So is a 15-year-old who creates a blog on Blogspot and posts once. There’s obviously a difference.
To me, a blog is a good way for a beat writer to provide more information and insight to his readers than he has room for in the newspaper. I blog assuming you know the final score and who did what.
On a given day, I can write roughly 1,500 words for the paper. Here I can write whatever I want. The hope is that you like the Yankees enough to be interested in it.
For old-time writers, this is a threat because they know only how to write for the newspaper. It’s more work for me, but the alternative is becoming obsolete. The day is coming when newspapers exist only in digital form and you’ll get your paper delivered to your PDA every day. I might as well get ready for that day.
On occasion, I’ll throw in some personal stuff or write about movies, football or concerts. But I’ve never once done that in place of Yankees news. The Yankees come first, second and third.
Costas should have gotten together some mainstream media bloggers together to talk about how their jobs have changed.
Just an example: I didn’t have a blog when I covered the Mets from 2002-05 and I’m fairly sure not one player ever read a print copy of my paper. I was just another guy asking questions.
But since I started the blog with the Yankees, I’ve found that several players have read it and wanted to talk about it. I get e-mails from people from YES, ESPN and WFAN who read it as well. I’m not sure they would read my paper, as much as I’d like to hope so. My paper’s mission is to break news on line and we do a good job of it.
I look at this way: When I was a kid, we got two newspapers delivered to the door and I couldn’t wait to get them. Now I don’t get any, but the first thing I read in the morning is Buster Olney’s baseball blog on ESPN.com. For me, Buster has replaced the papers on the driveway.
Costas should have talked about that. Buster and Will Leitch would have been entertaining and smart. At least Buster wouldn’t have started swearing at Will. Well, at least I hope not.
Just a note: If you get sick from hanging around a clubhouse full of sick players, don’t take a bunch of cough syrup and Nyquil and sleep until noon. Next thing you know you’re wide awake at 1:30 a.m. babbling on about some show on HBO.