Thursday, April 22, 2010

THIS Is Why Blogs Need Access

Because I never would've learned any of this elsewhere.


  • Ouch, burn....

    By Anonymous Rock, at 4/22/2010 9:47 PM  

  • I found it valuable. Now I know to bench Willingham every "12 to 15 days" for my fantasy team. That's inside intel you can't buy.

    By Blogger Nate, at 4/22/2010 9:48 PM  

  • I don't know about you, but i read Nats320 for my Nationals, er, "agenda"...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/22/2010 10:01 PM  

  • hey guys, appreciate the critique.

    i'm open to suggestions as to what you might think would make for better coverage.

    we had a session with Rizzo. i reported the info he gave us.

    By Blogger Dave Nichols, at 4/22/2010 10:03 PM  

  • Dave - don't take this as a knock on YOU. You know better than that and know what I think of you and your efforts.
    I also don't want to speak for Chris. He speaks quite forcefully for himself.
    What I want to see is someone doing and trying something different. Everybody is going in the same direction, doing the same stuff. We have pre-game updates from Rigs, in game discussions, the post-game reports from multiple outlets.
    I want someone who is going left when everybody else is going right. I was someone to zig when the rest are zagging.
    With the access you now have, you and other blogs not beholden to traditional ideas of news gathering can do exactly that.
    Nuts and bolts coverage is simply available so many places. So throw a wrench in there! You are more than capable.

    By Blogger MikeHarris, at 4/22/2010 10:10 PM  

  • And it bounces over the wall, an automatic double for Mr. Harris... brought to you by IHOP. IHOP: when your system backs up, we'll be there.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/22/2010 10:20 PM  

  • At least there were no pictures of the African Queen.

    By Anonymous Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me, at 4/23/2010 12:18 AM  

  • Hey, fellas: Right now there is only one story to chase with this team, and it ain't Willingham's off-day schedule. When is Jesus coming, and what date is his first start? Everything else I can find out in the Wash Post, and probably from Carp and Crap on MASN. How about a 24-hour stakeout on Rizzo, subpoena his cellphone records, check that Harrisburg-to-DCA shuttle schedule, find out when the suites at the Ritz-Carlton are filled in early June, do not sleep or eat until you find out. I NEED TO KNOW JESUS'S CALLUP SCHEDULE!

    By Anonymous Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too-Pessimistic_for_Me, at 4/23/2010 12:24 AM  

  • They'll never tell you until very close to the date for a couple of reasons:

    1. Maintaining the illusion of achievement. They're currently pretending that Strasburg will advance after he accomplishes certain things. I think they want him to think it's his performance that will determine when he gets there. What they don't want is to say "Kid, it doesn't matter how well you do down here. We don't care. You'll be called up one way or another on June 1st." Cause that kinda deflates the whole minor league experience for him and the fans.

    2. Tickets! If they announced the date right now, it'd sell out, and people would stop buying tickets for other dates. If they wait, some people will speculate and just generally go about tickets for whenever. But even if they wait and announce it a few days ahead, it'll still sellout.

    Back to topic, I don't know what the bloggers can do with their access. All I can think is that they can ask Riggleman and others questions that the other reporters are not. Unfortunately, just cause you ask, doesn't mean they'll answer.

    By Anonymous cass, at 4/23/2010 8:19 AM  

  • I'm still wondering about Zimmerman's altercation with Phillies fans at Citizen's Bank Park. What was said? Was it before or after the PH HR?

    If you can't get that kind of stuff, just ask something along the lines of "in episode J56, you were opening a safe. What was the combination?"

    By Blogger WFY, at 4/23/2010 8:34 AM  

  • I love coming here for the informed opinion, the passion, and, yes, the attitude. But snark really only works when aimed at those with power. -Mike

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/23/2010 9:42 AM  

  • Fair enough.

    I'd argue, though, that by accepting a press pass from the team, they should be willing to take some heat.

    If they want to pretend they're big boys, they should be willing to take what comes.

    (I've taken my fair share of shots, too... comes with the territory! :)

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/23/2010 9:44 AM  

  • I saw the shot as being primarily directed at the team. Dave's trying to do the best he can and maybe it was delivered a tad harshly, but Chris had a good point. Would it be better to say nothing and let Dave waste his time on content that, honestly, we already get elsewhere?

    I think giving the bloggers access to the players would be the best solution. More chances for news, which might range from Steinbergesque fun stuff to perhaps an actual insigh or two on how they play the game.

    But repeating what are essentially press releases? Nah, that doesn't really help.

    By Anonymous cass, at 4/23/2010 10:08 AM  

  • Yeah, it's not a shot AT Dave, as much as it is the idea of these guys needing press passes.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/23/2010 10:10 AM  

  • I'm willing to accept some heat for an opinion or an idea that I express. and if you're against the idea of a couple internet writers having access to the team, your entitled to your opinion.

    but i'm interested, what about a few of us having access are you really against? what's the harm? that there's some redundancy in reporting? is that the worst that can happen out of this?

    nobody said anything about NEEDING press passes. it's not like i'm trying to do this for a living and by not having access i'm precluded from earning money. i have a day job. this is a hobby. one i'm entirely too much invested in, but a hobby nonetheless.

    the team has been gracious enough to allow access to a few more people. if we can bring a different voice to what's happening, or occasionally bring a piece of news out that might not have otherwise seen the light of day, wouldn't that be worth the effort?

    By Blogger Dave Nichols, at 4/23/2010 11:01 AM  

  • Needham thinks the alternative voice that should be supplied by the credentialed bloggers is the voice that he himself is the poster boy of, the voice described thusly by Boswell in his chat yesterday.

    The Nats Attract Negative Emotions: Seriously! Based on my discussions with people, it seems that there is a large segment that is rooting for the Nats to fail/lose. Or at the very least take pleasure in the Nats failing. In a town that hosts the Redskins and Wizards, the Nats are the target of Schadenfreude? I mean, the Skins could put out an 0-16 team and charge you for oxygen in that awful stadium, yet the fans are devoted.

    Tom Boswell: It's weird. No, actually, it's probably just cheap nihilistic snark. Every period has it's own variation on snide or cynical. I've never liked it as a tone of voice at any time. It's too easy. Too destructive. Too dishonest __because it never admits what it really is. It's sad to see it on places like Nats Journal where you'd think people would come for a good time. But that's not the nature of chat rooms. They're troll magnets. So, don't overvalue the few voices that stand under the bridge yelling insults. They are always loud. But they are usually a small bitter mnority.

    That doesn't mean the Nats haven't been awful! That's a different discussion.

    The thing is, that's about as likely to happen as a non-Fox news outlet hiring Sarah Palin to give the teabagger POV, or hell freezing over. Take your pick.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/23/2010 11:14 AM  

  • Dave -- that deserves a better response than I'll be able to write up now. the 'no harm' argument is certainly something i couldn't put up much of a fight over.

    Anon -- I'm not sure that's right. Though I do wish there were someone out there who had a large voice who'd be willing to punch the team in the nose a little bit. now that Thom Loverro's gone, there's nobody to do that, aside from the occasional rolled-up newspaper that Boz applies to Teddy's behind.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/23/2010 11:16 AM  

  • For what it's worth, I'm happy for you guys and hope you get something useful. There's no one right way to blog. And maybe writing down the stuff the beatwriters do makes us less dependant on them in general and does promote competition. But I do hope you can find a way to use your access to get something the reporters don't, but I imagine that might take some time. Good luck.

    By Anonymous cass, at 4/23/2010 11:19 AM  

  • "Ryan Zimmerman is out of the lineup with what Riggleman continues to describe as a cramp in his right leg. He is available to pinch-hit."

    Well, at least we now know that bloggers can be used for disinformation just like beat writers.

    Boswell needs to read NJ a bit more carefully. Yes, there is some negativity, but there are very few trolls. (There's a difference.) The negativity comes from being misled for five years about any number of things, including the seriousness with which the team was pursuing its supposed goal of building a championship ballclub. At least some bloggers just don't buy the company line of BS that the MASN announcers tend to convey. That's valuable to the thinking fan.

    My hope is that the bloggers who now have access can use it to more intelligently call management on its mistakes and hold it accountable. I'm much less interested in having a fourth or fifth or sixth venue to read the same day to day press release materials or lineup cards.

    So here are a few ideas: (1) Ask the questions that are being asked in the comments to yours and others' blogs (omitting any profanity of course). You can preface it by saying, "people I hear from are wondering...." (2) Present some of the statistical analysis that some of the bloggers are doing and ask Rizzo or Riggleman what they think of it or how they would respond to it.
    (3) Take the long view and have a long memory. If the RF platoon is still yielding no production at the end of May, remind Rizzo that he said back when Dukes was cut that the current options for RF would be better than what Dukes was offering. If Wang doesn't pan out and Livo falters, ask him if he still thinks he satisfied the team's need for two proven quality starting pitchers by signing Marquis and Wang and resigning Livo, and if he will admit that he fell victim to rosy expectations.
    (4) Be a persistent bird dog about injuries and rehabs. How's Detwiler doing, what's the current status of Flores' recovery, when will we see Morse back on the 25-man? And if the answers get less and less rosy, or more and more vague, ask why.
    (5) Remember that Chris is snarky about everyone and everything and don't take it personally.

    By Blogger Section 222, at 4/23/2010 3:28 PM  

  • Oh and by the way, contrary to Boz's description of the "loud voices under the bridge," we aren't actively rooting for or taking pleasure in the Nats' failures. Quite the contrary. We really want them to win, which is why we get so loud under that bridge.

    By Blogger Section 222, at 4/23/2010 3:32 PM  

  • My hope is that the bloggers who now have access can use it to more intelligently call management on its mistakes and hold it accountable.

    I don't read any of the blogs that got credentialed other than NFA, but it seems to me like a lot to hope for. (Not disagreeing with the hope, or your suggestions -- in particular, just having a memory about what was said in the past and following up down the line would be incredibly valueable.)

    It's just that the dynamics here are gonna be tough to work -- it's hard to be confrontational with nice people you see around the stadium. It's hard to call someone out in front of group of other reporters. It's harder still to do that with the baggage of being tagged an amateur and without the institutional claim to access that major papers will bring.

    And even if you get past all that, it would only be natural for a blogger excited about this new access to worry that laying into the team for whatever reason is going to result in their credential getting pulled (or more realistically not renewed).

    Not talking to you in particular 222, but in general I feel like I see a lot of blog criticism of the traditional media that does not really grapple with how difficult it is to be a hard-assed oppositional beat reporter when you are living and working so closely with the folks you cover and when your access always hangs to some extent in the balance.

    I think that is part of why so much of the online coverage of the team feels like a sort of pallid version of the existing coverage. Because once people feel they "covering" the team, instead of commenting/analyzing the team, they end up stuck in the same box that the beat reporters are in (and often without the experience and institutional tools necessary to push out of that box).

    By Blogger Unknown, at 4/23/2010 9:13 PM  

  • Very fair points @Sam. Especially noting the lack of institutional tools to push out of the box. I imagine that the team looks at offering these credentials as another marketing tool. They understand that people are now reading blogs for information on the team and hope that expanding access will lead to expanded interest and more ticket sales. I guess I just want the access bloggers to know we're expecting/hoping that they won't be completely complicit or co-opted once they're in the tent.

    I don't know if you attended the "town meeting" that Rizzo held at the park before the Red Sox game. Fans could ask any questions they wanted, but most who got up to speak were just fawning synchophants. So it's not just the media who have trouble asking the tough questions. I hope some of the access bloggers will at least try.

    By Blogger Section 222, at 4/24/2010 10:49 AM  

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