While doing my daily, frantic rounds in search of the slightest scrap of Blue Jays information that might divert my attention from the fact that it is about to snow, I noticed that John Brattain has started his own blog. No longer willing to write watered-down summaries for the masses and be ripped by internet hacks, he has thrown his hat into the ring, quickly establishing his street cred with both the most awkward address and name of all time. Released from the shackles of a word limit, he has also staked his turf by throwing down the Longest. Post. Ever.
But enough about the bunt thing we had going, heck- forget baseball altogether for a second. What I really take issue with is his continued and strident defense of the Blogosphere from the media outlets that know better. In classic Mockingbird fashion, I’m going to take a bunch of his quotes about the out of context and show you how much smarter I think I am. Because that’s what blogs are really all about!
This sounds like a person who dislikes the fact that people can call them on doing a mediocre job and do so publicly. If the ‘legitimate media’ hadn’t done such a poor job on any number of things, there would be no way to discredit them. If anything, bloggers can serve as a valuable reminder to the media to be thorough or be held accountable publicly.
Well, duh! How can anybody function when they’re expected to be 100% accurate and highly informed? I mean do I come to your office and evaluate your every move and decision? (Ok, for John that’s probably a bad example). There’s a certain level of incompetence in every field, and keeping track of it or expecting it to be totally eliminated is childish. Can you imagine if the world worked this way, if professionals were expected to better at their jobs than the average Joe or else be replaced by them? Absurd!
If a blog wants to develop and retain an audience, it has to do its homework too.
I can discredit that by personal example. The best thing that ever happened for this blog’s audience was when I got frustrated and called John a bunch of silly names. The second was when I posted a picture of Jesse Litsch next to Howdy Doody. Third is probably someone photoshopped to look like they’re doing something obscene. When building an audience, people are much more attracted to silly pictures and abusiveness than “homework” and “analysis”.
This is baseless, a good blogger won’t make things up. Once they lose credibility, they lose readers.
John Brattain eats puppies for breakfast. Anyone leaving? I didn’t think so. In fact, I feel a new traffic record coming on…Controversy is key!
Ok, enough adolescent irony. This is actually a great topic that is only going to heat up so as time goes by. The mainstream media is feeling threatened and getting a little defensive. Unlike in years gone by when big media was your only source of any information about your team, nowadays with a little digging on the internet and a little work everyone can get the same quotes as journalists, the same statistics, access to scouting reports, you name it. The one thing hacks don’t have is personal “access”. But while talking to someone person or getting the feel of the clubhouse is certainly a huge advantage- it’s not required for every insightful piece that gets written. And how long do you think it will be before serious blogs start getting access? Even now, sometimes big stories are broken by blogs and then newspapers have to respond to “already chewed” news. The horror.
The bread and butter of sports writers for years has been to recycle the associated press newswire that they had sole access to and slap on some blustering opinion. Now the dreaded “clever dude in pyjamas” (now there’s a phrase to coin) who thinks about nothing but his sport has all that information and the ability to broadcast it to the masses. And what’s more, he can have some smartass “clever” personality, doesn’t have to lower himself to the lowest common denominator of sports fans, heck- he can even drop some profanity!
Speaking of which, Drunk Jays Fans and their sister site And Your Kids Too recently pointed out that Toronto’s media strategy seems to be completely ignoring the Blogosphere when asked about what information is out there. Fair enough- but that’s either a sign that they’re worried or an indication that Toronto sports writers really are dinosaurs who have no idea of all the new sources that have sprung up out there (and I don’t even mean blogs, but communities like Battersbox, or collections like Deadspin). For Richard Griffin, whose entire association with the leaps and bounds made in baseball analysis over the last couple of decades has been leafing through a copy Moneyball and taking a few paragraphs out of context, I think it really might be the latter. This head-in-sand approach reminds me of Larry King admitting he’s never used the Internet- it shows a terrifying lack of touch with the world today no matter what other skills or connections are brought to the table.
I do understand the other side of the argument. One of the annoying things about the internet is that for every highly educated informed person you have access to that you never would have otherwise, there are 10 morons typing in all caps who just don’t have a clue. There are plenty of blogs out there that are not worth even a first glance. But hey, that’s the nature of this age of information, and the generation that has grown up with it knows how to filter out the garbage and take what’s left in context. No longer do we only have a taste for a sermon from the mount from someone claiming to be an ultimate authority (who is often just highly opinionated). That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a need for trained journalists to do their thing, but that there is a rising demand for another role. Call it the court jester (or the Daily Show?): someone to sort through the giant mass of information and then sit back with us, cracks some jokes, and occasionally cry foul.