Baseball Toaster Cub Town
A WSJ Writer Stands Up For Blogs
2007-03-30 15:44
by Phil Bencomo

From today's Wall Street Journal book reviews:

The only dud in this quartet of books is George Castle's "Baseball and the Media" (University of Nebraska, 262 pages, $24.95). Subtitled "How Fans Lost in Today's Coverage of the Game," it is a cri de coeur by a veteran sportswriter who complains that "elitism and arrogance, as bad as any practiced by wealthy players, exist among the pen-and-mike crowd."

He rails at columnists and sports-talk-show hosts who don't bother to visit locker rooms and then annoy players and managers with ill-informed kibitzing.

Fans indeed may not be particularly well served by today's sports media, but this book feels like a sour-grapes polemic by a beat writer who seems to resent covering the Cubs and White Sox for a nonelite newspaper, the Times of Northwest Indiana. He pines for an era when blogs didn't exist and ambitious young writers didn't hop from job to job, "disrupting the continuity of coverage demanded by fans."

Not surprising that the book is called a dud: It's just another grumpy reporter expressing his frustration, this time in book form, with the changing media world. Some people will never change.

The reviewer, Russ Smith, made me smile, though, with his final paragraph:

Actually, it could be argued that fans have never been better served by "the media" – if that includes games from all over the country on; ESPN and sports-talk-radio; and, gasp, baseball blogs, some of which are excellent sources of information and analysis. Sure, as Mr. Castle says, much of it is "entertainment," not "journalism." But, hey, it's just a game – the best game, but still a game.

2007-03-30 16:19:28
1.   Ken Arneson
I agree with the reviewer. Would anyone really consider baseball news "news" if baseball news didn't help sell newspapers?

Baseball news is about money. It's not about some noble cause to inform the public about vital information. It's not vital information. They don't cover sports because they feel a moral responsibility to do so.

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