Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Instant Access

More good stuff from the Canadian ambassador to Twitteronia, Jeff Blair. His latest blog post questions how long reporters will have access to clubhouses before and after games for unfiltered contact with athletes. He notes that a few scoops can be had in the locker room, it's mostly cat and mouse:
Everybody totes a tape recorder now to post-game interviews, and a savvy player knows that if drones on and strings out a few clich├ęs he can see eyes glazing, follow-ups evaporating. No attention is paid to nuance.
Blair adds that the lack of easy quotes leads to better writing and more wit. In other words: blogging.

At the same time, I'm seeing the value of access nearly firsthand. Walkoff Walk's Kris CTC Liakos continues touring Floridian complexes and continues to deliver great stuff. Maybe it just seems crazy to me because I don't have regular Gmail Chats Conversations with beat writers; but having someone with a similar sensibility interviewing players and offering his perspective seems hilarious yet awesomely fresh at the same time. Having him say stuff like "BJ Ryan is like a bull standing on two legs" speaks to me more than most journoporn ever could.

He INTERVIEWED ROCCO, FOR GOD'S SAKE. Among the more expected revelations (Rocco is a nice guy that was doing the NY Times crossword when Kris approached him) was Rocco giving the Blue Jays the one thing I really wish they'd get: credit. Regarding the American League East's status as the best division in baseball (emphasis obviously mine):
Well yeah, last year we had 4 teams that were playoff caliber teams. 4 teams that if the right scenario happened could have been World Series caliber. So you take 4 teams like that and you have them play each other 19 times a year, you beat up on each other. But there's no use complaining about it. I learned that a long time ago in Tampa. We weren't very good and we'd get beat up on by this division. It made it difficult, but that's the reality. Complaining isn't the way to go about it. You just grit your teeth and deal with it.
Sweet, glorious props. Rocco knows, Rocco knows.


  1. sing it, rocco.

    if only the media would stop throwing the jays in with the royals and pirates.

  2. I think Rocco is the only Red Sox player who isn't a masshole. Class act, all the way.

  3. With the name Rocco, one is born into awesomeness.

  4. Rocco is determined, in proud italian entertainer tradition, to justify my love.

  5. When I first read Blair's column I thought "yea, good idea, we'll get more thoughtful articles." But later on I realized how unnecessary this step is.

    I'd rather have journalists become less lazy and still have the access.

    You're right on about Kris. Fresh eyes have an appreciation for the situation they are in.

    Now, I'm not someone who goes around saying that amateur bloggers are just as good as paid sports journalists (though sometimes they are) but all Blair's article does is speak to that point. Some journalists have gotten old and jaded and simply churn out the same shit over and over.

    Could you imagine the interesting questions/articles we would have if the Jays' let some of the bloggers of this community in the locker room after a game? Ridiculous.

    But the professionals should be able to do that too, or even better. They have just become jaded towards the whole song and dance. They can't get around the cliches.

    I also had a problem with Blair saying, "Honestly, there's no percentage for players in having reporters in the clubhouse, since their careers aren't helped by print guys having access".

    Bullshit. Sure, if you mean their numbers aren't helped, then yes, they don't get more RBIs because they are cooperative with the media but their careers can definitely be helped/hurt.

    Look at John Updike's great essay on Ted Williams ("Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu"). He points out how Ruth and Mantle were saved by the media whereas Williams was left to die.

    A contemporary example can be found with SLAM magazine. Holy shit do they over-hype everyone but they almost single handily made Allen Iverson a urban icon instead of the horrible teammate with a bad attitude he would have been made out to be if left to the mainstream media.

    Sorry for the rant, just thoughts. Now excuse me while I go tweet them to Blair himself ;)

  6. I drafted Travis Snider in a league last night.

    Marcel don't fail me now!

  7. You did well sir. Better if it's a keeper league

  8. Complaining isn't the way to go about it. You just grit your teeth and deal with it.

    I'm going to try and take that advice. Let's see how long it lasts.

    Rocco is a wonderful human being. A hero.


Send forth the witticisms from on high