by Daniel Gettinger
In Yesterday’s San Diego Union Tribune, Nick Canepa wrote an article titled: Baseball Has Lost Some Charm. The article is utter hogwash, best characterized by passages such as:
The Grand New Game — if that’s what you want to call it (I prefer the old one) — is being overanalyzed into embalmment. Baseball history always has been driven by stats, which is why the steroid era has smacked it in the mouth and it’s still bleeding. But we never knew what an OPS or UZR or any of these other geek formulas were. And, if we didn’t know, the real ballplayers didn’t know. They didn’t need to. They just went out and played.
Baseball remains a marvelous sport, unlike any other, but please don’t tell me it hasn’t lost part of its charm. It has been laundered by too many statistics, too many Ph.Ds, and too much money has nearly washed it clean of characters.
The article is one that most Friar Forecast readers will dislike. I do not feel the need to analyze it in depth (Melvin has already done that). However, the piece got me thinking. Not about baseball, and its loss of charm, but rather, about how often we (the blogs) criticize the mainstream media, yet rarely reflect on our own shortcomings.
The biggest issue with blogs is there is more crap than quality. In few areas is this more evident than in our own Padres community.
Geoff Young has been generous enough to maintain PadreBlogs.com, a listing of all current Padres related blogs. At the moment, there are 38 Padres blogs listed on the site. That’s right, 38 unique Padres blogs.
Of those 38 blogs, I see less than a handful that are worth a regular read.
The Padres blogs can be broken down into a few categories: analysis, community, and personal–blogs whose main purpose is to provide the author an outlet for experimentation with writing. Some blogs fit into more than one category.
I have no problem with the personal blogs. Although they do not typically interest me, they are generally unassuming. If someone feels like experimenting with writing, and chooses to focus on their favorite baseball team, that’s fine with me. I don’t need to read the stuff, but typically, these types of blogs do not badger me to read the stuff.
Analysis blogs are okay. The biggest issue is there are too many of them. There are a few “leaders;” analysis blogs with a somewhat sizable following, and then a whole lot of others. Many of these blogs post very similar commentary as the others.
Such disaggregation is a disservice to readers. It is difficult to follow so many blogs, and interacting in a meaningful way (one of the advantages offered by blogs) with authors on so many different sites is near impossible. I encourage authors of analysis blogs to consolidate. Such consolidation often leads to higher quality articles as there is less pressure to churn out consistent posts when there are numerous authors at a single site. It also allows readers to get their commentary in less time and without as much effort.
About a year and a half ago, I chose to take my writings from my individual blog to Friar Forecast. It made sense for me, and it made sense for my readers. I realize there are reasons to remain independent, so I do not expect complete consolidation within the analysis blogs sphere. But there should be more than there currently is.
Another issue with analysis blogs is many don’t offer actual analysis. Some merely offer game recaps and other Padres news. The mainstream media does a great job reporting Padres and baseball news. Blogs add value by providing additional analysis that does not require insider access. There is no reason for a blog to exist if it is only linking or summarizing what has already been written by traditional reporters.
I cannot stand almost every one of the community based blogs. I don’t deny the value of having one or maybe two strong community sites. Having more than that is completely unnecessary.
Gaslamp Ball has been around for a while, has a large, active community of fans, and through the SBN platform has the infrastructure to allow those fans to interact in a number of ways. I see no reason anybody should start a similar blog/community. Such communities are subject to network effects. Their value increases as more people use them. Given Galsamp Ball is doing such a good job in that area, the formation of new communities is pointless. Unless of course the founder of the new site just wants an ego boost.
As readers and writers of blogs, we often forget that blogs are not perfect. The shear quantity and duplicity of blogs, even within our own Padres community is daunting and unnecessary. I encourage consolidation by those providing real analysis. Those who think forming new “Padres communities” that merely link to other articles, provide underwhelming analysis, and badger us on Twitter and Facebook to join their community is a good idea, should ask themselves why? Why flood the market with a product that is already available at a higher quality? Why not participate in an already existing community?