This morning, I was on Bugs and cranks for a perspective on the Orioles, and caught a post that had an interview with Nationals' Team President, Stan Kasten.
I found what he said on blogs was particularly interesting. While he doesn't show a real affinity towards them, he realizes their relevance and ability to keep fans engaged.
With the profile of Deadspin, With Leather, Were are the Postmen and many other blogs out there, they are changing the way sports are covered.
Stan on Blogs: ... I can’t stay on top of them all because there are so many of them. You have to be really careful. It’s a double edged sword. It does keep your name out there, and people are talking about it, and that’s is a good thing in general. Community of fandom — that’s what the internet’s all about, and that’s a good thing.
But there are downsides. Last year, for the first time in my career, I had a chat on the first day of spring training to talk about bloggers. Last year we gave a blogger — as an experiment — a one-day press credential to be treated just like all the press, to interview everyone. It was fine and everything was OK.
But there are other incidents in spring training. One blogger was out there having fun, talking to people, meeting people. Later that night he was in a restaurant where some of our players were, and he’s writing all these experiences down on the web, and having a great time. And then one of our players walks in with what this blogger described as “two hot babes” on his arm, and it was just great… But it wasn’t so great for the player’s wife back home reading this. So I tell the players that those are some of the pitfalls, because when you’re talking to fans, especially in spring training right across the fence… I promise you guys, if you say something bad about Manny or about me, it’s gonna be on a blog or a chat board somewhere within an hour. And you just have to be aware of that, because once it’s there, it gets picked up by the mainstream media.
It's interesting that Stan says this, as the growth of the internet has pretty much led to a 24-hour blog industry online, capped off by TMZ, Perez Hilton, EOnline and various other sites.
I don't know if sports exactly fits the mantra of a TMZ, but now anyone with a cell phone camera can snap pictures and post them instanteously online, which is something that could not be done ten years ago or so.
Mr. Kasten is right, as athletes are celebrities, they have to be careful as to not only how they represent themselves, but their organizations.
But, where does the line get drawn between bloggers and the traditional media? Obviously, blogs do not have an editorial process like newspapers, but their insight and subjectivity do make them now a part of news reporting & commentary.
It's nice to see that the Washington Nationals have been so liberal with bloggers, and it's shown by the amount of blogs currently focusing on that one particular team.