Sports Media Stretching Itself a Little Thin

March 18, 2010 at 7:13 pm 4 comments

So I, as an obsessive baseball fan, tend to peruse the interwebs from time to time to obtain the latest news on players, teams and whatnot. So naturally, I gravitate toward sites like MLBTradeRumors, Rotoworld, and naturally ESPN.

And yes, I hate ESPN. But that’s not entirely relevant in this case.

Because the issue I’ve noticed with these sites is that anything has become news. It is impossible for any level of secrecy or anonymity to exist in baseball (I won’t start with other sports, simply because I’m not nearly as knowledgeable in them).

Let’s list some examples.

Currently the top headline at MLBtr is that the Rockies and Nationals are interested in Joe Beimel. No contract has been offered. Joe Beimel is a 32 year old middling reliever (4.40 career FIP) perhaps best known for cutting his hand in a bar fight the day before a playoff game several years ago.

Believe it or not that qualifies as interesting.

The next headline reads that the Cardinals have returned rule V draftee Ben Jukich to Cincinatti. Who’s Ben Jukich? A left handed pitcher who put up a 4.22 FIP last year at triple A while allowing a higher batting average to lefties than righties. Ergo, he has no value. The story was reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where it should have remained.

Trust me, not knowing the precise status of a complete non prospect won’t keep you up at night. And yes, MLBtr can be very useful when there are actually big stories breaking, and it generally credits good sources. But it’s range of content is sooo broad it’s like reading obituaries. Yes we know a lot of people die everyday, but who died that we care about?

But then there are big stories. Such as ESPN’s top headline that the Phillies were having internal discussions about trading Ryan Howard for Albert Pujols. The story was retrieved from unnamed sources.

..So a team’s executives can’t even get high together anymore without their craziest fantasies becoming a top story on the biggest sports news source in the world?

Soon it will be bums on the street yelling out proclamations that the Pirates are mulling around ideas to convert Andrew McCutcheon to 1st base to preserve his legs.

Oh, leg preservation. Another example of over reporting. But Umpbump already has that covered.

It seems nowadays sportswriters can even invent concepts to be applied to everyday sports analysis. Maybe afternoon games are likely to have more errors because the players are more likely to have ookey stuff in their eyes from waking up just hours ago. But this is less over reporting and more the infantalization of the modern athlete. That’s a different issue.

Perhaps more in depth reporting should be done on stories that matter. One such example of this was actually Jim Bowden’s GM Corner segment where he talked to all four executives involved in the Halladay-Lee trade. Getting the thought process from them is actually really cool. A lot cooler than a single A player for the Royals straining his groin.

Just because it happens, doesn’t mean it needs to be reported.

But hey I guess I’m just old fashioned.


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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Bryz  |  March 18, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    I’m not saying that everyone has to be like me, but I appreciate most of the posts on MLBTR. I prefer to know as much about as many players as possible, so I already have some background when they come up to the majors and/or have a breakout season. It made Ben Zobrist’s ’09 season so much more amazing to me because my thought process wasn’t “Who’s Ben Zobrist?” but rather “This is the same guy that hit under .200 two years ago???”

  • 2. Bryz  |  March 18, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    Sorry, I should have put this in my first post. I do agree though that some media outlets are going a bit overboard in reporting news. I appreciate MLBTR because I feel that it has a lot of credibility. Other outlets, I don’t appreciate as much because I sometimes feel that they’re just spitting out news stories because they have deadlines and need to keep viewers/readers.

  • 3. Xander  |  March 19, 2010 at 12:02 am

    Nice post. I have noticed those random headlines about some Triple-A player gets cut from 25-man roster more frequently this spring for some reason. I guess it’s pick your poison—small every day team transactions or ESPN just fabricating trade stories for something to talk about. Ah, the world we live in.

  • 4. Officer Blog  |  March 21, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    No you’re right, MLBtr is a very useful and well run operation. Sometimes I get sick of scrolling through all the muck that I don’t care about is all. And yes I could just look at the top stories section, but I know that as soon as I do, I’ll miss some seemingly minor story that actually has some significance. If Tim Dierkes ever sees this post, all I could ever ask of him is that he makes it easier to find the little nuggets that make you pause and read further. But maybe reporting everything that happens everywhere is simply the nature of the site and that comes with inherent limitations and I should just shut up. Either way I’ll still read MLBtr.


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