Monday, November 2, 2009

one, two, three strikes you're out...

... of the pressbox.

As a dismal sign of the times, Murray Chass on Baseball lists the 29 newspapers (out of 60) that cover major league teams that are sitting out the World Series. Clearly, a cost-cutting measure by struggling newspapers looking to cut costs by pooling coverage. Bad idea.

A few years back, we took a tour of Fenway Park (had a hot dog atop the Green Monster, thank you very much) and were allowed into the pressbox -- tiers of computer hookups, telephones, and comfy chairs. Because there were often more sportswriters than seats, there was another room behind it for the overflow, with big screens tracking the action from several angles. Surely not the best way to cover a game, but still.

Here's Chass' list of those papers whose baseball beat guys are also watching baseball via the tube -- their own:

These are the newspapers that traveled during the season but are not covering the World Series:

Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal Orange County (Calif.) Register
Arizona Republic Palm Beach (Fla.) Post
Atlanta Journal & Constitution Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Baltimore Sun Pittsburgh Tribune Review
Cincinnati Enquirer Providence (R.I.) Journal
Cleveland Plain Dealer Sacramento (Calif.) Bee
Contra Costa (Calif.) Times St. Paul Pioneer Press
Dallas Morning News San Francisco Chronicle
Dayton Daily News San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News
Detroit Free Press Seattle Times
Detroit News South Florida Sun Sentinel
Fort Worth Star Telegram Tacoma (Wash.) News Tribune
Houston Chronicle Tampa Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune Worcester (Mass.) Telegram.


Kyle Van Dusen said...

With retrospect to numbers here’s my breakdown of it: Of the 28 newspapers cutting back on sports reporters at this years World Series, 12 major league baseball towns are missing out on regional coverage. Of the twelve towns not present at this years fall classic 10 of those teams finished 3rd or worse in their respective divisions (Failed Seasons). Half of the teams not represented in the reporting room had a losing season (losing more than 81 out of 162 games). One fourth of the teams not represented at the World Series came from the same division (Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Houston: National League Central). Every team but the Seattle Mariners has been to a world series, and only 3 of the 12 teams have never won a world series (Seattle, Tampa, Houston). Massachusetts could care less about the World Series coverage, the last thing they want to hear about this time of year is the New York Yankees. As for Minneapolis the Twins finished first in their division but were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round and are more excited about Brett Favre’s 7-0 Minnesota Vikings anyway (NFL). It is a shame reporting has been cut to save a few bucks at the end of year especially when baseball has been a part of America for 133 years. Basically it’s a crappy time to be a sports reporter, hopefully their couches at home compare to the luxury seats in the press box. Go Phillies!

John said...

As a former sports journalist, I'm not sure how to feel about this. But if my paper (and the last paper I worked for is on the list of those who didn't cover the World Series) wasn't at the Series, there's a good chance we'd be picking up the NYT's stuff, written by Tyler Kepner, and heck, he covered the Yankees all year long, so he's probably got a better perspective than our reporter would, anyway. The reader would probably be better served by reading Kepner's gamer than our reporter's.

A lot of times, sports editors will opt to send a columnist and use the wires for gamers; that way, you get your big name at the big event, providing a perspective that (theoretically) your readers can't get anywhere else. In my experience, though, a baseball beat writer is sometimes sent to cover the Series as kind of a reward for enduring the grind that is covering an MLB season. Spending that extra money for travel in today's newspaper world to give the reader a story that's, at best, only going to be as good as what you'd get from the wire service you're already paying for simply in order to reward your beat guy seems hard to justify.