Ivory Tower Press

It’s Super Bowl week in Dallas/Ft. Worth and the eyes of the sports media are resting upon North Texas.
That might be a good thing, if not for the single digit temperatures and the ice storm we’ve been dealing with the last few days.
The reason I mention the Super Bowl and the weather is because of something I’ve noticed more and more recently about the way journalists treat situations like this. Plus, there is a baseball tie-in coming later.
For about a year, I watched ESPN’s PTI daily. It’s fallen off as part of my routine in recent months, but I still drop in occasionally to get a synopsis of the recent sporting news, as I did today.
One of today’s talking points was about this week’s weather and Michael Wilbon expressed his opinion that the Super Bowl should only be held in either California, Florida, or Arizona [because everywhere else is too cold in February].
What bothers me is that Wilbon’s sentiment seems entirely driven from the journalist’s perspective and has nothing to do with the fans. That’s a problem for me.
(Of course, I’m not so naive to think that the NFL cares much about its fans either, but it shouldn’t be the role of the media to dictate who does and doesn’t get to host the Super Bowl.)
For some reason, it seems like a lot of the members of the media think that this week is about them. Never mind how pointless and redundant ‘Media Day’ is, but consider that a lot of them look at this as a sort of vacation.
That’s like a homicide detective hoping that a murder happens in a certain neighborhood because that’s where his favorite sandwich shop is. It’s a conflict of interest. It’s selfish.
The media should go where the story is and not the other way around. If there is such a thing as not cheering in the press box, then this situation should be filed under a similar heading.
Stop making it about you.
Now for that baseball tie-in I promised…
A few days ago a respected baseball writer named Rob Neyer announced that he would be leaving ESPN. A day later he popped up on SB Nation, his new home.
In his first post at SB Nation, he tells a story that illustrates the divide that exists between the media and the fan.
(The link is here, if you’d like to read it for yourself, but I’ll paraphrase.)
Several years ago, Neyer apparently offended one of his colleagues by using a comments section to respond to an article he had written. Thinking that his opinion had bothered the man, Neyer apologized for being contrary. The other writer responded by telling him that it wasn’t the opinion itself, but the place that he expressed it.
The exact quote was —
“Rob, no problem at all. I just thought the comments section was for them, not for us.”
In case you didn’t realize, the ‘them’ that he refers to is us. The fan.
This seems to be how baseball writers [and journalists in general] feel about the public sometimes. There’s a divide there, one that keeps us apart from [and sometimes below] people that get paid to write about sports.
But Neyer points out that just because someone pays you to write, doesn’t mean you are a good writer. It certainly doesn’t mean you’re better than anyone else and you shouldn’t carry yourself that way.
I tend to agree with him and so does Craig Calcaterra.
I’m not really sure how to put an end to my thoughts for the evening, so I’ll just make you a promise.
If this website ever turns into anything or someone offers me a bunch of money to write somewhere else, I promise not to turn into an arrogant tool. Or, rather, I will be no more an arrogant tool than I already am.
Not that I’m likely to find myself in that situation, but at least I’ve got some principle mapped out if I ever do.

About Mike Luna

My name is Mike. I am an avid fan of the Texas Rangers. I like reading and jogging, but I don't do either nearly as often as I should. I like writing about more than just baseball. Your opinion is your own, but please be respectful. Everyone is welcome in The Bleacher Seats.
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2 Responses to Ivory Tower Press

  1. I have noticed that on Coaching blogs as well. Some of the more successful bloggers don’t respond to emails or comments or anything of that sort. To be fair, most of them do. But it still amazes me some of the pompous things career bloggers will do.

    Why even have a blog if you are not going to interact with your community?

    The same goes with sports casting. Why even have a comment section if you are not going to interact with the community of fans who follow you? I realize they can get really mean sometimes, but that Neyer story expresses it perfectly.

    Us vs. them? I thought we were all fans here.

    • Mike Luna says:

      If somebody wants to carry themselves in such a way that they’re a journalist and not a fan, then I completely support that. It’s fine to give up part of your love for the game so that you can express what’s left of that love in a professional way.

      But when you adopt the attitude that you’re somehow better than the masses because you get a paycheck or have X number of readers or whatever, that’s a problem. We should all be on the same team as people who love the game of baseball. I certainly don’t think I’m better than you just because I know more about it than you do.

      The idea that someone who admits that he’s a “professional blogger” would think that he’s above anyone in any way is laughable. Blogging isn’t something that should be taken so seriously, because anybody can be that anytime they want. This isn’t the 1920s when newspapers ran the world. People have choices now and the least you can do is be thankful that people have chosen you over the bajillion other people that have mastered WordPress.

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