Bloggers in the press box

The Dodgers have let bloggers into their press box. Phil Gurnee of True Blue L.A. gives us the lowdown:

First off, front row is tops no matter how high you are, front row right behind home plate, with protection overhead is about as good as it gets. My only concern was taking a foul ball in the noggin while I was writing. The media has a good thing going. The Dodgers provide them with pages of pre – game notes filled with information that bloggers have spent hours in the past figuring out for themselves. The Dodgers provide a buffet that they subsidize which includes sandwich meats, grilled chicken, prime rib, various mexican entree’s, and salads. For free you get drinks, popcorn, cookies, and Ice Cream. When the game ends the Dodgers provide within 1/2 an hour a complete post – game synopsis with more data then you could ever hope to include into a game recap.

I didn’t take full advantage of everything being credentialed means. I never made it onto the field, I didn’t interview anyone. Many of you might have jumped full tilt into this opportunity and maybe it was wasted on me but I was content to just stay in the press box, write, comment, and enjoy the moment. I’m a blogger and don’t fancy myself a reporter.

I’m not one of those Shi’ite bloggers who think that being allowed access to the world of beat reporting some sort of betrayal to the concept of blogging or whatever. While there are still some important differences between bloggers and professional writers, it’s not 2005 anymore, the “war” between bloggers and the mainstream media is beyond passé. Readers don’t care if you’re inside or outside, plugged-in or not. If you write well and have interesting things to say people will read you. If you don’t, they won’t, and it doesn’t matter where your byline appears.

But I think I’d still resist the press box for a very important reason: if you sit in the press box you’re not allowed to cheer and you’re not allowed to drink.

Think about that for a minute and ask yourself: could you even watch, let alone enjoy baseball if you weren’t allowed to cheer or drink? OK, maybe I could live without the beer if I had too, but I cheer even at games between teams I don’t care about, and I’m not sure anything could stop me from doing so if I were sitting in the really good seat of the press box.

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Comments

  1. Slugger O'Toole said...

    I would like to see teams release these aforementioned pre-/post- game press releases to the public at large via their websites. Doing so would not cost the team anything and would open up more accurate and expedient writing from bloggers (not that that is generally a problem) and give fans more insight into the game.

    Maybe its my simple big city ways, but I don’t understand MLB’s constant attempts to control and subsequently monetize information and such crap like this. The more free baseball crap out there, the more I end up spending money on tickets, beer and merch- oh well.

  2. Michael said...

    This is a critical step for sports reporting – not having a handful of beat writers lording their “insider” access over us, including their agreed interpretation of what and who is important, is huge. Imagine: Jeff Kent goes from plucky, outspoken clubhouse leader to cranky arse overnight. Players get questions other than “how did it feel to hit that home run?”

    As for “not allowed to drink” – if you’re ever in the box, look for the guys with strangely foamy amber fluid in their soda cups. I can guarantee you a non-zero percentage of the mainstream media guys are imbibing, especially the older ones. I’ve been there, I’ve seen it.

  3. Brian said...

    As a member of the “media,” I’ve had some difficulties with the no cheering in the press box rule at times.  My role is a little different though, as most of the time I’m a play-by-play person employed by one of the teams involved in the game.  Can you imagine Ron Santo (for example) not cheering for the Cubs?  In many cases, the radio booth is separate from the rest of the press box, but not always.  If I’m covering a game and not calling play-by-play, I do my best not to outwardly cheer for one team or the other, but in most cases I’m cheering like crazy on the inside;-)

  4. Greg Simons said...

    I know I’m a bit anal about grammar, and I’m sorry for picking on Phil Gurnee, but if I gave a blogger credentials to a game and saw the half-dozen typos in the two paragraphs Craig posted here, I’d be rather pissed.  I’d be equally pissed if I saw the same thing in the LA Times or some other “professional” publication, but they have copy editors that are supposed to catch stuff like this.

    Sorry, just my rant against the decline of writing ability everywhere.

  5. matt said...

    I think it would be cool to take in a game or two from the press box, but I agree that it would be tough to give up beer and cheering at a baseball game. Is it cheating to use your press pass to get into the stadium for free and then go find some nice place to stand where you can drink and cheer to your heart’s content?

  6. michael standish said...

    No cheering and no drinking, eh?

    As J.P. Donleavy said, “No joy, no juice, you pigs no use.”

  7. Phil Gurnee said...

    Greg you are welcome to take your free time and be my editor any time you want. I’ve got a 60 hour a week job, and put about 10-20 hours a week into the blog, my writing needs work but for some reason I concentrate on the content more then the grammar. If you had read my whole story you would have seen that I recognize my shortcomings in that area. I’m not a professional writer, I’m a programmer who has been shortchanging the English language for 30 years.

    Thank for the link Craig, as I mentioned in the story, not cheering was the hardest part. It would have been much easier to sit on my hands at a Giant/Padre game then at a game involving my Dodgers.

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