Dodgers Introduce 'Blogger In The Box'
As the mainstream media continues to crumble around us, more and more remaining news sources are turning to the internet as a legitimate resource for information and mass appeal. You can’t watch an evening news segment without hearing the word ‘twitter’, and most every single site now has a blog associated with it. GM has a blog? Kodak? Boeing? While occasionally a corporate blog can be helpful (see also: the Google blog any time Gmail fails to function properly), for the most part they are just another buzzword that someone threw money at. And while LAist enjoys a reasonable amount of media credibility (we’re no Perez Hilton, thank god), there are still plenty of events that we can’t get into, and even more small blog sites that can’t even get their foot in the door.
Perhaps nowhere has this been more apparent than in Major League Baseball. The National Football League has somewhat shakily embraced blogs, and ESPN’s division-centric blogs and Bill Simmons' Page Two are some of the most popular stuff on their site. But the MLB is notoriously slow to deal with any change (steroids, anyone? how about instant replay?); even as beat writers have been dropping like pop flies and dozens of blogs arrive to fill the minute statistical analysis void that is left behind, there has been little to no outreach for the fans and writers who cover their favorite teams. There is no access, no friendliness, and little to no support, especially at the clubhouse level. Sports bloggers in particular have long been second class citizens in their respective fields. The Los Angeles Dodgers organization, however, is taking broad and proactive steps to change all that, and truth be told we couldn’t be happier.
As blogs have emerged, so too has the backlash surrounding them. From Perez ‘outing’ gay celebrities to the sports world where Deadspin, Kissing Suzy Kolber and With Leather will waste no time in dismantling anything you hold sacred, blogs don’t hold to the same journalistic maxims that used to exist between traveling beat writers and the people they followed. There are no handshakes and few recognizable faces. Or at least there weren’t. At the Second Annual Dodger Blogger Night at the stadium on May 6th - which in its own right is awesome for the Doyers to do - in between complimentary Dodger dogs and talks with GM Ned Colletti, the Communications arm of the organization let it be known that they’ll be instituting a ‘blogger in the box’ seat, so that during various home games bloggers can get the same access to the press box, players, and managers as any other ‘legitimate’ writer. How effing awesome is that?!
Keep in mind that this may still be out of reach for many bloggers, as the Dodgers are looking for good analytical writers who can reach a reasonable-sized audience to deliver honest material about the sport, the game of the night, and the players. But this is certainly something to rejoice at, and best of all it will begin almost as soon as the Dodgers head back into town for their latest homestand. At the Dodger Blogger Night, fanatical fans of the Dodgers and ultimate bloggers converged from different blue-inspired corners of the internet: Sons of Steve Garvey, DodgerDugout, LA Dodger Talk, TrueBlueLA just to name a few. These men (and our own lovely woman - Lisa Borodkin) came because they love the Dodgers and they love baseball. For them and us here at LAist, this level of access is not only wonderful, it is a benchmark for other teams to follow across Major League Baseball. At Dodgers Blogger Night, when asked how many of the more than twenty people were getting paid to cover the Dodgers, all but one hand remained down. For as much as technology has changed the face of our nation’s pastime, THAT is what all of this is about. A tremendous thank you to the Dodgers, who are doing right by those of us who truly are here for the love of the game.