Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Comments! We Have Comments!

First of all, thank you for reading my blog.

Very honestly: I thought the only people reading were some members of my family, a few loyal friends (Hi! Lisa W, Jamey and Mike) and another friend who says they read it regularly but I have my doubts (you know who you are – if you are reading). It’s always been an exercise in self-expression and free speech that I’ve written mainly to amuse myself – again thank you for playing along.

Now to the subject at hand: comments on the blog.

In response to the poster formerly known as Mr. Anonymous: Yes, I do think the local and national media pay way too much attention to Twitter and that there’s a good possibility that it could lead to a delay getting news to the rest of the non-twitter fans.

I asked a friend if I could take a look at her Twitter account and checked out how many “followers” the local Ranger beat writers have: do you realize that Jamey Newberg has more followers than each of the beat writers? That the total “followers” for all five writers (Sullivan, Wilson, Andro, Grant and Durrett,) is around 3,700 – and I’m pretty sure there are many duplicates who follow all five which brings down the total. That is fewer people than are on Jamey’s mailing list. That is only about 15% of the fans who attend a Ranger game on a weeknight (assuming a crowd of 25,000). Why is the media so intent on catering to just a select few? I understand the competition for getting the story first – that has been around since Pheidippides ran from the battfield at Marathon to Athens. To my mind the Twitter situation is much the same as philosophical conundrum of perception vs. reality: if a tree falls in the forest but no one is there to hear it does it make a sound? Is it really that important to get your 140 letter tweet up first when the majority of fans you want reach can’t / won’t read it?

As for the issue of a delay, here’s an example: last week when Warner Madrigal left his throwing session with forearm stiffness MLB.com had the story up on the blog around 12:40 (CST), the Startlegram around the same time (12:44 CST) while the DMN blog entry wasn’t online until about an hour later (1:40 CST). Granted, it was not as if one of the impact pitchers was hurt, but I’m pretty sure Evan Grant had his tweet of the injury up at the same time as everyone else. However, the DMN blog entry went online almost an hour later. Was it because he already “tweeted” it – so the rest of the non-tweet readers would just have to wait? Is this a portend of the future? I hope not, but to use a twitter buzz word: it is a “trend” worth watching. Plus, I would think that kind of “trending” would be bad thing for the Star-Telegram and Dallas Morning News writers – their employers (newspapers) are in enough trouble - if the writers are relying on Twitter to get the news out first – then aren't they leaving out a large portion of their readers - aren’t the newspapers supposed to be drawing in readers not excluding them?

One more thing to keep in mind about Twitter is accuracy. During the winter meetings I was reading MLB Trade Rumors - they were constantly publishing tweets - what I found interesting is to go back and see how many of them were not true, many weren’t - some not even close. As I’ve said before: it is so very sad that sports media editors are forcing their writers to whittle baseball news to 140 characters – and many times not even an accurate 140 characters. Sports Journalism – in general – has been degrading ever so slowly over the past 25 years (which coincides directly with the rise of ESPN on television) it seems that Twitter is just hastening the process of reducing that once masterful art into a bumper sticker.

Scooper, thank you for the kind words and the support. I don’t know that many would say I have positive outlook on the Rangers (certainly no-one in Ranger management would). I love the minor leagues, watching the players at AA and AAA always gives you hope: for them, for the organization for the game of baseball in general. As for the major league team – well, my good friend Jamey Newberg is always a better source for optimism. I write what I feel about this organization. Having been a fan since Pat Corrales was managing and John Ellis was the primary DH, I’ve loyally slogged through enough dashed expectations to have learned the lesson of the Italian proverb “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me”. Or to put it in more modern terms from Pete Townshend (and sung by Roger Daltrey – who turned 66 this week – can you believer it?) “We don’t get fooled again.” I’m glad the Rangers minor leagues have been rated highly – but that has not  shown itself as consisent success on the major league roster  – yet – especially in the most important and always lacking portion of the Rangers history: pitching (don’t forget that two of Texas' first round pitchers drafted in 2000’s are now pitching in Chicago). I hope this season will be different, but I’m yet to be convinced. By the way, I’m not alone in my reticence – Jim Reeves latest column  is a must read on that very subject.

The bottom line is that I know most cases like Twitter (and the fact that most fans are picking the Rangers to win the AL West)  I’m in the minority - it is just one fan’s opinion. The good thing is it seems to have lead to a lively discussion (long live the first amendment!)

Finally – not much baseball to talk about - again - this week.  I can’t get worked up about intrasquad games, or even early Spring Training games – although I’ll be tuned in to Eric and Dave on Thursday, because, well just because.

Thank you again for reading and writing! – Marla Hooch