Do Bloggers Belong in the Press Box?

I’ve hesitated to run this because I find the whole “bloggers talking about bloggers” thing a bit esoteric, but people keep asking me my opinion, so here goes nothing…

A while back, when I had the opportunity to chat with Padres CEO Sandy Alderson, he mentioned that he wouldn’t be against bringing bloggers into the press box. I learned via the Superfans message board that the Big Lead had some thoughts about this, so I gave my take. What follows is a cleaned-up version of those two posts.

Do I want to see bloggers in the press box? Well, if a particular blogger has demonstrated a certain level of professionalism and integrity with respect to their craft, then why not?

Do I want to be in the press box? Probably not, at least not in any capacity beyond adding it to my list of life experiences.

My work typically involves analyzing situations from a distance and trying to think along with the folks in charge, which doesn’t require the acquisition of choice quotes or other inside information. I’m also a fan who writes about baseball, and I like to cheer at ballgames. Being forced not to cheer would kill me.

I’m not one to say “never,” but press box access isn’t something I’ve actively sought. It’s been offered to me through various channels in the past and I’ve declined because I feel better positioned to serve my readers by remaining on the outside.

Getting back to the original question, I think it’s largely a non-issue. The first priority for folks blogging or doing anything else in life should be not to suck. Once you’ve got that nailed, the rest will take care of itself.

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68 Responses »

  1. #46@Tom Waits: If Greg Luzinski (2000+ games) , Harmon Killebrew (471 games), or even Frank Howard (1000+ games) can play left field why do you think *if* Blanks hits that he isn’t athletic enough to play left field ?

  2. #46@Tom Waits: If Kulbacki was faster, wouldn’t he have run more in his career? He basically hasn’t run at all as a pro. In college he ran more frequently (44 attempts in 160 games) but his last season he basically ran the same amount as Paul McAnulty which isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement. He’s also run less then P-Mac as a pro.

    Now he probably won’t have the same comic-like defense as P-Mac as he’s a lot lighter (35 pounds) but it might be similar. Whether or not he can play 1B probably doesn’t matter as there is almost no chance he will end up there (already being a full season behind Blanks, plus with A-Gon and the possible signing of Dykstra).

  3. Man….shows how outta the loop I am…..On the road, finally with good internet connection, ready to set up mlbtv and watch the game and the Pad’s are off!!??? Monday? Ticked off to say the least.

    I’m in LA and it’s all Manny here on TV.

    I kind of wish we had a .500 record or better and acquired someone covered nationally who could hit serious HR’s. Maybe next year or after?

    Oh well, we have awesome weather. As Mad Dog says, ” everyday you wake up in SD feels like vacation”. That’s why I live there.

  4. #50@Schlom: One bad month could slow him down next year. It could diminish his trade value. The Padres also believe in keeping teams together and trying to win at the minor league level, and the Storm have a better chance of making the playoffs.

    #52@Schlom: Career? He’s played 155 games. If you’re using stolen bases as an indication of athleticism… shouldn’t. Kulbacki’s a middle of the order hitter with a 270 ISO in his first full pro season, and he started the year with a sore leg. He’s not going to be running, and Blanks’ 20 stolen bases in 4 seasons don’t show us much.

    Whether or not he can play 1b matters in that your assertion is he has to hit a ton to play. If he has to hit a ton to play a more difficult defensive position, it follows that Blanks has to hit more than a ton to play 1b.

    #51@JP: By that logic, Adrian Gonzalez or Mike Piazza could play LF. Petco’s a big park. I seem to recall people blasting McAnulty’s play in LF, and McAnulty’s a gazelle compared to Blanks. An experienced gazelle.

    I didn’t mean the tripping video to be an indictment of his athleticism; it’s just hilarious. It actually showed pretty good grace, it’s hard to imagine the force on that one leg right after he goes over the bag. But the other clip shows exactly what “moves well for his size” means.

  5. #54@Tom Waits: I know that you may find this hard to believe but McAnulty is not the athlete that Blanks is and I would even guess that Blanks is faster than McAnulty. Were you aware that Blanks had 11 stolen bases last year and has legged out 5 triples this year ?

  6. #54@Tom Waits: I blasted PMAC’s outfield play because it was bad. Bad stemming not necessarily because of his lack of speed or because he was not a good athlete but because he would often airmail the cut off, get a horrible read on the ball of the bat or run over the centerfielder on a ball that was clearly not his.

  7. #53@Oside Jon: Enjoy that San Diego weather, we have had 11 days over 100 degrees here in Dallas.

  8. #54@Tom Waits: Sorry Waits, I just read that you were aware of Blank’s stolen bases. Not earth shattering, but if he really is the lumbering giant that can’t play the outfield then how does he swipe double digits in stolen bases and leg out 5 triples in a season ? Anyway, you led off these line of posts by saying that you like his play and potential so we may be splitting hairs but I have enjoyed the debate nonetheless. Like GY says in his 2008 prospectus, if he can handle the outfield, great…if not, then he makes a pretty nice bargaining chip.

  9. #16. Corey. I knew that would come out wrong when I said it but what I was trying to say is that as unbiased as sports writers are supposed to be, they still tend to appreciate tough and amazing plays regardless of the sport. I have never seen outloud cheering but when there is a nice defensive play by a short stop, a great diving catch by a wide receiver or something similar, you can hear a buzz throughout the press box of guys talking about what they saw. It may not be considered cheering but you know the guys like what they saw.

  10. #59@Jim: Yeah, I wouldn’t consider that cheering.

  11. #28@JMAR: “I don’t necessarily disagree. I just know that there are scouts and minor league experts who know more than we do and they’re not talking about Blanks, so what is the reason?”

    Yes, and I made sure to state that I’m going solely off numbers with no personal/scouting experience of either. If I were to hazard a guess on Blanks, I’d say it’s a size bias. There simply is not much history of guys his size making it. There are exceptions like Frank Howard and a few other big guys, but not many who were very successful. But it could be more than that; I don’t know. Whatever it is though is not showing up in his production.

    BTW, I wasn’t looking at BP’s numbers at all. My info is strictly from the Baseball Cube.

  12. #34@Schlom: Yeah, I think Blanks suffers from the fact that he doesn’t look like a prospect to a scout. I have visions of Moneyball running through my head. Great numbers, bad body = poor scouting report.

  13. #62@Pat: Scouts don’t seem to think his body is bad, in fact it seems like they love his body. Many of them don’t like how he uses it in terms of generating bat speed and such.

    Still, he doesn’t seem like he’d sell any jeans. In a lot of pictures his cap looks about 2 sizes too small.

  14. #63@Tom Waits: Yeah its like of like a Sean Burroughs type thing, they see a big kid and they expect big power, which has not really come consistently yet.

  15. #64@Steve C: It does seem to be a lot like Burroughs, except that scouts are talking about possible weakness in his swing instead of glossing over it. Burroughs almost always had solid (and sometimes great) numbers. It was probably only his pedigree and draft position that kept some scouts from worrying more about the total lack of load in his swing.

  16. Maybe the scouts are confusing Blanks with former and recent Padres farmhand Walter Young. :)

    Young had conditioning problems and couldn’t run well.

    The Missions are struggling, having been swept by Frisco at home. I am hoping to see the Missions play Springfield on Thursday.

  17. #16@Corey Brock: One comment that should be addressed is that because someone writes on the Internet, as Corey’s association with, does not automatically make them a “blogger”.

    For example at about 90% of what we put on our site is either game summaries and interviews. We believe that our audience is much more interested in hearing from those involved than our opinions. Twice a year we rank the prospects, have a player and pitcher of the month and a yearly draft review, but for the most part we try to run a news site. A big part of our job is having press access so we can be on the field before the game interviewing players/coaches along with locker room access afterwards to write game reports.

    I know in the print media the term blogger has become a type of pejoritive phrase but in reality a good blogger is about the same as a good columnist, both are writing about their opinions with varying degrees of facts to back up their assertions. Frankly I enjoy reading Geoff’s opinions more than Canepa or Sullivan because they are usually backed up by some type of numerical analysis compared to “I think..”

  18. Ringing in late on the Press Box issue…

    I personally would love the access and think that it would enhance my work. But, I also recognize the fact that it would create more hassles from a team side, i.e. credentials and crowding and costs and marketing. Not to mention player relations.

    What I have often felt would be a good compromise would be greater access to press conferences. With the use of email lists and the facilities available in most modern ballparks, there is very little to no reason why the team shouldn’t make use of the extra potential for media attention and gain goodwill with the fanbase.