In light of the Raul Ibanez blow-up where the red-hot Phillies LFer lashed out (rightly) against more or less baseless steroids accusations and more saliently (and less rightly) against "people who live in their parents' basements" or whatever, Geoff Baker, a Mariners "legitimate-blogger" has submitted this overly facile, self-aggrandizing and utterly beside the point "explanation" of the blogger-vs-journalist scrum.
Take a few seconds to read it, because I'm not going to quote extensively from it.
Let's skip to the part after Baker spends half his word-count waxing grandiloquent about the myriad "consequences" that his stories held for their subjects (Particularly re: former Blue Jays manager cum Vietnam war liar Tim Johnson) and get right to this quotation re: the Ibanez blogger:
In the end, [Johnson] suffered far greater than I did. Why? Because I was right.
Now, can the blogger who wrote about Ibanez say the same thing? No, he cannot. Because he never really takes a position.
He throws some innuendo out there, under a provocative headline, then couches it with a bunch of well-researched statistics on park factors, and the like. Makes it all look like a fact-finding mission.
Do you see the obvious, stupefying disjunct on Baker's part? He's confusing investigative journalism with editorial journalism. What on earth does some blogger saying "Hmmm...Ibanez is putting up record numbers. Let me crunch some statistical models and see if I can find a logical reason why this could be" have to do with Baker interviewing sources in order to write a standard lead story?
Why are people are so incapable of recognizing the internet's various outlets for sports writing for what they are?
Blogs are generally opinion. They are that by nature. On the other hand, journalism like that which Geoff Baker is thumping his chest about by nature aspires to be objective fact. There is little to no relation between the two. Just because bloggers add statistics to their posts doesn't mean they're trying to make a factual, investigative claim.
If you want to compare them to journalists (which seems a foolish venture to begin with, since they're independent in their operations for the most part whereas journalists are part of a for-profit conglom.) compare them to the Dan Shaughnessy's and Jay Mariotti's of the world--people who have almost no access beyond that of the average fan and yet who expound from a position of authority (whatever that position of authority might be).
Don't hold Deadspin to the standards of Sportscenter or Sports Illustrated. From the snarky nature of the posts to the ultra-snarky nature of the comments, it's clear that Deadspin was always built to model radio call-in shows like Jim Rome's The Jungle.
Are sports opinion columnists an inherently bad thing? The title of this blog suggests they might be--but only when they're completely uninformed. Why on earth should anyone be pitching a fit because a blogger suggested--however foolishly--that he would like to examine statistically whether it was possible that Raul Ibanez might be exploiting PED's. Why is this a bigger deal than when Jay Mariotti says "Jerry Reinsdorf is only doing __________ because he is cheap."
At least the former wasn't selling sensationalism and tabloid journalism.
Why on earth would you hold either to the standards of investigative journalism? Unless, of course, you just plain missed the point.
Baker spends the rest of the article grandstanding about what a tough guy he has to be to hobnob with "Killers, or Hell's Angels, or major leaguers and steroids" as if that's at all relevant to the topic at hand, thumping his chest about how "he has to look the players in the eye, and bloggers aren't ready to do that." Snooze.
Look--If you want to make some sweeping judgments on how sports bloggers relate to "legitimate journalists," don't compare them to investigative journalists. It's clear from their inherent lack of access that they simply can not be nor aspire to be that. Compare them to editorial journalists. And you know what? For the most part, sports bloggers compare pretty fucking favorably to those. I'll take the bloggers at Hardball Times, Baseball Daily Digest, and Ump Bump (flawed as they all are--hell, opinions are like assholes, etc) over the Mike Celizic's of the world any old day.
Too bad Baker--and everyone else, it seems--wants to compare them to Tom Verducci. Ridiculous.