Jack Lambert retired.
Here that?Â That’s the muffled sound of cars running in closed garages all over East Tennessee.Â There are big problems in the area.Â Well, big problems unless you advertise on sports radio here and want your ad heard in between the “Fire Fulmer” calls.Â It seems like I wrote this exact post exactly one year ago.Â Oh yeah, I did.
After the stats about how long it’s been since the Vols won an SEC Championship, coasting since 1998, and how good Florida is every year, we’ll be asked that age old question…
“When are we gonna get somebody in here that can get it done?”
My buddy Greg sent me this article at ESPN about a 9-year-old boy in Connecticut who has been told his 40 mph fast ball makes him “too good” to pitch in his baseball league.Â Teams have refused to play when he pitches, and his team is being disbanded at players redistributed to other teams.
But Vidro says he didn’t quit and the team refuses to disband. Players and parents held a protest at the league’s field on Saturday urging the league to let Jericho pitch.
It sounds like there are some political shenanigans going on beneath the surface because the kid isn’t playing for the team league officials wanted him to play for.Â My initial reaction was, “This is an outrage!Â He’s pitching amongst his peers.Â They should adjust to his speed and become better batters.”
He’s not pitching against his peers.Â The age groups in little league are set up as a guideline for skill level.Â His skill level is greater than most people his age, at least in this particular league.Â Why don’t his parents let him play in either a tougher league or with older kids?Â Those are his peers.Â Are they afraid for him to have to compete too?
I don’t see either party as being in the right on this one.Â The league is in the wrong to punish a kid and his teammates for being good at the game, but if the kid and his parents truly believe he’s on his way to becoming the next Randy Johnson, maybe they should consider having him play with kids who can challenge him.Â If they don’t, everyone’s may catch up to him in a few years, and he’ll be left reliving the glory days of striking out second graders.
This guy is fired up and candid. I love watching Bob Costas throw out a chum of a question and seeing Bela Karolyi attack. I heard today that there are rumors he has been banned from the gymnastics arena in Beijing. I’m not sure if that’s true–it may be that he’s happy sit in the studio with Costas sipping lemonade and cashing fat checks–but if it is true, the viewing public is the real winner.
Outspoken guys with accents and bad tempers always make for great TV.
And who cares how old a competitor is? If the goal is to find out who is best, age shouldn’t matter.
“Badoop Badoop it!”
That’s heard commonly at our house if the television is on. It’s code for using the fast forward feature on the DVR. Ours doesn’t make that sound, but the TiVo does, and it’s more fun to say than “fast forward”.
I can’t wait to badoob badoop the Olympics. Why? Because if I badoop badoop everything but the actual sports, it will only take me 15-20 minutes a day to see everything. That’s because coverage of the Olympics isn’t very sports centric lately. Now it’s all about human interest–13 minute profiles of athletes that highlight the sacrifices they’ve made and the obstacles they’ve overcome.
Note to NBC–Every Olympic athlete has sacrificed and overcome obstacles to get there. That’s one of the things that separates them from the people who are almost Olympic athletes.
The reason we watch sporting events is for their inherent drama. These events have a way of creating drama all on their own. When Jim Nance tries to force it down my throat that this is a dramatic event because someone didn’t skip swim practice on the day their dog was being neutered or overcame their fear of crowds to run the 100m in a large stadium, it just waters it all down.
But then I guess those stories are a dime a dozen too.
Tennessee is the top ranked team in the nation? In basketball? Men’s basketball?
You have to understand, I attended the University of Tennessee during the reigns of Wade Houston and Kevin O’Neil. I was a pretty die hard fan back then. Of course it was easy to sit in the front row of the student section back then. But my memories of Tennessee basketball consist of Carlus Groves and Steve Rivers running their version of the shake and bake (mostly off the court bake), and poor Allan Houston carrying the load on his own. I guess that’s not totally fair. Houston had help from
Token Lang Wiseman and Corey Allen. Of course they were canceled out by Gannon Goodson and Jay Price, both of whom I can vouch for as really nice guys, even if they weren’t great players.
Who would have thought back then that just 16 short years and…hang on, let me count them…four coaches later the Vols would be ranked #1?
Now that the big game is over and decided, it will be nice to hear local sports call in shows get back to talking about what really matters. Of course, I’m talking about football: “Guys, do you think we’ll beat Flarda this year?” and “When are they gonna git rid of Fulmer?”
See, basketball don’t really matter ’round here. Did you notice the players weren’t jumping up and down after the big win? It’s because all they care about is football too.
Or maybe they have class and they expected to win?
I’m not affiliated with and don’t have any knowledge of the newspaper business. You could make the case that this doesn’t make my opinion worth much, but if you consider the performance over the last few years of people who do know the business, maybe doing something different warrants some consideration.
At my newspaper, we have been distributing daily top 10 lists of articles based on page views to the entire newsroom for a year or more. The lists are not used for compensation and do seem to provide instant market insights about what readers found interesting.
The way I see it, newspapers, for now, are positioned to provide three things that are at a high premium and that most blogs/bloggers can’t deliver. I think most would be wise to capitalize on these by shifting the state of mind from being a newspaper to becoming a news organization/outlet/center:
Not just good writing. For now, newspapers have a large market share of excellent writers. That’s a part of the market I’d want to keep. Let the good writers go if you have to, but keep the excellent writers around. That means paying them well. If you don’t, you will eventually lose the excellent writers to their own endeavors, and you’ll be stuck with nothing but good writers. Good writing is nice, but it doesn’t make you much more special that the thousands of independent blogs that feature above average writers.
The time, resources, and energy it takes to dig (and dig, and dig) for a story set newspapers and real journalists apart from everyone else. Give us more stories that take time to develop. Give us stories that, in short, no one else can. In most cases, that would mean increased concentration on local news, and pulling back on stories happening elsewhere. And sports? Please. The account of a football game that was attended by 100,000 people, viewed by millions, and opined about (real time) on countless message boards and blogs has little value the day after the event. Does it sell copies? I’m sure of it. Does it sell as many copies as it did 10 years ago? I’d guess probably not, per capita. And if you’re now going to count web clicks instead of copies, newspaper web sites definitely don’t have the market share that the print version of the paper had 10 years ago. It doesn’t seem like a good place for resources long term. It may be time to start scaling back or redirecting resources.
Being community hubs
Newspapers have a huge asset that takes years to create–name recognition in their local markets. It makes sense to capitalize on that by being first to that market with resources that connect the community. Instead of viewing local bloggers as competitors and hacks, find a way to leverage them as a way to drive traffic. Become the place that the community uses to find local blogs. The bad news? It’s may already be too late. In my local market, the News Sentinel caught on remarkably early, and even goes so far as to feature bloggers on the front page of their web site on the weekends and has built a community aggregator. In other markets, it has taken a while, and links to other sites and blogs still aren’t featured or easy to find. As a result, other organizations have stepped up and are trying to fill the void left by what should have been the logical market owner.
It is great to see some newspapers are catching on and are willing to try something new or go in a different direction. At the same time, it’s frustrating to see the industry as a whole belly aching about its problems. Face the facts–not only are the rules of the game changing rapidly, but the game itself is evolving.
I mean, this isn’t the record industry. You guys may actually have to change.
Unlike everyone else, I slacked off and waited until 2008 was officially here to do my review. 2007 was my first year of full on blogging. I’d messed around here and there with different blogs before, but 2007 was the year I drank the Kool Aid and went at it for real. I’ll keep this list confined to what occurred on this blog. You’ve probably guessed by now that I’m somewhat guarded about the personal life. Enough about me…here are my thoughts on my 10 most notable posts of 2007:
Ron Paul’s Presidential Run
At times it seemed to me that Ron Paul news was taking over this blog. On one hand I feel like I need to apologize for that, but on the other hand, it’s my blog and that’s what I was interested in. Luckily, I wasn’t the only one who was excited by Dr. Paul’s message, and I hopefully played a small part in helping him get elected. More on that later this year, as I have some thoughts on what is realistic, and what is for the best.
Knox County Scandals
There were more in 2007 than I can even count. That makes you wonder how much stuff is going on that we haven’t even heard about yet. Last week I saw a t-shirt that read, “Miami: A sunny place for shady people.” Knox County seems to have the market cornered on shadiness this year.
People Getting Nekkid and Almost Nekkid
I got a ton of traffic this year writing articles about Vanessa Hudgens, along with a couple of articles about the Inskip teacher who had arguably inappropriate photos on MySpace. I don’t really care who gets naked and takes photos of it, I just wonder how people can do that and not retain ALL digital copies of the material. Idiots.
Barbie Cummings and the Highway Patrol
This was just a funny local story that ended up causing me to exceed my bandwidth when it went national and I ended up ranking #3 on Google for “Barbie Cummings Blog”. Since then, Ms. Cummings life has apparently changed dramatically, much for the better. How do I know that? I’m resourceful, and it didn’t take much digging anyway. Nevertheless, it seems like she wants to leave that part of her life behind her, so I think it’s time this story finally died and went away, never to be mentioned here again.
Tennessee Smoking Ban
Thank you to our state’s elected leaders for writing and enforcing personal choice laws on private property. If you really want to look out for me and mine, stop wasting our tax dollars on this crap. Next thing you know we’re going to have to provide health care for people who would’ve otherwise died if you’d not spent millions trying to keep them from smoking.
Some people I know IRL also started blogs this year. It’s funny that you can go months or years without talking or emailing with someone, and this medium puts you in the position to “converse” with them every day. Even when it isn’t dialog, you read what they write and they read what you write. Very cool. Not to mention the countless other blogs I’ve begun to read that I never would have learned about if I’d not started blogging for real this year.
The War On Education
Also known as the public school system. I feel like I don’t spend enough time or energy talking about this because I think it’s the number one problem facing our country. Solutions are anything but clear and simple, but one thing I’m very excited about for this coming year is that I’ve got an idea that may help a little, at least for individuals. I’m finishing up some other projects, and then I’m going at it full force.
Blogging About Blogging
As I said, 2007 was my first year blogging full throttle, and boy did I learn a lot. I posted a ton of stuff about monetizing, driving traffic, building networks, linking to other people, and I’m sure lots of other stuff that annoys people. I can’t help it…my interest is peaked. Another project I want to tackle for this year is keeping that stuff off of this site and directing it to a different blog that is dedicated to that subject.
The One I Wish Was More Popular
Just a couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about The Wire. I really wished more people watched this show, especially the season that starts next week which will address the media. I’ve had several great conversations with people who watch The Wire, and I’d love to bring more of them to this venue. In fact, I think I’m going to, despite the fact that most people don’t know about the show. At least I’ll have the bragging rights that a couple of people heard about it from me when they are finally turned on to it.
After yesterday’s post, I’ve had a chance to read a little more and think about the issue. This is so obviously a free market issue to me. If baseball fans demand a clean up, we’ll have one. Frankly, I don’t think many of the baseball fans that are left really care one way or the other.
HungryMother brought up health issues in yesterday’s comments. Admittedly, a health issues exist, but are the health issues of baseball players a concern of Congress? Should Congress also step in and do something about the years shaved off of pro football players’ lives? Average life expectancy for football player is 55 years, and only 52 years for linemen, according to this article, and the NFL has arguably the most stringent drug policy of all the professional leagues in the U.S. Consider boxing and stock car racing.
Should Congress investigate every time someone’s chosen occupation is a risk to their life and health?
People make personal choices, some of which shorten their lives. Athletes are people too. Some choose to use steroids and risk their health and lives in doing so. Others choose to participate in a sport that takes years off their life by itself. How much resolution to we really need in federal regulation and oversight?
The report everyone’s been on the edge of their seat anticipating was released today.Â Of course, there were the names you’d expect to seeÂ (Bonds, Giambi, Sheffield, and McGwire), butÂ there were some surprising names on the list:Â Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, and Eric Gagne, among them.Â Notice something here?
The pitchers are/were juicing too…not just the hitters!
This changes everything in my mind.Â I’m moreÂ than happyÂ to let any records aÂ steroid userÂ attained competing against a bunch of otherÂ steroid usersÂ stand.
Ask not why these players were juicing, ask whyÂ the rest of the leagueÂ wasn’t!Â
The report culminated a 20-month investigation by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, hired by commissioner Bud Selig to examine the Steroids Era.
The real question should be, “why the hell are my tax dollars being spent to fund a 20-month investigation into a kids’ game?”
Note to Congress:Â this is why we have a media.Â
If When the truth comes out about steroid use in baseball, it will be baseball’s problem to deal with.