The closing of the Rocky Mountain News has brought a multitude of reactions from the blogging community, as another old standard in the sports world closes its doors. The real controversy has come from Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron comments on the story and Rob Neyer’s affirming those thoughts:
Sadly, newspaper demise a great time for fans
FanGraphs’ Dave Cameron ruminates:
With the Rocky Mountain News folding today, it got me thinking — where is the online baseball community headed? Between The Hardball Times and blogs like ours here at FanGraphs and Tango’s work at The Book Blog, there is a remarkable flow of tremendous content being put out simply for the sake of improving the quality of baseball knowledge available. For guys like Studes or Tango, this isn’t their career — it’s a hobby, and something they do because they love it.
The same goes true, I would suspect, for most of the new analysts we’ve seen rise up in various sites over the last year or two. From guys like Sean Smith to Sky Kalkman, Colin Wyers, Josh Kalk, Mike Fast, and all the rest, there is a deep well of talent that is advancing baseball knowledge for everyone. And they’re doing it without charging for their efforts.
Much like the open source movement in software, there’s been a revolution in the baseball community. The best content available isn’t being written in books or newspapers, or even behind subscription walls that require payments to access — the best knowledge available is free to everyone who wants it.
And, while it’s sad to watch newspapers fold and business models fail, it’s exciting to be living in an age where anyone who wants to educate themselves on the game can do so.
It’s easy to assume that every time the world changes, it’s changing for the worst. And the older one is, the easier that assumption becomes. I’m going to miss newspapers, and every time a colleague of mine loses his job, I know it could have been me and I worry for my future.
But man, this sure is a great time to be a baseball fan.
I am not so sure that I share Neyer’s enthusiasm. Yes, the proliferation of reasoned analysis and statistical exploration can be nothing but great for baseball fans. However, the reporting of stories that these writers depend on to form the basis of their articles is slowly decreasing. Blogs such as ours, RiverAveBlues, WasWatching, and the like depend just as much upon the writings of your everyday newspaper writer as they do on the blogging luminaries who do this for a hobby. I think that we may currently be living during the golden age of baseball information, where there is plenty of data coming from traditional sources as well as the statistical analysts. Let’s hope that it lasts.
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