[June 23rd] -- WANTED: Bloggers of all ages and sexes, from all financial, ethnic and religious backgrounds. Must live somewhere upon the Earth (or close to it). Must be able write at a first grade level. APPLICANT MUST BE A NATIONALS FAN! Apply at one of the existing Washington Nationals' blogs. There is no salary, but the fringe benefits are rewarding.
The Washington Nationals are far behind the other major league teams in most areas. They have one of the worst minor league systems. Their current stadium is as old and rusty as is their manager. The team's major league roster is a complilation of has-been's and never-wases. Now, that's all true, but also true is the fact that we as fans cannot control, and certainly cannot correct, those problems. But we as fans are lacking in one particular area, and this is a situation that can be easily corrected.
If you do a Google-search for team blogs, the returns are overwhelming for the vast majority of the major league baseball teams. Even the Kansas City Royals have a bevy of blogs. What about the Nationals? More or less, I can find roughly twenty or so blogs that update on a regular basis, with another dozen (give or take) who update weekly, monthly, or "as the need arises." Sadly, several of those that now publish irregularly used to be some of the Nationals' finest daily blogs. Please don't get me wrong, I am not blaming the bloggers who have fallen by the wayside. Far from it; I am commiserating with them. I typically update 29 days a month, a pretty good record. It takes me an average of 20-25 hours per week to research and publish my blog. I can do it because, at least for another couple of semesters, I am a full-time college student who doesn't have to work. Most of my day is spent in front of my computer anyway. I'm not sure I would even have attempted to start this blog had I been a member of the workforce. I mean, the Nats are important, but then so is paying the mortage.
So, because of the strain and drain that the real world brings upon us, our numbers are dwindling (I so miss "Banks Of The Anacostia;" he was one of my first reads every day). This small cabal that I belong to has no power, and can effect no change, and is generally an afterthought to the team that we love. Jim Bowden, and now Stan Kasten and the Lerners, are making decisions based on their perception of what we want. They don't ask us, mind you. They just say, "Hey, I think the fans would like us to crank up the P.A. system between innings and play Tony Orlando and Dawn." And so they do. A few of us might scribble some negative comment about "yellow ribbons" and "strawberry patches" but that is where it stops. No tsunamic outrage ensues. It's just a line on a blog read by a couple of hundred people a day.
But what if, instead of having 25 blogs covering the Washington Nationals, there were 250? Or 500? What if, instead of one blogger grousing about Tony Orlando, there were hundreds who demanded something more contemporary, like, say, The Beach Boys? (sorry, my personal favorite). A strong, unified blogdom could, at least in a small way, drive the discussion. Would Kasten or Bowden listen? I don't know. But they would know that the hundreds of thousands of Nationals fans, fans who today have no real voice, would be represented by a group looking after their best interests. The Yankees and Red Sox and Dodgers have relationships with their bloggers. Others might as well. Do general managers think about what the bloggers might say before the pull the trigger on a potential trade? I don't think so. But the GM's would realize that the bloggers could be their team's best friends, or they could be their worst enemies. The choice would be the team's.
Case in point: Thirty years ago, a general manager was free to make any move without fear of the fans reacting, or even remembering. The only way, for instance, for a fan to find a particular general manager's trade history was to get ahold of the Sporting News' "Baseball Register," and even then, only that one fan had the information. When Jim Bowden traded Brad Wilkerson et. al. to the Texas Rangers for Alfonso Soriano, there was a blizzard of (mostly negative) stories written by Nationals' bloggers. I wrote at least a dozen myself, covering every conceivable angle. What did it mean for the team's payroll, or long term health. Would Soriano hit at RFK? Would Wilkerson hit more homers in Texas than Soriano would in D.C.? On and on it went. Within a week, Nationals' fans knew every facet, every nuance, every intricacy, of the deal.
Nothing gets by the ticket-buyers any longer.
So, it's time you started a blog. Become part of the Nationals' bird-dogs who ferret through the minutiae to insure that every fan, everywhere, is informed about the team's goings-on. We need at least 100 blogs online by the end of the season. Some might think that we bloggers would prefer having fewer competing with us. No. The more the blogs, the more there is to read. The more there is to read, the more readers there will be. The more readers there are, the more paying fans their will be at the gates at RFK.
Leave a comment with your email if you'd like to get some help getting started. I am a computer illiterate, yet through trial and error, I was able to create a pretty unique webpage. I can show you how. I can point you to dozens of websites that help make creating and managing your blog a piece of cake. Let me help. Ask the other bloggers; I'll bet many of them would be willing to help you too.
Why do I put in the 20+ hours per week? Because, outside of my family, it's the 20 most fulfilling hours I have. Each of us views the Nationals differently. Read twenty blogs and you'll read twenty different perspectives on the Nats. Start a blog and become the blog-o-sphere's 21st perspective.
I know for a fact that the Washington media, particularly the baseball writers, are at least peripherally aware of the blogs. For one thing, Technorati links from the Post articles to the blogs, so it seems likely that the writers check out the linked blogs on occasion to see how people are "commenting" on their work.
Barry Svrluga has indicated several times on his chats that he reads some blogs from time to time, and Mark Fisher has referred to things in his blog/chats/columns that he could only know about if he were reading blogs, like the Bud Selig Google-bomb.
We bloggers have the effect of shaping "fan opinion" in the minds of the MSM, who in turn shape opinion (to some extent) for Bowden/Kasten/Lerner et al.
I'd also add that what's important is the quality of the blogs and not the quantity. Frankly, I'd rather us only have a small number of blogs that were worth reading than 100 blogs of which 75 were uninteresting and poorly written.
On the positive side, the more (good) blogs there are, the harder we existing bloggers will work to make ours that much better.
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