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History of Baseball Journalism from a Journalist.

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  • History of Baseball Journalism from a Journalist.

    "Baseball and the Media, How Fans Lose in Today's Coverage of the Game" by George Castle

    A major point throughout the book is how television and the 24/7 media circus has ruined baseball journalism. One long held reason for baseballs decline is that it was best suited for radio and football is better suited for television and eventually came to suit the fast paced lifestyle we are force-fed in today’s world. In an interview with Jamie Moyer, currently the oldest player in baseball who broke in with the Cubs in ’86, states: “The beat writers were on the plane. They were respecting of our space. There was a professional side and a friendship side. There was a balance between the two.” Castle cites that in 1984 the Cubs invited the beat writers to travel with the club for a playoff series. By 1989 media were barred from the Cubs transportations. This correlated with the first billion dollar baseball TV contract with CBS, which Castle claims: “…changed everything."

    The focus on football over baseball has, as a result lessened the glory of being a baseball beat writer into that of an undesirable entry level position where young, essentially yuppie writers want to cut their teeth for one or two years, hoping to become a columnist. Often the writers show ignorance and disregard for players privacy and as a result the information that reaches our filters is dumbed down drivel from writers both unknowledgeable about the players and the game itself. Young reporters are often bloodthirsty for a sensational story, looking to make their mark with the big score, lacking integrity and context.

    He describes baseball journalism today as an extension of show business. The big money in the game now contributing to large player ego’s resulting in large ego’s for those who cover the game. The expansion of the games coverage in the media is a strange paradox. The sport is not as popular so whatever story is written about baseball must be sensational and captivating. Castle cites the known presence of “foof” media getting credentials from MLB to cover baseball events alongside serious baseball writers. The foofs are reporters from vh1 or E! They cluster together, described as political groups within a political group, infiltrating stadiums, giving the serious baseball reporters a bad name among the teams. This, in turn, makes the real baseball writers more cliquish.
    Last edited by bluesky5; 05-01-2012, 01:33 PM.
    "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

  • #2
    What I Gather

    I find the purpose of Castles book is to both chronicle the history of baseball reporting and present reasons for the decline of quality reporting and offer opinions from himself and other veteran reporters on how their profession can again gain respectability. He is obviously a die-hard baseball fan and is very protective of and serious about his chosen profession. Castle seems to be making a popular opinion in the inner circles known to a wider audience of baseball fans. It is all parts apology, condemnation, revelation and resolution for the changes that have gone on in baseball reporting. Castle wants the reader to know that there are still honest, hard-working knowledgeable baseball journalists out there for the hardcore baseball fan to read, even if one has to look a little bit harder nowadays to find them and that these writers are fighting for the integrity of their profession and keeping out the foofs.

    Castle writes chapters in intervals (kind of), he will write about a particular situation; for example: the breakdown in media – player relations (chapters 1, 2, 3) culminating in the Jamie Moyer interview are events within his profession that precipitate the next three chapters. Which show how the changes in the media have changed the way we view players and the way that players behave as a result. Castle highlights LaTroy Hawkins and Carl Everett as examples of players attacked by the new wave media as well as Steve Carlton, famous for his counterculture, anti-government views.

    What Castle does best is eloquently describe from an inside perspective what I and many other keen observers of baseball see as a decline in quality of coverage of the game. I was convinced of this before and am even more so now. Castle does tend to wax poetic sometimes about what he sees as a bygone era that really isn’t that far away. He at times begins to sound cliché but it is hard for those of us who love the game, as I can tell Castle does, not to wax poetic about bygone eras. Times in our youth we can’t regain when the players were still heroes and not spoiled, selfish jerks (and the reporters weren’t either). This I believe is necessary to keep the book moving and add some emotion. At times he writes in a matter of fact confident demeanor and sometimes like he is beaten down and has no hope at all. I also find this to add a human element to a book that is about the de-humanization of media – baseball relations.
    Last edited by bluesky5; 05-01-2012, 01:34 PM.
    "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

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