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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sporting News Scrapping Print, Going Digital

Joe Falls…and now the rest of The Sporting News has followed.

Sporting News, a 126-year-old news magazine, will scrap its print edition and go online-only starting Jan. 1.

The online version will be daily; gone will be the weekly, biweekly and monthly editions, the company said on Tuesday.

The only print editions remaining will be the six sport-specific yearbook previews for baseball, NFL, college football, college basketball, fantasy football and fantasy baseball.

“Having spoken with many of our longtime subscribers, we recognize this is not a popular decision among our most loyal fans,” publisher Jeff Price and editor-in-chief Garry D. Howard wrote in a post on the magazine’s site. “Unfortunately, neither our subscriber base nor the current advertising market would allow us to operate a profitable print business going forward.”

“The majority of this content [posted online] is presented free and in the same manner and voice that you’ve come to expect from Sporting News,” they wrote.

Repoz Posted: December 11, 2012 at 01:50 PM | 35 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history

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   1. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 11, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4321915)
This is kind of like finding out that some distant relative you'd last seen in about 1980 has passed away. Your instinctive reaction is "Geez, I thought he died long ago."

Not that TSN wasn't once the greatest baseball publication that we'll ever see or know, but that was somewhere back during the Kennedy administration.
   2. Perry Posted: December 11, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4321921)
Not that TSN wasn't once the greatest baseball publication that we'll ever see or know, but that was somewhere back during the Kennedy administration.


Still true as late as early Nixon. One of my great childhood memories is going down to the mailbox like every 15 minutes on Saturday mornings, and eventually being rewarded with the sight of that brown wrapper.
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 11, 2012 at 02:44 PM (#4321937)
This is kind of like finding out that some distant relative you'd last seen in about 1980 has passed away. Your instinctive reaction is "Geez, I thought he died long ago."

My thoughts exactly. Thought they were just a website already.
   4. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 11, 2012 at 02:49 PM (#4321947)
I also remember hearing this same news 3 or 4 years ago. Maybe that was some other soon-to-be-dead publication.
   5. BDC Posted: December 11, 2012 at 03:10 PM (#4321984)
I was a devotee, in the late 60s/early 70s, of Who's Who in Baseball, Baseball Digest, and of course various encyclopedias, including the brand-new Macmillan. But seeing The Sporting News was like being invited into a postgraduate course in baseball. There was some seriously esoteric information on tap there, and it was hard study. I was never a subscriber, and have to admit therefore that I am not nostalgically broken up over this news. Like others, I haven't seen the print edition in a long time.



   6. Ron J2 Posted: December 11, 2012 at 03:18 PM (#4321996)
I too was a devotee in the late 60s/early 70s. But it was weirdly hard to get in Canada. They weren't keen on subscriptions to Canada (weird rules ended up costing a fortune in postage IIRC) so getting it always involved a trip to one of the few places that carried it -- usually about 4 days late.

Enough of a pain to make it hit or miss even if I did enjoy it.
   7. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 11, 2012 at 03:30 PM (#4322017)
The online version will be daily; gone will be the weekly, biweekly and monthly editions, the company said on Tuesday.


Too bad - there could have been a real market for a monthly online edition.
   8. Guapo Posted: December 11, 2012 at 03:40 PM (#4322042)
For you young folks, this is the way life used to be: let's say you were a fan of the Oakland A's living on the east coast. You would follow the team by reading the box scores in the local paper, but lots of times the games on the west coast would end so late the box scores wouldn't make it into the paper. Then lets say you noticed the A's starting third baseman wasn't in the lineup for a few games. You would then patiently wait for The Sporting News to arrive and hopefully you would then learn what happened ( benched, injury, etc.). Plus you could catch up on the box scores that didn't make into the paper.
   9. Repoz Posted: December 11, 2012 at 03:56 PM (#4322058)
You would then patiently wait for The Sporting News to arrive and hopefully you would then learn what happened ( benched, injury, etc.).

Or you could watch TWIB in hopes that someone would say something about anybody...right after a sped-up Ted Giannoulas was done chasing an aardvark across the field.
   10. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: December 11, 2012 at 03:57 PM (#4322062)
Plus you could catch up on the box scores that didn't make into the paper.

Your paper didn't print previous day's box scores? Did that only start in the 80s?
   11. smileyy Posted: December 11, 2012 at 04:00 PM (#4322070)
[10] I think it depended on the paper. Sometimes you only got line scores.
   12. Hello Rusty Kuntz, Goodbye Rusty Cars Posted: December 11, 2012 at 04:07 PM (#4322082)
Then lets say you noticed the A's starting third baseman wasn't in the lineup for a few games. You would then patiently wait for The Sporting News to arrive and hopefully you would then learn what happened ( benched, injury, etc.).


It was usually polio, smallpox, or failure to weat an onion in his belt.
   13. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: December 11, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4322098)

Plus you could catch up on the box scores that didn't make into the paper.

Didn't these appear in the following day's paper?

I also remember as a kid calculating our fantasy baseball standings by hand every weekend using the most recent TSN (or maybe it was Baseball Weekly).
   14. AndrewJ Posted: December 11, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4322102)
I was a devotee, in the late 60s/early 70s, of Who's Who in Baseball, Baseball Digest, and of course various encyclopedias, including the brand-new Macmillan. But seeing The Sporting News was like being invited into a postgraduate course in baseball. There was some seriously esoteric information on tap there, and it was hard study.

TSN stopped running a lot of the real esoteric baseball information in the mid-1960s when it went to its all-sports format; the guys responsible for that stuff, like Bob Davids and Cliff Kachline, started SABR in 1971.
   15. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: December 11, 2012 at 04:15 PM (#4322106)
Plus you could catch up on the box scores that didn't make into the paper.

Your paper didn't print previous day's box scores? Did that only start in the 80s?


depends on the time zone you lived in, and where you lived in relation to where your local paper was published.

you might miss the west coast games, and under the standings, if you're were checking for scores you'd see the dreaded 'Los Angeles at San Diego, late.'
Our paper was pretty good about eventually publishing the 'late' box the next day, but not always.

TSN was good for that. This is where a hotel version of the USA Today on the east coast was always worthless. You'd get an early deadline paper, and virtually no box scores that weren't played in the eastern time zone.
   16. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 11, 2012 at 04:22 PM (#4322121)
Then lets say you noticed the A's starting third baseman wasn't in the lineup for a few games.


I was all ready to say "probably just Wayne Gross being terrible again," but then I looked him up and he was a better player than I realized. Although it's surprising how little it took to put up a decent OPS+ in the early 1980s.
   17. AndrewJ Posted: December 11, 2012 at 04:48 PM (#4322167)
This is where a hotel version of the USA Today on the east coast was always worthless. You'd get an early deadline paper, and virtually no box scores that weren't played in the eastern time zone.

And as terrific as The National was, that was its Achilles heel as well -- you wouldn't get Tuesday night's West Coast box score until Thursday morning's edition.
   18. I Am Not a Number Posted: December 11, 2012 at 05:20 PM (#4322230)
you might miss the west coast games, and under the standings, if you're were checking for scores you'd see the dreaded 'Los Angeles at San Diego, late.'

Dreaded indeed. I lived in an east coast city and when my team played on the west coast, I wasn't seeing the boxscore until two days later, when the newspaper would play catch up with missed west coast boxscores.

For you young folks, this is the way life used to be

8 - You nailed it. My experience exactly. Without being old enough to have lived through that, younger people will find your history lesson unfathomable, almost like we're the old guys in Monty Python's Four Yorkshiremen skit.
   19. Gonfalon B. Posted: December 11, 2012 at 05:43 PM (#4322264)
Not only is it 500 times easier to hear about a no-hitter in progress nowadays, but you can flip the channel with 100% expectation that you'll get to see live coverage of the 9th inning.
   20. Ron J2 Posted: December 11, 2012 at 05:45 PM (#4322266)
For you young folks, this is the way life used to be


One useful example. I didn't see an in-season report of batter's walks until 1984.

I can recall drafts in my strat league (keeper league started in the 70s and still running) where we simply didn't know how many walks a batter had (never mind the splits on the card)
   21. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 11, 2012 at 05:55 PM (#4322271)
I love the classic newspaper box score. In its basic form it conveys so much information and is just so aesthetically pleasing.
   22. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: December 11, 2012 at 05:56 PM (#4322272)
and eventually being rewarded with the sight of that brown wrapper.

Eh, I've traveled and lived around the world and the two best things that come in brown paper/wrapper are original Tommy's burgers in LA and fish and chips in Australia. Though in both those cases I'm thinking the grease/oil may have turned the wrapping paper more brown then intended originally...
   23. jobu Posted: December 11, 2012 at 06:08 PM (#4322282)
I also remember as a kid calculating our fantasy baseball standings by hand every weekend using the most recent TSN (or maybe it was Baseball Weekly).

Yes, this, in the 1980s. Including holding onto the older editions so you could subtract out old statistics for free agents and traded players. It was an 8-10 hour experience every week for me, before we went onto non-web-based paid stat services to do this.

I remember the team notes from the 1970s--A's Acorns, and the like.

It was "Baseball's Bible," in its day.
   24. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: December 11, 2012 at 06:30 PM (#4322306)
another irritating thing was if you were in an AL only town (or vice versa) and there was a crowded sports section and something had to go, it was always a box score or two from the 'other' league. Or it was edited in a random way by the copy desk. Maybe the pitching lines were omitted, or maybe they cut out the umpires, TOG and Attendance, or sometimes you got just the line score.

I wondered how that discussion went.
Desk: "Hey Skip, Reds at Padres, or Phillies at Giants, which one goes?"
Chief: "I ####### hate Pete Rose, gimme the Phillies, Carlton pitches tonight."
   25. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 11, 2012 at 06:32 PM (#4322308)
The real descent began with J.G. Taylor Spink's death in late 1962. His son wasn't up to his legacy.

Then the classic look gradually faded away in 1963-64, when the front cover went all photographic instead of featuring Mullin / Darvas / Hubenthal / etc. cartoons. In many ways those cartoons were what gave TSM its most distinctive look.

Most everything else stayed in place for the rest of the decade, and in fact when Leonard Koppett came along sometime in the late 60's or early 70's that was a huge addition. But for sheer depth of coverage down to the minors (with box scores down to Class AA) and for features and visuals that you couldn't find anywhere else, TSN's true heyday was from about 1946 through 1962. Trust me on this one. (smile)
   26. just plain joe Posted: December 11, 2012 at 07:16 PM (#4322340)
The real descent began with J.G. Taylor Spink's death in late 1962. His son wasn't up to his legacy.


All too true in many endeavors, alas.
   27. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 11, 2012 at 07:24 PM (#4322353)
I remember the team notes from the 1970s--A's Acorns, and the like.


Tribe Tidbits! Astronotes! Yankee Doodles! Metscellaneous!

The team blogs here should have adopted those names. They'd be a lot more popular.
   28. I Am Not a Number Posted: December 11, 2012 at 08:54 PM (#4322451)
All too true in many endeavors, alas.

Which is an argument for adult adoption.
   29. Justin T., Director of Somethin Posted: December 11, 2012 at 10:06 PM (#4322480)
The online version will be daily; gone will be the weekly, biweekly and monthly editions, the company said on Tuesday.

So they're going to have a website.

I got The Sporting News for a couple years in junior high or so. This was after having an SI subscription courtesy of Gramps for a number of years. The Sporting News kicked SI's ass.
   30. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: December 11, 2012 at 10:39 PM (#4322512)
Geez. Thought they'd gone digital-only about a year ago. I had a cheap sub to the biweekly mag, & after it went monthly I received only a single issue. Poked around the the net a few weeks ago & saw no reference to a continuing print existence at that time. Oh, well.

Man, I loved TSN as a kid, as much because it was the only steady source for American Basketball Assn. news (columns by Jim O'Brien &, later, Woody Paige) as for its unparalleled baseball coverage. I remember after I got out of the hospital in the fall of '76 (my senior year of high school) after a failed attempt to diagnose what turned out some 12 years later to be Crohn's disease, I either missed my sub copy or my sub had lapsed, & since no place in my hometown carried it, I walked the 6 miles to the county seat to buy a copy, even though that marked the early part of the first post-merger NBA season. (Good thing they had it in stock. Good thing, too, that our high school counselor happened to see me & gave me a ride back home.) We didn't have a car at that time because ours had been totalled by a drunk driver who ran off the road & smashed into our '63 Rambler in the hopsital parking lot while my mother was visiting me. Not-so-good times.
   31. Lassus Posted: December 11, 2012 at 11:36 PM (#4322570)
BRING OUT YOUR DEAD
   32. fra paolo Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:58 AM (#4322624)
we're the old guys in Monty Python's Four Yorkshiremen skit

That originally appeared on the At Last the 1948 Show with Marty Feldman, Pythons John Cleese and Graham Chapman and the Goodies' Tim Brooke-Taylor.

Before Monty Python, there was Marty Feldman's show on ABC.
   33. Dan Evensen Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:23 AM (#4322644)
I feel obligated to post in this thread.

Your instinctive reaction is "Geez, I thought he died long ago."

Absolutely. This announcement comes as no surprise to those who remember when they started their daily PDFs a few years back. Over the last decade or so, I've actually had a hard time finding stores that sell TSN. It would have been forgivable if you did not know there was a printed product left to discontinue.

TSN is an excellent example of a very important newspaper that was mismanaged into obscurity. Looking into the future from the vantage point of the 1950s and early 1960s, I don't think anybody would have seen its demise coming.

What absolutely flabbergasts me is that this paper became less relevant as the statistical revolution in baseball took off. TSN was the paper that printed the boxscores that Bill James and company used to do their analysis in the first place, for crying out loud. One would think that a halfway competent management group would have figured out a way to cash in on its huge market share on baseball boxscores in the 70s and 80s. Instead, they did away with them, and all the statistically minded fans went elsewhere.

TSN tried to become Sports Illustrated. For the life of me, I'll never understand why.

By the way, their daily publication stinks. I can't think of a single reason to go the TSN website, honestly. And thank God for SABR's Paper of Record subscription!
   34. Howie Menckel Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:24 AM (#4322647)

Paul Allen spent a zillion dollars on TSN in the mid-1990s on real live beat writers penning newfangled innerwebs items that couldn't fit in the local paper.

With the right market dominator people, I wonder if it could have worked.

Instead, the stereotypical nerds on the couch pontificating were more adept at finding an audience/eyeballs, among many variables.

   35. J.R. Wolf Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:07 AM (#4322694)
Hurray for original Tommy's burgers in L.A. - two double chili cheese tommyburgers for the win.

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