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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The Biz of Baseball: How the BBWAA is Adapting to the Online World

Well…it’s about freakin’ time Seymour Siwoff watched Douglas Engelbart’s debut of the computer mouse video!

Some knew—many didn’t—but last year I applied for inclusion into the BBWAA. I spent a great deal of time combing through the Baseball Writers’ bylaws and constitution, and worked diligently to meet the criteria. Fulltime, paid write?,Check. Accredited with league? Check. Went to a good number of games? Check? LLC?… World Series?…. Winter Meetings and other jewel events?…. Check, check, check.

The 30 min. meeting was enlightening.

Q: “As a business writer, why do you need to be at games?”
A: ”Transactions, etc. influence the game on the field. The BBWAA members here at the Winter Meetings prove that”

Q: “Is Bizball LLC your ‘job’?
A: “Yes, but I wish it paid better.”

Q: “Is this about voting for the awards?”
A: “No. This is about working.”

There was more, but you get the idea.

In the end, I was denied, but as I said at the time, of all the things in life I have been denied for, this one ranked pretty low.

Repoz Posted: December 06, 2011 at 10:52 PM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, media, online

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: December 07, 2011 at 01:48 AM (#4008712)
I don't care to belong to any club that will have BBWAA members as a member.
   2. cardsfanboy Posted: December 07, 2011 at 01:59 AM (#4008727)
Their loss Maury.


Wait...this was Maury Brown not in the BBWAA? Seriously? I just assumed he was long ago established in it somehow. I could understand if this was some no name pissant who just started a blog, but isn't Maury Brown widely respected in most circles and is probably the premier voice on the subject about the business of baseball?

I mean I could understand them not really wanting a web only presence guy in their mix, but he adds cachet to their ranks(imho) giving them a legitimate person to point to who actually does research and quality writing.
   3. Textbook Editor Posted: December 07, 2011 at 02:54 AM (#4008757)
What #2 said.
   4. SouthSideRyan Posted: December 07, 2011 at 03:44 AM (#4008788)
I thought this was going to be about them removing the lime green background.
   5. Howie Menckel Posted: December 07, 2011 at 03:59 AM (#4008804)
I think the decision on Maury's blog could be aided by getting an idea of how many BBWAA members use it as a reference.

You have to have 10 straight years as a BBWAA member to vote for the Hall of Fame (unless they've changed it recently), so if that's why someone wanted in, they'd have to want it pretty badly...
   6. Maury Brown Posted: December 07, 2011 at 04:51 AM (#4008859)
I think the decision on Maury's blog could be aided by getting an idea of how many BBWAA members use it as a reference.
That would be one of about a bazallion things at work when applying. Suggest reading the article.

As for cardsfanboy, I owe you a beer or two. Most gracious comments but I'm not that great.
   7. Dan The Mediocre Posted: December 07, 2011 at 05:13 AM (#4008898)

I mean I could understand them not really wanting a web only presence guy in their mix, but he adds cachet to their ranks(imho) giving them a legitimate person to point to who actually does research and quality writing.


That's the best thing Maury has going in his favor. His work is necessary for anyone reporting on the environment in which baseball is played.

I know most people don't like this, but I do understand why they might reject him. If the BBWAA asks themselves "what professional baseball writers would have their work aided by being able to go to games?" then I can see why they made this decision. It's not necessarily obvious that Maury needs to go to games to do his job. How much would it help? I have no idea, as I don't have Maury's job. And I suspect that whoever is making these decisions doesn't have much of an idea either.
   8. Maury Brown Posted: December 07, 2011 at 05:32 AM (#4008919)
I know most people don't like this, but I do understand why they might reject him. If the BBWAA asks themselves "what professional baseball writers would have their work aided by being able to go to games?" then I can see why they made this decision. It's not necessarily obvious that Maury needs to go to games to do his job. How much would it help? I have no idea, as I don't have Maury's job. And I suspect that whoever is making these decisions doesn't have much of an idea either.
I'm talking often with the writers, explaining this. I want to see how attendance is influencing matters first hand. Ask GMs, managers questions about roster construction, etc. I'm getting heavily into organizational behavior. Example: Ed Wade unloads Bourn and Pence. It was driven largely -- almost entirely -- by the sale of the Astros. A massive part of how rosters are constructed is due in large part to ownership movement, push from above on GMs and it trickles down. How does a GM work within certain frameworks?
But, to add from the article:
As I said to a longtime card member on Monday night, “If being a BBWAA is about going to the ballpark, and that’s why some are turned down due to lack of attending games, then why are you at the Winter Meetings? Aren’t you kind of treading on my turf?” The member smiled and said, “That’s a good point.”
   9. Dan The Mediocre Posted: December 07, 2011 at 05:48 AM (#4008941)
I'm talking often with the writers, explaining this. I want to see how attendance is influencing matters first hand. Ask GMs, managers questions about roster construction, etc. I'm getting heavily into organizational behavior. Example: Ed Wade unloads Bourn and Pence. It was driven largely -- almost entirely -- by the sale of the Astros. A massive part of how rosters are constructed is due in large part to ownership movement, push from above on GMs and it trickles down. How does a GM work within certain frameworks?
But, to add from the article:

As I said to a longtime card member on Monday night, “If being a BBWAA is about going to the ballpark, and that’s why some are turned down due to lack of attending games, then why are you at the Winter Meetings? Aren’t you kind of treading on my turf?” The member smiled and said, “That’s a good point.”


That would easily be enough to convince me to let you in to the BBWAA, but I don't make those decisions.

And I have no doubt that part of it is that there are a certain number trying to protect print newspapers because those are in trouble. Letting in internet writers gives them more competition (though to be honest you aren't really competing with them since you don't write anything that anyone else writes about) and that weakens their current employers. The BBWAA really has to figure out how it'll survive when more newspapers fold.
   10. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 07, 2011 at 05:51 AM (#4008944)
As I said to a longtime card member on Monday night, “If being a BBWAA is about going to the ballpark, and that’s why some are turned down due to lack of attending games, then why are you at the Winter Meetings? Aren’t you kind of treading on my turf?” The member smiled and said, “That’s a good point.”


No offense Maury, but it wasn't.

That some beat writers spend time at the winter meetings covering the goings-on there has nothing to do with whether you need a BBWAA credential to do your job. Now, the answer you gave in Post 9 (access to Wade or Mills about how the sale affects personnel decisions) is a legitimate reason to give in your application to join the BBWAA. But what you wrote in the excerpt and the FA are not.
   11. cardsfanboy Posted: December 07, 2011 at 05:53 AM (#4008946)
I agree with Sosh on his 11 post, almost entirely.
   12. Howie Menckel Posted: December 07, 2011 at 06:12 AM (#4008956)
"I think the decision on Maury's blog could be aided by getting an idea of how many BBWAA members use it as a reference."

I did read the article, and I suspect that enough BBWAA members read the site to lead to a suggestion that you should be accredited.

That was my point.

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