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Friday, January 31, 2014

The Hardball Times: So you want to be a beat writer

Ken Davidoff, a former beat writer and now the national columnist for the New York Post, once had a dust-up with Paul O’Neill — the reporter admits he could have given the player a better chance to respond in full to a piece he was writing — and the player was upset. O’Neill said their relationship was “done” and encouraged other players not to talk to Davidoff. “He relented after about a month, and we’ve gotten along fine since,” Davidoff says. “You’ll have to grow a thick skin if you’re really going to go after this job.

Bruce Markusen Posted: January 31, 2014 at 06:24 PM | 30 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: sabermetrics

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   1. GregD Posted: January 31, 2014 at 08:05 PM (#4649650)
Titus Andronicus forever!
   2. Howie Menckel Posted: January 31, 2014 at 08:24 PM (#4649656)

pretty accurate take.

former colleague of mine once noted while out to dinner in KC that he and the 7 other beat writers at the table all shared a particular trait in common - all divorced, after being on the beat.

   3. cardsfanboy Posted: January 31, 2014 at 08:24 PM (#4649657)
Are you ready to travel? You’ll have to travel like you never have.

Prepare to spend more than 120 nights in a hotel in your average work year.


LOL... .. I wish I could only do 120 nights in a hotel in a year(heck I've been on the road since August 8th, was home for three weeks in November and 4 days in January)... Funny that this is considered to be a negative. And then he talks about the different beds... obviously none of these guys ever served in the military. A bed, is a bed, is a bed...and sometimes a bed is a floor and it's equally as comfortable. People who worry about the quality of their sleeping arrangements are not designed for the travel life.


   4. starving to death with a full STEAGLES Posted: January 31, 2014 at 08:34 PM (#4649663)
my favorite one of these, via deadspin:

I got lost making my way from the press box to the locker room. When I finally made it the press was already surrounding Howard's locker, so I elbowed my way to the front. That's when I had an entirely new thought dominating my mind: oh, look, it's Ryan Howard's ####.
   5. AT-AT at bat@AT&T Posted: January 31, 2014 at 08:39 PM (#4649667)
But that comes at a cost. Think of Rosecrans’ two-year old daughter. Things from “changing a diaper to getting her dressed to fixing her breakfast to finally buckling her into the car seat,” things that you didn’t think you’d miss, those things you’ll miss after a while. He does.


Diaper steps on third, throws to Breakfast at second, over to Seat at first... triple play !!!
   6. cardsfanboy Posted: January 31, 2014 at 09:02 PM (#4649672)
my favorite one of these, via deadspin:

I got lost making my way from the press box to the locker room. When I finally made it the press was already surrounding Howard's locker, so I elbowed my way to the front. That's when I had an entirely new thought dominating my mind: oh, look, it's Ryan Howard's ####.


And that is the advantage of that type of job.... here I'm bragging about the new restaurant I'm at (I ate a nicely cooked medium rare bison ribeye yesterday and bragged about it....these guys get a conversation with Ryan Howard(who as a person from St Louis, consider to be awesome) ) They win...
   7. TR_Sullivan Posted: January 31, 2014 at 10:40 PM (#4649688)
1. I will celebrate my 28th wedding anniversary this summer during my 26th year on the beat covering the Rangers

2. After 26 years, I still dread walking into a Major League clubhouse. There is no worse feeling than standing around a Major League clubhouse waiting around for the people you want to talk to and they are nowhere to be found.

3. I love 7:05 p.m. I still love watching Major League Baseball.

4. I hate Twitter. I despise Twitter. I want to kill the person who invented Twitter.

5. There is nothing like that first beer after a long day in Spring Training at the bar just outside the front gate at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, especially if you get there by 5 p.m. when you can hear them play retreat.
   8. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: January 31, 2014 at 10:51 PM (#4649694)
Eh ill pass on hear the prerecorded trumptet calls, xant think of anything I would want to hear less.
   9. Dale Sams Posted: January 31, 2014 at 11:44 PM (#4649708)
obviously none of these guys ever served in the military. A bed, is a bed, is a bed...and sometimes a bed is a floor and it's equally as comfortable


Too true. Lived in my car, lived on friends bedroom floors, used shoes for a pillow camping out...I can sleep anywhere.
   10. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: February 01, 2014 at 12:18 AM (#4649715)
I remember trips coming back from minnesota to indiana, anytime the car made a left turn a box on a cooler on the seat next to me would slid and hit me in the head. Still managed to sleep through most of the trip.
   11. SoSH U at work Posted: February 01, 2014 at 12:23 AM (#4649716)
Funny that this is considered to be a negative.


Do you consider it a positive aspect to your job?

I left the business because the wife and I were starting a family, and I had already spent far too many nights and weekends at work while she (and most people) were off. The next step up for me in the profession was going to involve greater travel, and I didn't want to do that to her and the little Unacceptables to come.

I respect the hell out of beat guys, but I don't envy them.

   12. Howie Menckel Posted: February 01, 2014 at 12:28 AM (#4649717)

"2. After 26 years, I still dread walking into a Major League clubhouse. There is no worse feeling than standing around a Major League clubhouse waiting around for the people you want to talk to and they are nowhere to be found."

and I believe you know you would have dreaded it even more with NFL scene - and far less with NBA or NHL.

the MLB scenario is annoying, but the NBA has limited players and good access and the NHL needs you and the players are cool.

we just lost a MLB beat guy who was ranked 9th on the beat as a rookie 2 yrs ago and is now 4th.
WAS. he just left. he met someone and he is sane and I am very happy for his new life.

   13. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: February 01, 2014 at 06:02 AM (#4649728)

Do you consider it a positive aspect to your job?


If being away from home is a positive aspect of your job, chances are you don't like your home and/or the people that live there with you very much. I could probably add 20-30% to my yearly take if I were willing to travel more, but screw that, I'm not missing out on raising my daughter for the nonsense. Now when my daughter is gone and it's just my wife at home, well, that's a whole different ballgame...
   14. villageidiom Posted: February 01, 2014 at 07:18 AM (#4649731)
we just lost a MLB beat guy who was ranked 9th on the beat as a rookie 2 yrs ago and is now 4th.
They are ranked? Who ranks them?
   15. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: February 01, 2014 at 08:06 AM (#4649734)
Apparently advanced reporting metrics include WAS (not WAR.)
   16. cardsfanboy Posted: February 01, 2014 at 08:44 AM (#4649745)
o you consider it a positive aspect to your job?


Not a positive aspect of the job...just think that it would be nice to only be away for 120 days of the year.

I enjoy the travel aspect, have been enjoying eating at a different restaurant every night(since my brother isn't travelling with me I'm able to eat at places with real food, haven't eaten at McDonalds, Wendys or Subway in over a month) The being away part is not fun, it's a double edged sword.
   17. SoSH U at work Posted: February 01, 2014 at 09:10 AM (#4649750)


Not a positive aspect of the job...just think that it would be nice to only be away for 120 days of the year.


OK, but just because your job has an even shittier travel schedule doesn't mean a baseball beat writer's travel schedule isn't shitty.
   18. Howie Menckel Posted: February 01, 2014 at 09:12 AM (#4649751)

"They are ranked? Who ranks them?"

seniority
#sigh
   19. base ball chick Posted: February 01, 2014 at 10:58 AM (#4649775)
if i was single no kidz and didn't WANT no partner/kidz, i would LOVE to be a beat writer. well, except for the travel part. and the having to ask stupid questions to guys who don't want you there part. i already know the answers to the stupid questions and guys aren't gonna answer on the record the questions i really want answers to

i would actually rather be a scout than a beat writer (if i was single i mean) and wanted to travel and watch ballplayers and not get paid real too much

i know that with the houston chronicle, when the astros were good, they had two beat guys and they used to switch off on who went to away games and they also had richard justice who never missed a home game IF he was in town and not assigned to cover something else. and both of those guys have families.

i think that bitgod, fathers weren't real too involved with their kidz except for maybe sports with their sons. when they were older. and a lot of women didn't have no trouble being married to a man who was always gone and they liked it that way. they could be a single mom and not have to be single.

   20. base ball chick Posted: February 01, 2014 at 11:01 AM (#4649777)
also, i sure do wish that restaurants would give an option of "small portion" because they only serve HUGE freaking portions and i hate wasting food - especially because i be paying for it all myself. and it would be hard to eat a good nutritious diet too
   21. JE (Jason) Posted: February 01, 2014 at 11:05 AM (#4649778)
I can sleep anywhere.

Concur. The problem is that I can't sit on the can anywhere.
   22. simon bedford Posted: February 01, 2014 at 11:10 AM (#4649783)
waiting for their next cutting edge piece "so you want to be a flapper?"
   23. starving to death with a full STEAGLES Posted: February 01, 2014 at 11:13 AM (#4649788)
Concur. The problem is that I can't sit on the can anywhere.
there's a reason god created enemas.
   24. base ball chick Posted: February 01, 2014 at 11:32 AM (#4649800)
JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: February 01, 2014 at 11:05 AM (#4649778)

Concur. The problem is that I can't sit on the can anywhere.


- wow
i thought that was just females. you learn something new every day

so traveling is something you can't do i guess.
   25. zfan Posted: February 01, 2014 at 11:41 AM (#4649802)
Maybe we're past the day of the traveling beat writer. How many people read the write-up on a game from the daily paper anyway? Time to go to a new model. Each city has its local baseball beat guys interview players and coaches from both teams surrounding a game. They feed quotes and clips to a news service shared by others in the network, and charge a fee to blogs and national sports networks for access. A Reds reporter in Cincinnati only attends games at home or a couple key road trips a year, including any playoffs. Then he watches every game on TV, and participates in post-game press conferences by videoconference or teleconference. He adds in the quotes from the news service and writes up his articles. Not only do the beat writers not have to travel so much, the players only have to deal with a few interviewers at a time, rather than 7-8 guys all asking the same repetitive questions.
   26. JE (Jason) Posted: February 01, 2014 at 11:49 AM (#4649805)
so traveling is something you can't do i guess.

I still travel. Eventually, the head in the hotel room will suffice. (However, I won't do public restrooms unless it's an absolute emergency.)
   27. bob gee Posted: February 01, 2014 at 12:34 PM (#4649815)
tr - congratulations on your 28 years of marriage - may there be many more, and you're fortunate to have a supportive spouse.

i can't imagine being any kind of reporter in this twitter-verse. if you're not breaking stories or linking to someone who is, your 'brand' (name) takes a hit.
   28. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: February 01, 2014 at 12:42 PM (#4649817)
Well, I can't sleep anywhere.

But there's not enough money in the world to get me to take a job as a beat writer. The only time I've ever hung out with jocks was when I was playing sports, and I didn't care for it much even then.
   29. Blastin Posted: February 01, 2014 at 01:21 PM (#4649829)
Then yes, there's a lot of traveling you can't do.
   30. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 01, 2014 at 03:51 PM (#4649872)
Time to go to a new model. Each city has its local baseball beat guys interview players and coaches from both teams surrounding a game. They feed quotes and clips to a news service shared by others in the network, and charge a fee to blogs and national sports networks for access.

Newspaper economics are already driving some such arrangements. The Washington Post and Baltimore Sun swap Nationals & Orioles coverage, but it is a big step to take that approach nationwide.

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