After reading your comments yesterday, I passed one of them on along to Bob Kravitz. It was comment #3 by Monkey Business. Bob was good enough to clarify his answer, and I wanted to pass it along:
I guess my question is, where else can you go to get inside reporting and writing on Indianapolis-area sports? If there are websites out there that do what the Star does, please let me know; I'll bookmark them immediately. The only other sites I've seen are team-produced sites and blog-type sites like your own.
I have zero problems with what bloggers do and find a lot of them to be hysterical. I look at deadspin and the big lead every day, but there's still an appetite (I think) for old fashioned, face-to-face, go down to the locker room journalism. For instance, I don't think I've met you guys at a game, and while I'm not trashing what you do, I think we approach things from very different directions and it's important consumers make that distinction.
I would think there would always be a place for old-fashioned journalism alongside the blogging and the Bill Simmons-type stuff.
Again, thanks to Bob for clarifying. Let me tell you all the gist of what I passed on to him.
He is preaching to the choir when it comes to reporting. Our stance has always been to uphold the Chappells and Wilsons of the world and say, "Hey...no one gets us better stuff than this". We are their biggest fans.
But, now ESPN dedicates a blogger (Paul Kuharsky) to the AFC South. He frequently gets interviews and comments too. John Oesher's new Indyfootballreport.com has a bit of that beat writer feel to it as well. I know they aren't exactly the same, but they erode that argument. Now Colts fans have choices.
When Peter King 'breaks' the interview of "Manning speaks about his knee" after the season, and Michael Lombardi (not bound by journalistic standards) prints his wild accusations that "Manning's knee is a concern to the Colts both in the short and long run" (which we actually pointed out he was wrong about. I mean, he got the story of the 2nd surgery right, but he over played how long it would mess with him), it all tells Colts fans that they can get the real scoop on the team from other places besides the Star. Personally, we hate that. We know the Star gets shafted in favor of the national media. We don't like it, and have talked about it on the site. We all root for the Star. It's an old friend we grew up with, and aren't ready to part ways. I don't know that that is true true of most of our readers.
While I do think the role of columnist will have to adapt to world where thoughtful, funny opinions are easier to come by than ever, we will always need the guys in the trenches.
Finally, I wrote him:
For what it's worth, just remember, you've never met us (my brother and I) at a game, but we've been there. Every week. For more than 20 years. I've been going to games since I was 9. We've been watching every game at least twice for 15 years now. We go home from the game and immediately watch the tape, and break it down. We have no access to get the kind of interviews and insights you guys do, and freely admit it. Good bloggers (people who take it seriously) know they need the mainstream media, but we bring a lot to the table when it comes to analyzing what actually happens on the field. We've also read just about every word you guys have written on the Colts. No pressure or anything, but when what you say doesn't jive with what we see on tape or at the game, or even something you've said before, we know it.
I give Bob a lot of credit; he isn't taking a Buzz Bissinger type approach to things, but I do think he is a bit naive about how much Colts related stuff is out there, and especially about how 'qualified' we are as bloggers to talk about the actual games. Again, we love the Indy Star, and want it to keep going, but the "you need us" attitude will have to go if it is to do so.
Finally, I hope you all enjoy the 18 Questions feature, because we have some more on the way.
Simmons' mailbag brings to everyone's attention that Corey Patterson (do yourself a favor and follow that link) had the second worst VORP in all of MLB. I saw it myself, but thanks to Joel for the link.
Oehser lists #7 in the underrated Manning moments file. I flat love this series.
He also got a lot of love for Rob Morris. I love that, although I don't think the guy in this mailbag should have bagged on Rohn Stark. That dude was great.
The prez wants Dungy for a council. I think that would be a hard invite for him to turn down.
Not that anyone was still following it, but the epic debate with Guy has concluded. Before discussing the results, let me first apologize again for any disparaging remarks I made about him. As it turns out, Guy really outdid himself with some interesting research about the effects of the new draft plan on the NFL. In the end, we still disagree about the relative merits of the plan, but he has concluded that my seeding plan and the plan the NFL adopted do in fact have very similar results, and that my original plan wasn't as 'impossible' as he first thought. His numbers reveal that the new NFL plan for seeding by playoff result will result in some 'inequity' between the conferences, especially in years where one conference sends a number of near .500 teams to the playoffs. We'll have to see if this causes the severe competitive imbalance between conferences that he fears or not.