Most people want it at one time or another. Some of them need it. Few ever achieve it.
The baseball blogger lives on the periphery, part of a community but far removed from its inner circles. His greatest advantage? Independence. His greatest disadvantage? Independence.
Years ago, as a young investor, I read an article on stock analysts and the difficulties they faced balancing responsibility to their employers (largely brokerages and mutual fund companies), the industries they followed, and the investing public. Needless to say their employers were interested in ratings that generated order flows. The industries they followed, and who provided them with some of their data and much of their guidance, were available as long as the resultant reports were not too negative. And the public? Well, let’s just say there are generally few “sell” ratings issued, at least not by analysts who want to remain employed or wish to maintain access to the companies they follow.
Bloggers, analysts of a sort, are not beholden to the teams they follow nor to any individuals – players, management, media or fans – associated with them. They are free to express their opinions, outrage and adoration. By the same token, as far as I know bloggers rarely if ever have access to most of these people either. The day may come when bloggers are poised by a player’s locker, PDA or electronic tablet in hand, taking down what he or she says and posting it nearly simultaneously, but for now that kind of access is unavailable. So, we tend to react to secondary sources, a newspaper column here, a radio or television commentary there, an internet post. What we lack is an opportunity to go directly to a source and ask our own questions. We are, perforce, observers and commentators not interlocutors.
Many bloggers might prefer to maintain their independence, but there are already precedents for others seeking and gaining access, the most notable being those bloggers who were accredited at the Democratic Party national convention last summer.
A few weeks ago I sought “press” credentials from MLB and the Philadelphia Phillies and was turned down ostensibly because, as the PR department of the Phillies told me, they have an exclusive online relationship with MLB that precludes “credentialing any online sources other than ESPN such as bloggers.” So for now, at least, I remain independent, without access, free and willing to express myself.