I can see both sides of the story in the current imbroglio between the FutureAngels blogger and the Salt Lake Bees. The blogger wanted to be treated like the press but sell the images he gathered from this press access. The team wants to control who profits from its product.
As THIS maudlin, self-aggrandizing bitch-fest attests to, the thinnest-skinned blogger on Earth has a high opinion of his contributions to the Angels’ organization. But much like MLB’s current fight in the courts to control everyday fans’ use of players’ stats in Fantasy Leagues without paying a licensing fee, the monopoly-first attitude of professional baseball seems unfairly aimed at fans making an occasional buck off the game they too love.
You can extrapolate this dilemma both ways - I recall a bootleg recorder at a Bob Dylan insisting I not howl out loud during any songs, but I am disappointed at some of the Dylan concert bootlegs I own with non-stop crowd chatter during some amazing performances.
We all buy a ticket for the game, but does that give US the right to merchandise the experience for all 9 innings? What if a camera crew with live web-video feeds were sitting in front of you at the stadium, standing up incessantly to get the plays on-camera, blocking your view while making money off of their broadcast? Suppose the team couldn’t make them leave since they had bought a ticket.
On the other end, is MLB going to charge me a licensing fee to enter the stadium wearing a game-used jersey? If Pepsi pays to be the official soft drink of baseball, are they going to make me take off a Coca-Cola tee-shirt before entering the stadium?
The Salt Lake Bees stand to make a few thousand dollars off of the images they take of their team and their players, tops. One homely blogger on a road trip might squeeze a few hundred bucks out of a roll of film (ha, dated terminology!) over a few years. The organization is enforcing access to its team with zeal – at least when it smells someone using “press” access to make a buck. The issue comes back to being about the confounding grey line that blogs present as “press” in the traditional sense.
Do most blogs just want access only to whore out that access as proof of legitimacy and/or exclusivity?
Why isn’t the FutureAngel blogger just happy taking pictures in the stands? Because they are not as good as pictures one can take from the field. Why is the press granted access to the field? Because they will not be competing with a team to make money off of the imagery gathered there – although one has to wonder how many thousand dollars the Orange County Register made off of issues of the newspaper it sold the day after the Angels’ World Series victory complete with all the photos taken from the great access provided to it by the team.
If Mister FutureAngel had spread more goodwill around the message boards and the halosphere over the years, he wouldn’t be so bitter and so segregated now. His shrillness leaves him virtually friendless in his hour of need. But if MLB wins its appeal to the supreme court to control the use of stats by fans, FA’s whining will be a drop in the bucket of bitching that will erupt at the MLB cartel trying to control what the fans pay for when they pay for baseball.