Blogging and internet reporting got a big boost from the Angels front office Sunday when they issued press credentials to an Angels blogger. Internet coverage of the Angels, and baseball in general, has seen huge gains in web-based readership as mainstream media outlets continue to shrink.
Unfortunately, the blogger receiving credentials was Chuck Richter of the Angels booster club-like Fansite angelswin.com. Not surprisingly, the site's editors and commentors are using this opportunity to bash other Angels blogs and writers rather than focus on the big picture of how it relates to internet reporting or gaining insight for their readers.
Some typical responses from angelswin commenters include; "Somebody has to say it: suck it, haloshaven", "Say hello to the Rev - I'm sure he'll be there.", "What's a Rev? A non-productive out. No..a 2 base error that scores 2 runs.", plus criticism of Stephen Smith of FutureAngels.com
"Suck it, critics", Chuck wrote prior to gaining access to Angels players and personnel on Sunday, which mirrors the site's focus on themselves first, Angels news a distant second (an example of this can be found on the site's front page which prominently displays large pictures of the site's staff, something no other serious web-based outlet does).
One commenter posted a possible reason for Richter's selection by writing, "Chuck and (Angels Vice President of Communications) Tim Mead have been friends for a long time".
According to their website "We're always looking for new ways to communicate with the Angels fan base and this is another venue for that communication," said Mead, "This is the first time we've done this and Chuck and AngelsWin.com have earned the opportunity." No doubt, Richter and his staff work hard at maintaining and promoting their site. However, this incident makes the site appear unprofessional when it could have been a big win for internet reporting and blogging.
As the shift from mainstream print media to internet sports reporting continues, Major league Baseball should eventually start allowing press access already provided by the other sports communities. During the recent NFL and NBA drafts, SBN bloggers were granted press access in order to provide content for their sites. Hopefully, this trend of issuing press credentials by the Angels front office continues for serious web-based outlets and they are not turned off by the amatuerish actions of angelswins.com.