Friday, March 20, 2009

Off Topic: Pulling Back the Curtain

I’ve always had a lot of respect for Jamey Newberg. If you’ve spent any time in the last few years being a Texas Rangers fan, then you know who he is. His Newberg Report has been the “blueprint” in my head of where I want to see the LSC Scoop to go for quite some time.

If you’re not aware of his work, newbergreport.com will fill you in on what you’re missing. Long story short, Jamey is just a huge Texas Rangers fan who felt there was a void in information for the fans, and decided he would take it upon himself to fill that void. Sounds familiar, huh?

I know we don’t get “Off Topic” like this much (and I’m sure some of you are already begging me to stop) but when I got my Newberg Report in my email the other day, I think I grinned all the way through it with an odd appreciation. You know that feeling when you hear someone else going through a weird situation that only the handful of people that have also gone through it can truly understand? It was one of those things.

Here is the part of his email that I really related to. I’ve removed some of Jamey’s report to keep it on the 2 points I’m trying to make:

“Nine years and a couple weeks ago, I sat in row two above the visitors’ dugout in The Ballpark in Arlington. I accounted for half the crowd.

I sat in The Ballpark on that chilly February afternoon because Rangers Director of Player Development Reid Nichols’s assistant, John Lombardo, had contacted me a day or two earlier, relaying the message that Mr. Nichols wanted to have a meeting with me.

I walked from outside The Ballpark through the one open gate to the concourse, and then found the one open gate to the seats, and then found my spot, easy enough because there was only one occupied seat in the entire stands. I sat next to Nichols, each of us in an unloosened tie as Mench laid heavy assault on the left field bleachers and Blalock took grounders at third.

Nichols, whom I’d never met, didn’t exactly ease into the discussion. He wanted to know two things right away, one specific and one general: Where did I find out the summer before that Tulsa Drillers teammates Cesar King and Juan Bautista had gotten into a clubhouse fight? And who was I working for?

Nichols was extremely suspicious of my access, my motivation, my intentions.

At the time,(Dallas sports writers) T.R. Sullivan, Evan Grant, and Gerry Fraley were Topps, Donruss, and Fleer.

To Nichols (and plenty others, I suspect), I was those Kellogg’s 3D baseball cards that curled up about five minutes after they came out of box of Raisin Bran. Or those Slurpee baseball coins that you had to dent with a fingernail to dislodge them from the cup.

“Blog” wasn’t even a word in 2000. Internet baseball coverage was fringy, at best. Particularly on the local level, where Fraley might have accused you of illicitly invading his turf if you dared to carve out a little space on the Interwebs, writing about minor league ballplayers in a space that interested fans could visit for free.

Times have unquestionably changed.

The day I met Reid Nichols, the first Rangers executive who had ever expressed an interest in what I was doing, our discussion began with him grilling me about my agenda and ended with him satisfied that I was simply an insane Texas Rangers fan with a genuine passion for seeing this franchise win. He opened his mind, in the space of two hours, to the idea that I was not digging for dirt but instead writing about the team because of a fire that burned at my core. If it’s provided responsibly and with appropriate intentions, more information for the fans is nothing but good.

Nine years later, the media industry, fighting through its worst days, is opening its mind as well.”

When we originally started the Scoop, we thought it would just be a fun place for us to record things we found online, information we thought our other LSC friends might find interesting, and keep up with what was going on around us.

One thing I don’t think we were expecting to find though, was the initial hesitation/skepticism by most of the Universities in communicating with us in ANY way. Looking back now, I understand why. It was one of those things where you’re heading into something with completely innocent intentions, and not understanding why people couldn’t see that. We had our share of “grilling discussions” from Athletic Directors, Coaches, and fans, wondering “What exactly are you trying to do here, Scoop? Who are you?”

Luckily over the past year and a half, most of those barriers are down and we have excellent relationships with almost every University in the LSC. University Presidents, Coaches, Athletic Directors, Sports Informations Directors, Players, etc., are all now fully aware that we are here with good intentions and communicate with us daily.

Initially, we were looked at a lot different because we were a “blog” rather than a traditional newspaper or TV outlet. Fortunately for us, most of them are now realizing that we are hitting their core audiences with much more information than any of the other “traditional media outlets”. And with much better quality, if I do say so myself. *wink wink nudge nudge*

You’re probably wondering why I’m bringing up their hesitancy in dealing with us, and the fact that we are a blog instead of a traditional media outlet.

First off, we just wanted to take a moment and thank the LSC Universities for having an open mind and seeing us for what we are. The communication that we have with all of you has been, and will continue to be, vital for us to continue what we do here at the Scoop. We hope that, as Jamey said, you all have realized that we are just insane Lone Star Conference fans with a genuine passion for seeing this conference thrive. And that if it’s provided responsibly and with appropriate intentions, more information for the fans is nothing but good.

Secondly, we feel that we have made a huge step in verifying the quality of work at our little blog. The LSC Scoop is honored to announce that we will be writing the LSC content for the 2009 Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine hitting newsstands in June. As all of you know, this magazine has been THE football magazine in the state of Texas since 1960. The LSC Scoop is proud to become the first blog to ever provide content to the DCTF Magazine since it’s beginnings nearly half a century ago. We think this speaks volumes to the change in accepted media outlets in today’s market, and to the quality of work we have produced at the LSC Scoop.

We appreciate what all of you have done for us, and hope that those feelings are mutual. As usual, email us with any questions or comments you may have. We have a lot of changes and improvements coming in the near future, and hope that you will enjoy them.

Brock Callaway, for the LSC Scoop

4 comments:

Blake Perkins said...

Brock,

Congratulations on the success of this website! You are truly a fan of the LSC and a great friend as well!

Anonymous said...

Ditto - Scooper do a great job of gathering all of the LSC poop.

I get the Newgerg reports and really enjoy them

Anonymous said...

Keep up the great work. This has become my favorite website.

Brock said...

Appreciate all the comments guys.

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