Distinguished Senators, the Washington Nationals Blog That Is Great

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Fresh. Local.

These ESPN layoffs got me to thinking: Is this the first time Jim Bowden's been fired without completely, obviously deserving it?

It also got me to thinking about local, hand-crafted, artisanal baseball content.

It's like with tomatoes or Korean fusion tacos or whatever. Yeah, there's a lot of hippy-dippery involved, but the fact is that a tomato or a Korean taco that traveled only 25 miles to get in your mouth tastes better than one that came from California. That it's served by a cheerful dude with a beard and a butcher chart of a pig tattooed on his arm is just a bonus.

I'm trying not to project my personal habits onto nation-wide trends here, but I stopped watching regular season non-MASN baseball some time ago. I wonder how big the audience is for relatively meaningless baseball that's not your favorite team. And when it comes to your favorite team, there's more material than anyone can realistically consume - you've got a whole cable network, podcasts, newspapers, all kinda stuff. Even blogs if you're really desperate.

One of the good things about living in the future is that you can watch whatever you want all the time. Maybe you've seen people getting nostalgic about poring over box scores in the morning paper while listening to Jack Benny on the Philco, being careful with how much oleo they put on their toast because of the war.
Above: A young me concentrates so as not to miss the news from Sportsman's Park or Iwo Jima.
We don't have to do that any more, and in the same way we don't need to get our highlights from people who are only going to spend 40 seconds on our team before going to back to talking about the Yankees and/or Tim Tebow. We don't need the game of the week to see exotic teams from the far-off Central Division, either - anyone who cares about that kind of thing can watch the Brewers whenever he wants.

I don't know if there's anything to this. This Forbes article suggests that there is - national baseball broadcasts (not counting the playoffs) are steadily declining even as regional sports networks do better and better in spite of Bob Carpenter.

ESPN's problems are bigger than this, but it's not clear that the network has any purpose for baseball fans anymore. Not when you can get fresh, GMO-free baseball content that didn't have to be trucked in from Connecticut.

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