Monday, February 8, 2010

If You Care about the Nationals, Please Read this Post Now

Mark Zuckerman, the excellent Nationals beat writer recently laid off by The Washington Times, is asking for our help to send him to Viera to cover the Nationals this spring training on his new site, Nats Insider. Mark is generously saying all he needs is a measly $5,000 to cover the team in spring training for six weeks.

But he needs our help to get it done. If you have enough disposable income to pay $7 for a lousy beer at Nationals Park, you have enough to kick in at least $100. Click here to give now and prove that you aren't a lousy cheap bum like Ted Lerner:

Or, check out Mark's post here and give from the link on his page (which is the same).

Nationals fans NEED Mark in Viera.
The Nationals are on the verge of becoming the first team in MLB ever to have no independent, full-time reporters covering the team. All the MASN TV and radio guys work for the team. Bill Ladson works for the team. Chico Harlan, god bless him, is going to chew his arm off if the Post doesn't take him off the Nationals beat soon. And it's been reported that the Post won't hire from outside because of budget cuts dictated by corporate higher ups, so we're seriously looking at a season with one WaPo paid intern total covering the team.

For average fans who just want some basic coverage of the team, nevermind an occasional scoop, this is really a crisis situation.

Why did it take a week for anyone to report that Chris Duncan had been signed? Why doesn't anyone at the Post have more than 20 months of perspective on the history of this team? (Boswell doesn't count, since he covers the stadium, not the team.)
Why was the Smiley Gonzalez story missed for so long? Why are 90% of the news stories covering the team this winter totally fact-less speculation about how the team is "interested" in this guy or that guy whom we never hear about again?

And it's not just the lack of quality content that we're talking about. With no one covering the team in an independent, professional way, Kasten and Lerner will just keep doing what they're doing--putting out a crappy product and pocketing the revenue-sharing money and the revenue from their taxpayer-funded cash cow stadium. If the Nationals are ever going to get better, we need a watchdog media to keep them honest.

It's time for Nationals fans to stop complaining about the coverage of the team and step up. Mark is basically volunteering to do the incredibly hard work of a full-time beat reporter for below cost. He's a proven professional, and you know you're going to get a quality product (unlike all the other money we as fans spend on the Nationals).

Now, if you're assuming that someone else is going to pay, and Mark's going to do this anyway, you're WRONG. I've spoken to Mark about this, and I promise you, if we don't kick in the $5,000, he's not going, and we're going to be stuck with Hamburgler Ladson and Lame Duck Chico.

But really, just think, if every person who comes to FJB today kicks in JUST TENS DOLLARS, he'll hit his goal today.

But guess what--that's not happening. Because most people ARE cheaper than Ted Lerner. Most people are free-loaders. Don't be one of them. And Mark knows who's given and who hasn't, so all you regular commenters, don't think you can pretend you gave and get away with lying. JayBee, ABM, all y'all... we'll know if you're the deadbeat.

So take a second and donate now. Please. As fans, we desperately want more reporting on this team, and it's clear we're not going to get it unless we step up. Click here now:



Craig said...

you get 5,000 visitors a day? nice.

Steven said...

no, 500. I meant ten dollars each. For a stats guy, I'm pretty dumb at math. :-)

Jim said...

I couldn't agree with you more, Stephen. That's why I made my contribution to Mark this morning.

Dan! said...

made my $25 contribution. Figure that's the cost of a subscription to a good baseball blog/magazine, so what the hell.

Berndaddy said...

Good job Steven!!! I made mine for him...

JayB said...

Well said Steven and thanks for your leadership and blog too....

Anonymous said...

Honestly, if I had not read Brian and Mark's blogs first, I would not have contributed, just because your rant is so incredibly juvenile and pedestrian. Really, insulting EVERYONE and then asking for money. The truly cheap shot at Rizzo, the insults bordering on ranting at the Lerners, it gets so tiring.

I would really like to see you give more opinion about things and less about people, because I like it when you dissect stats, tell me why what I think makes sense does not, and open my eyes to a new way of looking at a player or trend.

I cringe when you insult Rizzo and the Lerners (not as much when you insult Kasten, probably because he has a more legit and and clearer track record to judge him on) and assume you know what they are thinking, feeling, intending.

I won't tell you stick to the facts, cause that ain't your yob, but try and keep the insults to minimum. The shot at Rizzo, regarding who they should have hired instead, was just unnecessary and not useful to anyone.

My two cents.

Steven said...

I'm not sure what you're talking about. Rizzo isn't even mentioned in this post.

Anonymous said...

Sorry - read both of your past posts together - the ran together to make my eyes red. My feelings about how you communicate your thoughts remain, but it is always the case that when you let loose repressed feelings you should save your work and check it over before hitting the send button.

So I screwed up and probably impaled my point along with it.

Anonymous said...

In all fairness here, Bill Ladson works for He doesn't work for the team. Let's not get into this again because this is a good cause.

Steven said...

The key take home point from the last few comments: this blog stinks, so it's even MORE important to make sure Mark is funded! Donate now! Don't let Nationals fans get stuck reading only my crap!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how to say this, and I'm sure Mark is an excellent fellow, and were I a Nats fan I would obviously feel more chagrined about offering my stance, but ... couldn't that $5,000 be put to better use in, say, a homeless shelter, or at an orphanage, or in Haiti, or in an environmental defense fund, or in a special needs school, or in a rehab center, or to Meals on Wheels, or [insert generic charity program here]. That's not to say that Mark doesn't deserve a shot at a livelihood -- it's just that, well, baseball coverage should not preempt a meal for a starving veteran, and Jason Marquis analysis shouldn't come at the price of a woman's shelter. Just something to think about.

Steven said...

Your points are sincere, and if anyone was taking money out of their Haiti charity budget and giving it here, I'd advise not to do that.

But it's a false choice, of course. In fact, all the sociological research shows that giving is a habit, and that people who give to their church, for instance, are more likely to give to other things. So if anything, this kind of activity results in MORE giving of other kinds, not less.

So don't feel guilty. Really. And if you sleep on it, and still feel bad, click over to Oxfam and give to the Haiti relief effort too:

James Bjork said...

I just put some $ in the kitty. This was not money I was going to send to charity or my church instead. It was money I would have spent on some other periodical or entertainment-- out of that slice of my budget.

If you make the argument about Haiti, where does it end? To follow your logic to its conclusion, we would be morally forbidden from even buying a Starbucks coffee, People Magazine, or a CD if that those dollars could in theory be sent to this charity or that.

I must say I am VERY surprised by how many people have chipped in so far. I completely thought this was going to be a Kitty Genovese story redux (bystander effect), where everyone stands by and does nothing, assuming OTHERS will step up. Granted, we've seen the initial bolus by the hardcore followers. It remains to be seen if the remaining trickle will get it done.

As for singling out the Post for not committing resources to the beat reporting, I think they are but on the vanguard of a trend that will hit all dead-tree news sources. Revenues are plummeting since paid classified ads are tanking.

Godspeed, Mark!

NattyDelite! said...


2 things:

1) Thanks for the redirect. I probably would have noticed in time, but sometimes I just slack off on my Nats coverage.

2) No self deprecation please. I follow FJB more than NJ now because...well there's no posts about news over there. I can get history from the Post...but I'm a history teacher. So keep on keepin' on, and don't let the anonymous' get to you.

Anonymous said...

Steven, I see what you're saying -- it's superb that donation generates upon itself, that giving increases once giving is seen. It is certainly a more positive trend than if it squelched.

But the fact remains that it seems we'd rather see another voice comment on Brian Bruney's LH/RH splits instead of, say, a sanitized homeless kitchen, or an after-school care program, or, well, anything to do with Haiti. And James, I'd choke before saying you're morally forbidden from doing anything -- it is merely that every time you buy a People Magazine, or purchase a CD, or invest in a Starbucks coffee, you're electing to disallow yourself from buying the homeless a meal that they could desperately use. It's a conscious choice, and it's yours to make, and one that you make every day. One is not necessarily the "right" choice -- though there is certainly an argument for moral rectitude in the situation of starvation or malaise (or both, as in Haiti) -- simply, it is a choice that you must make, and you must live with, every day.

Chris Needham said...

Bill James had an old essay talking about how the American public prefers Major League baseball to cancer research.

I'm sure if you compare research funding to baseball's revenues, that that hasn't changed.

It's just a fact, whether we want to admit it or not.

If Mark's willing to take some used clothes and books, I'd consider sending them to him instead of donating them to Goodwill. ;)