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Tailing the Komets

I thought these were interesting

Most of you who have been on here a while know how I (and Justin also) feel about this kind of thing.

First story is about members of the media asking players for autographs.

Second is a column by Dan Le Batard on the state of the sports media now.

First of all, I'm not sure we in the media do a very good job of explaining the difference between columnists and reporters, especially to athletes, and the lines are getting blurred more all the time as media tries to create and sell ``personalities.'' Plus, the powers that be are asking reporters to have more opinions on the stories they write all the time. Then there's the differences between blogging and reporting, and then getting asked your opinion in different forms of media.

I still believe -- and I know I'm old-fashioned and maybe even out-dated -- that somebody has to be objective and be the recorder of facts. Somebody has to be the record-keeper, the historian with ethical credibility to provide perspective so when we do tell you something is wrong or strange is happening, you have no reason to doubt it. Blah, blah, blah. LOL.

I think Justin and I do a pretty good job of keeping each other in check on things like that. I have a tremendous respect for him, what he does and how he does it. You might be surprised how often we talk about things like these issues in the press box; or he'll ask me for advice or I'll ask him what he thinks on something. We are very competitive, but there is a tremendous appreciation there. I know how hard he works, and if I beat him on a story, I really earned it; and vice versa. I know, we push each other to stay on top of our games. I think we help each other get better.

I also have a lot of respect for Reggie Hayes and Ben Smith, the primary columnists for the two papers, and how hard they have to work to do their jobs. They have an incredibly difficult job. I hope Fort Wayne readers appreciate how lucky they are to have this kind of talent here. I know how lucky we are to have you.

I think a lot about the people I've learned from, too: Kerry Hubartt, Steve Warden, Bud Gallmeier, Joe Sheibley, Bill Scott, Rich Griffis, Len Pasquarelli, Terry Hutchens, Barb Wachtman, Connie Zuber. I often wonder how Bud would have done in a blogging world. Things are just so different now. I'm pretty sure the blog would have exploded sometime because he'd have gone after somebody. LOL.

It's definitely a lot different than when I started 30 years ago. A lot of times I don't think it's for the better, either, but I know, I'm old. This is going to sound really elitest, and it's not necessarily meant to be, but sportswriting is something most sports fans believe they could do, and pretty easily, too. Sometimes? Sure, it maybe could be done. Other times? No way in the world. The hardest part would be coming up with ideas during the dog days of the season or on a really boring game or dealing with a player who is PO'd at something you wrote. Just like I couldn't easily learn your job.

We certainly don't do as much training with younger reporters starting out as we used to. More cutbacks in staff and asking everyone to do more things has led to that. More often than not, we throw people out there today and hope they can handle it and don't give them enough feedback or simple help to get them going. That's something that REALLY frustrates me because I love to pay it forward by helping younger reporters. There's just not as much time. Maybe that's what leads to asking players for autographs.

I do have a lot of proteges out there in the business who I am really proud to have had a little hand in helping them, though. Guys like Tyler Hoeppner, Marc Johnson, Mike Sanserino, Aaron Organ, Jeff Wiehe, Justin Kenny, Ashley Brouwer, Jonathan Bateullo, Greg Mengelt, Maria Ortiz, Nick West, Dan Cortez, Nate Trela, Brian Hedger, Scott Warden, Erik Pupillo. They are great reporters, class acts and better people. I've learned as much from them as hopefully I've been able to teach them. I know none of them would ever ask a player for an autograph.

Enough procrastinating.

Posted in: Komets


Tue, 08/17/2010 - 8:41am

The changing aspect of media is something that seems to really draw a generational line with most people involved. I can't remember the last time I picked up a newspaper and read a Komets article, yet I read them all online.

Everyone gets to be a "jr. reporter" now with the likes of facebook and twitter.. When Brad MacMillan got suspended last season, I knew long before the announcement because he posted it on his facebook...

With "big name" pro-athletes they need to feed their ego and control the flow of information. Look at the knucklehead Lebron James.. what a foolish idea.. "The decision". Jim Grey whored himself out in my opinion and brought no journalistic credibility to the table at all.. Then you have Ozzie Guillen and his dumb twitter comments... At some point these guys need to value the "old-school" media for protecting them from themselves all of those years. I'm sure their have been times in the Komet lockerroom that players have said something in the heat of the moment that didn't get published, and rightfully so. Fans are over the top thinking that they have a right to know EVERYTHING that happens and some players feed into that....

On the other hand, I find it hard to believe that when bonding with, and covering guys for long periods of time that you can stay 100% objective. Take Colin Chaulk for instance, its hard not to be a "fan" of the guy, no matter what your byline states. Its also hard to find fault with good people who sometimes make questionable decisions, especially when they are directly responsible for the flow of info that helps you do your job.. I guess what I'm saying is, I wouldn't want to do it. When I was 17 I thought that being a "sports writer" was a dream job. When I look at the decline of the traditional media outlets, the blogosphere that lets any knuckle-dragger with a keyboard proclaim to be a "writer", and the time requirement involved it makes me happy I didn't pick that path to follow. It also makes me respect those who do it that much more. As much as some of us don't always agree with you, Blake, you do us all a great service by providing this outlet. And if nothing else, make us think about the otherside of our preconceived notions.

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 9:35am

Blake, your Isabel Alvarez link doesn't work. Could you also remind me where your novel can be bought locally.

Blake Sebring
Tue, 08/17/2010 - 11:16am

That's one of the things you learn, JM. There have been a few times over the years where Guy or Chaulker have been ticked off at me for things I have written about them. I can respect them a ton, but I still have to be honest and report what happened. Game 3 last year in Flint is one example. I've had those kind of discussions with many a player. They may get ticked off at me for a day or two, but I'm always there and I think they respect that. I'm there when they're good and I'm there when they're bad. That's why I say it doesn't matter to me if they win or lose, I still have to tell what happened either way.

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 12:42pm

Blake--You do it as well or better than anyone I read. I have said this before "Bud" would be very proud of your writing. Just as all of those old timer names you mentioned would be. I have read some of those people stories. You can stand right up next to them. I purchase a paper just to get your column. Yes, I know I can read it on line. Sometimes I might want to send it to friends who may not be computer savy.

We bloggers need to be respectful of your rsponsabilities as well as players feelings. (yes, they have feelings) We punch, pull and push each other all the time. Mostly in good honest fun.

The players do have hearts. They and their families follow them in the media and on the blogs. My 90 year old mother pasted along some words of wisdom to me many years ago. "If you can't say something nice about someone you are far better off saying nothing" As a reporter sometimes your job requires that you must report the bad with the good. Not every athlete has a good day everyday. You have always reported the facts first and foremost.

You answer our questions honestly and quickly. You have made the effort to manage this blog above and beyond the call of duty. I am sure we all commend you for it much more than your bosses ever would or could.

Thank you for all your efforts day in and day out.

I know, I know--For Burgee Smoooooooch!

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 1:46pm

Ditto what Schebig said.

You are just a step ahead of everyone else on this chaotic social melee they call the internet.

I waited to reply until Schebig did, didn't want to take his title of Brown Nose. Smooooooch, keep it up Schebig i'll get you out in the middle of the course and take off in the cart!

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 4:20pm

Actually, I think writing in general is something that most people think they could do and do quite easily. Maybe that's why I've always found this so funny: "Writer: A person for whom writing is much more difficult that it is for everyone else." :D

You do a great job, Blake. I love Ben Smith's columns too, but those are two separate things, as you noted. I enjoy Ben's humor, and I read his columns more for entertainment purposes than to find out what happened in the game. But you still need the straight news too -- who, what, when, where, and then of course WHY.

As for autographs, I don't ask for them either. In my case, I just think it's silly to put value on someone's signature -- unless it is on something of significance, of course. Just my opinion though. I know other people think differently.

Blake Sebring
Tue, 08/17/2010 - 4:30pm
Tue, 08/17/2010 - 5:52pm

I like to get my Komet cards signed, but I usually don't :(

Hit Somebody!!!
Tue, 08/17/2010 - 8:24pm

Thought provoking stuff.

I appreciate your efforts Super Fan. You keep us all informed about our favorite team. Whether it be fish-wrap, blog, The Glen Marini Show, I can always count on great info about the K's.

And I agree, Justin does a good job too.

We are blessed with the 2 best beat writers for our team.

You may hate the blog, or whatever you might think about it.....but it brings alot of people together and it keeps us all talking, arguing, and thinking about the team we love.

The Komets owe you alot, just my opinion.

Wed, 08/18/2010 - 12:40am

The only thing I've ever asked players to autograph are game photos that I took myself and had enlarged. And I've only done that twice -- once if you don't count the time I had BLB's son get the picture signed for me because I was chicken and he was eager to help. :S

But someone once asked for my autograph, so I'm not going to put the practice down. :D

Wed, 08/18/2010 - 12:47am

Yes Hit, the blog brings a lot of people together, and keeps us all talking, arguing, designing Rube Goldberg-type contraptions to do away with one another... ;)

Wed, 08/18/2010 - 3:25am

NEW IDEA= "red headed hockey chick cards" :)

Wed, 08/18/2010 - 6:04am

I'm getting an enlarged pic of Wendy to get autographed next season... where's that link to the swimsuit pic she posted a while back?

Five Minute Major
Wed, 08/18/2010 - 9:30am

Red-headed hockey chick cards? I dunno... LOL

Wed, 08/18/2010 - 3:42pm

Speaking as an autograph collector...I do it because, well...it's a hobby. I never buy autographs, always face to face or very rarely thru the mail. I've also never sold an autograph either. Anytime you have something signed in person, there's a story behind it and a memory that gets to be relived every time you look at that item. I know for a fact I've never gotten an autograph and not had a good time so it puts you in a good mind set plus they're great conversation starters. On the rare events that I get an autograph thru the mail...When you see your envelope sitting in the mail box for you to open and you don't know who it's from...You just can't beat that anticipation of getting it open and seeing what it is. Over the years I've gotten several huge sports stars such as Wayne Gretzky, Martin Brodeur, Mario Lemiuex, Nolan Ryan, Stan Musial, Ryne Sandberg, Andre Dawson, Trevor Hoffman, Joe Girardi, Tom Glavine, Vladimir Guerrero, Larry Bird, Kareem Abdoul-Jabaar, Brian Urlacher, Peyton Manning, John Elway, Mario Andretti, and Richard Petty just to name a VERY few of the athletes I have. I also have TV, film, and music covered as well.

Some people collect stamps, others collect coins...I'm a sports guy so this combines my love for sports and turns it into a hobby. It's fun, it's easy, and a lot cheaper than most other collections as well.

Hit Somebody!!!
Wed, 08/18/2010 - 4:49pm

Nice Dirty Monkey......I knew you would. You da Monkey.

Wed, 08/18/2010 - 5:39pm

JM: http://www.flickr.com/photos/19908495@N05/4756313263/

I collect Hot Wheels. :D

Wed, 08/18/2010 - 5:58pm

I have a autograped Shane Carwin t-shirt

Hit Somebody!!!
Wed, 08/18/2010 - 6:09pm

Thanks Jungle Monkey, just what we wanted. You had to mention it.

Can we start a new rule in the next thread that bans these kind of pictures? We don't need anyone on this blog to take the next step and post more disturbing pictures.....LIKE:

Next thing will be Burgee, Bob, and Schebig sitting by the pool munching on fruitcakes, sipping foo foos, and sporting their SPEEDOS.

I surely don't need to se photos of Snufflelufugus' Kaboose.

Once again JM.....thanks.


Wed, 08/18/2010 - 6:50pm


Wed, 08/18/2010 - 7:01pm

Hey BLB, where's your bikini pic? :-)

Chad Ryan
Wed, 08/18/2010 - 9:59pm

Game - I don't think anyone is condemning the practice of fans getting autographs. But it is, however, a serious issue when media start asking for them. We have access to athletes by way of our jobs, and it is a big no-no to use that access for personal gain.

Let's say you took your son to a Peyton Manning autograph session, and he missed out because there were too many people. But here's Joe Reporter strolling up with a jersey for Manning to sign after he gets done with an interview. That's not cool, and the reporter could gain financially if that jersey becomes worth a good deal of money later. That's a violation of ethics that cannot happen in the media, yet seems to happen with greater frequency lately.

Then there are the "moving picture" folks, who all-too-often are eliciting responses from the crowd so they can manufacture a moment instead of recording what the fans were actually doing during that time out - but that's a different story for a different day.

Blake Sebring
Wed, 08/18/2010 - 10:13pm

Definitely not condemning it. Just have never understood it. When people ask for mine, I sign, but I'm really thinking, ``Why? I'm nothing special.'' Sort of along the same lines when someone calls me Mr. Sebring and I look over my shoulder to see if my dad is in the room. I'm just Blake.

Thu, 08/19/2010 - 5:49am

Uh, Could you sign this... "To Hit, My favorite blogger... Love, Mr. Superfan" ?

Thu, 08/19/2010 - 12:24pm

Well excuse me. Don't worry. You won't ever have to see that again. As for Burgee, Bob, and Schebig... I'd pay real money to see that.

Thu, 08/19/2010 - 12:31pm

I'd pay real money NOT to see 50+ yr old guys dancing around in speedos...

Blake Sebring
Thu, 08/19/2010 - 12:40pm

Sounds like a new blogger challenge! I'll suggest it to Scott.

Thu, 08/19/2010 - 2:02pm

Wendy is pretty,Burgee & Schebig is ----

Thu, 08/19/2010 - 2:35pm

Let me make this perfectly clear. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! Not in this lifetime or the next. Burgee maybe if he has been on enough pills and foo foo"s.

I had two people come up and ask me to sign Blakes book on Bob Chase and they had the page with my name on open. I felt very honored and humbled. Of course I signed it. They were adults not kids.

Thu, 08/19/2010 - 5:29pm

I'm game, set it up, quit being a ninny Schebig, Bob's in too.