Thursday, January 17, 2008


Brian Windhorst, who covers the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Akron Beacon-Journal (where Chuck Klosterman worked once) had some telling words for The Big Lead about how badly major media gets it wrong with the blogosphere:
"I think the development of blogs is fascinating and I also think how most newspapers do blogs is comical. Four years ago when I went to my bosses and talked about doing a blog they had no idea what I was talking about. Now, many papers are just reactionary. Editor tells reporter: 'hey, do a blog' and most of the time the writer doesn't want to do it and neither of them know what a blog truly is. You hear all these beat writers bitching about it all the time. I have a piece of cyberspace they call a blog but it isn't, it's a journal." (emphasis mine)
That begs a new term: The iCab.

As in, It's Called A Blog. It's even got that cute lower-case i in front of it which automatically confers coolness on any device or product.

It explains why, for the greater good, this site has to die. By March 1 at the latest.
Suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
And I'll never have that recipe again
That's right. A MASH theme/McArthur Park mash-up.

It's not about any one media personality or who or did or didn't get nominated for else is up Best Sports Blog. (Although, quickly, Ian Mendes, really? Great guy, class act, terrific TV presence, probably doesn't leave his socks on floor at night either, but for pity's sake, his iCab has been updated three times in the past month. Doesn't that violate any number of anti-idling bylaws?
Number of comments on Mendes' posts since Dec. 17, 2007: 32
Number of comments on OOLF posts over same span: 123
It's about the futility of trying to be heard against "uninterested ownership" that controls the major media outlets in Canada (to borrow good friend Dan Rowe's term from a book review he has in the Jan./Feb. Quill & Quire*). There's a perfectly sound explanation why it's 2008 and there is no Bill Simmons or Will Leitch of Canada and there never will be.

I thought I would be, but it obviously isn't going to happen. That is just well considering Simmons, as per the KSK takedown, is obviously finished. (Simmons actually wrote the Indianapolis Colts lost last weekend since they were afraid of the New England Patriots; a grown man actually wrote that.)

If people who are recognizing quality blogs can't grasp that lumping in Chuck Swirsky (love ya, Swirsk) with those whose interested ownership is almost entirely sweat equity is not to true to what "a blog truly is," what's the point anymore?

Anyway, being overlooked, snubbed for something is nothing novel. Hell, I've been a court-certified expert going back to Grade 5 when Stacey Parks invited our entire class -- except for one person -- to the first-ever boy-girl party.

Point being, Windhorst captures the sense of futility of going on with this blog, not to mention writing for free.

He says four years ago he went to his bosses about a blog? Imagine how it feels reading that as someone in the Canadian media who's blogged for five years and who has never once in that entire time been asked for an opinion on the company's online presence, let alone asked to contribute. Never mind that this is coming from someone who has some proven writing chops ...

... screwit. Pointing out meagre accomplishments, that really just removes all doubt about how who really doesn't get it? And that's what is comical about the last couple years of my life.

So your ride is leaving. Some will be stranded, but chances are there are enough iCabs for everyone.

Some damn fine sites are nominated, including Battle of Alberta, Mirtle, Drunk Jays Fans, Hoops Addict and Dinosty. Hopefully one of them wins.

It says here or Ottawa Lynx Blog and The Tao of Stieb get "it" better than Mendes, Swirsky and their corporate masters. Fortunately, Mark, Carl and Pete, and the shadowy forces behind The Tao have much better big-boy coping skills.

Any concerns, questions, send them to

(* Straight to the point about my relationship with Q&Q: There isn't one, but I would have loved to have had one. Wrote an article for them in summer 2006 called "The Anti-Sports Book." E-mailed an editor a couple times about writing again. He never replied; apparently he got the memo that Sager is a stupid hick from Napanee. Yet I still asked for a Q&Q subscription as a Christmas gift, which shows I have to be too stupid to live.)


Tao of Stieb said...

Coping skills?

We still crying ourselves to sleep. Every night.

Then again, seeing the percentage of truly sucky blogs across the spectrum that are up for the Canadian Blog Awards, we're happy not to be nominated.

Screw those guys! We didn't even want to go to their stupid lunch hour tennis party!

Ice-minus said...

hi, looking forward to your two cents worth on the Red Wings' chances of pulling thru.
hockey card thru the years

Anonymous said...

As soon as a field/profession starts having "awards", you better not ask for whom the bell tolls. It becomes junior high all over again.

You do a great job covering a range of sports that the mainstream can't get off their arses for. I imagine it must be time-consuming, but if there's any consolation in it for you, you are making a difference. Your blog has cut down on my visiting corporate sites more than you can believe, if that's worth anything. If you want to hang it up so you can spend that time having a better-rounded life (whatever that is), I say go for it. But if you call it quits because you think you aren't reaching an interested audience who want more out of sports coverage than Sens/NFL/Sens/NASCAR/Sens/Insert whatever other US sports entity the branch plant mentality in this country will grovel for/Sens, you're wrong.

The other night on McCown's show out of Toronto, he and his Buffalo lackey (Jim Kelley?) were trashing bloggers as a whole...they sounded like Steve Allen in about 1957 trashing rock n roll...the world has passed them by and they'll be the last to know it. Try find it online if you can - as much as they ticked me off, they made me laugh. They're the Walmart of sports coverage and guys like you are the neighbourhood corner store (that's a compliment).

Forget about the're not operating in a vacuum - you do have readers you value what you do. I agree on the whole Mendes thing - good guy, a pro, but his blog doesn't hold a candle to yours or countless others.

Do what you gotta do, man, but...

Dennis Prouse said...

I rarely, if ever, bother to check out the "blogs" written by MSM guys. Take Bob MacKenzie's TSN "blog", for example. MacKenzie is a guy whom I enjoy watching on TV, but his blog is drier than my grandmother's roast beef was. Rarely updated, no insider stuff, no opinions, nothing edgy. Why bother?

Blogs like this one, Kissing Suzy Kolber, etc. are like Coke Classic, while the MSM versions are like those lame, store brand colas. They just aren't the same, and you would rather go without than check them out.

sager said...

Thanks, everyone (espy Dennis and The Tao). This is starting to feel like a PBS pledge drive, but loyal readers need to know where things stands.

A new blog platform (and the call is open if anyone wants to write) seems to be the best thing to do.

I'm not going to not post over the next six weeks or so, but between other sites and getting a new one going (before the start of the baseball season), posts might be a bit more irregular. It was pretty irregular already, though.