Baseball has always been my greatest passion. It’s the industry that I want to pursue a career in, so I decided to create a fan blog that focuses on the coverage of the Colorado Rockies and Major League Baseball in general. The concept behind it is that I would be able to gain experience covering baseball news and events, along with writing opinion pieces about events going on. Along with the website I created for the project, I also decided to create a podcast to cover some of the major news and events and give my own takes on them, sometimes with another guest. Through my own diligence and coverage, I learned what it really takes to be a sports journalist, as it is a constant process of digging through social media and seeing what reports are being made and acting quickly to write up the stories and share them on my website and social media pages.
My booth is a simple experience, it showcases the theme of The Sideline Crowd website and “brand.” It features several baseball items, particularly the Colorado Rockies. There is a hat, a jersey, a glove, and a bat. The microphone is for the the podcast that I had created and how it also relates to the mic in the logo I created. My logo is seen on the monitor and my website is showcased on my laptop.
I built The Sideline Crowd from scratch on WordPress. It features several tabs housing the news, editorial and podcast features. The homepage updates automatically with each story as it is published. Like all things, it is still being tinkered with and improved, but I wanted to make sure it was a simple experience for anyone visiting.
The Sideline Crowd Podcast is a simple production. I often just recorded it by myself, and the quality of the podcast continues to improve. In later episodes, I added in music and intros and tags. You can hear one example below, or check out the rest on the website. The podcasts can also be found on Spotify and other major podcast platforms thanks to Anchor.
The Sideline Crowd Podcast Ep 4
Dear Rob Manfred,
It’s the bottom of the ninth. Runner on first with one out. The Rockies have been behind the Diamondbacks the whole game, but it all comes down to one more pitch. DJ LeMahieu steps up to the plate, he spits as he grips his bat and gets ready to swing. All of Coors Field is on their feet with bated breath. The pitch comes and he swings.
The ball lands barely in the right-field bleachers to win the game. The stadium erupts in cheers and pandemonium, thousands of people are united in one single moment. A moment only baseball can bring.
Moments like this are fleeting. Baseball finds itself in a crisis after controversy and scandal. And worst of all the future of baseball and development in Minor League Baseball is at risk of being lost.
I understand that baseball is a business. It’s all about the money, but you as Commissioner are responsible for expanding the market of the game, not downsizing it.
Minor League Baseball is a pivotal element of professional baseball in the United States. For many communities, it’s a staple of their economy, and for others a starting point in their love of the game.
Accessibility is the problem here. Baseball’s popularity is continually going down the drain. What was once America’s pastime, is now no more than a background character in the production of sports. It can’t compete with football, basketball, or even soccer at this point. The average age of baseball fans is well over 35 years old now.
The reason for this is that baseball is not marketed well. The players aren’t able to show personality, media blackout restrictions plague the industry, and throw in the continued effort to “fix the pace of play” and you are losing fans generation after generation.
That’s what makes Minor League Baseball so intriguing, it’s an avenue to introduce people to the game and provide exposure to professional tier baseball. Your proposal of cutting down over 40 teams in the MILB is preposterous. Idaho contains at least two farm teams: The Boise Jethawks and the Idaho Falls Chukars, both of which are in danger of being eliminated.
The nearest Major League team for Idaho baseball fans is the Colorado Rockies, a whopping 10-hour drive away from attending a game at Coors Field. This is the problem across the country. Some places are unable to gain access to the big league team because they live too far away to attend, but also because of the media restrictions, they are unable to enjoy MLB.tv because of the blackouts.
Minor League teams are the next best thing. They are the staple of building relationships with players. It gives a small community something to do during the summer months when the other sports aren’t happening. There is nothing better than going to the ballpark on a Friday night in the middle of June. Tickets are cheaper, promotions are sillier, and it becomes more intimate.
I interned with the Orem Owlz. It was a fantastic experience that I got to see firsthand. I saw children line up on the sidewall outside of the Owlz dugout pleading for bats and balls. The players would play catch with some kids and everyone felt truly connected. The community grew to love the players as their own children, as they helped them transition to a professional player’s life.
I saw Jeremiah Jackson, one of the Angels top prospects, swat homer after homer to set the single-season record for most home runs in the Pioneer League. I saw promising players who could one day be the next Mike Trout type of superstar. The first step to the big leagues is in Minor League Baseball.
The Minor Leagues doesn’t just affect communities and fans, but it provides an opportunity for those that are seeking a career in the sport. The sports industry is all about who you know and what you can do. It’s based on experience and development of skills. I personally have pursued a career in broadcasting. It’s extremely competitive, especially when you have little to no experience in the professional setting.
What happens to the people who want to get into the sports industry and find that the teams that could give them opportunities to build a resume are suddenly gone. Those teams become independents who don’t broadcast, they cease to exist, or some other alternative. What happens to the students seeking an internship to get their foot in the door but can’t, and instead have to rethink their life goals. What happens then, Rob?
Stop worrying so much about the money and making the owners happy. Baseball is in a crisis of identity. It needs development. I agree there remain changes to be made. But the Minors are places to try these things. The solution isn’t to clean the house and just snap your fingers like Thanos to make half the league disappear. The solution lies in listening to fans. What do they want from the game?
Baseball is still America’s game. If you want to keep your job and help it grow, stop focusing on how you can make a quick buck, but instead how can you bring in a new fan. Once you get one fan, you get generations of them. Good luck Commissioner, the ball is in your field now.
New Story Example
In an announcement on Tuesday, all 30 Major League Baseball teams will donate $1 million a piece to aid ballpark employees who cannot work in light of COVID-19 and CDC regulations and guidelines.
Commissioner Rob Manfred said, “I am proud our clubs came together so quickly and uniformly to support these individuals who provide so much to the game we love.”
The 2020 season was supposed to start in two weeks until it was delayed to the middle of April. The season has once again been pushed back to mid-May at the earliest.
Questions still remain how the new decisions will affect Minor League Baseball and its players and workers.
Final Thought/Extra Info
This project pushed me in ways I haven’t been pushed before. I felt the urgency to cover news and get things out quickly so that it can be timely and topical. I began to develop me journalism skills and learning how to cover a beat, especially something like baseball. I also got better with my design chops. I designed the logo for the website myself using a free software, and designed the look of the website for many hours trying to get things to work the way I wanted them too. It was a rewarding experience, and I’ve learned skills that I will carry with me into my future career.