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Nats Fans vs. The Post's Coverage, Part II

Whew. That was fun. Since so many commenters asked for direct responses to direct questions, I'm gonna just start another entry. Which is a bit too insular and self-referential for my tastes, but I'm out of town to visit my parents and something's gotta fill this space. So please excuse me. I realize it's bad form.

Also, as previously mentioned, I do not speak for The Post or the sports editor here. I hope I'm not giving that impression. These are just my own personal thoughts, although I asked for and was given certain vague numbers for the item.

One thought up top: several of you pointed to the many comments on that last item as evidence that I should write about the Nats more frequently, that I might be using this as a ploy to drive up readership, and so on. Not true. As I joked with several co-workers, if I imported the NJ commenters en masse, this had the potential to cost me viewers, because, for whatever reason, Nats coverage on our site has been a losing proposition. I understand the temptation to judge traffic based on comments; it's why my low-comment count has me ready to jump off bridges many days. But take my word on it: there is hardly any correlation between comments and clicks.

As of now, I'm not allowed to share our blog traffic numbers, but I see them every day. Redskins Insider and Soccer Insider are on top of the sports mountain most days, and often by significant margins. I'm often (but not always) third in traffic among the sports blogs, the Caps Insider is growing and shoots way up with breaking news, as does the Wizards Insider, and NJ consistently lags behind most of these. Why this is, none of us have any idea, aside from the 500-pound gorilla (a small fan base). All of our click numbers, though, are wayyyyy higher than our comment totals, and 180 comments on one post are completely insignificant to my daily traffic goals.

The questions:

Scott in Shaw asks about "using 2008 to compare football and baseball when there was only one football game played and 80-some baseball games." I was not using 2008. I was using the previous 12 months, July 8 2007-July 7 2008.

Several of you (Coverage is lacking, notably) have complained about specific game stories that were either too featurey or not focused enough on the Nats. I see why you'd say that, but I also think as a very occasional change-of-pace for a team that's not in contention, it's not terribly bothersome. Regardless, I'd hope we can agree that these are pretty rare blips, and while they might annoy some Nats fans, they're hardly typical of Post coverage. Clearly, whether those are permitted/encouraged is someone's call other than mine. And for the complaints specifically about the Saslow story (JayB), I was not counting that in my extremely unscientific list of stories, which only included the beat writers for each team. Also, it was pointed out to me that I included national guys writing about the Wizards (Lee) and Redskins (Carpenter) but not the national guy writing about the Nats (Sheinin), which made the Nats number too low, believe it or not.

Many of you (Section 506 (Before moving), for one) have asked for some features and minor coverage to complement the regular offerings. I can see no possible objection to this, aside from space. I'm not an assignment editor, though. Of course, if you're adding more baseball features, you have to subtract something else from the paper; suggestions welcome. If we're talking about Web-only items, you just need to find a body for the reporting and writing. Frankly, I should probably have done some of this minors stuff you suggest. Maybe I will in the future.

Lindemann says that "EVERY D.C. team needs more attention from the columnists. I almost think they need another columnist." I agree with both parts of this 100 percent. I, however, do not have hiring or assigning powers. And there's probably some value to the WaPo brand having Wilbon on staff, even if he's largely writing national columns at this point. Regardless, way above my pay grade, but I'm with you.

Fingerman is upset about the varied promotion for the different sports blogs throughout our site. That's indeed a valid concern, and one I cannot address.

has repeatedly taken issue with the possible inaccuracy of the Nielsen numbers, and points out that my mathematical suppositions in that post were ridiculous. He is correct. Randomly adding onto that number was stupid. My only point was that even if the published Nielsen numbers are wrong, they'd have to be severely wrong to alter the "no one's watching" theme.

John in Mpls gets to the heart of the matter: the Redskins get far more comprehensive coverage of their daily ins-and-outs than any other team, and reporters covering these other teams have sometimes been "promoted" to the Skins. Two responses: being married and covering the NFL is a far more realistic endeavor than being married and covering an NHL or MLB team, long-term. The basic math is eight road trips vs. who knows how many. That explains why the Skins jobs are more desirable more than anything else.

As to the first point, if you were running The Post as a business, and you saw numbers that showed just how drastically more demand there was for Redskins news than for any other type of news, would you really ignore those numbers? Why? Fairness? The civic responsibility to cover baseball? Why, then, would the Mystics not be under that banner? Or D.C. United? Should George Mason receive as much coverage as Maryland? Should Howard?

One of the reasons I don't discount the "9,000 households" Nielsens figure is because I've heard how many people read our Nats game reports online. It's shocking.

Which brings me to the complaint voiced by many, starting with R.J.G., that it's ridiculous to compare travel expenses and space between a 16-game NFL season and a 162-game MLB season. Look, I'm actually not a complete dullard. I recognize that the comparison is far from exact. But to somehow not count those 162 gamers as real coverage, and to discount the travel resources we've used on this baseball team, is to assume that every paper with an MLB team should automatically devote more space and more money to baseball than to any other sport, without regard for reader interest, team success and fan base size.

You're all smart. You all know what our industry is up against right now. To claim that "Putting a beat writer on the team and paying for his/her travel is a given" is to be living in a different era, when you didn't just say goodbye to more than 100 colleagues comprising more than 10 percent of your newsroom. The amount we spend annually on baseball travel could pay for a full-time reporter in another section, maybe two. As I understand it, we're not getting much return on that investment, at least in terms of Web hits, when the financial investment would seem to demand three times more traffic than for a "normal," non-traveling reporter.

On some topics--Iraq has been cited--you pay whatever it takes as your civic obligation to report what's important to the community and to the world. It's a responsibility. Does covering the worst (and least-viewed) Major League Baseball team during a September series in Colorado rise to that level? Simply by existing, does this franchise automatically demand 100-plus nights of travel on the road? That's not my call, I'm happy to report. And I know you'd all say yes, without a doubt, and that even raising the question shows me (and my employer) to be hopelessly out of touch.

But this IS a business, still, and if people aren't interested in a team, I don't see an inherent mandate that that team must be covered. And anyhow, aside from semi-regular features and minor-league updates, what more than game coverage would you want? For the Nats, the game IS the news. For an NFL team, the midweek injury report fills that "daily storyline" role.

So yeah, I think it DOES count that we're still choosing to spend more covering this team and this sport than any other, and that we're still choosing to devote so much space in the paper to this team, despite the lack of Web traffic and the lack of blog traffic and the lack of TV ratings and the lack of success. (The one mystery in all this is why in-stadium attendance outstrips TV/Web interest by so wide a margin. Corporate tickets? Generic baseball fans who just like the game itself, not the team? Kids groups, where the kids don't stay up long enough for the game/blog?)

Livo's Lunch says my item was "just the type of writing that makes the Post look like a dated copycat of independent blogging." Not much I can say to that, but thanks for making me sad.

Like I said before, I have every reason for wanting this team to succeed, as do my editors. More interest = more clicks. But I'm not going to ignore indications that certain other fan bases currently have a larger demand for content. And please, keep any questions or concerns or suggestions rolling.

By Dan Steinberg  |  July 10, 2008; 9:01 AM ET
Categories:  Caps , D.C. United , Media , Nats , Redskins , Wizards  
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It would be nice if we could instantly develop a baseball culture like that in Philadelphia, Detroit or Los Angeles -- but that 33-year gap between teams hurt that, not to mention the culture of defeatism and dread that has been tied in with the phrase "Washington baseball" since the 1940s.

Posted by: Vincent | July 10, 2008 12:04 AM | Report abuse

"You're all smart. You all know what our industry is up against right now. To claim that "Putting a beat writer on the team and paying for his/her travel is a given" is to be living in a different era, when you didn't just say goodbye to more than 100 colleagues comprising more than 10 percent of your newsroom. The amount we spend annually on baseball travel could pay for a full-time reporter in another section, maybe two. As I understand it, we're not getting much return on that investment, at least in terms of Web hits, when the financial investment would seem to demand three times more traffic than for a "normal," non-traveling reporter."

Still taking the Seattle Mariners approach here, eh, Dan? "We're spending tons of money on it, so by God it MUST be good." Right. Perhaps the work of your much-traveled beat reporters is not getting many web hits because there's usually not anything there that can't be found somewhere else. For instance, you fly Chico Harlan cross-country to Seattle so he can sit in Manny Acta's post-game press conference and come back with the very same quotes that every other media outlet has, the very same quotes I can hear on the MASN post-game show or Nats Talk Live on the radio. Same thing with player quotes from the locker room. Whatever happened to the concept of reporting, working sources, scooping the other press outlets? Even if Chico asks Manny the tough questions (e.g. "Are you just playing Wily Mo because Bowden tells you you have to?") and he ducks them, Chico can still report that the question was asked and not answered. That's better than the party line you're printing now, which is the same as any other web outlet. People aren't going to click on a Post story just to see if Chico has a particularly nice turn of phrase that day if they've been conditioned to knowing that there will be no information there that they can't get somewhere else. This is what I meant on the last thread when I said it's not important how many dollars you spend, it's important what you make out of the money you spend. Obviously the Post is not making the right product if no one is reading it, are they? People aren't watching the Nats on MASN, people aren't reading what the Post is writing about the Nats, but even though the team sucks they still are coming out to the ballpark in good numbers to watch. That really says that the team being bad is not the big problem with either MASN or the Post's low numbers. What it says is that people prefer watching a bad team in person rather than reading the inferior descriptions of a bad team in the Post or watching the inferior broadcasts of a bad team on MASN. The Nats may have a problem with delivering an inferior product to their audience, but the Post and MASN have an even bigger problem in that regard. You guys are in denial.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | July 10, 2008 12:06 AM | Report abuse

So could someone please let Comcast know that most of us would rather that comcast doesn't play indian giver on their coverage of DCUnited in August, and just nix whatever baseball is going to be shown on Channell 77? Won't the baseball fans have had enough by then anyway when their team will still be sucking?
You'll either be at the end of summer Baseball game or watching Preseason Redskins on two channels right next to each other on the dial!
Give us our United games please! Baseball folks can learn about going out to the bar and catching a game and us United fans who've earned it can watch another away game at home.

Posted by: Dadryan | July 10, 2008 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Well, Dan, I can say this much - I still like you. :)

Posted by: andy | July 10, 2008 12:40 AM | Report abuse

first, let me say thank you for taking the time to make a well-reasoned and well-thought out response. that's not always the case with all bloggers and i appreciate both the time (on vacation no less) and the critical thought behind it.

i agree with the thought that there's obviously some serious disconnect going on with the combination of TV ratings, click rates on the post, and actual attendance. we can speculate a number of reasons, but some of it seems so far off that i'm not sure there's a reasonable simple explanation. i wish we had more info behind it and maybe it's an interesting story to follow up on, which i hope someone does. somehow some of these numbers just don't make sense.

as mentioned before, it's not necessarily number of stories filed as it is quality of the stories filed. and appropriateness to the type of story to its placement.

maybe some of the answer is breaking up the gamer a bit, so that when chico (or whoever) is writing the "human interest" type of story that often replaces the gamer, maybe that's still a separate story and there's at least a 2-3 para story that has the actual gamer in it that's separate from the human interest piece, instead of trying to meld the human interest stuff into the gamer.

but some of it, in my opinion, is providing *depth* of coverage. this is where the "columnist" issue rears its ugly head. chico (and barry before him) had the job of giving us the day-to-day view of the team along with some of the insights that naturally come with being a beat guy and being around the team (most) every day. but columnists are supposed to get more into the depth of the story of the team. what's the relationship between manny and jimbow? is jimbow trying to force some playing time for certain players (WMP?)? what's the story behind the rash of injuries this season (if any)? how are we doing on "the plan" that kasten has talked about for 2+ years now? what's the atmosphere in the clubhouse now, with all of the new players and so many injured players forcing bench guys into starting roles? how about a follow up on how elijah dukes is doing personally? how is he doing managing his anger and coping with the issues that derailed his career last year?

these are all the kinds of things that baseball columnists in baseball towns would write about.

i will give credit that bos has written a bit more lately (about 1/week overall since mid may), but having grown up on his columns about the orioles and baseball, something seems missing in what he's writing about the nats. maybe it's the passion. it doesn't seem to be there any more, which is sad, because i grew up a big fan of his writing and it just doesn't seem to have the depth and quality it once had. maybe that's just me getting old and seeing some things as "the good old days," but i don't think i'm quite to the "grumpy old man who walked both ways uphill through the snow to get to school" phase yet.

anyway, summary, i'm more interested in "meat" (content) in the stories and a little less on the "flowery language" (like some of what was cut out of last night's gamer not long after it was bashed on NJ last night). human interest is interesting sometimes, but when a team is playing badly, you also need to work harder at asking (and getting answers to) the hard questions.

Posted by: 231 | July 10, 2008 12:48 AM | Report abuse

someone seriously needs to figure out where the people who actually attend the games are coming from. as in how many are parents and children?, are they on the higher end of the payscale?, how many people actually drive there?, if not, how far from metro stops do they live? how many watch the games / follow the nats at all when they don't attend games?

all this because I completely believe that, like you said, these people are just attracted to the general baseball atmosphere more than the nats themselves.

go dan

Posted by: Lenny | July 10, 2008 1:49 AM | Report abuse

Here's my take on it, from my own personal point of view.

I don't watch the Nationals on TV, even when a game is on HD, for two reasons. 1) The team is terrible. 2) When it's a home game, the behind home plate camera is absolutely terrible because of how high up it sits. It's the worst baseball telecast in MLB when the Nationals are at home; in fact, I'd go as far to call it bush league.

Also, the only reason why I go to Nationals games is to watch live baseball. I'm not really a Nationals fan (yes, I cheer for them when I go unless they're playing the Cubs), so I have no real interest in the team at all beyond the fact that it's baseball and I can watch it in person.

Oh, and if I didn't mention it already, the team is terrible. When you can't feel safe that even a basic pop fly to left is going to be an out because the player manning the position is a ghastly infielder, you know there's problems. And, quite frankly, who wants to watch a AAAA team all the time?

Posted by: Mike | July 10, 2008 2:18 AM | Report abuse

I think the real question is when are we going to see some coverage for the President's Race? I mean, is Teddy ever going to win one? Why isn't he being replaced with a more suitable contender, such as Ulysses Grant or (my hero) George W. Bush?

Until the Post decides to cover what's really important I'm afraid I'm going to return to supporting DC United.

Posted by: Crazy 'bout the Na-tion-als!!! | July 10, 2008 6:55 AM | Report abuse

Dan, the reason I come to your blob is because you see the talent and real sport value of DC United that you reports accordingly sometimes, otherwise I won't even bother to look. That's absurd that Nat's fans are complaining even though their sport is covered all the over the paper on nearly every single pages, every single local tv junkies, and playing every single day while most of the time there is not even a single line or a word mentioning about United even as they are winning the games in real real competitions. Specially the local tv channels, they don't bother metion or show highlights of every goal they score in winning. Disgraceful.

Posted by: arlington4united | July 10, 2008 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Where is the NASCAR coverage??? Joe Gibbs Racing is lapping the field and Kyle Busch should be the story of the summer. Where is the love for the #18 M&M car?

Posted by: PowerBoater | July 10, 2008 7:55 AM | Report abuse

In reading the replies, I get the impression that Web traffic, or lack thereof, is considered to be an important factor in evaluating reader interest. Where do the dinosaurs who still subscribe to the print edition and thus actually pay for coverage factor into the equation, if at all? At present, I still subscribe to the dead-tree edition, so I do not feel compelled to read the gamers and other Nats-related items online (I do read the Journal).

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 10, 2008 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Can people really be upset by the amount of Nats' coverage? This team is awful and uninteresting. I, for one, am waiting for The Post to just pick up wire stories for them. Despite the number of comments, nobody cares. Only 9,000 homes watch. If that number were wrong, MASN and the Nats would be screaming for a correction. Even live attendance sucks. The Nats are mid-table, even with a brand new ballpark. It's embarrassing. Dan, I think some of these people just want to vent, which is why they've been so nasty to you. I want to vent, too. But not at a newspaper blogger. I want to vent at the ultra cheap Lerners, the clueless Bowden and Kasten, the architect of THE PLAN.

Posted by: UMD's Burning Couch | July 10, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Furthermore, economic woes affect all sectors, not only the newspaper business. I run my own business, and I can only imagine what would happen were I tell my clients that because times were tough I would be scaling down and providing them with an inferior product at an increased price (and that it was their fault for not giving me enough business). Somehow, I don't think that the result would be increased business from those clients.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 10, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Dan, what does Soulja Boy Tell 'em think of all of this?


Posted by: sitruc | July 10, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse


"hey soulja boy, why are the nats so ba-"


he should write a dis track against dukes to fire him up lol.

all in jest here...

Posted by: bubba from VA | July 10, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Wow, I just read Ray King's Gut Feeling's response and couldn't agree more. Dan I completely understand your rationale and thought behind the Post's allocation of resources. But Ray King is right too.

I love keeping up with the Nats even in the midst of a tough season like 2008 but I rarely read the game stories. I ususally take a look at the box score first and by that point there isn't much information left in the game story that I care to read. (Notebook's and the Nationals Journal are must reads though)

I think this is where the complaints are mostly derived and why people lament the frequent use of interns lately. Ray King spoke to the need for scooping other sources and doing the "hard" reporting. I would imagine that's really hard to do when the beat writer is constantly changing from game to game. Do we think that an intern is likely to have the reliable sources of new information? My recollection from the past few year's was that Svrluga didn't take off nearly as much time as Chico has and therefore had consistently better reporting about the in's and out's that tell the true story of the Nats not just for a single game but for the entire season. And that's what most baseball fans are looking for in my opinion. There's a reason why they say it's a long season... 1 win or 1 loss doesn't mean a whole lot in the grand scheme.

The way we feel about the team is the way we feel about the post. Put some effort in to developing a quality product and show that you want to succeed and the support will come. It never works the other way around, waiting for support before you can start trying to get better...

Posted by: Gibby | July 10, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Without reading other peoples comments, the idea of comparing amount of nats games vs redskins games is plain idiotic. comparing amount of days of a season would be a much better way to compare the two.

Posted by: Boateng | July 10, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Let the record show that I do not expect Dan Steinberg to personally hire an additional columnist. The discussion seemed to have expanded to general beef with Post coverage of sports, so I dished up my general beef. I remember when Wilbon and TK actually wrote columns! All the time! Obviously their days of writing columns at all (in TK's case) or frequently (in Wilbon's case) are over, but it would be nice to have a hungry young columnist to put his or her own stamp on the Sports pages.

Posted by: Lindemann | July 10, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Wait one second...

Ain't nothing wrong with a little regional sports blog promotion round' these parts.

Posted by: | July 10, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Not sure under which post to add this update at this point, so I'll put it in a few places: the tech team tells me that a few sports blogs, including Nats Journal, were left out of the feed that fuels the "Latest Blog Posts" flyout on the site homepage. That has been fixed, and as of 9:30 am, I saw that a Nats Journal post was at the top of the list ... one small step forward.

I am headed to the beach. Please enjoy your day and feel free to hit me with other web-related questions here, on other blogs, or by email (jon-dot-denunzio-at-wpni-dot-com).

Jon DeNunzio
Sports editor,

Posted by: Jon DeNunzio | July 10, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

I do want to thank Jon DeNunzio, Cindy Boren, and Dan Steinberg for one thing. The Post has apparently fixed the issue with Nationals Journal not appearing in the latest posts on's front page.

Posted by: Brian | July 10, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

i have to agree with lindemann on the need for a new columnist in general (not necessarily just a baseball guy).

on a side note, does mike wise still work for the post? he's had one column (6/27) since late may (5/21). seems like the "columnist" position in the post sports pages has turned into "write a column whenever you get around to it" for guest columnists (Chad, Feinstein, TK, Wilbon, Jenkins) instead of regular columnists now.

Posted by: 231 | July 10, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Dan, you raise a very good point about the very real economic problem of covering a (very bad) baseball team on the road. Perhaps the new realities of the market must lead us to a new approach.

Maybe having a baseball beat writer just isn't a viable option anymore. Perhaps newspapers should consider relying on regional sports correspondents in the areas the teams will be visiting. The Post, for example, could have a Northwest correspondent to cover the Wizards game in Sacramento, the Nationals game in Seattle, and the Redskins/Seahawks game.

Maybe that's what it's come to. It's a new economy for newspapers. For folks like you, Dan, this is a very real, palpable reality. While we're by no means insulated from the current economic slowdown, as readers, we certainly aren't there when another talented writer is packing up his desk after accepting a buyout.

The thing is, as natsfan1a points out, baseball fans tend to be, well, old school. I'm only 29, but I still listen to baseball on the radio. I still read the gamer, even when I watched the game itself, just because baseball prose can be amazing when executed well. Many of us subscribe to the dead tree edition, as well as keep score at games.

Simply put, the idea of anything less than pure beat coverage is a foreign concept to us.

And, as you well know, we were spoiled by Barry Svrluga, who may have been the last true beat writer DC baseball will ever see. Of course, necessity forced him to work as tirelessly as he did. And you're right - he was overworked. I would hate to see the same happen to Chico Harlan, who has already provided us with some examples of that well-executed baseball prose.

We, as Nationals fans, need to understand the economic realities that, at times, force the Post's hand when it comes to coverage. At the same time, in order to remain a contender in the sports journalism market, the Post needs to find ways to overcome these challenges and provide readers the coverage they desire, be it through regional correspondents, web-only editorials, subscription fees, or other inventive strategies.

By the way, Dan, I'm still a fan of the Bog.

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 10, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Wow, Dan, you seem really passionate about this. I hope you personally have not been offended, because it sure seems like you have.

What would you have us do? Say, "yes, we're happy having to choose between reading about the game and reading about major themes, or at least an effort to do both that is weaker for its duel intents?" Should we decide that just since our record is bad, there's nothing worth reading about?

Would it be unreasonable for us to think that there might be more eyeballs if links were actually available on the front page to the analysis articles as often as they are to the "Nats fall" articles? Would it be unreasonable to think that there'd be more clicks on Nationals stories if every now and then a picture showed up on the front page of the Post (like it does for the story of a local boxer today, or any item in Redskins camp)?

Let's not confine this to the Nats. The same questions apply to "the" United, the Caps, the Mystics and other local teams. Is the goal of the Post not to increase readership? Have they abandoned the principle of tapping into new markets and just decided to maximize "good things"?

Sounds kind of like mob soccer back in elementary school when the whole team just ran after the ball. Remember what kid ended up being the MVP in those games? The one who hung back to play defense or went to the other part of the field so he could get a pass.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 10, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

We better be careful, Bogger Vance will have an intern doing this column soon.


Nats: I like going to their games, even though I'm not a fan. Nice park, decent atmosphere, it's baseball. I'll watch. But I can't stand them on TV - despite Bob Carpenter being one of my favorite PBP guys. Not sure if it's the level of coverage or the team, but I don't watch unless they're playing a Central team where the result affects the Cubs.

Maybe it is MASN - I used to watch Orioles games all the time, but find that I don't now that they are on MASN - and again, I also like Gary Thorne on PBP.


*Sigh* ... I miss HTS.

Posted by: Eddie C | July 10, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

DC United U-17 team in the final of the SUM Cup trying to win it for the 2nd year in a row, 12 goals for 1 against. If they win this, could we see some coverage on it. Most of these boys are local kids, who play in local high schools and are some of the best players in the nation, and as the proved this summer by beating Sevilla from the Spanish league, maybe the world.

Posted by: Joe | July 10, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse


This post was hidden below the other post for some reason, so I missed it until now. Others, including RKGF, 231 and Gibby, have already explained well that the issue is the quality and depth of the content, and not its quantity. That comes down to editorial commitment. For the Nats, it's just not there.

The issue doesn't come down to "specific game stories," because those game stories are just symbolic and exemplary, as I stated before. They show the general indifference and disdain that The Post's sports editors have for covering the Nats properly. Seriously, would an editor committed to good coverage let Saslow publish that story? I think you know the answer to that. Would a committed editor have pushed Barry to find out what he could about the progress of Nick Johnson's broken leg during the 06-07 offseason so that it was not shocking news when Nick showed up at Spring Training barely able to walk? There is no apparent push at The Post to do actual *reporting* on the Nats. As RKGF explained, The Post should be committed to getting us Nats news that we can't find anywhere else. Barry had an incredible work ethic and enthusiasm that led to us getting good info, but from an editorial standpoint the commitment has never been there.

You refer to Section 506's view that the Post should have features a couple days a week along with game stories. (This is a view I share strongly, which you probably know from lurking over at NJ.) But then you just dismiss the issue because you "aren't an assignment editor." Obviously not, but that's a cop-out, because this is the key issue--again, it goes back to editorial commitment. Your cop-out makes the rest of your defense irrelevant bean-counting. Seriously, go read other major papers and see how they cover their home baseball teams. Go talk to your friend Barry and see if he think The Post covers the Nats sufficiently well.

Your focus on web clicks is interesting. Do you think it's possible that the fact that the Post's Nats coverage is sub-standard might have something to do with the issue? Why then are there so many Nats fan blogs? When a team is losing as badly as the Nats are, that is often the time when its fans could most benefit from probing coverage. Shouldn't The Post be the outlet to provide it? Shouldn't it want to? Shirley Povich kept the idea of DC baseball alive for years; your bean counting is an insult to his memory.

Seriously, I'm not even talking about some notion of adding a regular second traveling beat writer for the Nats or some sort of huge additional expenditure. But is there some reason Sheinin can't go to Nats Park from time to time and write features about the Nats? Or why couldn't Chico write a feature and let Yanda or Kilgore write the gamer sometimes when the Nats are at home? Your response then talks about space in the paper, but give me any day's paper and I can find lots of chaff for you. Or maybe we need to read another interview with a Skins' draft pick's older brother again, huh?

When the Nats become a good team, why should we as Nats fans turn to The Post for its presumably ramped-up coverage when The Post didn't care about the Nats before? So we can read the work of inexperienced beat writers who seem to be more interested in turning a nice phrase than in doing some hard reporting? That will be awesome--and maybe even Wilbon and Wise will start writing about the Nats then. Make room on the bandwagon! But don't be surprised when we don't hop on.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | July 10, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

To add one point to my "irrelevant bean counting" remark above: I appreciate the economic realities that the paper is operating under. My point is that the focus shouldn't be how much money is being spent (i.e., bean counting), but what the paper is providing its readers for the money that is being spent (i.e., quality). I think the editorial commitment to give us real quality is just not there; and Dan, your attitude smacks of "we spend a lot of money on the Nats (and more than we really should) so what else could you ingrates possibly want?"

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | July 10, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

so, to clarify:

Post -- right
Nats fans -- wrong

Gee, I guess my hoping to finally see some positive Nats material from the Post will have to be put further on the backburner. Thanks Dan!

Posted by: e | July 10, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to point out that the Soccer Insider blog almost never appears on the Blog pop out. There's no mention of it now. I understand, however, that the excellent substitute that Goff has on duty during his vacation (Paul Tenorio) has yet to write anything today. We'll see.

However, it's never been there, and Soccer insider is the #2 sports blog on the Post.

Posted by: JkR | July 10, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse


I have to second natsfan1a's comments. I guess I'm really out touch, perhaps it's my age, but are resource allocations at the Post driven solely by counting hits on the website? I read the gamer every morning in my dead-tree edition so I never, even once, have clicked on it on-line. Am I helping to minimize Nats coverage by the Post by not re-reading the same story on-line? Have you guys totally written off your dead-tree readers? If I cancel my subscription will I help improve coverage? I'm not being sarcastic, these are real questions.

Posted by: John | July 10, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Dan for your thoughtful responses. It does seem you have a strongly held view. I can also see how having colleagues ripped baselessly, as you see it, would make you want to take a shot at replying. Chico in particular has become too much of a punching bag for some.

I recognize I'm an outlier when I say about the only team coverage I read in either the hard copy or the online Post is the Nats coverage. After that, it is United, and also the Wiz when they are going well. The extent to which I follow the local football team is whatever I can absorb on the TV. As for Barry, I think he's a gem of a writer, but honestly I have not read any of his copy since he stopped covering the Nats.

I suppose the clicks don't lie, and you probably ought to have a second United writer before you add anything else. Outside your job description, though ;-). Maybe what you are hearing here is really a call for running AP copy for road games outside the division and direct flight cities (to minimize not only the financial burden but also the human cost) and more features / columns that don't require road travel.

Posted by: PTBNL | July 10, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

In additon to my earlier comments I wanted to point out how I read the Post in regards to the Skins vs. Nats. In both cases I rarely ever read the game stories. They're just isn't much there beyond an abreviated play by play. Most of the time I've watched the game and don't care to take the time for those articles. What I do enjoy, beyond the notebooks and blogs are the features that can focus either on a specific turning point or the broader view of the team and/or season. With Skins games we get these features at a rate of probably 5 per game. Even if we submit to the fact that they Nats only warrant half of the coverage of the Skins (which is partially debatable, I'd say they deserve at least two thirds) that would still work out to 2-3 features from the beat writers and columnists (in addition to game stories, notebooks and blogs) for every 10 Nats games. Right now I think it works out to 1 every 20 games or so.

So do the Nats really deserve only 25% of what the Skins get? I guess that's a business decision for the Post but it would seem to me that if you are going to spend such a large amount of money and resources to cover a baseball team you would want them to be a larger part of your product. Maybe we should be having these discussions with the marketing people as well...

Posted by: Gibby | July 10, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Relocate the Gnats.

Maybe Mobile, Alabama would be interested.

Posted by: AlecW81 | July 10, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

"Seriously, would an editor committed to good coverage let Saslow publish that story?"

Ironically, that Saslow story was one of the higher-quality gamers produced by a Post Nats beat writer in the last year or so. Saslow took full advantage of his access to the Phillies clubhouse and garnered lots of relevant quotes from manager Charlie Manuel and several key players, while still managing to convey a true sense of how the game had actually unfolded on the field. Good, hard information not available everywhere else on the web. Contrast that with the typical Chico Harlan gamer that consists of a lot of "setting the scene" type fluff and canned quotes from Manny Acta's post-game press conference (which is broadcast both on MASN and on the radio.)

Which kind of amplifies my earlier point about the Post spending lots of travel money without getting much actual reporting value out of it. The Post lets Pulitzer Prize winner Tom Shales sit in front of a TV in his underwear and write "gamers" about the State of the Union address and such, so why not just save your travel dollars and let Chico Harlan or a team of interns sit in front of a TV tuned to MASN to write the gamers? Hell, you could throw them all into a Big Brother kind of house and film it as a reality show webcast for! Think of all the hits that would generate for you.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | July 10, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

As Nats fans I think we can argue about whether that 9000 household number is artificially low for some reason, and about whether baseball fans are disproportionately old fashioned newspaper subscribers that don't click the gamers online, but at the end of the day we're going to have to acknowledge the basic fact that at the moment, there just aren't that many of us. Sure, better coverage might generate more subscribers and more clicks, but it seems that the Post might regard this as throwing more good money after bad, and not without reason. The real antidote is not better coverage, it's a better team.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | July 10, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to point out that the Soccer Insider blog almost never appears on the Blog pop out. There's no mention of it now. I understand, however, that the excellent substitute that Goff has on duty during his vacation (Paul Tenorio) has yet to write anything today. We'll see.

However, it's never been there, and Soccer insider is the #2 sports blog on the Post.

Posted by: JkR | July 10, 2008 11:17 AM


Paul has now updated Soccer Insider, and it shows in the Blog Pop-out.

Thanks, Jon.

Posted by: JkR | July 10, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Dan -

You work on this topic and bog is spectacular. Unfortunately, your conclusion from Part I is totally undermined by the data you provided.

1. As Section 506 (after moving) noted the articles/game stat is extremely telling. Here it is again:

Redskins stories by La Canfora/Reid/Bryan/Carpenter: 398 - 23.4/game
Wizards stories by Carter/Lee: 466 - 5.3/game
D.C. United stories by Goff: 156 - 5.2/game
Nationals stories by Svrluga/Harlan: 457 - 2.8/game
Capitals stories by El-Bashir: 234 - 2.6/game

Without belaboring the point, each team has "events," including not just games but also major injuries, drafts, trades, and, in the Skins case last year, deaths. Since games are the only constant, the coverage metric that is the most logical is articles/game.

I LOVE the Skins. #1 in my heart. LaCa is brilliant, JReid is money, and St. Barry will be a tremendous addition (segue: Natsmole - if Barry was booted by the Lerners or Uncle Stan, how come he insinuated a year before he left that he was leaving the beat? Pay attention, brah.) But nearly 24 stories/game in the last 12 mos is almost 5x the number for the Wiz and Caps and, almost 12x the number for the Nats. Even if I accept the argument that the Skins earn the Post the most Sports $$$ (I recognize that the Post is not, entirely, doing God's work here)you have proven that the Nats coverage is one half of the coverage provided the Wiz and Caps on a per event basis.

This is indefennsible. The Nats will average over 2 million clicks of the turnstiles in the last 4 years. That is more than double what the Wiz and Caps would do if they sold out every game, which they unfortuantely do not. It is nearly 3x the number that go see the Skins (point noted that the Skins have sold out for the last umpteen thousand years watering down my argument). That means, by definition, more people watch this craptastic team than any other, yet they are the least covered, per event, of the Big 4. (I have much respect for Goff and DCU, but MSM is what it is).

2. The gamers for all teams are a given. So the real metric, and the source of Nats Nation angst, is the lack of columns and features. Let's look at the per event stats for that:

Skins - 119 columns/8 games = 14.9 columns/game

Wiz - 32/82 = .4

Caps - 12/80 = .15

Nats - 36/162 = .2

The Nats beat the Caps here, but the Skins have 74x the number of columns written about them than the Nats on a per event basis. Really? Your numbers again prove that the Nats are woefully under-represented in the Post.

3. You did not give feature numbers, but I cannot honestly remeber the last feature devoted to the Nats, other than the Meathook story that substituted for a gamer. I loved that story, but I agree with CiL and others who can't fathom a major sports team playing without a true game story, as hideous as that game was.

4. The inches issue is easy. Drop the aggate. If there is anything that can be obtained from the internet easier than the aggate content (a 1/2 page most days), I don't know what it is. We read the Post to learn about things beyond the numbers. The numbers can be ubiquitously found on the internet.

5. The answer is to hire another baseball-centric columnist. The length of the season in baseball lends itself to synthesizing what has happened more than any other sport. Some of the best sportswriting each year eminates from baseball. I think we are in agreement here.

In sum, it can be rationalized by Emilio and others to the end of time that click, buzz, history, attendance, TV ratings, et al. prove the Skins should be covered more than any other team. I agree with that sentiment.

But the stats don't lie, the Nats are poorly covered by the Post.

Posted by: WebberDC | July 10, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Bob, I agree it would make it more appealing to cover the Nats for the Post, but I don't agree that it doesn't make covering the Nats a good business decision.

What's killing newspapers is their obsession with "give them what they want" editing. Papers are so busy trying to be a print edition of 24-hour cable news and follow all the latest trends that they ignore their strength - analysis.

This is an example of that. While it kills me to say it, I agree that it might be worthwhile running some away game AP stories in exchange for drastically improved coverage at home. I hope that's not the case. But what could be instituted right now would be the suggestion of letting Yanda (amazing!) and his fellow rookies cover some home games while Chico focuses on bigger picture things.

And Dan, yes a lot of these things are beyond your control, but then the whole topic is, isn't it? We're just talking about an interesting thing and I'm glad you brought it up. I like your responses, it's been the most anyone from the paper is willing to talk about it. I just wish it was an editor willing to do it.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 10, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

just something no one has touched on yet:

baseball is not an enticing sport for those that do not follow it. someone does not pick up the paper (or left click) to read a gamer/story so they can have water cooler info so they can contribute in conversation. everyone will follow ONE football game per week and know the basic details. people talk about football because it is an event. the only people interested in a random wednesday night game against a team from AZ are baseball fans. and they probably already know the details anyways. people avoid baseball because it is a commitment.

baseball is a harder sport to follow, and people are lazy. to expect better coverage is noble, but inherently naive. as is to expect good numbers in viewing and attendance.

seems like a useless discussion to me. interesting to read. but useless.

Posted by: theraph | July 10, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm coming in late to the conversation, but you (Steinberg) are probably the perfect person to address the issue and I very much appreciate the perspective.

Though I have to agree with many of my fellow Nats posters' smarter points, I don't often venture out of our little world to see a broader view, so I can see both sides a little more clearly now. Thanks very much for that.

You make me want to be a better Caps fan. I so love an underdog.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 10, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Besides. It's not the frequency that counts, it's the inches in the column.

Posted by: Size Matters | July 10, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Despite the disagreement on this issue, it certainly seems obvious that Nats fans agree on one thing: we like Yanda.

Seriously, after reading our comments, he must be feeling pretty secure in his future at the Post.

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 10, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

"The real antidote is not better coverage, it's a better team."

bobL, that's probably accurate if you purely view "better coverage" as "more coverage." but if we're talking "better coverage" as "improved quality of coverage, but same column inches/# of staff assigned to the nats," i think there's room for improvement.

not withstanding the general issue of the lack of consistent columnist coverage of *all* non-skins sports.

Posted by: 231 | July 10, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

on a side note, as evidenced by the quote from mark fisher (originally posted by tippy canoe on NJ), the post is not the only news outlet that isn't covering the nats as much as fans might wish...


4) The rest of the media in town has failed to embrace baseball's return. Driving up the East Coast recently, my kids were stunned by the volume and passion of baseball chatter on sports talk stations in Philly, New York, Boston and many points in between. In Washington, Sports Talk 980 (WTEM) and Redskins Radio both treat baseball as a third-tier afterthought. The Nats do have a fan base: drawing nearly 30,000 fans a night isn't chopped liver, and the team, while hardly close to breaking any records, is well into the middle of the pack in attendance at the stadium. But you'd never know that from how the team is covered and chatted about on radio and TV. The Nats have a very strong blogosphere, and the Nats coverage in the Post has a good and very loyal following. But aside from the talk show that 3WT added as part of its postgame coverage on the radio, there's precious little opportunity for fans and newbies to get into the personalities and daily soap opera that makes baseball a different kind of story from other sports.

Posted by: 231 | July 10, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

That's kind of a chicken-or-the-egg argument, Bob. Personally, I agree with this sentiment, but there are others who see the inverse to be true.

It's like Keynesian economics versus trickle-down economics. I tend to believe that a better on-field product will lead to more interest, which will drive up readership, pushing the Post to respond by delivering more coverage. Others have argued that more coverage will in and of itself lead to greater fan interest, thus justifying the increased coverage by producing greater demand.

Still, I don't think CiL and 506(BM) are arguing the latter point at all. Just saying.


The real antidote is not better coverage, it's a better team.

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 10, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

and, at the risk of running off at the keyboard (mouth), one has to wonder what the Nats' ownership/front office is thinking about the minimal coverage by the media in general and if they have any thoughts or plans on what they can do to improve their media coverage overall. it can't be helping either the ridiculously low TV ratings or their attendance to have so little media coverage of the team. as fisher said (and it scares me to agree with him twice in one week), "there's precious little opportunity for fans and newbies to get into the personalities and daily soap opera that makes baseball a different kind of story from other sports." and that has to hurt the ownership/FO and their long-term prospects to draw fans.

Posted by: 231 | July 10, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

JiM, I'm kinda saying making your newspaper's decisions based on following trends rather than anticipating them is a losing proposition.

Especially when a rival town paper is thinking ahead.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 10, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

"and, at the risk of running off at the keyboard (mouth), one has to wonder what the Nats' ownership/front office is thinking about the minimal coverage by the media in general and if they have any thoughts or plans on what they can do to improve their media coverage overall."

Really, aside from buying media outlets themselves a la Dan Snyder, what could they possibly do even if they wanted to do something? They're putting the product out there every night, and even if it was a winning team that still wouldn't force the media to cover them. Just ask DC United about that if you don't believe me.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | July 10, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

The demand for more coverage implies that there's something interesting to cover, that the Post is choosing not to cover. They have people with the team 7 days a week. Surely if something interesting was happening they'd love to devote the space to it.

Is it possible there just isn't anything remotely interesting about this particular group of players?

Fair cop about the columnists, though. None are involved much in the local teams.

Posted by: JkR | July 10, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"Somebody's boring me. I think it's me."

Posted by: Dylan Thomas | July 10, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

506, I would support such an approach, and it's by no means illogical. But I also think Dan's basic points are not illogical, as in "we are covering the Nats, but nobody is watching, or reading, or clicking." Your suggestion is one interesting way of addressing the issue. Overall I would be interested to hear how feature stories on the Nats compare to feature stories on, say, local boxers or dead olympic horses (in terms of clicks). It would certainly be, ahem, interesting if those stories garnered more interest, or about as much interest, as a story on ... on ... ok, I can't think of a recent feature story on the Nats for comparison, but you get the idea.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | July 10, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Also, 231 and JMpls, I'm on board the better coverage train. When I said that "the real antidote is not better coverage, it's a better team," I meant that a better team was the antidote to local indifference to the team, and would presumably lead to better coverage (as we saw with the Caps this spring) in addition to more coverage. Better coverage should lead to more clicks, but it's not the real antidote to local indifference, it's secondary, by a longshot.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | July 10, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

"Is it possible there just isn't anything remotely interesting about this particular group of players?"

This is a fair question. The answer is no. John Lannan, a 23-year old pitcher, one year removed from the Potomac Nationals. He's 14th in the league with an ERA of 3.40 and moving up, he's tied for 9th in Quality Start (6 innings or more, 3 runs or less) percentage - with Zambrano and Volquez, ahead of Webb, Sheets, and Hamels - and 22 for the fancy walks-hits per innings pitched stat (again, tied with Zambrano).

Make no mistake: this kid may very well bring DC its first Cy Young -- ever -- one day and maybe in not too long, based on how he just keeps getting better.

That's just one pretty darn interesting kid. Someone want to throw out about Jesus Flores.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 10, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm a little unclear why people keep bringing up DC United, which I understand is a moving company for foreigners.

Posted by: fishbone | July 10, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

What I find most interesting in all of this is a lack of business perspective to covering the Nats. Perhaps the Post is undervaluing the impact it has on shaping the news in this city. By increasing the articles on the Nats (regardless of past traffic), you make an investment in the news item - I am willing to bet that with increased attention by the Post, there will be increased attention to the team. Then, much like with the Redskins, the Post will become one of the go-to resources for news about the Nationals, and you have therefore increased the "clicks" on (and not by subtracting from other sports).

Maybe this isn't the year to do it (with the team being so bad), but you would think that the Post would truly make an investment in the team for the benefit of its future readership numbers, rather than taking a solely reactionary view (we'll increase coverage when there are increased clicks).

Just something for the big wigs to think about. Don't undersell the importance of the Washington Post on shaping the daily conversations in the DC area.

Posted by: Kevin | July 10, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse


Don't be dismayed! You should be commended for being willing to take on this topic - while on vacation, no less. Put the laptop down and go get a cold beverage.

Personally, I've never been thrilled with the coverage, but I've never been upset with it either. It never bothered me that you covered the O's - to me I lumped it in with the fishing columns as stuff I didn't read.

I've always thought that the Post did enough - but could do more. But why complain - we got a gamer every day, a Bos column here and there, and Sheinen, Yanda, Fahrentholdt, etc.

Sure, the Skins are the big fish in this pond and they get the coverage that they deserve.

As for me, I read the dead tree edition every morning - the gamer, the notes, some of the AP stories of the other games, and pace through the boxes. I'll check out the Nats journal now and again, but there's little reason for me to click online.

There are other blogs and bulletin boards where I go for additional Nats info - because the has very little in addition to what's in the print edition.

I think that you've taken more than your share of lumps in here.

When do we get to hear Emilio's thoughts on the topic?

Posted by: Sec 114, Row E | July 10, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Some of you Nats fans are ridiculous, arguing that coverage should be measured on a per game basis.
Do you really think that one game out of 162 is as big of an event as one game out of 16 on the Redskins' schedule? If so, then why do baseball players take days off? You never hear about a non-injured football player taking a game off just to rest and recharge.

If you don't like the Post's coverage go somewhere else. But some of you feel that it's the Post's responsibility to cover the team in a way that increases the team's popularity. Get a grip. The Post apparently has made a conscious decision to commit the amount of resources it does to Nats' coverage based on the economics of its business. Deal with it and stop your whining.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Something that I think a lot of people overlook is that it takes time for a franchise to develop a true following. It will happen with the Nationals, but the other teams just have a stronger foothold on the area. I'm a prime example. I grew up near Va Beach and moved here after college. I've been a fan of Washington sports teams my entire life. I follow the Redskins and United religiously and the Wizards and Caps as well (though less so).

That being said, my favorite sport is baseball. From talking about it with my grandfather to going to games today, there is nothing like it. But I've never "clicked" on any Nats coverage here...because I have no connection to them. Not having a "local" major league baseball team growing up, I followed the next best thing. In Va Beach it was the Norfolk Tides, which made me a New York Mets fan. I've been a Mets fan since I was 7 years old. Why would I throw away my 22 year connection to the Mets just because the Expos moved to a new city that happens to be close to me? And I'm not alone. In the more than three decades without a team, people my age (29) in this area grew up either not following baseball, or developing their own connections to other teams. I would imagine this is why Orioles ratings are higher in this area as well.

You can't create a fanbase overnight. Over time I truly believe the Nationals will rival the Redskins on the sports attention scale of this area. But that's not going to be until new fans are created and cultivated. And having one of the worst teams in the league isn't going to help that.

On a side note, I think it's clear that the least represented local team by the Post is James Madison. Come on! It's 2 hours away, has tons of graduates and had won a national championship in a major sport (football) in the last 5 years. I see more William and Mary coverage than JMU coverage!

Posted by: JMU1330 | July 10, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

"But some of you feel that it's the Post's responsibility to cover the team in a way that increases the team's popularity."

What about those of us that don't feel that way and would just like to see one or two additional feature-type stories - stories with analysis on trends, the number one important item for analysis in baseball?

It's nice of you to respond harshly to a perceived extreme element (which I don't recall reading), but what about the rest of us? Do our points carry no weight because of the straw man you have toppled?

"I see more William and Mary coverage than JMU coverage!"

Neener-neener, that's revenge for I-AA football semi-finals in 2005. Jerks!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 10, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

you're missing the point, anon. the only reason people mentioned the 162 vs 16 was in response to dan's assertion that the post spends more money on the nats/baseball than other sports. of course they do, there are 2x as many games as the next closest sports.

i look at it more as in XX stories per week, not XX stories per game, during the season. just like any other sport, there will be a gamer for every day. and with baseball, that means more generic stories (sorry barry and chico) for nats than any other sports team. but the *other* stories (human interest, columns, etc) is where the coverage is lacking. i.e., it's not about raw numbers, either in games or number of stories, but in quality of stories, which to me is essentially the 'non-gamer, non-notebook' stories. the nats coverage lacks in this area (as may the caps and wizards).

note i didn't have to call your position ridiculous to dispute it. ;)

curious, which teams to you follow? besides the skins, i mean?

Posted by: 231 | July 10, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

"Neener-neener, that's revenge for I-AA football semi-finals in 2005. Jerks!"

I was at that game! The atmosphere was as good as you could possibly get at that level. Soooo much fun. And you guys even made a little run in the second half to keep it interesting for us!

Posted by: JMU1330 | July 10, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Awesome, JMU! I was just a couple sections over from you, in my gold, which was supposed to show up well on TV, but instead made us appear like a whole bunch of "boo-boo" by the new puppy on the kitchen floor. Hark, indeed.

Anyhow, it was a great game, a lot of fun and really messy. It didn't beat our triple overtime win against Delaware the previous game, but it was still real exciting. And I punched a kid next to me in the gut for chanting "Safety school" for being too lame beyond belief. Yep, we put the "student" in student-athlete.

Good times!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 10, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

JMU1330, thanks for a useful perspective. Unfortunately, this seems to be the lesson that the Nats will be learning for the foreseeable future. At least until we have a contender on our hands.

Also, neener-neener.

(I just wanted to say that.)

Posted by: Bob L. Head | July 10, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Also, are you sure you guys aren't referring to the 2004 semifinals?

(And I say that as an alumnus of the 2003 runner-up.)

Posted by: Bob L. Head | July 10, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse


Because it's the Mets!


Why would I throw away my 22 year connection to the Mets just because the Expos moved to a new city that happens to be close to me?

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 10, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

A simple "ha ha" would have sufficed.

Posted by: Nelson Munz | July 10, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

John, don't make me get my blade. You go gangster on me, and I will cut you!

Posted by: Jerry Manuel | July 10, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

"Also, are you sure you guys aren't referring to the 2004 semifinals?"

Uhm, yeah. As in the year I graduated, which was 2005, but started in 2004.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 10, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Having worked in the media (mostly broadcasting, but some print, too), I think there is some danger in looking at subject-specific numbers to determine how you allocate resources to coverage. Newspapers are aimed fairly broadly, and if you ignore specialty and industry-specific papers, the business model is to appeal as widely as you can. When you pick up a newspaper, you pick up the WHOLE newspaper - you can't go into the pharmacy and ask, "How much is this if I just take the front page and the sports?"

Newspaper coverage - especially the actual print version - can't be just about the numbers. Otherwise, the Sports section becomes the Redskins section (and maybe the Redskins need their own section... what an idea!). But not at the expense of other sports.

What is happening now is that (whether justified or not) the readers are feeling alienated, and are increasingly looking at the Post's Sports Page as the Post's Redskins Page. There is a chicken-and-egg phenomenon here. If you devote resources to coverage, the readership will follow. The post just has to decide what kind of chicken it wants - a diversified chicken, or an All Redskins, All the Time chicken.

Of course, the web plays by different rules - as an exclusively-online reader of The Post, I find everything I need about the Nats quite quickly, and get no exposure at all to DC United, or even the Redskins, if I don't want it... But the online version isn't limited by space, so the only limiting factor is the resources that the editor assigns to a particular story. The Post can have its cake and eat it, too.

The Post is one of the two or three most influential papers in the country (world?). Seems to me that the brand is diminished if a major local sports team is rationed its coverage. A dispassionate newspaper should find the Nats playing crappy just as newsworthy as the Nats playing well.

Posted by: Wigi | July 10, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

What are the Arbitron numbers for Nationals games? That's not necessarily a question for you Dan, but for anyone who would have access to such data.

Posted by: B.A. | July 10, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

At the park tonight I'm gonna order a diversified chicken sandwich just to see the look on the cashier's face when I do so.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | July 10, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

"But some of you feel that it's the Post's responsibility to cover the team in a way that increases the team's popularity."

Actually, I believe most of us feel that it's the Post's responsibility to cover the team in a way that increases the popularity of their coverage of the team. Otherwise, why are they spending all that money on it that Dan Steinberg and others complain about them having to spend?

Look at it this way: A company is spending a lot of money putting out a product that is being ignored by a huge number of people. And of those relatively few people who AREN'T ignoring that product, a large majority are complaining about the product. Sounds like something must be wrong with the product the company is spending so much money to put out, right? So what would a smart company do in that situation? They'd either improve their product so that fewer people would ignore it or complain about it, or they'd cut their losses and just quit producing the product altogether. They certainly wouldn't lay the blame on the suppliers of the inferior parts that go into the production of their product and continue on with business as usual, would they? That would be stupid!

But the Washington Post continues in that situation to produce a product (Nationals coverage) that is either largely ignored or otherwise disdained, and lays the entire blame on the supplier of the raw material for that product (the Nationals) for not giving them good material to work with. A smart company, a company that gets it, would never do that. But the Washington Post just doesn't get it. And as someone once said, if you don't get it, you don't get it.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | July 10, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Champions | July 10, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Then, there's that...

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 10, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Dan, for joining in on this debate in the first place and then responding to our comments. Just having a place where these issues are taken seriously and discussed in an intelligent manner--and where Post editors might notice--is important. And the fact that the Caps and Nats blogs are now being featured in the blog roundup on the homepage is actually a concrete example of positive change that has resulted from this debate.

Posted by: Fingerman | July 10, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

And to those who wonder what the Nats can do to improve the coverage of the team in the media, couldn't they spend some money and put some Nats-centric shows on television? Couldn't they convince George Michael or somebody to do a Nats Report, a la the Redskins Report or Full Court Press (of course without TK and Wilbon, since they know nothing about the Nats). Couldn't they put together a show to air on Saturday afternoons on a local network affiliate where they interview a Nats player, have him give some baseball tips for kids, etc. Sure, there's lots more interest in the Redskins, but there's about 86 Redskins shows that air on the local affilates and CSN during the fall (many of them produced by the Redskins). Couldn't the Nats try something like that (but hopefully go a little easier on the propaganda)?

Posted by: Fingerman | July 10, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Fingerman, they're struggling to build a major league quality team right now, trying to put fannies in the seats at Nationals Park, and now you want them to become a virtual television network too? Shouldn't MASN,- a supposed TV network, after all - be doing that? If the suits at MASN proposed doing all those things you suggest, I doubt that the Nats would oppose it. But MASN is obviously more interested in doing that kind of thing for the Orioles.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | July 10, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Fingerman, I like that idea, and I think there's no doubt the Lerners should try to promote more.

Part of their problem is that they don't own their TV rights and therefore have no say in what their channel broadcasts. That's the number one way teams get to launch their propaganda, especially when there are no big starts to talk about the team.

What mystifies me is why they don't have Frank Howard do more for the team. It's possible that he doesn't want to, but it seems like there should be no price to high to get someone with a nickname like "Capital Punisher" to talk about the Nats once a week.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 10, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

@Ray King's Gut Feeling: I agree that should be part of MASN's job, but since nobody is watching MASN (and everyone is complaining, with some justification, that the quality of their coverage of games is somewhat lacking), putting such shows on MASN is like broadcasting into a black hole. And MASN's attempt at such a show last year, Nats Access, was pretty unwatchable. I believe that show and O's Access have both disappeared from MASN this year.

And I'm sure this doesn't entail the Nats becoming a television network. I have to believe they could probably partner with one of the affiliates and pay for the show, while using affiliate talent. Isn't that what goes on with a lot of those Sunday morning Redskins shows in the fall? I just have to believe that there's some potential for this that the Nats haven't tapped.

Posted by: Fingerman | July 10, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

considering that frank is an employee of the yankees, that might be awkward, 506.

Posted by: 231 | July 10, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

And Nats coverage in the local media is about to get worse--according to DCRTV, Snyder has already dropped Phil Wood from WTEM 980. I guess two hours of baseball on Saturday was just too much non-Redskins programming for the Danny.

Posted by: Fingerman | July 10, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

"considering that frank is an employee of the yankees, that might be awkward, 506.

"Posted by: 231 | July 10, 2008 5:57 PM "


Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 10, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: NR Steinbrenner | July 10, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

The United choked in the first round of the playoffs; they're hardly champions.

Posted by: PB | July 10, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

The PB is officially the most irritating troll Beatch on any WA Post Blog!
You are talking about the one stupid game your boyfriend took you to last year.
As you continue to be alienated by all of United's fan's on these blogs you become more and more retarded.
Good job loser.
When you decide to jump back on the band wagon when United returns to the playoffs be sure to let everyone KNow where You'll be sitting. I'll be saving a handful of batteries and a rotten bag of Piss for you.

Posted by: Dadryan | July 10, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse

The United game on Saturday conflicts with other plans I have for the night, I'll make it to a game pretty soon and just for you I'll be wearing my red Nats cap.

Throwing things at someone from a distance is a cowardly act, as is making internet threats. The United sure have some tough guy fans.

Posted by: PB | July 10, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

"And I'm sure this doesn't entail the Nats becoming a television network. I have to believe they could probably partner with one of the affiliates and pay for the show, while using affiliate talent. Isn't that what goes on with a lot of those Sunday morning Redskins shows in the fall?"

Virtually all of those Redskins shows on channels 4, 5, 7 and 9 are produced and paid for by the stations, not the Redskins. The exception would probably be any of the shows hosted by Larry Michael, who is a Snyder employee. The Channel 4 George Michael shows are definitely paid for by the station - they pay Joe Gibbs or whoever is coaching the team to appear on the shows with George or Lindsay Czarniak or whoever else from the station is on the show.

So I'm sure the stations would be glad to sell the Nationals a half hour or one hour infomercial once a week on their air, but the Nats would have to hire all the talent and produce the shows themselves, in addition to paying for the air time. That means the infomercial would be hosted by Debbie Taylor, not Lindsay Czarniak. Would anyone watch that who's not already one of the 9,000 watching MASN?

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | July 10, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

PB, just keep coming. Whether you like it or not, your a fan.

Posted by: JT | July 11, 2008 12:42 AM | Report abuse

All this time I was wondering why on earth people were so wrapped up in what was happening in New Jersey.

Turns out NJ stands for "Nationals Journal".

Whooda thought?

ps You are awesome Dan Steinberg. Big fan.

Posted by: spectre | July 11, 2008 4:37 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the response, Dan. But if you were really using the previous twelve months you should have said so. You didn't:

"2) Why does The Post devote so much more space to other professional teams and leagues besides the Nats and MLB?

In 2008, the Post has allocated approximately 30 percent more space to covering the Nats, Orioles and MLB than the Redskins, Ravens and NFL, despite the fact that the NFL is by far the country's most popular league and the Redskins by far this area's most popular team."

Posted by: Scott in Shaw | July 11, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

You say: "Virtually all of those Redskins shows on channels 4, 5, 7 and 9 are produced and paid for by the stations, not the Redskins. The exception would probably be any of the shows hosted by Larry Michael, who is a Snyder employee. The Channel 4 George Michael shows are definitely paid for by the station - they pay Joe Gibbs or whoever is coaching the team to appear on the shows with George or Lindsay Czarniak or whoever else from the station is on the show."

Actually, according to this Wash Post article from 2006 (, that's not true. While it says that George Michael's Redskins Report is independent, it notes that Redskins Game Plan (hosted by Czarniak and Hellie) is owned by the team, as is Redskins Game Day on Channel 5 and even the "Joe Gibbs Show," which was owned by the team but the ad revenues were split with the station. Journalistically, this probably isn't a good thing, but it's already happening. Here's the money quote from the Farhi Jan. 2006 article:

"The Redskins have a stake in programs airing on three of Washington's four leading network affiliates, including WUSA, WRC (Channel 4) and WTTG (Channel 5). Channel 4 carries "Redskins Game Plan" and Channel 5 broadcasts the similar "Redskins Game Day." Channel 9 has two shows, "Redskins Generation," which is geared toward children, and "Redskins Late Night," a team-themed entertainment show. WRC also broadcasts "The Joe Gibbs Show," a weekly interview program that is owned by the team, which splits advertising revenues with WRC."

Posted by: Fingerman | July 11, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Okay, Fingerman, thanks for that info. What that says to me is that the Redskins have become if not a network then a production company, akin to the big Hollywood production companies. I still don't think this is feasible for the Nationals, who if they do anyhing should be doing it on the network that they are minority owners of, namely MASN. Unfortunately, they are just that - minority owners - and as such they have no real influence there. Or would you say that they should take the $25M or whatever they are getting out of the MASN deal and pump it into the formation of their own TV production company to compete with MASN, instead of investing that money in the team? (It would cover maybe two free agents a year.) Or maybe the Nationals should go even further along the Dan Snyder route and buy themselves a theme park? (Oh, wait. I guess they're already turning Nationals Park into one, aren't they?)

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | July 11, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Few quick things while baby is asleep....

Post was hidden below because I published it on very little sleep and had the wrong day in the "date" field. Whoops. That was smart. It's fixed now.

In terms of the "we can't think of a reason for our Nats traffic being so low" debate, I omitted two obvious reasons that some of you have mentioned, and that we have, indeed, thought of.

1) Baseball fans might be more likely to read stories in the paper than other demographics.

2) Baseball fans have many other sources of online information than other demographics.

I wanted to edit the post to reflect that, but was unable to get online until now.

As for "us guys" being in denial, please, just keep this argument to me. I'm really and truly not speaking for the higher-ups here. Maybe I'll do a Q&A about this issue with my boss and publish it here, but I can't possibly be considered a spokesman for The Post or the Sports section.

As for quality of coverage, it's a serious issue for many of you. Chico is a great reporter, far better than I, and he will bring you information you can't get anywhere else. But he's very very new on this beat, and sources don't automatically come with the job. Your beef may be that we hired a newbie mid-stream, but remember that the same thing happened with Ivan Carter, Jason Reid, etc. That's kind of the nature of the industry.

And Scott in Shaw, my bad, I thought you were talking about bylines, not space. The space numbers I cited were the projections for the entire 2008 year, which are made before the year starts. So, according to our 2008 space budget, much more will be devoted to MLB/Nats/Os than NFL/Skins/Ravens. That could change, but that's the projection.

With issues like the blogs not appearing in the me. Email Jon. Email any of us. We want our product to be as good as possible. We want to make readers happy, at least with basic customer service complaints.

Finally, with issues of me being passionate about this or taking it personally....not really. Sorry if it seems that way. Chalk it up to lack of sleep. I do get a bit miffed at some of the shots being fired at Chico, because he's a great guy and a better reporter in a pretty tough work environment and anonymous character shots don't make it easier for him. But I don't take this any more personally than any other "my team's coverage stinks!" complaints, and I'm happy to keep exploring this.

(Oh, one more thing....even if comments don't correlate to hits at all, it makes it a lot more fun for me when people comment, and I'm happy to have all you over here, at least for a few days. If I cover Dmitri Young's taste in '80s hardcore rap and Aaron Boone's home-run celebration creation, will you come back?)

Posted by: Dan Steinberg | July 11, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Also, the suggestion about "covering" games from home isn't entirely far-fetched. Other papers have started doing that with serious beats.

And the columnist issue is serious one; my own sense is that this became an issue as Tony K and Wilbon blew up. I'd rather have columnists who are focused more on writing about the locals than talking-heading about the nationals (not the Nationals), but we're hardly the only paper that's up against that issue, and as someone who happily cashes Comcast SportsyNet checks, I can't fault anyone. But it inarguably has hurt our sports section.

Posted by: Dan Steinberg | July 11, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

RKGF: Actually, first of all I think the Nationals should pay their rent. But I think putting one or two shows on the air would cost a fraction of the $25M they are getting from MASN. The Farhi article said George Michael was actually the producer of "Redskins Game Plan" (this was back when he was still the head sports guy at Channel 4), so the Redskins were pretty much just paying the talent at Channel 4 to do the production work for that show (even if the Redskins also pretty much do have their own production company.)

Having said all that, perhaps the agreement with MASN precludes them from producing a show on another network. That would be a shame, because while in theory such a show should air on MASN, if no one is watching MASN to begin with, then viewers are never going to see the show promoting the team. Airing such a show on a channel that people regularly tune in to, and thus might run across the Nats show by accident, sounds like the better way to go when only 9,000 people are turning into the network that broadcasts your games.

Posted by: Fingerman | July 11, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

"You're all smart."

You don't know me very well

Posted by: inchesfromyourface | July 11, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Dan - nice point about the columnist issue (and props to the original commenter(s) who raised it. Anecdotally, at least, it seems like there are far fewer locally-oriented columns in the print edition now than there were a few years ago. I don't begrudge Wilbon and Kornheiser their national success, but it really would be nice if the Post brought someone in to replace that drop-off in productivity. Maybe that will happen now that TK has taken a buyout, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

Oh, and only one column about DC United...yeah, uh, couldn't they do a *little* better than that? Not to mention, I don't think the Post has *ever* run a column about United that actually got into a serious analysis of the team. The annual bone thrown our way is usually just a standard-issue human interest story, with no insight into the actual sporting side of the game. *sigh*

Ah well, at least United pays its rent at RFK. You stay classy, Lerner family!

Posted by: EdTheRed | July 11, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for today's [comments-embedded] responses, Dan.

We'll see regarding future visits for Dmitri's rap and AB's homer celebrations. What else ya got? :D

Last, a technical question for you, Jon, or whomever: if comments don't correlate to hits, what does? If number of ad views is a factor, could the use of ad blockers affect hit numbers? Or does the number of hits have to do with tracking visits by individual posters?

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 11, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Bogger Vance: "but I can't possibly be considered a spokesman for The Post or the Sports section."


I think herein lies the problem. We know (I think most of us do, anyway) that you aren't speaking for anyone other than Bogself. However, you still do so as a representative of the Post. It's like telling a player not to get in trouble, then he does. He'll think, well I screwed up, doesn't matter to the team. But it does, because wherever he goes, in uniform or not, he's still representing that orga-ny-zation. It's hard to separate your thoughts as not being of The Post, when you are, in a sense, The Post (relative to a Nats Fan v. The Post discussion). You can understand, I hope, how some people would not see the line there, because it is a shade blurry.

That said, that you are responding in depth and with some level of passion is good to see. If this was the TK radio show, we all would have been banned by now.

Posted by: Eddie C | July 11, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

"Finally, with issues of me being passionate about this or taking it personally....not really."

Glad to know it Dan, I think most everyone over at "New Jersey" likes you an awful lot, so we don't want you to feel bummed by it. And, again, it's amazingly awesome to just have someone willing to engage about it.

As for Chico, there are a few trolls that hate on him, but nearly all are anonymous even by anonymous internet standards. We took your point, though, and gave him a healthy dosage of loving last night. He is very talented and he will be one of the best, I think, if allowed to really hone his craft. And he's totally awesome for offering to buy us beer.

"If I cover Dmitri Young's taste in '80s hardcore rap and Aaron Boone's home-run celebration creation, will you come back?"

Would love to come back more. We tend to have lots of opinions, so you put that stuff up and we'll start a discussion. I read the Bog almost every day, but rarely comment, since there's not all that much Nats stuff. It's not that I don't love all those other DC teams, it's just that I don't love them quite enough to risk my boss's ire.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 11, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

He'd be even more awesome if he bought us ice cream, like Barry did. Just sayin'... ;)

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 11, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Dan -

Thanks for stepping back into the fray.

If you have a moment, I would really like to hear your response to the articles/game and columns/game disparity argument your data presents. I haven't really seen you address that disparity between the Skins and non-Skins teams, or even the Wiz/Caps v. Nats. That, to me, is the core of the issue. Even if you can't hire more columnists, if you got Astleford to drop out of college to do the gamers and notebooks (sorry Astleford's Mom) and let Chico spin his yarns on features re players, organizational philosophy, front office personnel, prospects in the minors the volume of stories would increase to at least Wiz/Caps levels -- though they should be higher. Again, the inches can come from dropping all the agate, except high school results and events. If folks really want to know ATP results from Europe, that is why God invented the internet.

Just the uptick in articles re the team would alleviate much of the perception that the Post has made the decision to marginalize the Nats.

Emilio hasn't consciously made that decision, right?

Posted by: WebberDC | July 11, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse


Love this give and take even if I think it is time to close the lid on this...

So... what's in your MP3 player now? What's Shiner listening too? And does Bos have an MP3, or is he still winding up that old Victrola?

Posted by: Sec 114, Row E | July 11, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for the clarification, and for engaging in this interesting debate. I come over here all the time (but rarely comment), so I will of course be back.

Posted by: Scott in Shaw | July 11, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Dan, these have been two great posts. You have hit the nail on the head and beat back so many of the ridiculous arguments the complainers are making. No one thinks their team gets enough coverage. Like you concluded in the first post, Nats fans have nothing to complain about.

Posted by: cb | July 11, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I LOVE that The Post covers the ORIOLES.

Keep up the good work guys.

Posted by: O's Exec | July 11, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

What about the non-ridiculous arguments, cb?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 11, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm late arriving but am documenting my appreciation for your taking the coverage issue head on and "facing" the your critics.
Like many others, I start my day with coffee and the dead tree edition. I glance at the front page and then read the sports almost cover to cover. I then do the same with the Washington Times. I have no need to click on the gamer. I then check NFA and NJ.
Incidently I save the dead tree editorials to read with an adult beverage when day is done.
As a concrete recommendation to increase coverage within reasonable cost constraints, try a weekly farm update. Send one of the interns to the farm, most are reasonably close, for an interview or column. The "Plan" is so dependent on the farm system that, just as I make it a point to read the Food section on Wednesday to read the wine and beer columns, we might start tuning in to such a regularly scheduled feature, whether paper or digits. NFA does a great job covering the farm but Brian can't get around as much as I assume he would like. NJ also repeats the Nationals farm update but as you've gathered by now many of us are hungry for more, More, MORE. This would also be good training for the interns, getting them out on their own in a low risk environment, and would allow them to start developing their sources, since you never know who is going to make it big.
Please don't think that all of us are harshly critical of Chico. He does a wonderful job most of the time and I and many others have "told" him so.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | July 11, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Baseball is a dying sport in America, except in 2 cities: New York and Boston. Baseball should have never retunred to DC because no one really cares about the sport anymore, hence the reason why no one is watching the Nats. The stadium was/is a waste of money.

Posted by: Keeping it Real | July 11, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I wanted to watch the Nats game last night. I dont believe it was on Fios. After 5 minutes of looking through my guide and 5 minutes on the internet, I gave up. How can you expect people to watch them when they play on MASN? No one even knows watch channel that is.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 11, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

The game was on TV 20 last night and will be tonight as well.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 11, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Baseball is doing quite well, thank you, throughout most of the country. Not just NYY and Boston. Record fannies in the seats. It isn't the #1 in the country, but hasn't been since the AFL/NFL merger. NASCAR is on closer to an NFL, once a week, schedule, so the TV comp per event of course is not possible. NASCAR actually has peaked, too. Call it #2, though. Baseball probably is in a bunch for 3d with hoops and, eventually, futbol.

Posted by: Reality for Keeping it real | July 11, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Last, a technical question for you, Jon, or whomever: if comments don't correlate to hits, what does? If number of ad views is a factor, could the use of ad blockers affect hit numbers? Or does the number of hits have to do with tracking visits by individual posters?

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 11, 2008 12:12 PM


Good question ... what Dan was saying that, from our experience on his blog and the others, when a lot of comments are posted on a given day, that does not necessarily mean the overall number of people looking at the blog has gone up much, if at all.

For instance, Dan's comment count the last couple days has been through the roof. But his overall traffic numbers have not changed much from his (remarkable) weekday average.

Don't get us wrong -- comments are a sign readers are really into the content (or they really hate it), and that's good (unless they really hate it because we screwed up). So all of us like to see comment counts rise. But yeah, like Dan said, a seven-comment blog item sometimes is read by just about as many people as a 100-comment item.

Make sense?


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Posted by: sally | July 12, 2008 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who whines about the coverage of a last place team has lost their grip on reality and does not deserve the consideration. Dan, you've been more than generous with your time. I think that it's time the babies moved on.

Posted by: Mike B | July 12, 2008 1:03 AM | Report abuse

Yes, that does make sense to me. Thanks for the explanation, Jon.


Good question ... what Dan was saying that, from our experience on his blog and the others, when a lot of comments are posted on a given day, that does not necessarily mean the overall number of people looking at the blog has gone up much, if at all.

For instance, Dan's comment count the last couple days has been through the roof. But his overall traffic numbers have not changed much from his (remarkable) weekday average.

Don't get us wrong -- comments are a sign readers are really into the content (or they really hate it), and that's good (unless they really hate it because we screwed up). So all of us like to see comment counts rise. But yeah, like Dan said, a seven-comment blog item sometimes is read by just about as many people as a 100-comment item.

Make sense?


Posted by: natsfan1a | July 12, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Dan, if I left more comments would it make you less likely to jump off a bridge? I can leave more comments if you want.

Posted by: FS | July 13, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Dan Snyder should buy the Nationals.

Posted by: GJ | July 14, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Forget about Danny, I'll buy the Nats.

Posted by: Peter Angelos | July 14, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Not a new problem - something we haved pointed out for about two years - many of us use the Nationals page as the starting point to our WashingtonPost expirence.

The links are often not updated to keep current with the paper of .com content.

Current example is that the nobody would know that Boz wrote two stories since the link fron Nationals Page still show his story from 9000 TV viewers as his current effort......Just saying.....

Posted by: JayB | July 15, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Webber- your story per game numbers are wrong for United. You got 156/30= 5.2 per game, but the game number is wrong because United participates in more non-league events that actually have meaning than other sports (ie not preseason).

Last season was a 30 game regular season + 2 playoff games + 4 games in the regional (North American) championship competition + 4 games in the Superliga +1 US Open cup game + 2 games in coupa sudamericana making it 43 games that had a trophy of some meaning as the aim. The true number is thus 3.63 per game. And that includes the things like injury reports that would get tacked onto the end of a gamer if United had a daily gamer.

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Posted by: Maggie | July 17, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

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