Wednesday, September 29, 2010

East Coast Bias

You hear a lot from fans who comment on big media outlets about the media's east coast bias. And since most of those media megaliths are on the east coast, the point is often a valid one. ESPN is based in Connecticut. Many of us "generalists" or those of us that write about baseball generally instead of focusing on one team are also on the east coast. When we attempt to write about what we see, the time zone problem does affect what we report.

The Fan, based in Maine, writes posts generally from 8:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M. Eastern Time. Logically, most of the west coast teams don't even get under way until two thirds of that time frame are over. And typically, those games don't get over until 12:30 or 1:00 in the morning. Logistics dictate that it is much easier for a west coast writer to have the entire day's spectrum in front of their computer screens during their peak writing times. That's not possible on the east coast.

The only thing we can do as east coast writers is report what we saw yesterday, and often that news is already stale by the present day. Even so, this site has picked Felix Hernandez for the Cy Young and Bud Black for Manager of the Year, so there is recognition of the exciting baseball being played. The Giants and Padres battle is riveting and the best story down the stretch. But often, it will be morning before we can find out what transpired during what is--for us--late games. Which is a bit of a shame. The largest draw this site has ever received was a post about three weeks ago that featured Felix Hernandez. Seattle fans sure do love their team and they poured into this site in droves. But again, it's hard to write about yesterday's news.

The big media does deserve a bit of blame for their bias. Most of them, like ESPN (mentioned earlier) and TBS and the like are based in the east. But there is also a monetary reason for what they do. The Yankees and Red Sox simply draw more interest and garner larger ratings than other teams. These outlets want to get the biggest bang for their advertising buck and that means featuring games that will garner the most interest. That makes fiscal sense even when it doesn't make socially responsible sense. It's not too unsimilar to the problem golf ratings are going through with Tiger Woods a no show during most of the tour season. The draw is the draw and that's where the toast is buttered.

The bias is something that has to be battled. The west coast has some of the liveliest and most intense action in the league. It's a different sort of baseball too. The east teams try to bash your brains in while the west features pitching. True baseball fans love both kinds of games but casual fans love the long ball. But we on the east understand the sentiment and battle ourselves. We really do. We don't always succeed, but at least we are aware of the danger.

1 comment:

Cactus George said...

As A Giants fan I will say I sincerely appreciate this article. The playoffs were frustrating to say the least, having the Giants ignored and underrated consistently.

Like I said though, this article made cogent sense, and is appreciated.