Aug 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Kansas City Royals right fielder N. Aoki (23) reacts to scoring the go ahead run in the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
As All Star Game voting comes to a close, Colorado Rockies fans — and those all around baseball — should be excited for what the Kansas City Royals’ dominance means.
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This Kansas City Royals All Star Game voting thing is interesting, even though it doesn’t affect the Colorado Rockies. But there is something to be said for the phenomenon as a way to break down some of the old “mainstream” or “establishment” channels for consuming sports content, because the gatekeepers that existed ten and twenty years ago in media simply aren’t there any more.
If you’re a reader of various items of general interest around baseball, you may have already seen Michael Humphrey’s post in Forbes. If not, it’s worth the read. It includes a few good passages about the voting fiasco, “gaming” of the system on the Internet, and the increasing democratization of the voting process and baseball fandom as a whole:
"A small market fan base high-jacked your big league party. And it happened the year paper ballots were scrapped for a pure Internet vote. We are seeing again how a social web, rallied around a point, can create populist movements that knock down gates. The movements don’t always last, but the phenomenon won’t go away. Far more important examples of this stand right before us.This is just a lighter-hearted example of how for all its proclaimed commitment to “truth,” mass media have an uncanny ability to keep the status quo in place. How “expertise” consumes its own chatter. How that leads to an elitism that primarily benefits the powerful. The Royals (and teams like them) were a joke for almost three decades, but the joke was not funny."
There has literally never been a time in human history where so many of us have had so much information at our fingertips — and in baseball history specifically, you as a consumer have never had as many options for following your favorite baseball team, whether it’s newspapers, blogs, local television, social media, or whatever else the kids are using nowadays (Periscope? MySpace?). That’s a good thing.
The more voices that are out there, the more writers and bloggers and journalists and consumers of news and journalism and analysis there are, they more likely it is that the cream rises to the top. It’s no secret that some folks (Woody? Woody. Woody!) at the Denver Post and other “legacy” media organizations are threatened by bloggers and non-traditional media sources. That they feel threatened is also a good thing.
Let more voices enter the conversation. Sure, more chatter creates more junk. But with more voices out there, more readers get their own opportunity to decide what’s junk, whereas twenty years ago, the Denver Post was going to be the only news of record to tell you what was junk and what was good (well, and the Rocky Mountain News, but that’s another conversation for another time. R.I.P., good newspaper).
Read us, read the Post, hit social media, cover all your bases at a variety of sources — it’s all good! The more choices you have as a reader, and the more the Internet shows old media gatekeepers that, in cases like the All Star Game voting show, the old way ain’t gon’ be the way going forward, the better it is for everybody.
Hell, start your own blog. I’ll read it! If it sucks, I’ll stop. If it’s good, I’ll keep reading it. Funny how that works.
The Kansas City Royals’ voting fiasco is one of literally dozens of examples of the Internet doing something that traditional outlets/events/media organizations didn’t do.
It is a superficial example, to be sure, but you’re lying to yourself if you argue it’s totally irrelevant to baseball media.
But it matters, and (I can’t believe I’m saying this in 2015, because everybody has known this since at least 2005) the Internet matters. More voices at more places in more ways is the future of media, so you might as well get used to it, whether it’s All Star Game voting or finding new ways to publish content. Join us.