I'm not really a political person. Stephen, who went to college with me, can attest to this fact. I keep up with things as best I can, but for the most part I shy away from engaging in real discussion about the subject. It just doesn't interest me much, and I find people can't really talk about the state of things rationally right now. Whereas in the past, we suffered from a lack of information on the issues, the candidates and the opinions of others, today we are oversaturated by information. What really matters is often paved over by unimportant and irrelevant stories brought up to drive readership and viewership. As Jon Stewart noted this past weekend at his Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, our populace is inundated with information like never before. This should be a good thing. We should be more informed than ever before. This is probably true for some, but when unnecessary information is amplified ad nauseum we lose traction with the true state of affairs.
Drawing things back to baseball in general, I believe this is truly the golden age of baseball fandom and knowledge. At the advent of the internet, we had MLB.com, the team specific websites under the umbrella of MLB and ESPN. That is about it. Fairly mainstream writing for the mainstream, traditional fan. Today, there is no end to the number of baseball related websites, blogs, and message boards to entertain and educate yourself. Someone could earn their doctorate in sabermetrics just reading Fangraphs, BeyondtheBoxscore and Baseballthinkfactory. For the most part, these places do a tremendous job of illuminating the subjects that are relevant and pushing other issues to the periphery. While the national media loves banging the steroid drum, the internet writers leave the hearsay, guessing games and speculation to the mainstream. Those writers have access we do not, and their audience apparently craves that sort of stuff. It doesn't interest me much, and if your comments are any indication, you all don't dwell on this subject much either. Just goes to show that with the increased outlets for baseball conversation, different platforms lend themselves to different varieties of discussion.
For the writers at TCB, we try to write about the issues surrounding the Astros that are both relevant to the team and interesting to the readers of this site. Sometimes we hit, and your comments flow like a mighty river of Astro enthusiasm. Other times, we seemingly fail, and the comments section remains barren as Minute Maid Park in October. We try though. We do. We tinker, and read other blogs and see what works and what doesn't. Everything is done to increase your and our enjoyment of following this scrappy bunch of ballplayers. I have to wonder though, does all this information, all the statistics, opinions, access and everything in between leave us with a better or worse understanding of how this team functions? Combined with the Chronicle, Alyson Footer, Brian McTaggart and the other blogs, do you all feel like you're getting a good indication of what this team's plan is for the future, or do you think we all could be doing something different? As LeBron James says in his latest commercial, "What should I do"? Should writers that cover this team continue to write and react the way we do, or is there another way yet to be seen?
What really interests me is how your opinions may change over the next decade. If current trends hold, newspapers will lose more and more influence. For anyone who just nodded in glee, I have to say that as a blogger, I do not necessarily think this is a good thing. As much as we complain about newspaper writers and their often times myopic view of the game, they have the journalistic chops to get stories and write well enough to educate us on things we ordinarily would have no idea about. As the internet gains in influence, the checks that exist to ensure writers verify facts and check sources dissipate as more and more people gain the ability to write about whatever subject they wish. It's very democratic- extending power to a greater amount of people, but the counter argument is that the quality of the writing will not necessarily improve and in all likelihood it will regress. My hope is that the online marketplace of ideas will cause all people's views to be strengthened lest they end up being unread and never considered. In this new age of information, we the reader have to be even more vigilant in what we take in and what we comment on if we want to ensure that our increased access doesn't result in a deluge that nobody can see through clearly.