Great Moments in comparative media: the Orioles sign Garrett Atkins
CTB readers knew this already, because Aaron wrote all about it on Friday. Orioles fans at large knew it because Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun originally broke the story the day before. This piece, in the Baltimore Sun, however, just popped up in my RSS feed, reporting that the physical has been passed and the deal is now done.
It’s the last one that has me appreciative of how the business of the hot stove league has changed in just the past few years. When I was at the Winter Meetings, I could tell which writers there were more blog-oriented and which were more hard copy-oriented by the way they talked about deals. Hard copy guys would ask aloud “does anyone know if the Smith deal is done yet?” Bloggers would say “well, yeah, that happened yesterday.” The response would be “but is it official?” with the implication being that it’s not a story until it is. The answer would be either yes or no, but the silent thought was “dude, we all blogged it yesterday, so it’s done. If he fails the physical or something, that’s a new story.”
I’m not suggesting that one approach is better or anything. Indeed, from the perspective of accuracy, it’s without question that the people waiting for the official announcements of deals do a better job. Someone in this short attention span world has to be comprehensive, right?
But after blogging for three years, it’s pretty apparent that there’s a huge audience out there -- probably the vast majority of the total audience -- who wants to know stuff right now. Yesterday, even. For that audience, the story has run its course once it’s been blogged or tweeted by enough people without the report being directly contradicted by a team source. The official announcements come hours or sometimes days later. The physicals and paperwork as much as a week later. Maybe more (anyone heard where Nick Johnson’s press conference is?). By that time, the audience has moved on to the next six deals.
So I see today’s Garret Atkins report and scratch my head. Not about why it’s out there -- it’s an essential part of the Official Record, as it were, and I’m glad the Baltimore Sun is keeping it. No, I scratch my head because I’m not sure where it fits into the lightning quick news cycle that has developed in the baseball offseason. If I post about it, I’m posting what most of you think is old news. If I don’t, I’m not posting the full story. I’m not yet sure what to do with these things, actually.
Sorry for the meta navel gazing here, but it’s been a slow day since the Vazquez trade went down -- remember that? It was hours ago -- and I just felt like speculatin’ about a hypothesis.
Anyway, Garret Atkins is an Oriole.