Question about the Changing Landscape of Sports Journalism

By Wes Williams

Disruptive innovation is a term used by economists to describe how an existing market is disrupted by a new market.

Think about Kodak. One day it was an invincible company since it was the standard of film.  Quickly the film market was disrupted by digital cameras leading to Kodak filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2012.

Cable sports channels like ESPN are becoming victims of disruptive innovation due to chord cutters dropping their $200 cable bills for on demand web platforms and bunny ears. ESPN-Red-Logo-large

Hundreds of extremely talented sports journalists at ESPN were laid off this week because viewership is down on television leading to lower than expected profits.

ESPN once feasted on television profits for years as cable companies bundled ESPN into packages. Many consumers had to pay for ESPN in order to watch the channels they wanted, even if they never watched ESPN.  With chord cutters dropping their cable subscriptions for on demand platforms like Netflix and free live TV through bunny ears, ESPN is making less money from cable companies.

Less money equals cost cutting measures like laying off talented sports journalists.

Questions about Current Sports Journalists

So what happens to the sports journalists laid off by ESPN? Do they go to local news?  Do they sign on with a team as a reporter or a play by play announcer? Do they sign at Fox Sports or NBC Sports? Do they try to make it with a blog or podcast? Do they go into a separate industry?

According to the public memo posted online, “Dynamic change demands an increased focus on versatility and value, and as a result, we have been engaged in the challenging process of determining the talent—anchors, analysts, reporters, writers and those who handle play-by-play—necessary to meet those demands.”

Versatility in sports journalism means talent must be able to appear on television, write articles for the website, utilize social media, announce live sporting events, and share opinions on radio.

Will these laid off journalists develop new skills at a different media outlet to make themselves more versatile and valuable?

Questions about potential Sports Journalists

Up until recently, potential sports journalists were evaluated on the quality of their resume tape or examples of newspaper clippings.  Going forward, potential sports journalists will probably be evaluated by their number of Twitter followers, play by play abilities, examples of radio work, web capabilities, and more on top of their traditional resume tape or newspaper clippings.

Imagine two students from a top journalism school entering the workforce after they graduate in a few weeks.

Student one excelled at the school newspaper for four years eventually rising to sports editor. This student does not do much social media because they are focused on putting out the top college newspaper nationwide. This person sends in three examples of quality newspaper work.

Student two wrote a few above average blog posts, has 500 followers on Twitter account, and once anchored a newscast for a class. This person sends in links to all of his content via his own website, which has had 2000 hits in the past few years.

Which student would a local news outlet hire? While the first seems to have the potential to be a high quality investigative journalist for a media outlet, student two might seem to be more versatile.

What is more valuable, numbers of social media followers or quality traditional journalism?

Does a sports journalist need to work for multiple companies or businesses in order to make a salary that supports a spouse and two kids?

For example, should an aspiring sports journalist work for a radio station in the morning doing a two hour show and then do play by play for a local team at night?

Does a sports journalist need to do marketing or sales for their media outlet during the day on top of their main on air position to add value to the company in the eyes of their bosses?

Content Questions

With fewer sports journalists on their payroll, it will most likely be harder for ESPN to cover sports with smaller ratings like baseball and hockey. Live events will most likely be relegated to NBA basketball, NFL football, and college football.

ESPN radio hosts will discuss these sports at length. In studio television shows will most likely have opinionated personalities break down games.

ESPN has already outsourced their nightly baseball shows to the MLB Network except on Sundays preceding the nationally televised Sunday Night Baseball game, which will now probably only feature games involving big market teams like the Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, and Cubs.

Will a fan of a small market team even be able to watch their local team play nightly if a regional sports network cuts back on how many games they cover?

If a fan wants news on their local baseball or hockey team, where will that person turn?

Will the person turn to team reporters on the team’s website, who might be biased since they are on the team’s payroll?

Will Fox Sports or NBC Sports fill in the gaps for fans of baseball, hockey, and college sports? FloSoftball-logo

Will other web companies like FloSports enter the market by charging a fee to watch content from sports cut by ESPN?

Bottom Line

Sports journalism changed this week leaving lots of questions for sports journalists and fans. It will be fascinating how all of this shakes out.

 

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Top Baseball Prospects Compete All Summer in Palm Springs

by Steve Sitter and Wes Williams

Baseball fans in the Coachella Valley do not have to drive ninety minutes to see high quality baseball. Top college prospects from the Pac 12, Big West, SEC, Big Ten, and the Big 12 converge on downtown Palm Springs each summer to play for the Palm Springs Power.

Palm Springs Stadium Flag
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim held spring training at Palm Springs Stadium until 1992.

Fans can enjoy the national pastime each summer evening under the cool misters of historic Palm Springs Stadium, former spring training home of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  

Elite college players compete each year in collegiate summer baseball leagues with teams like the Palm Springs Power. The most well known league is the Cape Cod League, with teams like the Chatham Anglers having produced Jeff Bagwell, Thurman Munson, and Evan Longoria in their 54 year history.

In only 13 years, the Palm Springs Power have had 93 players sign professional baseball contracts, 81 of those to Major League organizations.  Notable former players include Brian Shaw (Cleveland Indians) and Tyler Saladino (Chicago White Sox). 

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Tyler Saladino played for the Palm Springs Power and now starts for the Chicago White Sox

The Power play in the Southern California Collegiate Baseball League, which includes six teams.  The team has an overall record of 465-130 and has won seven league championships, including five straight from 2011 to 2015.  Last year, the Power finished in second place in the league with a record of 28-11.

Andrew Starke is the founder and president of the Palm Springs Power.  Starke continues to place great importance on community involvement, earning praise not only from the Palm Springs Chamber Of Commerce, but from Mayor Robert Moon as well.

While they are not the first team to play in historic Palm Springs Stadium, they have achieved the greatest level of success there since the Angels in 1961.

According to Starke,  “The lack of success of previous teams was well documented, but there was one glaring mistake that they were all committing; none of those minor league teams were local, and the community couldn’t relate.  I look at the success of Gene Autry’s Angels, and used that as a template for creating a hometown team that the community can really get behind.”

Earlier in the year, Starke named Casey Dill as manager of the Power.  Dill has an extensive background in professional baseball and hopes to add to the already successful Palm Springs baseball franchise.

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Casey Dill was named Power Manager in September

“This is a team whose success is determined by winning championships and promoting our players into MLB organizations” Dill said. “We aim to stay at the forefront of player development and knowledge of MLB scouting standards to continue to guide and lead our players into professional baseball.”

Dill has nine years of professional and summer collegiate managing experience, earning an overall record of 371-220 with four league championships. He is a graduate of Major League Baseball Scout School and also works as an Associate Scout with the Atlanta Braves.

“The greater Palm Springs community does a great job embracing the Palm Springs Power as the hometown team. Our mascot Rocky the Ram is one of the most recognizable characters in the community. It is an honor and pleasure to manage a team that is loved and supported as well as the Power are in Palm Springs.” said Power Manager Casey Dill.

On top of coming out to the ballpark for top level baseball from elite college players, fans can come out for an entertaining evening in Palm Springs.  Kids can enjoy the bounce house and meet Rocky the Ram down the third baseline. Adults can enjoy dollar beer night throughout the summer on Tuesdays.

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Tuesdays are Dollar Beer Nights at Palm Springs Stadium

“Power games are a blast and they’re affordable for the whole family to come. It is a wonderful social atmosphere and the kids always have fun in the bounce house and the race around the bases” said longtime Palm Springs resident Wendy Patterson.

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Question Answer
Is the Palm Springs Power a A, AA, or AAA minor league team? The Power is not a minor league team, it is a summer collegiate team made up of players from universities around the country. Collegiate summer baseball, or, “wood bat leagues,” as they are commonly known, are amateur baseball leagues that operate between the college baseball season in the spring, and the beginning of the fall college semester.

 

About what is the equivalent minor league level? The Palm Springs Power play at a level roughly below AA ball. In other words, fans are seeing prospects 2-4 years away from the MLB.
Does the team play the Rancho Cucamunga Quakes or Inland Empire 66ers? No. They play in the Southern California Collegiate Baseball League, which includes six teams  In 12 years of baseball, the Power have an overall record of 465-130 (win percentage of .782), and have won seven league championships, including five straight from 2011 to 2015. Teams in the league include the San Diego Force and So Cal Bombers
Have Power players made it to the MLB? Since the team’s inception, they have had a total of 93 players sign professional baseball contracts, 81 of those to Major League organizations.  Notable former players include Brian Shaw (Indians) and Tyler Saladino (White Sox).
What is the history of the Palm Springs Power? The Palm Springs Power is the brainchild of Andrew Starke, who remains owner and President.  They aren’t the first team to play in historic Palm Springs Stadium, but they have achieved the greatest level of success there since the Angels in 1961. According to Starke,  “The lack of success of previous teams was well documented, but there was one glaring mistake that they were all committing; none of those minor league teams were local, and the community couldn’t relate.  I look at the success of Gene Autry’s Angels, and used that as a template for creating a hometown team that the community can really get behind.”  Starke continues to place great importance on community involvement, earning praise not only from the Palm Springs Chamber Of Commerce, but from Mayor Robert Moon and Palm Springs Police Chief Brian Reyes as well. Both Mayor Moon and Chief Reyes threw out the first pitch at Power games in 2016

MLB Betting Odds for So Cal Teams

Opening day is only 48 hours away for Southern California Major League Baseball teams so now is your time to get your last second futures bets for the Los Angeles Angels, Los 6153882123_06f4913fc7_bAngeles Dodgers, and San Diego Padres.

Odds to win World Series according to Bovada

Dodgers +900

Angels +4000

Padres + 15000

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Odds to win Pennant according to Bovada

Dodgers +500

Angels 30/1 +2200

Padres 250/1 +6600

 

Odds to win division according to Bovada 

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Dodgers -210

Angels + 750

Padres +5000

 

 

 

 

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Indiana v Cal Softball Highlights

Click here to see highlights of the Indiana Hoosiers vs Cal Golden Bears softball game from the Judy Garman Classic.

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Make Baseball Fun Again

Baseball fans were treated to an October playoff game in March as the Dominican Republic came back from five runs down in sixth inning to beat the United States seven to five in the World Baseball Classic.

Besides the classic comeback, there was something else I noticed that made the game even more special. It was the passion of the Dominican Republic fans before, during, and after the game.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports expressed this an article last night,  “(the passion) was evident Saturday night, when the largest crowd ever to see a baseball game at Marlins Park came equipped with hundreds of literal Banderas Dominicanas and drums and horns and whistles and the spirit of a tiny, poor, proud island nation ready to topple the one that created the game.”

All sorts of rules are being considered to speed up baseball games to appeal to younger fans.  Runners placed on second in extra innings, fewer pitching changes, and other rules would speed up a game, but maybe Major League Baseball should think in a different direction.

Imagine coming to Dodger Stadium with horns, drums, and whistles. cropped-dodgerstadiumbanner.jpg

Imagine celebrations of homers like Manny Machado, Nelson Cruz, and Starling Marte’s where the entire bench welcomed them at home plate.

Now imagine security taking away the horns, drums, and whistles upon entering the stadium since they would ruin the experience of other fans. Imagine MLB pitchers beaning the next batter for a home run celebration for showing them up, an unwritten rule of the game.

Baseball needs more bat flips from Jose Bautista and Yasiel Puig. Baseball needs more fans breaking into loud songs in unison.

Baseball is fun already for true fans, but it could try to be even more fun for future fans.

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A Pac 12 Softball Team Will Win WCWS

I’ve had a chance to call a few #UCLA, #Washington, #California, and #ArizonaState softball games and I truly believe a #Pac12 team will win the Women’s College World Series this year.

Any team that wins enough battles to win the war that is Pac 12 league play will be battle tested enough to roll teams from the Big 12, SEC, and the Big Ten.

In my opinion, the team left standing after the brutal conference schedule should be in the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City June 1-7.

Battles begin next weekend with each of the top Pac 12 teams facing tough tests.

ucla-softball_0006#4 Oregon is the highest ranked team in the conference and undefeated. They will face the speedy #23 Cal Golden Bears next week providing their toughest competition yet.

#8 Washington beat #2 Auburn in their first game of the season and went 4-1 in the Mary Nutter Classic. They open up league play with #21 Arizona State at home next week.

#20 Utah and #10 UCLA will face off in Los Angeles starting on Friday.

#5 Arizona will have to travel to Corvallis to take on a tough Oregon State team trying to break into the list of elite teams in the conference.

RANK SCHOOL POINTS RECORD PREVIOUS
1 Florida State (17) 778 17-1-1 1
2 Auburn (2) 742 19-2 2
3 Florida (7) 722 20-1 3
4 Oregon (2) 707 19-0 4
5 Arizona 645 18-1 6
6 Texas A&M (2) 630 19-1 5
7 Minnesota (2) 610 18-0 10
8 Washington 553 15-3 8
9 Oklahoma 548 15-4 9
10 UCLA 59 16-5 7
11 Alabama 486 19-2 11
12 LSU 420 18-4 13
13 James Madison 412 16-3 12
14 Tennessee 368 18-2 15
15 Baylor 351 18-4 22
16 Georgia 341 19-3 16
17 Michigan 311 12-6-1 14
18 Louisiana 273 17-4 18
19 Kentucky 218 13-4 19
20 Utah 187 13-4 17
21 Arizona State 150 15-5 20
22 Ole Miss 115 17-2 25
23 California 99 15-3 23
24 Missouri 51 10-8 24
25 BYU

For more softball coverage this season, check out FloSoftball at www.flosoftball.com.

We Made Sports Center

I am slightly excited.

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Check out FloSoftball for more exciting highlights from the most prestigious college softball tournament in the country, the Mary Nutter Classic.

 

Mary Nutter Classic Weekend 2 Starts Thursday

Cathedral City will be the Mecca of college softball this weekend. img_0004

An epic second weekend featuring seven of the top ten college softball programs starts on Thursday morning at 10 AM at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. 

Below are some of the better match ups on Thursday:

#9 Arizona vs #23 BYU at 12:30.

#4Oklahoma vs  #15 Tennessee at 3.

#1 Florida State vs #18 Texas A&M at 5:30.

Catch all of the action on Flosoftball on your Roku or Apple TV.

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Mary Nutter Softball Collegiate Classic Day 1 Results

Rain was supposed to wash away most of the softball games Friday at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Cathedral City, but it held off long enough for fans to be treated to some epic softball battles. ucla-softball_0006

UCLA had two of the more exciting games yesterday as they beat Cal Poly 3-1 and Central Florida 1-0.

Oregon went 2-0 as well with victories over Kentucky and Kent State.  Each of those victories were decided by one run.

Other results from softball games yesterday at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic:

UC Davis    1        vs      Kentucky    4

UCF            2       vs      Cal Poly      1

Liberty        8       vs      LMU  10

Oregon      5       vs      Kentucky    4

UCLA 3       vs      Cal Poly      1

Liberty        0       vs      UC Davis    3

Oregon       4      vs      Kent State 3

Cal             2       vs      Illinois         1

UCLA 1        vs      UCF   0

Make sure to check out Flosports for continuing coverage from the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Cathedral City.

 

 

Colonials Capture California Winter League Title

Two Palm Springs teams were in the final four of the California Winter League playoffs only to be beaten by the same team.

The fourth seeded New York Colonials upset both teams and won the California Winter League championship by beating the Palm Springs Chill 10-3.

This game was essentially over after two innings. The Colonials jumped out to a 9-0 lead going into the bottom of the 2nd.

Edgar Lebron Jr. started the onslaught with a triple to drive in two.  Lebron ended the day with four RBIs.
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Palm Springs got runners in scoring position in the first three innings, but could not get the key hit to create a long rally to put them back into the game.

The Chill cut the lead to 9-3 and Dakota Freese kept the Colonials off the board with a strong relief appearance fanning five in his three innings of pitching.

But Colonials pitcher Dylan Thompson was even more impressive. He went six strong innings only giving up one earned run to earn the victory.

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