I have no idea if this is true with other sports, but blogs about baseball can be remarkably good. At their best, they offer the pleasure of eavesdropping on a conversation between aficionados who know their stuff and care passionately. Dodgers watchers should enjoy this long instant message session where bloggers Jon Weisman and Jay Jaffe dissect the team's winter moves (they agree GM Paul DePodesta way overpaid for Boston reject Derek Lowe, pictured.) I bring it up, though, because they also review the Times' highest-profile Dodgers commenters—and in some depth:
Jay: As an aside, Iíve really started noticing the good, the bad, and the ugly about the L.A. Times coverage of L.A. since I took the Dodgersí Prospectus Triple Play beat on Baseball Prospectus. I liked much of Tim Brownís latest piece but found myself still disagreeing with a good amount of it.
Jon: I disagreed with some of it too, but I felt his approach, from the Timesí standpoint, was so fresh. In a sense, I didnít feel I had to agree with it all, because at its core, the article was open-minded, which the columnists typically have not been.
Jay: I agree with you - I didnít mind disagreeing with some of the nits that could have been picked because the main thrust, that one win in October wasnít worth a bunch of stupid decisions to preserve the core of that team at all costs, was right on.
As for the L.A. Times in general, I canít think of a single NY writer as odious as either Bill Plaschke or T.J. Simers Ö except for Mike Lupica on his bad hair days.
Jon: Plaschke and Simers were both better as beat writers. Theyíre good reporters, and they had to rein it in a little bit, which was good.
Jay: Judging from their output over the past year, time has clearly passed them by. These guys beat DePodesta like a rented backup catcher and canít even acknowledge the fact that hey, they actually won something, in stark contrast to the preceding seven seasons.
Jon: Simers, I think Iíve figured out. Nothing less than unadulterated, unmitigated success impresses him - most recently represented in Los Angeles by USC football. Everything is black and white - and if youíre not the best, you deserve ridicule. With some occasional exceptions made for honesty - such as when Milton Bradley had a forthright discussion with him. In a sense, I can even see where Simers comes from - but itís just way too cutthroat and nasty an approach for me. Ultimately, I think his columns are poisonous.
Plaschke simply is not governed by past opinions in his columns, not governed by anything but what he feels in that moment. And heís not the best logician.
Jay: Simers would probably play better in NY.
Plaschke would probably play better in some country where the concept of the two-sentence paragraph had yet to be introduced.
Jon: Okay, Iím going to speak up in defense of Plaschke on that one.
Jay: Knock yerself out.
Jon: For one thing, I donít think the one-line paragraph is inherently evil. And I think if you counted them up, he doesnít do it nearly as often as his rep indicates. I could be wrong.
Jay: Just pulled up his latest article and five of his first seven grafs are one sentence. Thatís just lazy.
Jon: I guess Iíd just say that itís the least of my worries. He can write haiku for me if he makes sense doing it.
Jay: Itís like nails on a blackboard to me. Unless itís done with extreme care, itís the sign of an utterly vapid line of reasoning, one that canít even find a sentence to support it.
The sentence might be in the next paragraph.
Or maybe the one after Ö
Jay: Hereís what I think.
He canít be bothered.
Like high-powered magnets, his thoughts are too weighty to put side by side.
Deal with it.
Jon: Hey, thatís good stuff!
Jay: I could do his job without wearing more than a bathrobe and a hangover.
Jon: Donít we?
Jay: Oops, Iíve revealed too much ;-)
Jon: Back to the team?
Their discussion continues at Weisman's Dodger Thoughts, then moves over to Futility Infielder.