Monthly Archives: September 2008

Future of Sports Journalism

The future of sports journalism is heading into a blogging direction. There are many grey areas about the blogging world though. Is it journalism, are the sources credible, and what can be done to monitor the comments? Does the tone of the writer affect the tone of the reader? After looking at four blogs:DeadspinESPN’s NFC East BlogBoston Red Sox Blog, and Dan Steinberg’s DC Sport Blog, there is some solid information as well as garbage. 

Overall, the most professional blog was the NFC East Football blog. The writer, Matt Mosley, provides solid information and the articles are well written. The blog is a quick way of delivering news about the NFC East. The blog links to other parties, and allows for comments from the audience. However, the only downfall of the blog is the lack of moderation on the comments page. There was a lot of profanity throughout the comments section. 

In terms of journalistic credibility, second was Dan Steinberg’s D.C. Sports Blog. The posts were informative and well-written, but he used jokes to get some of his points across, something the ESPN blog did not do. One thing Steinberg’s blog did do was pose questions to the readers, allowing them to be more engaged. Again though, there was a lot of profanity on the comments board. 

Sawx blog provided information, but was more of a humorous sports blog. They seem to definitely be targeting an audience of males, aged 15-30. In terms of being considered journalism, I think it was just an opinionated blog. I don’t think there were any journalistic ethics involved. The posts were laced with profanity. Again, the comments board were filled with profanity, but that is to expected on this blog. 

Deadspin. Well, it garners the interest of a lot of people out there. The stories provide information, good or bad. The posts are filled with profanity. The tone is joke-filled satire. Whether it is journalism or not, they have a strong following. The writers are doing something right to capture the reader’s attention. Perhaps many people don’t like the idea of this being the future, but get used to it. These type of journalists are coming by storm, and the archaic way of journalism is over. Is it professional, probably not. Is it getting attention, absolutely. And it will continue too.

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UMass Soccer Classic Preview

            The University of Massachusetts men’s soccer team returns home to host the UMass Soccer Classic at Rudd Field over the weekend. The action kicks off at 2:30 P.M. Friday afternoon when the Minutemen (2-3-1) face off against America East’s Hartford Hawks (3-2-2). Game 2 begins at 4:30 P.M. with Atlantic 10’s Rhode Island Rams (3-3) playing America East’s Vermont Catamounts (3-2-2).

            The Minutemen look to get back on the winning track after failing to secure a victory in three consecutive road games at Old Dominion, at William and Mary, and at New Hampshire.

          “The Classic is a chance for us to get some wins, and most importantly get us to where we want to be,” said UMass head coach Sam Koch.

            The Minutemen are back home in their comfort zone at Rudd Field in front of the home crowd. Dating back to last season, UMass is 10-1 in their last 11 games in Amherst. On Sept. 6, they defeated the visiting Siena Saints 1-0.

            “Our spirits are high, and we are happy to be home,” said coach Koch. “We love playing on the familiar natural grass, as opposed to artificial turf. When were on fake grass it’s ‘like where are we’?”

           The Minutemen are a team built around defense. In their most recent loss to New Hampshire, they allowed two goals and a number of other scoring opportunities. Hartford boasts some offensive firepower, led by junior forward Carlos Villa. Villa has tallied eight goals in seven games to lead the America East Conference. 

          “It is important we stay compact defensively to stop the Hartford attack,” said Coach Koch.

           Last season, UMass traveled to Hartford and blanked the Hawks 1-0. UMass senior goalkeeper Zack Simmons feels to beat the talented Hartford squad again, they must stick to their strategy.

          “We are two fairly matched teams, not the most skilled, but tactical” Simmons said. “It will come down to who executes better and doesn’t try to play over their heads.”

          The Hawks come into Amherst riding a two game winning streak. They have consecutive 3-0 home victories over the Bryant Bulldogs and the Canisius Griffins.

          Last season’s run to the College Cup has had lasting effects. Opponents are circling the Minutemen on the schedule after the success they enjoyed last season.

         “Emotionally teams are rising to play against us,” said coach Koch. “We are getting every other team’s best which makes it difficult.”

          The Classic continues on Sunday with Rhode Island and Hartford kicking off at noon. Host UMass faces Vermont at 2:00 P.M. in the final game of the event. 

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Women’s Soccer Game

Senior Vanessa Patry headed a goal in off a corner kick from sophomore Therese Smith in the 2nd overtime Sunday to lead the University of Massachusetts over Holy Cross. 

The Minutewomen struck first in the 2nd minute when Patry hit the crossbar and senior Vanessa Lima directed in the rebound. Holy Cross responded midway through the half when Junior forward Shelby Stand found the top right corner with a shot from just outside the box.

After a scoreless back and forth second half and first overtime, Patry connected on her third goal of the season two minutes into the second overtime.

The Minutewomen out shot the Crusaders, 15-13.

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David Maraniss Lecture

When looking at the topics to be discussed by David Maraniss, it was hard to fathom how he could make all the topics blend into one. Politics, race and sports are all extremely important concepts past and present in our country, but don’t have particularly much in common. Maraniss was able to interlock them in a way that most journalists would not be able to do. 

From 1960-61, Maraniss considered it to be the defining moment when politics, race and sports were woven together. Wilma Rudolph, an African American women track star, won three gold medals in the 1960 Olympics. A year later, the Freedom Riders were arrested for rioting. 1961 is also the year that presidential candidate Barack Obama was born. Although people did not know it at the time, it was the stepping stones for a new America. Without the influences of Wilma Rudolph and the Freedom Riders, it probably would not be possible for Barack to be in the position he is in today. 

It was also interesting how Maraniss tied in sports figures like Vince Lombardi and Roberto Clemente in the speech. At the time, segregation was a major issue. Famous black athletes and marines were not allowed in public places where white people were in attendance. Roberto Clemente was a viewed as a hero in his hometown of Puerto Rico, but when he came back to the States he was not allowed to eat in the cafeteria of his own stadium. Speaking about Vince Lombardi, Maraniss considered him to be extremely influential in the decline of racism in sports. Lombardi would go to the bars around Green Bay and make sure his black players were treated fairly or none of the players would be allowed to go to them. Lombardi wanted equality for his teammates, on and off the field. 

The comment that struck me in the lecture was sports and politics could be trivial or extremely important, depending on how the viewer looks at them. This tied in the whole lecture, start to finish.

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Matt Cassel Press Conference

Bill Belichick has a way of brainwashing his players in terms of dealing with the media. Regardless if it is a ten year veteran or a rookie in training camp, all New England Patriot players are extremely vague when dealing with the media. Every player states that they will take one game at a time and not look past an opponent. Patriots players also reiterate the notion of team over player, no matter the stats of the game. 

For Matt Cassel, a four year veteran getting his first start since the glory days of high school, it is no different. In a conference call with the South Florida press before the Dolphins come into Foxboro Sunday, Cassel refused to give into the media. After getting his first win in the NFL in a division game, he was still going about his business.

When asked about how he handled the pressure, Cassel answered he was mentally focused as if it was just another game. He learned the defense as well as he could and went out and executed. When asked about being a backup in college and the NFL and now becoming the starter, Cassel stated it has been difficult at times but he has learned a lot after being stuck behind three great quarterbacks. Cassel was also asked about how the players around him have helped him. In typical Patriot fashion, he mentioned his wide receiving corps, his running backs, and his offensive line as the reasons for his success. 

Coach Bill Belichick felt alright with Cassel under center against the Dolphins. “Of course it’s different than when Tom(Brady) is in there, but Matt played alright,” said Belichick. 

“We changed the game plan a little bit, but the defense is what hurt us this week,” said Belichick. The defense gave up 38 points to a sub-par Dolphins offense. 

The interview overall was a little disappointing. The question of whether it was Matt’s time to solidify his legacy was not needed. He is happy for the opportunity, but one win is not going to satisfy him. Of course he wants to make a name for himself, who doesn’t? The question on whether he has pinched himself was not needed either. Also, the question on if he learned pocket presence from Tom Brady was unnecessary. 

The interview should have gotten more into on what he has done during the week of practice to improve on his mistakes. They should of also asked the question if Matt and his receivers have become more comfortable with each other after a few weeks of practice. It is extremely important for the QB and WR’s to be on the same page to be successful, but there was no mentioning of it in the interview.

As for Matt’s answers to the questions, it was the same old song and dance. Happy about the win, things that could have been better, and changes that will be made to better execute next week.

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