The Boys are Back in Town

It’s the time of year that pits brother against brother, husband against wife and co-worker against co-worker. No, not the announcement of the Pulitzer Prizes. We’re talking about baseball season.

Shallow Center waxes philosophical about the poetry that is our national pastime (baseball, that is, not blogging):

And so it begins.

If the most meaningful three-word phrase in the English language is “I love you,” then surely “Opening Day” ranks as the top pair. No other two words signify the promise of warm weather to come, the hope of a new endeavor, the pleasant embrace of the memories of seasons past. Everyone is in first place; nobody has walked the leadoff man on four pitches, and your best hitter is perfect with runners in scoring position.

And what better way to welcome back the boys of summer than last night’s Yankee-Red Sox game played in freezing rain in the Bronx? (CJR Daily itself is heavy on the American League rivalries, being a powder keg of A’s, White Sox, Yankee and Red Sox fans.)

The guys at Yankeefan are pumped up about the season, while taking a realist’s approach to last night’s 9-2 drubbing of the Sox:

This win doesn’t mean they’ll win the division, or the Wild Card, or the World Series. It doesn’t mean they’ll be able to handle the Red Sox any better than last year. It doesn’t mean there’ll be less taunting and booing at Fenway next week, and it doesn’t mean that they’ve made the right moves.

But everything that could be accomplished on Opening Day was. They won, they won decisively. They put on a good show, they made us happy. Oh man, am I glad baseball’s back.

Scrolling through a bunch of Red Sox blogs, the sentiment seems about the same: excited but wary. Over at Misery Loves Company, Rob writes, “Let the record show that the Boston Red Sox scored the first run of the 2005 Major League Baseball season. And then proceeded to stumble through seven more innings, defining uninspired.” Driving stakes through the hearts of Yankee fans, however, he points out that the Sox lost last year’s season opener, and “we all know how last year turned out.”

We now return you to your regularly scheduled media programming.

We’re a little behind on this one (via Dan Gillmor), but the Personal Democracy Forum reported on Thursday that San Francisco’s board of supervisors will soon vote on a measure that would “require local bloggers to register with the city Ethics Commission and report all blog-related costs that exceed $1,000 in the aggregate.” The vote is set for tomorrow (April 5). If it passes, any blog that mentions a candidate for local office that receives more than 500 hits will be forced to pay a registration fee and will be subject to Web site traffic audits. The impetus seems to be the influence that blogs have had (or allegedly have had) on the electoral process in the city.

Over at her blog, Chris Nolan looks into the issue in more detail, fleshing out the nasty local turf battles that spawned the proposal. Nolan notes, “If you blog for bucks on behalf of a candidate, you should disclose that. So should the candidate. I’m not going to hit the hysteria button. Not just yet.”

In other media news, Bill Walsh, the national desk copy chief at the Washington Post, is unhappy with some of the reporting being done about the Pope’s passing. Reacting to a Miami Herald headline that says “The World Prays,” Walsh launches into a mini-rant, writing, “No, it doesn’t … I’m sorry to be so crass, but there is a lesson to be learned here about inclusiveness. Not everyone is a Catholic. Not everyone is a Christian. Not everyone believes in God. Not everyone thinks religion is a force for good. A large majority of the world’s people, I’m sure, are sorry to see an old man dying, but a great many don’t think kneeling and whispering will make things better.”

Finally, there’s a new(ish) blog that deserves all of the attention that it has been receiving in the blogosphere. Democracy Arsenal, a group blog written by a team of five bloggers focusing on foreign policy issues, has an insightful post exploring the poor job the media has done covering Zimbabwe’s recent election. In part, they find that the media seem to forget that:

— these are the third bogus elections foisted on Zimbabweans by Mugabe in five years;

— his methods of persuasion include denying food to opposition MDC members and entire neighborhoods or villages that have been MDC in the past.

Welcome to the scrum, guys.

Paul McLeary

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Paul McLeary is senior editor of Defense Technology International magazine, and is a former CJR staffer.