Siberian Baseball

Sunday, April 06, 2008

This might be part of the problem

I wanted to let some of the dust settle before I ventured into this, but one of the major problems with the blogging world was cast into sharp focus for me this week as stories rolled out Tuesday morning.

Tuesday was April Fool's Day, of course.

It was also the day that the Ernie Banks typo was found on the statue, but given the false starts
throughout the day, it was hard to tell if the story was legit or not. Don't get me wrong, I love a good prank as much as anyone.. if not more... but given the amount of strange stories that are floating around anyways with bloggers taking a bigger chunk role in the public's attention, it's pretty easy for things to get out of hand.

Here's the funny thing - when I woke up that morning, I made a point to remind myself that it was April 1 when I saw my alarm clock, so I was well-prepared for the front page of Boston Dirt Dogs, which told me that Roger Clemens was ready to head back to Boston for the year to finish out his career.

At the bottom of their story, they politely reminded the reader to check their calendar and I shook my head while I sipped my coffee, wondering how dumb they thought I was. That was a bad question.

As the day progressed, there were plenty of missteps as blogs grabbed headlines and rushed to be first to post links and offer commentary - just as they do every other day of the year - only, some of those were jokes that were taken too seriously.

The world didn't end, no one was hurt, but the results made me think. Despite my belief that blogs provide a vital viewpoint in today's discussions of sports, politics and other facets of our lives, there is a major blind spot that is a result of that lack of official access.

I can't jump on the phone with the Cubs front office to verify if Kosuke Fukudome has been deported over a simple paperwork mistake, which leaves me to either run with a story because someone else has it or wait around and look uninformed or lazy.

I tend to be more cautious than I would like to be in order to avoid some of those mistakes - and I make plenty of my own to begin with, including two major ones this week alone - but this is apparently the tradeoff with the surge of web-based media.

Do I wish that it was easier to verify stories, regardless of how awesome they might sound when I see them on Ballhype? Sure I do.

Am I willing to trade that in favor of goofy stories about Ken Griffey Jr. throwing his jock at fans that are actually true? Not quite yet.

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