Even ‘Ballers Keep Tabs Online

“He’s not going to tell you if he’s down or not, because he doesn’t want to do that to the team. I know some of the guys have e-mailed him, text-messaged him, called him and haven’t heard back from him because he knew we were coming home in a few days. That’s pretty indicative of how he really must feel.

That’s what Dusty Baker told the Trib Monday regarding Derrek Lee — on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

A decade since AOL Instant Messenger went live, texting and online status has become a way of life for many.

Three weeks ago, A front page Washington Post article was headlined: On IM, Keeping Tabs and Keeping Up Appearances: Status Icons Show Who’s Where When.
text message
Even my grandfather would understand what that means. This is how we communicate circa 2006. While the lines of communication are more accessible than ever, and the news cycle runs a hideous 24-hours, nothing says more than silence.

In my opinion, it’s a beautiful thing. When the team captain goes down, he can’t sit on the bench pouting… but in this age of post-cordless, post-laptop, post-palm communication, silence says it all.

Broke and Broke

Derrek Lee and his broken wrist at Dodger StadiumIn late April 2006 I made my inaugural visit to Los Angeles and decided I would enroll in graduate school. On the second night of my visit, I watched on ESPN as Nomar Garciaparra painfully tore his groin — crumbling to the ground in the batter’s box — effectively ending his short tenure as a Cubbie.
I quickly resolved that I wouldn’t be missing the Cubs in October after all by relocating to L.A. in August.

Fast forward one year — to the day — and I’m standing at Dodger Stadium with a contorted look on my face as Derrek Lee wretches in pain at first base. ONLY THE CUBS could possibly lose two guys to injury (pitcher Scott Eyre sprained his knee on the play) defending A BUNT!

Thursday’s x-rays confirm that Lee broke two bones in his wrist – in the absolute freakiest of incidents – being run into at first base by the diminuitive Rafael Furcal.

And D. Lee, the consensus #2 first baseman in the world (if not #2 all-around), is out for two to three months. We can only hope that means before the all-star break.

It may be the worst imaginable news, but as Cubs fans worldwide share a 98th straight championshipless season, there can be only greater room for optimism, right? This STILL could be the year — and besides, it’s pitching that wins championships, right?

And… We’re Back!!!

My apologies for the feigned death of Everything Between over the weekend… call it a classic weekend bender as the site celebrated a bit too hard in its transition into flashier, more spacious digs over at BlueHost.

After a bumpy .sql upload and multiple re-upping, we have landed. And the view is great. (as an aside, the Cubs swept the Cardinals, further proof that this MAY BE THE YEAR)!

Tribune’s curious strategies for the future of news

Newspaper Cuts - Daryl Cagle Nov 19 2005

When I moved to Los Angeles in August I fell in love with the LA Times – there actually is a REAL newspaper outside of DC or New York, I thought. I wondered how they could pull off an international grade paper with various nat’l and international bureaus under the Trib Co umbrella (I had previously dealt with the increasing rate of newsworthlessness as a reader of my hometown Chicago Tribune.

Ken Auletta’s piece in the New Yorker a month ago or so made it obvious that I had fallen in love with the LA Times just as the the paper could no longer resist the effects of the slow yet suffocating downsizing of Tribune Co’s newspaper outlets. Alas, not even Dean Baquet would be able to salvage it. My new lover is undergoing a rapid anorexic disformation – under a forced hunger strike.

Still, Steve Lopez exuded award-winning, ambitious journalism with his Skid Row series. A deep search of the web reveals that very little traffic visits the Chicago Tribune’s website for national or international content. On the other hand, the most e-mailed article in today’s LA Times is columnist Tim Rutten’s take on Bob Woodward‘s involvement in the leak investigation. (Rutten was forced off a post as a National editor in a round of Trib Co cuts, only to recreate himself as a columnist, albeit relegated to the “Calendar” section. He has since been named Associate Editor of Features).

LA Times had managed to keep up despite repeated cuts to staffing, maintaining 22 international bureaus, some with multiple staff members, whereas Chicago Tribune currently staffs just12 individual foreign “correspondents.”

Following the bastardizing of the op-ed columnist line-up, abandoning the weekly “Outdoors” section and the launching a Metromix for Tinseltown The Envelope website, the LA
Times is looking more and more like its crippled sister paper.

The choices that media corporations make in the coming years in making a transition to the teenaged generation (the last that will buy newspapers) is not to be taken lightly. The audience is well aware of the multiple options for newsgathering and is quicker than ever to scrutinize sweeping corporate-minded changes that ignore the intellectual and consumer-friendly values of the product. Simply put, content transcends multiple media, but poor quality content does not translate much better – if at all – in different contexts. Its insulting.

A Look to the Future: For the past year or so the Chicago Tribune has highlighted the inside back page of Section 1 with the laughably pathetic ” PERSONALS: WHO’S WHO & WHAT’S UP NAME DROPPING.” Every Day. Section 1.

A weekly column in the Tempo section showed up a year ago as wel, summarizing the content of that weeks’ US Weekly, Star, InStyle and the like. On the front page of Tempo, no less, Its heading: CELEBRITY MAGAZINES: WE READ THEM SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO.

Now, I understand the “what’s going on in the Soaps this week,” and other gossippy columns, that regularly appear in a tucked away but consistent corner of the paper. But to have these 2 regular sections, so prominently placed – and given their bold headings – is just downright insulting.

The Metromix concept is one that the Tribune is expanding, and The Envelope is likely a result of this. Be on the look out in your town.

Finally, and i hate to bring this up, but a friend told me that they’re going to start charging for Red Eye. Red Eye is the 30 or 40 page tabloid roundup of news summaries, sports and entertainment launched a couple years ago in Chicago. Shaped not unlike The Onion, it is filled with photo and graphic-heavy summaries of the news as defined by a high school student, written at a 7th grade level. They have been charging a quarter for it since it launched, at least 2 years ago, and there are cash boxes where its available for purchase right next to The Sun Times copycat Red Streak. But its given away for free everywhere, hence its no surprise that its news if they “start charging.”

As the Tribune Company continues its mission to dumb down society one job cut at a time, while future strategies of any media corporation are trivial and unproven, all I ask for is please, please, please:

A World Championship Chicago Cubs team in 2006.