As pointed out by fellow Bloguin blog Awful Announcing, Grantland's Bill Simmons has an issue with the St. Louis Blues. Whatever did the Blues ever do to him, you might ask? Well, they didn't credential writer Katie Baker for the second round of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs. Horrors! A major sporting event with a press box full of media types didn't have room for a writer for a website that, as AA pointed out, only mentioned the Blues like three times this season? No.
Still laughing that the Blues denied @katiebakes for a media credential last weekend. The NHL is the best. DON'T COVER US!!! STAY AWAY!— Bill Simmons (@sportsguy33) April 24, 2012
The Scottrade Center pressbox will preumably be crowded for this series. A second playoff series hasn't happened in St. Louis for a decade. The Blues have been playing outstanding hockey all season, and the noteriety has been building all year. Media types from ESPN to TSN to Hockey Night in Canada are all taking notice, plus you have the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as well as flagship radio station KMOX's sports reporters and KRTS, KMOV, and KSDK up there in the box. Local media always have covered the Blues well. As well as the Cardinals? Of course not, but still better than the local media covered a now-extinct type of bird here in Atlanta.
Websites that don't cover a team shouldn't expect to get pressbox seating for that team. Professional sports teams aren't obligated to offer up press access to anyone, let alone bloggers outside of the mainstream media. Some teams are very open with this -- and, despite Simmons' snarky comments, NHL teams tend to be the best about allowing access -- and other teams are not. Small market teams who need any sort of media exposure they can get are normally tops of the list of teams to grant access to bloggers, though several larger market teams do for regular season games as well.
Tweets like Simmons' are why teams might be hesitant to hand out credentials to people in the future. The Thrashers were always forthcoming with media credentials, but only for blogs that A) covered the team and B) did so professionally. That's how most teams operate. If you don't want to be credentialed, act like Simmonds did. It'll be a miracle if any NHL team wants to give him a press pass again after that little outburst.
Do you realize how silly this sounds? Based on what you say, they shouldn't give credentials to the opposing city's media. ESPN.com, THN.com? Sorry you don't cover the Blues regularly, so no credentials for you! You do realize that Grantland is part of ESPN right? That Katie Baker has been their national weekly hockey columnist? God forbid the Blues pull off a miracle 4 game comeback against the Kings and then make the Cup, where would they put all the resulting media who might want to cover such an event? Not like there were 100+ journalists covering the NBA Finals last year...some not even from the United States, because how could they fit them all inside the tiny arena?
@IksarCleric You're missing my point. This wasn't a regular season game, it was a playoff game where the press box was jammed full of media who actually cover hockey on a regular basis. It's great that there's a weekly column on Grantland about hockey. That's enough exposure to trump local press and press from the other towns that cover the team for a living?? And part of ESPN doesn't necessarily mean anything. Hockey averages thirty five seconds on Sportscenter when it's mentioned. How is that a glowing rec for anyone to grant someone associated with the network a seat over a deserving member of local or national media that actually regularly cover hockey.
Press boxes are only so big, and they can only hold so many people, laptops, recorders, whatever's up there. If a team has to use discretion and choose who to give passes to, then why would they choose people who give minimal coverage? The Blues were well within their rights to refuse her access, and if he wants to be associated with ESPN perhaps he should tweet in a more, shall we say, "grown-up" manner? If he's going to be petulant about it then that's the icing on the cake. Good luck getting a pass for anything else, and ditto for any of your authors.
And not allowing the opposition's press? Come on. They, unlike ESPN, are actually relevant and need to be there.
I quit reading/following Simmons once he tweeted that hockey didn't belong in Atlanta. Thanks for reminding me why I don't bother with him anymore.