UPDATE – ThePensBlog reports the PG has been overwhelmed with responses and further emailing/calling the editors may aggravate the situation. I’d remove the below contact information at this time, but WordPress and the iPhone don’t get along very well. (I’m in the car on the way to the game now.) Please be respectful of Seth’s wishes and let the staff have a break from the outreach efforts.
I’ve joked many times over the years the reason why I rarely blog about the Penguins is because so many other people are do it better and because really, the only acceptable hockey snacks in my book are nachos, hoagies, and now that I live in Los Angeles, Big Wang’s Heart Attack Fries which I am convinced played a magical part of both the 2008 and 2009 Stanley Cup appearances.Â (And the not-so-magical part of putting on 10 pounds during each finals run. I didn’t eat them last season, and the Pens lost.)
One of the people who does do it betterÂ — who arguably might be the best Penguins bloggerÂ — is Seth Rorabaugh over at Empty Netters at the Post-Gazette. Sadly, the Yinzer Batsignal was lit this morning with the alert that Empty Netters could soon be axed from the PG.
To say the troops have been rallied is an understatement.
In fact there isnâ€™t a single blog out there that analyses Pens hockey like Empty Netters (EN). This is by far the first place i go to if i miss a game and i want to get in depth analysis on what really happened during the game. Seth who is running this blog is a hockey gold mine!
Today, Seth Rorabaugh mentioned that the Post-Gazette is considering doing away with his excellent Penguins’ blog, Empty Netters. You may recall that during the 2008 playoffs, I blogged about hockey quite a bit for FanHouse when they were in a pinch. Seth’s blog was a daily read for me because it was smart, funny, and incredibly informative about everything going on in the NHL. It was exactly the sort of product that other newspapers weren’t pushing at the time (and generally still aren’t now), and it made me proud that a Pittsburgh paper was thinking unconventionally at a time when newspapers were so obviously struggling.
So now, the PG is threatening to cancel one of their best alternative sports offerings while delivering a broken paysite and running Bob Smizik’s daily regurgitation of links and Pittsburgh sports-related tripe in a prominent place on the site. Did you read Smizik’s post the other day about the Pirates managerial opening? He compared Clint Hurdle to Gene Lamont based entirely on their records (Guess who Gene Lamont’s career .496 winning percentage is identical to? It’s Jim Leyland! Using only winning percentage to judge managers is infinitely dumber than using it to judge pitchers, and it’s pretty freaking dumb to use it to judge pitchers.) and then used some weasel words to imply that before Jeff Banister had been out of work since 2002 before becoming the Pirates’ interim bench coach, even though that’s obviously not the case. And he’s the one that thinks Frank Coonelly is dishonest. This is the sort of thing the PG wants to run instead of a quality site like Seth’s?
To those of us in the blogosphere, this comes as a complete shock. EN bridged the gap between a mainstream newspaper such as the PG and the unwashed masses, per se. Seth’s efforts at EN immediately gave credibility and support to those of us that talk Penguins hockey, or any hockey for that matter, on blogs and different Internet venues.
We understand that blogging for a mainstream company is business, and I can’t say I know the entire line of reasoning that ended with EN’s now-shaky future. But eliminating something that has such importance and support to and from the very people that keep the PG relevant is no way to expand an industry that has seen nothing short of a full-on migration from print to the Internet in recent years.
You see Empty Netters is pretty much the bright central professional hub of Pittsburgh Penguins blogging.Â Seth has crafted and cultivated Empty Netters for years, through some of the darkest days of the Penguins franchise.Â Itâ€™s stunning that now, in what is nothing short of the second golden era of Penguins hockey that the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette would make the short sighted move of pulling the plug on EN.Â […]
Seth is routinely on Penguins HD Radio with Steve Mears and others to talk Penguins hockey.Â He eat, sleeps, and breathes hockey.Â Empty Netters Assists even covers the rest of the league better than most 10 man operations.Â The notion that the Post-Gazette would take what they have in Seth and Empty Netters and flush it is out of this world crazy.Â You have to remember day in day out this is in essence a one man show and itâ€™s the best Penguins one man show on the planet.
Beyond that Seth is a great author.Â He takes the time to interact, to the detriment of having any semblance of a life outside of hockey, will all of the readers who take the time to comment or tweet him up.Â He has more random useful stuff about hockey in his pinky than most people my age have in their bodies.
And I love this comment on PensBurgh:
The â€œFire Ray Sheroâ€ comment demonstrates one of the things that is great about Seth â€” he is plugged into the online fan community. He knows all the inside jokes, the memes, the viral videos, everything that fans are talking about online. This makes his blog a lot more relevant than articles that simply summarize what happened in the games. Blogs and twitter have made old media sources increasingly less relevant because sticky to the stodgy format means theyâ€™re missing all the great and hilarious stuff that makes hockey entertaining. Seth is the only place on the PPG website that demonstrates an active engagement with fans and hockey culture and the details that everyone is talking about online.
Finally, this comment on Faceoff-Factor pretty much nails how I appreciate Empty Netters.
Second, I live in California, and I consider Empty Netters to be one of only a few quality web-resources available to out-of-town fans who want to follow Penguins hockey closely. In fact, my schedule runs as follows: I read Empty Netters with a cup of coffee when I arrive at the office; then, because of the time difference, I listen to the radio feed of Penguins games during my last few working hours. If you discontinue Empty Netters, you will have removed one of the bookends of my day, and significantly limited my access to valuable Penguins and NHL reporting.
This posts and comments in support of Seth and Empty Netters are — pun intended — just the tip of the Iceberg.
If you would like to contact any of the Post-Gazette editorial staff and express your support for Empty Netters, please reach out to the following people:
David Shribman, Vice President and Executive Editor [redacted]
Susan Smith, Managing Editor [redacted]
Mary Leonard, Deputy Managing Editor [redacted]
Jerry Micco, Assitant Managing Editor/Sports [redacted]
From Seth, “Please be respectful when you contact these people. They have given me an amazing opportunity to create this blog and have allowed me nothing but freedom to write it as I please from day 1.”
On a side note, I don’t know what this means to our man Dan Gigler over at Blog ‘n’ Gold, or Mike White at Varsity Blog, the two other PG blogs I read regularly. If things are rough for Seth, I imagine they are rough all over which is a shame because it is great to have a younger, interactive fan at Blog ‘N’ Gold and as an old high school football fan alumni, the Varsity Blog is a rare treat and break from having to sift through the scary backwaters of Scout.Â (My Facebook feed last weekend had just as many updates by friends on the USC-Mt. Lebo game as it did the Steelers game, so don’t tell about there isn’t an audience for high school football outside of Pittsburgh.)
Save a blog. Maybe save three or four blogs. Save yourself. Save a cheerleader. Save the whales. Save the planet. Save me being lazy and not blogging about the Pens more than blaming my new argyle Penguins hat for this season.
Save solid writing and thought. Save Empy Netters.
Let’s Go Pens