I was standing in the Angels’ clubhouse last year (hang with me, this is really about the Dodgers) when a writer who doesn’t normally cover baseball asked me what the “pulse” of the team was. I don’t remember the day, or the opponent, or what my senses were picking up. Probably the usual quiet din of clubhouse attendants shuffling in and out, the usual smell of cologne mixed with sweaty workout clothes, and the usual faces.
“It’s normal,” I said, which is usually what a doctor says when she puts away her stethoscope, right?
Truth is, this was the first game of a new homestand. I’d spent the last week covering the Dodgers. I could tell you what I’d just read about the Angels’ last road trip, or if there were any unusual faces in the room. Maybe I knew that night’s bobblehead giveaway. But a pulse? Call a doctor. Better yet, call a traveling beat writer.
A traveling beat writer doesn’t always read the pulse correctly, either. Journalism, especially this corner of journalism, is more an art form than a science. We run into a lot of closed doors and closed-off athletes. But being with a team at home and on the road gives you a better reading — every time — than being there part of the time. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last year and a half, splitting my time between the Angels and the Dodgers. What’s the old phrase, “Jack of all trades, master of none?” Jack might do many things well, but he’s probably not the most qualified guy in the clubhouse to take a team’s pulse.
That’s frustrating to someone who takes pride in his craft, someone who regularly gets asked about the pulse of his subject and sometimes struggles to parse every lub and dub. Most of all, that trickles down to you, the reader, who can’t be there with me all the time on the road.
So, the good news: we’re going on the road with the Dodgers. Actually, we’re in St. Louis right now. (It’s going to be hot.) Then it’s on to Pittsburgh and San Francisco, arguably the two best (newer) ballparks in baseball. Selfishly, my editors couldn’t have picked a better itinerary to entice me with the idea of full-time travel. Unselfishly, that means there will be more big news here, more minutiae, more of everything in between as this page takes you on the road for the remainder of the 2014 season.
The Los Angeles News Group hasn’t traveled with the Dodgers full-time for almost five years. This is a big commitment to me, to you the reader, and to a team 70 percent of Southern California can’t watch from home. The commitment is long overdue. We know that. Being selfish again, I want to win back some old readers just as badly as I want to keep the current readers in the loop.
To that end, another change: This blog will became a landing page for all Dodgers stories and photos produced by the Los Angeles News Group staff.
A brief explanation: We own several domains. One is InsideSoCal.com and it feeds into the websites of nine different newspapers we own. There are also the individual websites for each of those papers, and those will always publish the stories, notebooks and photo galleries from each Dodgers game we cover. Sometimes the stories and galleries are hard to find on the websites. Often, the blog entries are impossible to find on the websites. It’s more than a little disjointed. By publishing the stories and photo galleries here, you won’t have to hop around. It’ll be a one-stop shop.
Bottom line, the change is about giving you better coverage. I’m happy to bring it to you.
Like, really happy.