Thursday, October 25, 2007

Looks Like Someone Didn't Get The Memo

Over the past few days I have been reading at various places how "blogger friendly" the Washington Capitals have become, at the request of owner Ted Leonsis. In a nutshell, the Caps have begun to embrace their blog community and have given them unprecedented access and accommodations to bloggers at Caps home games. Yes, this is why the internet has been flooded with Capitals blogs lately. Personally I think this is a great move and hopefully more teams will follow suit. I could only dream of finding myself in the press box for a Penguins game one day.

Anyway, the Caps and Leonsis have gotten a lot of good pub from the blogging community and the print media out of this. There was a nice article about the situation in the Washington Times recently that help shed some light on exactly what is going on in the Verizon Center press box. The gist of it is that Leonsis has made accommodating "active" Caps bloggers to the fullest and embracing the fan-run blogs and what they bring to the table a big priority in Capital-land. The article even quotes Leonsis as saying:

“Then they can come sit in the owners box... I’ll find them a place to sit. I hope we have that issue [a crowded press box during a deep playoff run]. I’d like to be looked at as the most new media-savvy, blog-centric of the teams. If we win, that network just helps you to keep that momentum going.”

Unfortunately, it looks like not everyone on the Capitals payroll shares Ted's love for the fan blog. Earlier this week Capitals senior writer and official blogger Mike "Dumpy" Vogel took time out of his busy day to enlighten us all with a far from clever complaint about the then upcoming Sidney Crosby: Revealed special that was about to air on Versus. That was all well and good, Sid may be a little overexposed at this point, but I'm still not convinced that isn't the best move for the NHL right now. But that is neither here nor there. After a not so thinly veiled comment about how the NHL should spend more time hyping Washington's favorite caveman, he then took a cheap shot at Snoopyjode and The Sidney Crosby Show that was as uncalled for as it was unprofessional. When I read Vogel's post I was in disbelief. This is the official writer for the "blog friendly" Capitals? I promptly e-mailed a link to the post to Snoop and then waded in to comment on how bush league that post was.

Before I go any further, let me make it very clear that I couldn't care less if Vogel and Caps fans like Sid. I sure don't like Ovechkin so I wouldn't expect any different from them. I did however take great offense at Dumpy and his four readers making an unprovoked attack on Snoopyjode and her blog, which is lights out and a daily must read by the way. It was a ridiculous move for a so-called professional and I was not going to let it slide. I won't rehash my comments here, you can go read them at Dump N Chase for yourselves (we all know Vogel could use the traffic), but I do want to emphasize that this guy works for arguably the most pro-blogger owner in sports and he is taking cheap shots at a blog run by a fan in her spare time because she loves Sid, hockey, and the Pens. Oh, and her blog just so happens to be a 100 times better than the one he gets paid to write.

Well it didn't take long for wind of Vogel's post to get to Pensblog and at that point it was all over. We're like family in Commentorblog and when you mess with one of us you mess with all of us. So the Pensblog faithful stepped up and dominated Vogel's comments section like Pens fans dominate road games against the Caps (just look at the attendance numbers and see). Instantly the Caps fans there all went silent and even Vogel could only manage to make a lone and very weak attempt to worm his way out of the situation by A) being very condescending to myself and the other Pens fans calling him out and B) trying to deny insulting Snoop in the first place. Unfortunately for Dumpy this only made things worse and the Pens/Snoop faithful continued to poor it on. The bad news for Vogel is that he has exposed himself as a bitter old hack. The good news is that he's probably gotten more traffic in the last 48 hours than in the previous 48 days. Maybe he gets paid by the visit, then he'd really be in business!

The bottom line here is that hardcore NHL fans are probably the most internet savvy of any sports fans in North America (you have to be when you can't get highlights on TV!), and the exponential growth of hockey blogs and websites has to be a bit scary to the "old guard". I can only imagine how insulted Vogel feels that he has to share his precious press box with a bunch of amateurs. It will be even sadder for him in a year or two when one of them takes his job. I can only hope he hangs around long enough to share the press box with the one and only Snoopyjode, who I will be doing everything I can to help get into the Verizon Center press box the next time Sid and the Pens come calling. Unless maybe the Caps aren't so blogger friendly afterall?

In the meantime, keep your head up Dumpy. I don't think you've heard the end of this from Pens fans...

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