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Rivals.com vs. Baseball America

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Pringle, Feb 13, 2007.

  1. Pringle

    Pringle Active Member

    Same functions, different sports. Yet one is a pariah to our industry and the other is considered indispensable.

  2. Kaylee

    Kaylee Member

    Well, as a huge admirer of one and someone disgusted by the other, we can start with the obvious...high school kids. Yes, BA also has the occasional report on high school prospects, but nowhere near the over-the-top hysteria shown by Rivals and its ilk vis-a-vis recruiting. Also, BA's focus is on draftable high school prospects...rarely, if ever, do they discuss recruiting races for college-bound ballplayers, saving that sort of thing when ranking each school's recruiting class (Go Vandy!)

    Also, a goodly portion of BA's writers and contributors have hard sports reporting backgrounds. Rivals tends to be a bit of a grab bag, making it hard to discern one's intentions. Anyone who thinks that at least a few of these recruiting "gurus" is working as an unofficial coach for the school of their liking must still believe in leprechauns.

    BA's analysis focuses mainly on a professional sport, and while high school kids do get drafted, once they sign on the dotted line they become professionals. If someone wants to critique the play of a young minor league prospect like, say, St. Louis' Colby Rasmus, well, that's pro sports for you. But this making a big deal out of where a kid signs to play college ball shows some of the worst of our sporting nature...that anyone would go to a message board or call in to a radio show to criticize where a 17-year old kid decides to go to school is sick.

    And of course, we're comparing two different animals. The appetite and passion for high school and college football in this country dwarfs the interest in college and minor league baseball by a truckload. The bigger something becomes, the more reptiles are attracted, and thus comes a greater risk of something serving the reptiles, such as Rivals.
  3. busuncle

    busuncle Member

    I hate recruiting as much as anyone, but I see a lot of similarities between the hardcore college fans who obsess over each recruiting class and baseball junkies who obsess over every prospect.

    I think you raise a fair point.

    I have a lot of respect for Rivals, and they've obviously put together a very popular and profitable product. They're 10 years ahead of newspapers in using the Web to deliver information. But if Rivals is the future, count me out. That's not the "journalism" I signed up for in college.
  4. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member

    I'd be interested to see how a true national high school football news website would do. One that focused on the sport itself rather than where kids were going to sign.
  5. Flying Headbutt

    Flying Headbutt Moderator Staff Member

    Not very well. No one really cares that much about high school football outside of the towns and conferences they're in, if even that much.
  6. Pringle

    Pringle Active Member

    Not well. No context. Every state has its own language, it seems, and it doesn't translate very well from one state to the next. People care about h.s. sports for two reasons - 1. recruiting and 2. How is my town's high school doing?
  7. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    I wish I didn't have to agree with that, but I do.

    I think, after all these years, I got a little bit of an education this past football season with that West Virginia kid who ran for 700-some yards in a game. I made a point of following what he was doing for a few weeks after that ... and his team wasn't even the best in its league. The moral: You don't have to be great to put up great numbers on occasion.
  8. SCEditor

    SCEditor Active Member

    There's already been at least one attempt at a national high school online publication. VarsityOnline.com became a national online preps newspaper in 1999 and failed miserably, because nobody could figure out how to sell advertising. I know in my state, SC, VO.com had two full-time editors/writers and a full-time marketing rep. In the year that they worked for the company, I don't think the marketing rep sold one ad, and both were out of jobs right around Christmas time in Dec. 2000 or Dec. 2001 (I can't remember). VO.com is now for sale, so feel free to bid on it.
  9. Jake_Taylor

    Jake_Taylor Well-Known Member

    Rivals national Web sites are very good, with some good writers and reporters working there. A lot of the sites for individual schools are good too with solid reporters, not homers. The problem with Rivals is that quite a few of the "local" sites are bad and ran by homers with no skills.

    For credibility's sake, Rivals would be better off to be more selective. To maximize profits they make sure basically every school has a site covering it whether it's any good or not. For the quality of the product and to increase the credibility, especially with those in this business, it would be better to go without a, say, Wake Forest, site if they can't find anyone good to run it.

    I think the Rivals network is a great idea, taking advantage of the shift to the Web with a ton of multimedia content, active message boards to keep people visiting and in-depth coverage of both college sports in general and recruiting. But it would be better if they made some adjustments.

    I imagine if BA did attempt something similar and had sites for each organization in baseball there might be a few bad ones, and then we're only talking about 30 clubs instead of 300+.
  10. Shaggy

    Shaggy Guest

    Rivals could be a lot better than it is if it cuts loose all the talentless douchebags that work for them.

    Give me Baseball America any day of the week. They scout these high school kids, but I bet they dont' have a different writer calling the kids every day bugging them about their top three choices.
  11. Jim Murray

    Jim Murray New Member

    Is there a true difference between Rivals and Scout? I haven't been able to figure that one out yet
  12. busuncle

    busuncle Member

    Rivals has a lot cleaner interface and they seem to be a lot more savvy about adding new bells and whistles like video, etc. Scout has added sites beyond just college sports, while Rivals is sticking with college only.
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