O! Why the Orioles Are Less Seen in The Post

By Andrew Alexander
Sunday, April 12, 2009

For Post readers who follow the Baltimore Orioles, it seems the Birds flew south for spring training and vanished.

Last year, The Post carried roughly 80 staff-written stories about the Orioles leading up to the start of the regular baseball season. This year, there were only a handful.

Many fans are perplexed.

"I may have missed it, but I never saw a statement in the paper about its obvious decision not to cover the Baltimore Orioles this season," wrote John Ingle of Loudoun County. "The coverage of the Orioles has disappeared."

Bill Canby of Boyds urged "equal or close to equal" coverage of the Orioles and the Washington Nationals, the team that returned Major League Baseball to the nation's capital in 2005 after an absence of 33 years.

"I do understand The Post wanting to cover D.C.'s team," wrote Canby. "But don't cut out the O's by almost 100 percent."

As with other recent changes in coverage and content, The Post has done little to spell out the rationale to readers. They deserve an explanation.

Sports editor Emilio Garcia-Ruiz said that he thinks it's "pretty obvious" to readers that coverage has been trimmed. The newspaper, like so many others under financial stress, needs to cut expenses.

The Post no longer dedicates a writer to cover the Orioles, Garcia-Ruiz said. The Baltimore Sun is providing game stories. The "Orioles Notebook," which offered more in-depth coverage, has gone away. Separate pages for the American League and National League have been combined into one.

"The Orioles have always been represented strongly enough in readership surveys that we knew (game stories) couldn't be eliminated," Garcia-Ruiz said. "We're still trying to serve that audience."

Although no explanation has appeared in the newspaper, there was one online. But you might have missed it if you weren't reading washingtonpost.com's "Nationals Journal" baseball blog on a Saturday afternoon in late February.

Deputy sports editor Tracee Hamilton, who oversees baseball coverage, succinctly spelled out the changes and candidly said she had opposed the reductions. Among other things, she feared losing Marc Carig, a gifted young writer who had been covering the Orioles on contract. Carig did move on and now covers the Yankees for the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger.

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