Wednesday, September 5, 2007

USA Today at 25

Editor and Publisher is running an assessment of USA Today at age 25. This caught my eye:

Sports sold half or more of the copies of USA Today in the early years and the sports section used to take up half of the news hole, but the availability of round-the-clock sports news on cable television and online through ESPN and others has taken its toll on USA Today’s sports section readership. It no longer takes half the space in the paper and individual stories on all baseball games are no longer carried.

For reasons I can't recall, my parents got a subscription to USA Today in the mid 80s. I would spend hours looking at the stat packages they published mid-week, AL on Wednesday, NL on Thursday if I remember correctly. League leaders and team capsules were printed every day, much as they still are now. It wasn't as good as the Sporting News, but I didn't know that, because I never got the Sporting News. As far as I was concerned I had hit the motherlode. It certainly beat the Parkersburg Sentinel. With Baseball-Reference and ESPN's sortable stats around, obviously no one needs those weekly stat packages anymore. Still, I probably pick up a USA Today two or three times a week, due to 20 year-old residual goodwill more than anything else.

The influence Bill James' Abstracts, Strat-o-Matic, and rotisserie baseball had on the eventual hatching of statheads is obvious, but I wonder how many folks out there became slightly twisted about such things due to the USA Today? More than would admit it, I presume.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the influence of APBA. I've beenplaying and collecting stats since I was 11, almost 40 years now.