April 19, 2009 in Sports

Still plenty to read despite shrinking space

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Bring back the old baseball boxes, please!

I’ve heard that a few times this past week.

We would love to keep running the longer boxes with the batting averages. Simply put, we don’t have the space.

Starting June 1, this newspaper will join the growing list of newspapers across the country that has switched to a narrower product. Basically, we will lose about 18 percent of a full page on every page.

Things are tough all over and newspapers are hardly immune. We lose print readers and gain online readers. Today we reach more people with our product than we ever have. Unfortunately, consumers and advertisers don’t want to pay much for anything on the Internet.

That is not raising the white flag. We have hard-working writers and copy editors producing a daily section in which we all take pride.

Still, we have a finite amount of space for the printed product each day. With that space we have to set priorities and limits. We dedicate the majority of our efforts and our space to the local sports scene. It’s our responsibility to our readers and to our bottom line. You can’t get what we offer locally anywhere else.

It doesn’t mean we get every bit of local sports news in the paper. It doesn’t mean that every athlete who “works as hard as anyone” will get their name in the paper.

This is a bigger town than some folks want to admit.

Dedication to the local sports scene does mean we will publish the results of the area track meet even if it means skipping the batting average of the third baseman for the Cleveland Indians.

What follows is a sampling of what folks learned this week only if they picked up the local sports section.

Sunday: A profile of Washington State’s new basketball coach Ken Bone and details about Gonzaga’s Steve Ames’ pitching gem against No. 21 San Diego.

Monday: What went wrong in the Spokane Chiefs overtime loss to Vancouver and details about how the WSU baseball team upset No. 1-ranked Arizona State.

Tuesday: An interesting tale about local fish guide Joe Roope Jr., and that former local distance running great Rick Riley is coaching track at St. George’s.

Wednesday: Thoughts from Chiefs coach Hardy Sauter after the loss in Game 7 of the playoff series in Vancouver and Colville grad Caitlin McGrane winning the Northwest Conference heptathlon title.

Thursday: Exclusive details about a pending deal to move the Apple Cup to Qwest Field in Seattle and a delightful visit with former Coeur d’Alene baseball coach Ted Page. We also produced a 12-page local fishing guide.

Friday: Agree or disagree, John Blanchette didn’t disappoint with his opinion on the Apple Cup moving to Qwest Field and Central Valley’s Becky White came off the bench with a two-run single to lift the Bears past Shadle Park in a key GSL softball game.

Saturday: Local golf pros struggling with the bottom line in the economic downturn.

We offer local news and stats, we offer surprises, we offer entertainment. What we can’t offer is something that will please everyone everyday.

Within the same week I have had a caller chew me out for too much Gonzaga coverage and another caller chew on me for not enough Gonzaga coverage. I should arrange for those two to meet in a dark alley and leave me alone.

There is not a newspaper in existence that can live up to expectations of every reader, but it is our hope that each day there will be something for you in our sports section.

Sports editor Joe Palmquist can be reached at 459-5503 or by e-mail at joep@spokesman.com.

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