When Hofstra University held its scholarly themed Mets Conference on April 26-28, they included writers, historians, players, professors, and broadcasters. What is even more interesting is that sports bloggers were included in the mix. As a sports blogger who is also co-head sports editor at Blogcritics Magazine, this opportunity made it apparent to me that Hofstra is way ahead of the game and deserves commendation for giving credit to a growing segment of writers (sports and otherwise) who can no longer be ignored by those in the Ivory Tower or anywhere else for that matter.
As part of the daily program at the conference, “Brown Bagging in the Bullpen with the Blogosphere” was an opportunity for attendees to sit down with a “bullpen roster” of sports bloggers to talk about all things Mets. Representatives from blogs like Amazin Avenue, Faith and Fear in Flushing, and The Lohud Mets Blog were on hand to talk baseball with the fans. Their presence sent a loud and clear message to scholars, sports writers, and fans everywhere: bloggers are part of the conversation – and a scholarly one at that – at this conference and in the bigger picture.
Credit must be given to conference co-directors Dr. Richard J. Puerzer and Dr. Paula M. Uruburu, who had the vision and sense of propriety to appreciate the bloggers and their impact on the public in sports and all genres of writing. Gone is the time when I or anyone else waits until tomorrow morning to read about today’s game in the newspaper. We whip out our Blackberrys or iPads and are reading up to the minute news. The “skeptics” who try to belittle bloggers are becoming more and more agitated by these developments, but the writing is on the proverbial (and virtual) wall, and they know it.
For Mets fans this conference was a golden opportunity to be shown appreciation in a time when the Mets organization struggled with financial issues connected to the Bernie Madoff scandal, as well as coped with an injury list that seemingly required a triage tent. The attendees were treated to a good natured and overwhelmingly positive venue to consider the Mets from a cultural and historic perspective after fifty years as the National League team in New York City. If there was ever a time when Mets fans needed something like this, it was now.
I think Hofstra University, the co-directors, and everyone else connected to the conference should be praised for honoring the Mets; furthermore, I commend them for including bloggers in the program and showing the world that what they write about matters a great deal. Long after this conference has ended that will be a legacy not forgotten by Mets fans or anyone else.
Bloggers are here to stay and are gaining more and more respect as this conference makes evident. Now the rest of the world better get used to it.
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