SBJ/March 13 - 19, 2006/This Weeks News

MLB’s DuPuy turns to blogging for the WBC

MLB President Bob DuPuy has added Internet blogger to his already voluminous job description, at least temporarily.

DuPuy is blogging daily from the World Baseball Classic, providing an often candid behind-the-scenes look at baseball’s debut attempt at staging a global championship tournament. A rarity for such a high-level sports executive, DuPuy’s initial blog posts have averaged more than 900 words each, traversing from MLB’s reasoning behind the schedule and organization of the event to reflections on crowd reactions at each game.

“I would never have done it, but it has been fun so far,” DuPuy said from Tokyo, one of the WBC first-round game sites. “Eventually, it will turn to work.”

“Bob’s Classic Chronicles,” found at worldbaseballclassic.com, are the brainchild of Bob Bowman, president of MLB Advanced Media. With both MLB and the players’ union attempting nearly every initiative imaginable to put a positive face on the much-debated WBC, Bowman said DuPuy’s writing provides a fresh, exclusive element.

Getting the immensely busy and time-strapped DuPuy to consent to the idea, however, took some work. DuPuy, though one of the driving forces behind MLBAM’s meteoric rise, hardly fits the demographic profile of a typical blogger given his age, 59, and professional background as an attorney and university professor.

Bowman made three unsuccessful requests to create the blog before making a final appeal as DuPuy boarded his flight heading from New York to Japan for the start of the tournament.

“I told him, ‘You’ve got 14 hours. Just think about it.’ Thankfully, he finally said yes,” Bowman said. “And it’s already been a great thing. I get these e-mails from him all the time, and they’re extremely well-written, and his passion and love for the game just comes right through. So I figured why not share some of that with everybody?”

As of Wednesday, DuPuy’s blogs had drawn more than 550,000 page views, according to MLBAM officials.

Many of the initial fan comments responding to the blogs implored DuPuy to settle the fractious stadium lease debate in Washington, D.C., with the vitriol of some responses proving “hard not to take … personally,” DuPuy said.

But once the Nationals’ stadium matter was settled before DuPuy left Japan for Orlando and the tournament games there early last week, the fan comments on the blog turned more positive and directed toward the WBC.

No plans are in place to continue the blogs after the end of the tournament.

“I’m sure he hopes it doesn’t keep going,” Bowman said. “But it’s an incredible asset for us, getting that inside look at the Classic. The fans love getting that inside flavor, and Bob’s got just a great feel for this.”

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