Padres Are Opening Up To The Blogosphere

The San Diego Padres are opening up to sportsbloggers, and have even gone so far as to launch a blog of their own. The organization sees the trend in which fans consume their media on a daily basis, and are involving themselves in this paradigm shift. Recently, San Diego Padres CEO Sandy Alderson sat down with Geoff Young of Ducksnorts and the two chatted for about an hour; a really interesting and informative read that you can check out here.

Ducksnorts: Something that’s near and dear to my heart: Paul DePodesta has recently started a public-facing blog, which is really cool. When I was working in industry, that was one of the things I was trying to get my company to do externally… I’ve seen a lot of examples — Wells Fargo, Southwest Airlines, IBM — of very reputable corporations doing public-facing blogs, and really to great effect in terms of customer outreach and so forth. That said, it’s pretty revolutionary for the Padres to take that step. What factors influenced you to start that?

Alderson: Well, first of all, I really believe in as much interface with the public as possible. I do a radio show every week — we’ve got Grady [Fuson], Kevin [Towers], Paul — all those guys do a radio show every week, and my attitude is, the more people hear about us and from us, the better off we are because I have a lot of confidence in the people we have here.

The blogosphere creates another opportunity to communicate, and I’ve got a lot of confidence in Paul — in his ability to write, in his ability to self-edit if that’s necessary — to be as straightforward as possible under the circumstances. We ran it internally for, I don’t know, a month or something like that and decided… let’s go ahead. I’m not sure what we get back in the form of commentary is terribly useful because it tends to be — not a fringe element, but I wouldn’t say it’s [laughs] an accurate poll of public opinion.

Ducksnorts: It’s like the radio. [laughs]

Alderson: Right, and I don’t consider that to be perfectly representative either, but it’s another source for us…

Ducksnorts: You’ve got to be out there.

Alderson: Yeah.

Ducksnorts: I think that’s commendable that you guys view it as an opportunity, because [with] a lot of people — not necessarily within the baseball world, but within the corporate world, my experience has been, “this is new, we don’t know what it is, and let’s wait till someone else does it before we determine that, oh, hey, yeah, that was a good idea; we really should have gotten in on that.”

Alderson: The other thing we’ve been toying around with is allowing people like yourself into the press box. I know there’s a lot of controversy about that among mainstream media and so forth, but our attitude is, the more access, the better. In Paul’s case, it’s a chance for him to express himself on an unflitered basis. He doesn’t get interpreted by [radio host] Philly Billy [Werndl] or [newspaper columnist] Tim Sullivan or somebody else. It’s an unvarnished line of communication.

Ducksnorts: It benefits him, and it benefits us, the readers. I don’t presume to speak for everyone, but the people I’ve spoken with, in the circles I travel in, are very excited about it.

Alderson: Great, I’m glad to hear it.

I think it’s great that the Padres are taking a proactive approach to the blogosphere. We are seeing more and more teams and organizations looking for ways to connect with their fans on a closer level. Blogs are increasingly becoming great public relation tools - allowing the fans access to the organization inspires a greater devotion and sense of connectedness. I hope to see more of these types of interviews in the future. If you are a fan of the Padres or of baseball in general, you owe it to yourself to check out Ducksnorts. Geoff runs an fantastic blog read by some really hardcore fans of the Padres. Keep up the great work Geoff!

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June 19, 2008

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