Dropping the Box

I was scrolling Jim Romenesko’s blog and found an interesting post about the Charlotte Observer and other The McClatchy Company-owned newspapers’ decision to remove baseball box scores from the print edition of the papers.

What’s even more surprising than this decision not coming many months ago is the fact that people are actually upset about it.

When asked about the decision, Observer sports editor Mike Persinger said the paper had received “perhaps a hundred” phone calls from readers about it. All of whom, I’m sure, were at least 60 years of age or older.

Persinger wrote on Facebook that the Observer would “still devote similar space to baseball, just with more notes and feature stories.” Which I find a little hard to believe, simply because I don’t believe the space left by the vacated box scores would be enough to accommodate substantial game notes, much less feature articles.

This is simply yet another example of newspapers being hit by lack of readership and having to compensate by cutting down on printing costs. Though I’m not entirely sure why newspapers even still include a section for box scores, to be honest.

In today’s world, I don’t know of too many people who wait for the paper to check out games scores from the previous night – the ones that end before deadline, of course (sorry Yankees-Sox fans, don’t think your 19-inning barn burner would’ve made it into Saturday’s paper).

Most people interested in looking up a final box score or game stats usually do so by checking the ESPN ticker, firing up their ESPN app or conducting a quick Google search. To be honest, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see more papers make moves similar to the one made by the Observer and others in the future.

In fact, I would even suggest removing all scoreboard sections in newspapers to save money and devote more space to content that people will actually look forward to reading. There’s not much sense in spending money to print box scores in a newspaper when the same exact information can be found much more quickly and through more effective means.

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