See the American League post for an introduction to preview sections. Also note that individual papers might have removed their preview supplements/sections by the time you read this, especially now that the season has started.
National League East
- Atlanta: Not much from the Journal-Constitution.
- Florida (Miami): A piece on Bonds’ legacy in the Herald.
- New York: See AL entry.
- Philadelphia: At last, a decent preview. The Philadelphia Daily News includes its 24-page wraparound preview on its website, featuring "20 story lines to watch this season" (Bonds, Dice-K, the glut of sluggers about to reach 500 home runs, etc.) and "20 players worth the price of admission" (no homerism here since there are no Phillies players, including Ryan Howard, on this list). The rival Inquirer posts a (standard) preview section.
- Washington, D.C.: The Post does a nice job in its special section, focusing on the farm system, since the present is so woeful. The section employs colorful PDFs for its links, which include the Nationals line-up, starting rotation, minor league system, and divisional capsules. The Times also does a nice presentation, reporting on the National’s rebuilding efforts with items on their new manager (Manny Acta), new ownership, new star (Ryan Zimmerman), and new stadium. The only knock is a lack of illustrative elements, save a nice cover image (see left).
National League Central
- Chicago: See AL entry.
- Cincinnati: The major Cincy papers are hosted by the same site, so there seems to be only the Post‘s preview in which Reds players discuss how they came to pick their fielding gloves in this otherwise unremarkable preview. General baseball coverage by both papers seems to be quite good, however. But then it’s opening day. Check back in four months.
- Houston: Nothing from the Chronicle, although it does have a "Biggio Watch," as the second baseman pushes towards 3,000 hits.
- Pittsburgh: Not much from the Post-Gazette.
- St. Louis: Considering the Cardinals are the defending World Champions, the Post-Dispatch could have done a better stand-alone presentation (how hard is it to create a separate link?), rather than placing it deep within the sports section. Like the Washington Post, it presents its pages in PDF form, assuming that everyone has the capability to read them.
National League West
- Arizona (Phoenix): Although the Republic acknowledges the D’backs tenth anniversary with a photo gallery of the team’s best players, there’s no separate preview section online.
- Colorado (Denver): The Post offers just a simple preview, examining salaries, while the Rocky Mountain News site doesn’t show any section at all.
- Los Angeles: See AL Entry.
- San Diego: Nada from the Union-Tribune.
- San Francisco: The Chronicle has no website of its own, but is hosted on SFgate.com, where the Giants share space with the As. Also, see AL Entry.
Prior to opening day, many major market papers print a special preview of the season. This might be in the form of a separate section or just a few pages and often picks a specific theme, such as the influx of international players or the improvement in equipment, etc. Some nespapers with lower budgets take the cheap way out, relying on pe-packaged stories by wire services.
My favorite part is the standard table of predictions by the papers’ staff writers and columnists. These experts pretty much agree with each other, and on paper, at the beginning of the year, the choices seem logical. But as any fan knows, injuries, trades, and other unaccounted-for issues can change that in a heartbeat.
Here’s a brief overview of the sections and features from the major dailies that serve each geographic area for the teams. Most concentrate primarily on the local franchise, but many offer an additional glimpses about more general issues.
Larger markets should be expected to provide better coverage, but that isn’t always the case. While the papers may have printed supplements, these might not be available online, or might be posted at a later date. On the other hand, some online sections take advantage of different forms of media.
(Note: Some regions, such as the Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Oakland/San Francisco share coverage, so these teams (White Sox/Cubs, Yankees/Mets, Angels/Dodgers, As/Giants) are listed only once, with no slight intended at the NL entries.)
American League East
- Baltimore: The Baltimore Sun: Special section, includes a feature about their neighbors, the Washington Nationals.
- Boston: The Boston media is falling all over themselves to cover the arrival of the latest new Asian sensation, Daisuke Matsuzaka. The Boston Globe includes a feature on him and the influx of other Far East players in their special section. Although the Boston Herald does not have a special section, per se, it does offer extended baseball coverage.
- New York: The New York Times special section includes a George Vecsey piece on the globalization of the game, and two articles about gloves: batting (and their lack of use by some players) and fielding. It also includes profiles of the Mets’ David Wright and the Yankees’ Derek Jeter. The New York Post concentrates on the home town teams, with an interesting piece on "famous pitching flameouts." Newsday offer-in-depth analyses of the divisions and has a piece about Barry Bonds’ assault on the all-time home run record, which has been getting muted attention. The New York Daily News does not offer a special section on its website.The print version of my local paper, the Newark Star-Ledger, had a particularly good supplement, including an homage to the glut of players over 40, but, sadly, it doesn’t seem to be on-line. As a bonus, however, the Arts Section featured a column by Stephe Witty on the meaning of baseball movies.
- Tampa Bay: The team may be perennial cellar-dwellers, but the Tampa Bay Register gets props for one of the better graphics as it ponders whether or not it pays to be optimistic. The section also takes a look at "numbers," that is major milestones in reach of several players.
- Toronto: The Majors’ sole Canadian representative deserves a little more excitement. The Globe and Mail takes a standard home team analysis/general predictions approach.
American League Central
- Chicago: Surprisingly, the Sun Times offers no major special section on-line, not even local team or league/division pre-caps, but rather an article on Derek Zumsteg’s new book on cheating. Same goes for the rival Tribune. No wonder Chicago is known as the Second City.
- Cleveland: The Plain Dealer’s main non-Indians piece is about the role of the closer. The section includes the usual season previews and predictions.
- Detroit: Nothing special in the Free Press. Gary Sheffield’s new book, Inside Power, is a topic of discussion, however. The Detroit News offers an "interactive" preview of the Tigers’ season.
- Kansas City: The KC Star has a nice preview which focuses on pitchers and pitching, as well as an article on fantasy baseball.
- Minnesota: Nothing online from the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
American League West
- Los Angeles: Since Anaheim has no home town representation, the Angels split coverage with the Dodgers. Nothing in the Daily News. In addition to the standard divisional writeups, the LA Times merely has a piece on the statistical milestones within reach of active players.
- Oakland: Nothing special from the Tribune, which covers both the A’s and the Giants.
- Seattle: The Times covers mostly Mariners in its preview, with supplemental material by the Associated Press.
- Texas: The Rangers are served by the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, which has no special preview.
Next time: How home town newspapers cover the National League.