LIANE HANSEN, host: This is Weekend Edition from NPR News. I'm Liane Hansen. Sports blogs are changing fans' relationships with their favorite teams and with the journalists who cover those teams. One blog by a reporter who covers the New York Yankees for a suburban paper has such loyal readers that they got together in real life to watch a baseball game, a minor league game. North Country Public Radio's David Sommerstein reports.
DAVID SOMMERSTEIN: Hallowed Yankee Stadium may have been closer, but 60 fans trekked to Pennsylvania, instead, to watch the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. In the first-base party box at PNC Field, pin-striped fans downed hotdogs and watched the Yankee prospects. Cameron Gilbert(ph) cheers on an obscure outfielder.
(Soundbite of fans cheering)
SOMMERSTEIN: Ben and Noya Sculka(ph) celebrate their 10th birthday.
BEN AND NOYA SCULKA (Yankee Fans): Let's go. Let's go Yankees. Let's go.
SOMMERSTEIN: Bob Klausen(ph) of New Jersey watches the game with his teenage son, Robert Yankee Klausen. Yeah, you heard right.
Mr. BOB KLAUSEN (Yankee Fan): I figured he could always say, when people talk about Yankees, he goes, that's my middle name.
SOMMERSTEIN: They're all here because of the LoHud Yankees Blog written by Pete Abraham, the Yankees' beat writer for the Journal News, which covers New York's Lower Hudson Valley. Ellen Woods made the trip to Scranton with her daughter.
Ms. ELLEN WOODS (LoHud Yankees Blog Reader): I read the blog. I read Abraham's blog every day, several times, to the chagrin of my boss. I do spend a lot of time on there and I post occasionally, but I read a lot.
SOMMERSTEIN: See, lots of these readers are contributors, too. A typical big league game elicits a thousand comments on the blog. Fans with one eye on the TV broadcast, one on the computer screen. They debate every play in real time. Some actually post from the stands with weather updates during a rain delay or what the TV cameras may have missed. Ron Remishon(ph) organized the get-together.
Mr. RON REMISHON (LoHud Yankees Blog Reader): We're here because they moved here last year, and it's kind of in the back of my mind that all these people know each other through the blog but don't know a face to put with the name, and I kind of thought they would interested in the Triple A.
(Soundbite of Yankee fans)
SOMMERSTEIN: Pete Abraham, the star of the show, of course. He works the room with free goodies and T-shirts. His fans call him the "Blogfather." He was the first New York City team beat writer to start a blog in 2006. Today, it's a must-read for Yankees fans. Abraham often breaks news well before traditional outlets, and he gives readers a cyber place inside the Yankees clubhouse. He'll recount an interaction between Derek Jeter and A-Rod and pass on the quote of the day from piffy(ph) pitcher Mike Mussina.
Mr. PETE ABRAHAM (Yankees Blogger, News Journal): You know, there's almost nothing that I won't put up there. You know, even guys saying something funny or unusual things that happen that maybe don't - aren't newsy enough to put in the newspaper. Yankee fans sort of have an insatiable hunger for information on the team.
SOMMERSTEIN: What really makes the blog thrive is the interaction between Abraham and his readers. Take Dan Popski(ph) of Philadelphia. He lives near the Yankees Double A Team in Trenton. So he'll go watch a game and report back to the blog.
Mr. DAN POPSKI (Yankee Fan, Philadelphia): I see this guy's curveball doing this. I sneak over behind the scouts and check out what they're getting on the radar gun and all, you know. And I'll say, hey, I saw this or I saw that.
SOMMERSTEIN: Abraham posts a link to Popski's comments and bang, an amateur scouting report of an up-and-coming picture. For Popski, it's baseball bliss.
Mr. POPSKI: I can find out more information about the Yankees from that blog than any other source I can look at.
SOMMERSTEIN: For diehard fans, the LoHud Yankees Blog is bringing them closer to the action and to each other than ever before. For NPR News, I'm David Sommerstein.
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