Hal McCoy: Not So Funny When It Happens To Your Family

Illya Harrell@illya_1971Analyst IIAugust 7, 2009

If video killed the radio star, then the Internet—sure as war—has killed the last of the great baseball beat writers. 

Hall-of-Fame journalist Hal McCoy will retire at the end of the 2009 baseball season.

Mr. McCoy wrote for the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News, covering the Cincinnati Reds

He announced on the newspaper's blog last night, "My run is over—37 years of bliss, doing a job that wasn’t a job."

He's been writing about the Reds for so long that I guess he forgot he's in his 38th season...that or he was too tipsy. 

After all, he also stated, "I’m on the back patio, enjoying a Tangueray and tonic with my beautiful and supportive wife, Nadine. I’m sure it is the first of many tonight, so I wanted to get this down before I became incoherent."

When I think of baseball beat writers, I imagine cigarette smoking or cigar chomping men in hats who write with a cold beer or other libation next to their typewriters.

Being a Reds' fan, I always woke up hoping to find a fresh article. I don't look forward to much, but I do look forward by Mr. McCoy's newest article.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece that pretty much blasted corporate print media. 

The Dayton Daily News is not exactly the New York Times or ESPN Magazine. In fact, it isn't even the widest circulating newspaper in its own state of Ohio.

For those not familiar with baseball, it's a very long season—162 games, to be exact, half of which are played on the road in the opposing team's city.

He doesn't blame the newspaper for, "putting the ol’ baseball scribe out to pasture." 

He goes on to say, "It is the economic times, and we’re all suffering. They just can’t afford the more than a quarter of a million dollars a year to send me coast-to-coast."

Additionally, Mr. McCoy has been legally blind most of the decade. So, on top of airline expenses, the paper paid for drivers to get him around the various cities where the Reds happened to be playing.

The Dayton Daily News has yet to give in to a buyout from a big media conglomerate. It's owned by Cox Enterprises—since James M. Cox started the paper 111 years ago. 

"The economic times are harsh, and I understand, and I’m not angry. I just feel as if something good has ended prematurely, something I’m not completely ready to accept, but must," McCoy said.

All readers of his articles should send thank-you letters to the paper for keeping him around as long as they did. They knew that they were going to lose money every summer by printing his much beloved articles.

Of course, this wasn't the case before the Internet came along. People had to pay to read Mr. McCoy's articles. While the Internet gave him a much wider readership, it also allowed people in the Dayton area to read the paper for free.

I don't live close enough to Dayton to purchase their city's newspaper. Even though I had heard of Hal McCoy and always wanted to read his stuff, I was unable to before the Internet came along.

So, ironically, I am part of the reason he has been sacked.

I thank both the Dayton Daily News and Mr. McCoy for all of his Cincinnati Reds' articles which I have been fortunate enough to read. Many of them sparked my own articles. In fact, I wrote a piece that mentioned him by name in the title just the day before his retirement.

Guess I'll just have to get used to the Associated Press and their generic, watered-down game recaps.

Who knows? Maybe he will join Bleacher Report. I would happily give him my "Featured Columnist" post.


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