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Cowherd Turns the Internet Off


I accidentally infected my ears with a shot of Cowherd yesterday, and this was literally the first proposition that I stumbled upon when trying to find some playful sports blather:

Uncle Colin's gonna step in here. I'm a semi-public figure who, more than anybody in the American media today, gets hammered by blogs and gets hammered by the Internet. And do you know how much affect it has on me? ZERO. And here's my rule and always has been: in crisis, I stay away from outside perspective. I love reading the Internet. Lot of talented people, very funny. But when you know the truth, and you're on the inside, why on the world would you ever be concerned about less accurate speculation from outside?

Uncle Colin, it turned out, was talking about Ozzie Guillen and the blow-up doll; Uncle Colin advised the former to stop reading the papers and the blogs and to circle the wagons with a ring of impenetrable plastic figurines; he didn't have much advice for the latter. This post notwithstanding, I think some might argue that Colin Cowherd is not, in fact, the most targeted member of the American media by bloggers, circa Spring 2008. But that's semantics, and the crisis-management rant continued, as did the glittering Cubic Zirconia-style jewels of wisdom about our information age, like so:

We all read the e-mails, we all read the Internet. We love that stuff. It's FUN. Blogs!, newspapers. But don't, I never get near it during controversies. I just sign off....I've always used the Internet, I sort of psychologically manipulate it. I use the good and ignore the bad....

Like, every neighborhood, when you're a kid growing up, almost every neighborhood had that one old house that looked haunted. The truth inside the house, it was just an old lady knitting. But you'd gather around the house, and the longer you'd gather around the house, the more gossip and stories of monsters and ghosts. But that doesn't serve the lady inside knitting any good, she'll just hear that stuff, start hearing noises and freak out. So any time, I don't care what business you're in, whenever things get bad, circle the wagons, listen only to those closest to you, listen to outside perspective FAR less than normal. Turn the Internet off!

I mention this not because an old lady in a supposedly haunted house getting freaked out by ghost stories from the neighborhood kids while knitting is perhaps the oddest and least apt metaphor imaginable for Ozzie Guillen's crisis management skills regarding his players strategically adorning a blow-up doll with baseball bats.

Instead, I mention this because, for a variety of reasons, including a massive surplus of vacation time, I'm going to be pretty scarce in upcoming days, which is my own version of turning the Internet off, I guess, which was a nicer turn of Cowherdian tongue.

I'll still post things on my vacation days (like today), because my Internet doesn't entirely turn off. And if you do happen to be reading this, I have a question: moving forward, what might a moderately successful newspaper-supported sports blogger do to attract more regular commenters and more bitingly hysterical comments? Is all that's required a question mark at the end of every entry?

By Dan Steinberg  |  May 13, 2008; 12:29 PM ET
Categories:  Media  
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Comments

More Chris Cooley would help...Sprinkle in some Fred Smoot, with a dash of Clinton Portis, and a side of Alex the Great!

Posted by: WaPoLiveFan16 | May 13, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Cowherd. Blogs and the Internet can't provide you with informed, factual information and reasoned analysis. You need to turn to sports talk radio for that.

Be careful what you wish for, Dan. More comments does not equal better blog. Have you read some of the comments on other blogs? It lessens your hope for humanity. You should be glad the commenters on your blog are almost universally funny and respectful.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 13, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I like the old timey paintings and pictures. That part should definitely be kept up.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 13, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

A good cheese discussion always brings in the masses. Aside from that, get one of the art department guys to photoshop a Crybaby jersey on Nelson Figuroa.

Posted by: NTPNate | May 13, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Yes. *If* the question is about the Wizards.

Posted by: Nancy | May 13, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Uncle Colin:metaphors :: Uncle Steinberg:lack of commenters

Posted by: Ben | May 13, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Nudity. Using verbs in funny ways. Tacky clothes.

Also, you need to cultivate an antagonistic ecosystem in the comments, which involves snarking the second tier cities our lovably losing sports teams play against.

Posted by: kwamesnani | May 13, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Naked chicks...

Posted by: Sam | May 13, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Convince Kevin Payne to make a move to get Esky back...

...please?

Posted by: EdTheRed | May 13, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

you definitely need a vacation, Steinz, if you willingly subjected yourself to that show.

Posted by: odessasteps magazine | May 13, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Some bloggers use a "question of the day" type format. It generates discussion and brings people back. I'd highly recommend Jeff Kay's West Virginia Surf Report (www.thewvsr.com) for a great example. He's not a sports blogger but has an incredible following and clever comments.

Posted by: Amanda | May 13, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Colin Cowherd, somewhere along the way, convinced himself that he was dreadfully, DREADFULLY important, rather than the host of an unlistenable sports yak show. If you gave me a choice between spending 15 minutes listening to Cowherd and 15 minutes reading Deadspin, I'm going to Deadspin -- more entertainment, more information, and MUCH less pointless and unmerited arrogance.

Posted by: TMU | May 13, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

"Is all that's required a question mark at the end of every entry?"

[consults TBL]

yep.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 13, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, it's a great question, Dan, how to elevate the Steinbog to that next level. How to get it "untracked," as a Wise man might put it. I assume it was a serious question?

The heart of the matter is whether you've developed a sufficient "hook" to achieve a critical mass of regular readers and regular commenters... that entrenched audience which has an ongoing conversation spanning every thread. That's what you're talking about, right? All right if I end each of my paragraphs with a question as well?

You provide the steady stream of whatever-this-is from the world of sports and sports celebrity and sports media, you keep it funny, you have multi-media whiz-bang stuff, you yourself have something of a personality... but for whatever reason it seems like one and done in the comments section. People seem to drop by with a thought in response to the thread and then it's see ya later. It doesn't feel like a conversation. Am I right?

Maybe it's too ADD, maybe your leaping merrily from topic to topic and sport to sport just doesn't lend itself to the kind of continuity and participation you're seeking from the patrons. And maybe casting a net across ALL sports is making it hard to develop that locked-in community of commenters?

Aside from outright antagonism and nudity, those can't-miss suggestions already noted, I'm not sure what to tell you. But I hope you have a terrific vacation and don't spend too much time trying to sort it out, okay?

And for God's sake, I hope you don't subject yourself to any more time "in the Herd."

Posted by: Nate in the PDX | May 13, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I turned off Colin years ago.

Posted by: Go Skins Go | May 13, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

1. Promote more DC blogger happy hours.

2. Tell us where Gilbert shops for his blazers.

3. Never EVER refer to Colin Cowherd again.

4. Sponsor a chess tournament on I St. NW.

Posted by: StetSports.com | May 13, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I love when people refer to The Internet, as if it's some monolithic product. Probably the same people that believe that Al Gore thinks he invented it.

Posted by: Kev | May 13, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

People, in general, love FREE stuff. So, I suggest giving FREE GAS for a month to the most deserving post. I don't think anyone would mind "posting" toward FREE GAS if it takes away seconds, minutes, and hours from a real job. If gas is too much for WaPo, how about FREE MILK n' CEREAL or FREE BOBBLEHEADS from Verizon Center and Nats Park?

Posted by: greg | May 13, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

"I don't care what business you're in, whenever things get bad, circle the wagons, listen only to those closest to you, listen to outside perspective FAR less than normal. Turn the Internet off!"

In other words, if you were a 'Skins fan during the unfortunate death of Sean Taylor, don't tune in to the Internet. But do tune in to Colin Cowherd. He'd give you the straight scoop on what happened, right?

Uh huh.

Posted by: Lubes And Gels | May 13, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I will read anything by Steinberg. But a post that goes after Colin Coward? That's what I like to see.

I don't listen to Coward's show every day and usually only stumble upon it when I'm looking for, as Steiny put it, some playful sports blather. But I did hear him say about a year ago that Barrack Obama "will never be president." He went on to rant about how anyone who actually thought he stood a chance of winning the election should get their head checked. Then I tuned in last week and heard Cowherd saying he was voting for Obama.

Cowherd is a bastion of consistency.

Posted by: Barno | May 13, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Maybe you could be a little-less random. You have your moments, but like Nate said, you're covering every single DC sports team. And you're doing it from the SNL update desk. If I want soccer, I'll see Goff. If I want the 'Skins, I'll see JLC. If I want to know who's recently cut their hair, I'll see you. I RSS Goff and JLC, but I only pop by the bog boutique once or twice a week to see what's new in music and haircuts (and cheese).

Perhaps you could take a look back at the posts that have had the most comments and see if there was some common thread among them? Maybe that would give you an idea of your audience.

Posted by: stevo | May 13, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Of COURSE you are in favor of the bloggers (losers) of the world Dan, if it wasn't for this gig, you'd be pumping $5 gas or even god forbid UNEMPLOYED!

Posted by: caphcky | May 13, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

More opinion and more Nats!

Successful blogs give opinion (some good, some hideous, but all opinion). It is essentially a columnist medium for the great unwashed (and a columnist gig is where the big bucks are Steinz, your daughter ain't going to feed, clothe, house, and educate herself ya know!). Use the Bog for more opinion pieces about all the same stuff you write about now (you are actually very good at it).

Plus more Nats. You'll be a hero (especially since Chris just hung 'em up). Those guys are in a locker room together for 6 months. There has got to be some stuff going on in there that is Bog worthy. Plus, L-Millz, da Hook (when he returns) and 'Lijah should add an element of color (so to speak) that will spark up some good Bog-material (if Emilio doesn't fire you first for overreporting the Nats -- just kidding, sort of.) I mean "Let's Go Austin!" in a MLB dugout? Pure gold.

Off you go.

Posted by: WebberDC | May 13, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

honestly, if it ain't broke don't fix it..

i refresh this page all the time to read more of the same. it's funny, smart, and it's DC... F anything else

;)

Posted by: hmmmmm | May 13, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

May Cowturd forever burn in HELL for his rant about Sean Taylor.

Posted by: virtueandvice | May 13, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

When Cowherd turns the internet off, where does he steal the comedy [sic] bits for his show?

Posted by: DevilGrad | May 13, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Dan, I find that asking new questions always helps to stimulate debate. For example, instead of getting involved in the Kobe-Lebron debate like everyone else, why not ask readers if they'd rather have the young Dwight Howard or the experienced Rasheed Wallace on their team for the play-offs? Ask questions that no one is yet asking, or that don't allow people to fall back on tired racial/gender/political biases, and you tend to get good debates.

Posted by: MCBias | May 13, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

A couple of things ...

Weekly Top 5, needs to be updated.

I agree mainly with Steveo -- see what got the most comments in the past on your posts. I read every post religiously on here, but only sometimes do I feel the need to write. The Dead Tree Crew or tailgating ... I don't have an opinion. Gilber on a bike, I do. Same thing with a little bit of moralizing.

Maybe you can help teach this city how to be fans.

Posted by: DC Centurion's Shield | May 13, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Who'd you rather have in the front row of your NBA playoff home game: LeBron's mom, or Soulja Boy?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 13, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Ever think that maybe you're getting thousands of comments but they're all deemed inappropriate?

If I want to social network and post comments I'll go to myspace or facebook. If I want to read an interesting bog item I come here.

Posted by: MDG | May 13, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

If it helps keep you your job, I'll post ten comments a day Steinz. Keep up the good work. Where else can I learn about Wizards hairstyles, Fred Smoot energy bars and Caps players riding around on Segways all in one place?

Posted by: Elijah Baley | May 13, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

So, for "informed, factual information and reasoned analysis. You need to turn to sports talk radio for that"?!? WHAT?!?
I tend to hear more opinion than anything resembling informed, reasoned analysis. I guess he's talking about someone reasonable and rational like Czaban, right? Frankly, I seem to like everyone associated with that show EXCEPT Czaban. (And from where does Al Galdi hail originally? He cracks me up in a good way anytime he says, "Sports Talk 9-'Eddy'."

Posted by: Arlington Pimp | May 13, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

DRAT! (I forgot the closing paren. above.)

")"

Posted by: Arlington Pimp | May 13, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Um, you may have overlooked the sarcasm in the statement you quoteth, Arlington Pimp.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 13, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Uncle Internet's gonna step in here. I'm a semi-public figure who, more than anybody in the American media today, gets hammered by Cowherd and hammered by sports talk radio. And do you know how much effect it has on me? ZERO. And here's my rule and always has been: in crisis, I stay away from bufoons like Cowherd. I love ESPN generally. Lot of talented people, very funny. But when you know the truth, and you're on the inside, why in the world would you ever be concerned about less accurate speculation from outside?

We all turn on the television, we all turn on the radio. We love that stuff. It's FUN. "Mike and Mike." "The Pulse with Doug Gottleib." But don't, I never get near it during controversies. I just sign off....I've always used the radio, I sort of psychologically manipulate it. I use the good and ignore the bad....

Like, every neighborhood, when you're a kid growing up, almost every neighborhood had that one old house that looked haunted. The truth inside the house, it was just an old lady knitting. But you'd gather around the house, and the longer you'd gather around the house, the more gossip and stories of monsters and ghosts. But that doesn't serve the lady inside knitting any good, she'll just hear that stuff, start hearing noises and freak out. So any time, I don't care what business you're in, whenever things get bad, circle the wagons, listen only to those closest to you, listen to outside perspective FAR less than normal. Turn the radio off!

Posted by: The Internet | May 13, 2008 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Bad move to ask a serious question after a Cowherd post. I do think that the quality/tone of the comments follow the quality/tone of the posts.

Frat house topics tend to generate frat house comments. Step up the posts and some of the comments will sink under their own weight.....

Posted by: CW | May 13, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Why do you need more commenters and more bitingly funny comments? You've got me, Arlington Pimp, sitruc, StetSports.com, and whoever else refreshes this site too often while they're at work.

Still, if you want more comments, I'd do a contest every week. Give away some piece of sports swag that seems ridiculous and widely available...to you. Us Internerds will be chomping at the bit to come up with the Wittiest Witticism and claim it.

If you want more comments in the Deadspin mode, you'd have to allow "inappropriate" comments, which I'm sure the Post is not keen on. Or you could write more...I don't know quite how to put it...open-ended blog items. When you're on, your blog items are actually fully formed lil' essays, with witticisms of their own, and commenters can do little but say "Nice post." If you left the items a little more unfinished, commenters might try to finish them.

Another way to get comments is to rip Cleveland. You should keep doing that throughout the year. For example, the concertmaster of their symphony orchestra is a big-time sexual harasser:

http://www.clevescene.com/2007-02-14/news/sour-notes/

That has nothing to do with sports, but does have something to do with Cleveland, which has to do with sports and Washington! So it's one degree of separation.

Posted by: Lindemann | May 14, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

1. Not a solution, but keep the breadth. Deadspin has breadth like Oakland muffler shops have whistle-tips, and they get tons of comments. All comments urging you to specialize in fewer sports should shove it.

2. Not a solution, but "caphcky," you are an idiot. If Steinz wasn't bogging, he'd be running a gourmet cheese shop empire. Then he'd buy the post (which has to be getting cheaper, right?). Then he'd bog...ALL DAY!!! Either way, "caphcky," you lose.

3. Solution: "StetSports.com's" #2. Gilbert's blazers. Where?

Posted by: Bubb Rubb | May 14, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Hi Caphcky!

Posted by: Shut-ins from the Caps Board | May 14, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Put a nipple in the middle of your pate and use that photo on the 'masthead'.

Posted by: brmh | May 14, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Funny...all that talk about deadspin on here, and whaddaya know...one of their top stories today is Steinberg's post about Kornheiser.

Posted by: Barno | May 14, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Don't listen to these idiots Steinz. You gotta TELL people what to think on the internet these days. People love that.

Or add a racial element to everything you write. That always cracks me up.

--Dog with an Untwistable Stomach

Posted by: WrongDog | May 14, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Cowherd is un-listen-to-able.

If I want to be lectured for hours a day I'll go back to school and actually learn something.

When Mr. Tony or Dan Patrick are on XM opposite him, there's no way I'm tuning to ESPNRadio.

Posted by: Mr. Know-it-all | May 14, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

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