Beat Writer Continues Nationals Coverage, Sans NewspaperS

Just because the Washington Times fired their entire sports section, Mark Zuckerman isn't going to stop doing his job. For someone to cover the Nationals voluntarily, I'm not sure it's going too far to call him a modern day Jesus.

Page 2 had a nice profile yesterday of Zuckerman, who's down at Spring Training with the team and writing about it on his own blog, Nats Insider. In other, equally shocking news, Page 2 is still extant.

With the Post replacing their beat writer, there weren't many, if any experienced reporters covering the team. So Zuckerman figured, why not keep doing it? There's not much that goes on in the offseason that requires more than a phone call, something any blogger could do. So he launched Nats Insider last month, and it exploded in popularity (as much as a blog about the Nationals can, anyway).

But with Spring Training rolling around, he got the itch.

I didn't want to just be a guy with a blog who is riffing and relying on other media outlets to cover the team for me," Zuckerman says. "I figured I would drive down and stay for a few days on my own dime."

He figured he could cover the team in Viera, Fla., for $5000, if he did it on the cheap. To help defray costs, he put up a post asking for fans to donate. The next day, he had blown past the $5000 mark.

We give the Nats a lot of shit around here, but it's hard to imagine another fanbase being so generous when it comes to increasing their media presence. (It's also hard to imagine another team's Spring Training being covered by a rookie beat writer, and no one else.) So good on ya, Nats fans, and good on ya Mark for giving bloggers a good name.

Nats Insider
Covering the Nationals on behalf of fans [ESPN.com]