Dave Nichols: Natosphere offers something for every taste

When MASNsports.com asked me to participate in the guest blogging initiative on Nationals Buzz, I was honored. It's gratifying to know someone values your work. The other writers that were asked to participate, Will Yoder from The Nats Blog, Rachel Levitin from We Love DC and Drew Kinback from Nationals Inquisition all offer their differing and unique view to the Natsosphere.

But the quartet of writers featured in this space represents just a small portion of the varied, talented, dedicated and entertaining bloggers that cover the Washington Nationals. By my count, 33 blogs that cover this team have updated their page in the last week, most multiple times and many in the last 24 hours. The Nationals credential several independent online-only media, of which I am privileged to be included.

Major League Baseball is notoriously protective of their intellectual property. With advances in technology and new media, baseball in general, and the Nats in particular, are slowly developing protocol for providing access to online journalists in some form or another. Not all blogs or Internet writers need to have credential access, though some - including yours truly - feel that our work can be much more complete and thorough if we have the same access that traditional media does. Our opinions can be much more complete and thorough given the opportunity to speak with the players and management that make the news.

Sadly, there's going to be a day (very soon, perhaps) when newspapers are no longer able to cover daily sports economically or efficiently enough to provide the coverage that rabid sports fans demand. The need for alternative sports writing is already there - for commentary, critical thinking, analysis and evaluation. It's only logical that daily reporting will follow suit. And with the development of real-time social media, anyone can be a reporter. Sure, it can be a jungle out there, but the cat's already out of the bag.

On my page at Nats News Network, I host a blogroll of all of the blogs that I'm aware of that cover the Nationals, as well as the Web sites that cover D.C. sports in general. In the Natosphere, there are public relations blogs, stats-driven blogs, fan blogs and photography blogs. There are blogs dedicated to individual players and blogs dedicated to mascots. Others cover the minor leagues and the history of baseball in the District. There are blogs affiliated with national networks of bloggers, single-person outlets and husband-and-wife teams.

There are blogs written from the female perspective and blogs written by women that are as nuts and bolts as anything else out there. There are blogs written by fangirls and by fanboys as well. There are blogs that think critically, analytically and those that take a completely different perspective. Some try to be funny, others try to be ironic and some that try to play watchdog. But all inform and entertain.

Be you sycophant or cynic, the thing everyone in the Natosphere shares is a passion for baseball and the Washington Nationals. If you're a Nats fan, and I presume you are if you're reading this space, I encourage you to check out all the blogs on the list, and not just rely on the mainstream media, the team Web site or a message board for the bulk of your information. There is a wealth of opinion, analysis and critical thinking available about the Nationals on the interwebs and I hope this column helps you find some of it.

* One last thing: Please take a moment out of your activities to remember the reason for today's holiday. There are those that have gone before us, and those that still serve that allow us the freedom, liberty and life we now enjoy. Their sacrifices should be prevalent in our thoughts and hearts today.

Dave Nichols covers the Washington Nationals for Nats News Network. Read Nichols' Nationals observations part of MASNsports.com's season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our site. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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