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Incorrect letter to the editor

May 11, 2008 - Chris Masse
A letter to the editor was written in Sunday’s paper concerning a perceived lack of coverage for the Jersey Shore baseball team and I wanted to address that issue head-on. The writer titled her letter “Unequal treatment,” drawing a parallel between Jersey Shore and Montoursville baseball coverage and implying that Montoursville receives more “big headlines.” I’m sure the writer will point a finger to Monday’s upcoming column that leads with a Montoursville story as proof of this.

However those comments are off base and here is why. Both Jersey Shore and Montoursville baseball have had game stories written about them five times this season. Montoursville has had one more game than Jersey Shore in which photographs were used but Jersey Shore also has been mentioned one more time than Montoursville in the weekly Dr. Masse columns so the coverage has been equal.

What is confusing about the letter is that the writer asks “where were the headlines for the Jersey Shore baseball team when they had their eight straight wins?” All one had to do was pick up the Sun-Gazette to see that Jersey Shore was the centerpiece story in the Sun-Gazette when they defeated Montoursville. 6-3 earlier this year. And the timing of the letter was made more interesting due to the fact that just three days earlier Jersey Shore baseball was the center piece story with a big photo on the front page after the Bulldogs defeated Selinsgrove.

It’s further puzzling because each of Jersey Shore’s four wins during a previous four-game winning streak over Montoursville had been covered by the Sun-Gazette and several times it was the center piece story with a big headline and photo accompanying it.

In every weekly baseball column, this season Jersey Shore has been mentioned and applauded for their all-around solid play. This also has been depicted in the game stories written about them so to say the letter caught the sports staff by surprise would be an understatement.

What is more confusing about the letter is the writer states makes it sound like the Sun-Gazette has not chronicled Jersey Shore’s success over the last three years. When Jersey Shore won its first district championship three years ago several stories were written about the team’s sudden and impressive turnaround. I myself, covered many of the team’s games that year, including the district semifinal win over Midd-West, the championship win over Athens and the first-round state tournament win over Pittston. Go back and look through the archives and one will find repeated mentions of how impressive the team’s play was and what a great job then first-year coach Shawn Weaver did turning the program around. Eric Jarrett was named Sun-Gazette Pitcher of the Year and Weaver was not only named Sun-Gazette Baseball Coach of the Year but overall Sun-Gazette Coach of the Year.

Last year, we again covered several Jersey Shore games and continued writing about the team’s growing tradition. Jarrett was named Sun-Gazette Player of the Year and other players received further accolades.

The underlying theme when Jersey Shore has been written about in my weekly columns is that they are a great team in every sense of the word. Again, go through the archives and one will see several different players on the roster have been mentioned at some point and that at several times I have written about how they receive steady offensive and defensive contributions throughout the lineup. The team's offensive explosiveness has been written about as well as the good fundamental baseball the team plays, along with the solid pitching it has been receiving.

It makes one wonder how the person who wrote the letter to the editor could write “These Jersey Shore players should receive the credit that is due,” as if the Sun-Gazette has ignored the team’s accomplishments not only this year, but in the previous two seasons. With the team’s success the last three seasons, Jersey Shore baseball has been one of the most heavily covered Sun-Gazette teams. With all due respect to the writer, all one has to do is have read the paper to see that is the case.

Listen, I understand people will see things the way they want to see them. Almost everyone believes their teams do not get enough coverage. It’s understandable because we have a staff of five and on most nights, have a maximum of 2-3 writers available to cover games with everyone having different schedules. We cover about 20 baseball teams, 20 softball teams and about 30 tennis and track teams during the spring. Unfortunately, we can’t be everywhere at one time and good games or performances cannot be witnessed firsthand all the time.

As a staff we do the best we can to spread the wealth and try and give all the athletes their just due for sacrificing the time and energy they do. We also try and pick the most compelling games with the most compelling storylines. In terms of baseball coverage, when one combines the amount of games the Sun-Gazette has staffed, along with the fact that it has been written about every week in the weekly baseball columns and rankings, one sees that Jersey Shore has received as much ink as any team in the area.

I understand why people might feel their team is slighted since we can’t be at every game. But when one looks at the archives from the last three years one can clearly see, Jersey Shore has been fairly treated.

That is why, to use a baseball pun, Sunday’s letter to the editor seemed to come out of left field.


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