Yesterday, May 29th, 2010, Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies made baseball history, and the coverage of that story by the Washington Post was absolutely terrible.

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As I opened the paper this morning and found the only section I intended on reading, here’s what I found on the front page:

  • Above the fold, most of the real estate was taken up by a Mike Wise article where he talks about Kobe Bryant and the Lakers finishing the Western Conference Finals and their pending match up with the Boston Celtics in the finals.  Fine, that’s big news, and Mike Wise is a great writer whose stories are all (from what I’ve read) well written, and he’s very entertaining on the radio as host of The Mike Wise Show on 106.7 The Fan FM from 10 to 2 here in Washington D.C.
  • The top half of the far right 3 inches of the page were given to a story about the UVA men’s lacrosse team failing to make it to the NCAA Finals.  Fine, that’s a story the DC area has been moderately interested in for the past month given the murder involved.
  • Below the fold (actually starting slightly above it) there was a story about a guy from the DC area who runs marathons and ultra-marathons.  I can respect the fact that this guy runs like Forrest Gump.  One of my favorite high school teachers ran ultra-marathons, and I found the concept interesting, but it takes up the majority of the front page.
  • The bottom half of the far right 3 inch portion is dedicated to baseball, where we get a story about the Nationals losing to San Diego, and also a small picture of Roy Halladay  celebrating with his catcher Carlos Ruiz, and a throw-over to D5 for the rest of the story about the 20th perfect game in MLB history.

Lame.

Come on, Washington Post, you couldn’t have given more of the front page to that story?!  Instead, you dedicate a huge portion of the front page to a human-interest story and show a bunch of little gray and red footprints to represent the miles this marathon guy ran this year?

I’m sure you weren’t expecting history to be made, and I’m sure it’s tough to plan layouts, and I’m sure you thought that this piece about this runner guy was going to be interesting (and it is, to an extent), but when history happens, do you really want to fail THIS BAD at covering it?

So… I flip to D5, looking for the rest of the story, and what do I get?  An Associated Press story which is relegated to the right-hand 2 inch portion of the page.  Sure, it takes up 3/4 of the length of the page, but that’s it.  No pictures, just a mention of how Roy Halladay pitched the 20th perfect game in MLB history yesterday, additionally making history as this is the only time it has ever happened twice in one baseball season – just 3 weeks ago to be exact when Dallas Braden pitched a perfect game on Mother’s Day.

I realize the Nationals are Washington’s team, and the majority of Nationals fans either hate the Philadelphia Phillies or don’t care about them, but it’s not about that.  I fall into the category of Nationals fans who hate the Phillies, but even I think that the story should’ve been featured in the paper.

I don’t know how the newspaper business works.  I understand that the Washington Post likely had limitations on how much coverage they could’ve given to this story due to their resources, finances and the time it would’ve taken to do the paper’s layout, but maybe some things need to change at the Washington Post.  Readership is down.  Any time you hear someone on television or the radio talk about newspapers they’re talking about how it’s a dying business.  Maybe this is part of the reason.  For years I’ve hated the fact that there are so many “late games” involved in the Washington Post’s print coverage.  They seem to have cut down on that, which is commendable, but all in all the paper’s not doing enough to cover the big stories.  This isn’t the USA Today, so the Washington Post shouldn’t be expected to cover the entire nation of sports stories as heavily as it does the Washington Nationals, but history happened, and the Washington Post didn’t treat it as such, giving it the same amount of real estate they would’ve given to the box scores of a baseball double-header.

Failure.