Hal McCoy is hanging it up. Not voluntarily, mind you; the Dayton Daily News will not be using a beat writer to cover the Reds on a daily basis after this season.

I thought about this some back when Dodger beat writer (and former Reds scribe) Tony Jackson was laid off earlier this summer. It wasn’t too long ago that the Reds had beat writers from three different newspapers covering the team on a daily basis.

Now there will be one: John Fay (although we certainly don’t want to forget Mark Sheldon, who does an outstanding job for MLB.com). The heyday of newspaper baseball coverage is long gone.

That’s not a good thing.

Hal McCoy, shall we say, has not been at the top of his game for a number of years, and I’m not sure any of the beat writers are providing any great insights into the team (and, to be fair, that’s not really their job). What they do provide, however, is still valuable, and I don’t like to see these guys being tossed to the curb.

Jon Weisman, the top Dodger blogger out there, had this to say, and I couldn’t agree more:

I don’t think there’s any doubt that individual readers have more information about the Dodgers than they did 10 years ago. Then, you had access to only game stories and notebooks published once a day; now, there is a constant stream of rich information and analysis. I think we’re well past the point of relying only on the reporter in the clubhouse. Nevertheless, you still need that reporter.

A best-case scenario would be for readers or benefactors to stake a credible person to writing and blogging about the Dodgers full-time, covering them inside and out. If it were that important to enough people or the right people, it would happen. But I sense that given the choice between accepting the new status quo for free or paying a small amount for more, the marketplace will tend to choose free.

It’s going to be very interesting to see how the baseball clubs respond to the changing nature of sports media in light of the demise of the newspaper industry. Whatever may happen, I’m sure it’s starting to get lonely in the Reds press box. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think that’s a good thing for Reds fans.