While posting was a bit slower the last couple of days, a lot of that had to do with the epic Geoff Baker thread. It certainly captured my reading and thinking attention and, at least for a while this morning and early afternoon, writing attention. At the risk of hyperbole, I think the comments in the thread represent the absolute best the blogosphere has to offer: unrushed, intelligent discussion by intelligent people eager to persuade and willing to be persuaded. I can only laugh when I hear the old cliches which hold that bloggers and their commenters are bomb-throwing sensationalists and that the mainstream media represents the height of professionalism. Read the Baker thread and then watch “Around the Horn” and tell me who the real attention whores are. Great job ShysterBall readers, and thank you very much for stopping by Geoff. I’m really proud of the conversation that went down.
Anyway, I figure I’ll close for the week with a link — furnished by Sara K — that sheds a lot of light on the whole Ibanez affair. Here it is. It’s about tennis. Rafael Nadal to be precise, and it’s a blog post written by FanHouse’s Michael David Smith last year. The upshot: An L.A. Times columnist wrote a bit about Rafael Nadal and steroids that went way, way beyond anything that Jeord Morris did. Smith, who is so damn good and so damn prolific that he makes me look like a dilettante, calls him out on it. As far as I can tell, the matter died there. Neither Ken Rosenthal nor his tennis equivalent read the riot act to the guy from the Times. Neither Geoff Baker nor his tennis equivalent were inspired to turn the episode into an ethics class. It sat there. It died. People moved on, as they probably should have.
When I read that kind of thing — or any of the many, many articles that end with “unfortunately, such suspicion is inevitable these days” — I can only conclude one thing, and that’s that the Morris-Ibanez thing wasn’t about steroids and it wasn’t about ethics. At least not blogger ethics. It was an effort to breathe life into a tired blog vs. MSM turf war and old-fashioned media sensationalism. A couple of years ago that observation might have made me angry and might have inspired me to unleash a screed or two. As I sit here this evening, however, I can only shake my head and smile.
Mencken said that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public. It seems to me that the sporting press in the mainstream media is giving it the old college try. For my part, I’d be lying if I said that I thought idiocy and sensationalism would one day be gone from journalism entirely. But I am optimistic, based on what I’ve seen here and what I’ve seen on many other blogs in the wake of the Ibanez stuff, that the idiocy will constitute a less prominent place in journalism as time goes on.
Thanks everyone. Have a nice weekend.