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Friday, June 19, 2009
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.
I don't really care that the Tigers have a new catcher, and I don't even really care that Ryan is on my Scoresheet team and that I can now actually use him (I have kind of abandoned management of my Scoresheet team and am letting it drift like a ghost ship). No, the reason why I link this is because I got a chuckle out of the way Lee at Tiger Tales wrote this:
Sources close to Dusty Ryan are reporting that The Tigers have called up the young backstop from Toledo to presumably replace Dane Sardinha as the backup catcher.
"Sources close to Dusty Ryan?" THE Dusty Ryan? Does he know there's a mole in his entourage? How was the security perimeter breached? In light of it, will the varying factions of the greater Dusty Ryan community now struggle for access and proximity to Ryan's inner circle, and maybe even the man himself? Such intrigue!
OK, forgive me. I don't mean for a second to make fun of Tiger Tales here -- and good for them for the scoop. I'm just really, really loopy after a very long week with very little sleep, and that phrase just struck me funny.
Earlier this week I wrote about all of the problems with Tropicana Field. Lar from Wezen-Ball picked up the idea and ran with it. Lar's thing is to go back and read the contemporaneous accounts of events we only now find to be interesting. It's a really good thing, and it's put to use wonderfully here, as he runs down what people were saying about Tropicana Field when it first opened. There's a ton there, so by all means, read it all, but this is the best part:
"There are some unusual features. The dome roof is sloped and is made of translucent material. Neither is expected to affect play.
In their defense, it was 1990, and Jose Canseco had only just invented steroids a year or two before.
This morning in ATH, I asked why Philly fans hate Rod Barajas. It was explained to me in the comments that it was because Barajas wussed out when he should have been blocking the plate against the Marlins a couple of years ago, allowing a run to score. The great Bob Timmermann -- a librarian, and you don't friggin' mess with librarians -- sends along a news account from that game, revealing that it was actually worse than even the Philly fans in the comments described. From the Knight Ridder report, May 24, 2007:
Aaron Boone singled to shallow leftfield. Jayson Werth fielded it cleanly and fired home, where Ramirez was out by at least 20 feet. Except Barajas chose to rise instead of block the plate. Ramirez slid under the tag. Home plate umpire Tim Timmons called Ramirez safe; tie game.
Except you couldn't laugh, at least not if you're a Phillies fan. The inning was supposed to be over, but it went on due to Barajas' mistake. Two pitches later, Brett Myers injured himself on a pitch and would not rejoin the club for over two months. Pitches, the article notes, he never had to throw.
I suppose it's an open question as to whether it's right or even healthy to hold a grudge like that for two years, but at least now I understand why they hold the grudge.
(And thanks Bob!)
For reasons that aren't important, I spent a little time counting last night, and found that since I began this blog, I've written, 2,325 posts at the old Blogspot site, 1,184 posts on THT (including this one), and 318 posts on the NBC site. I guess I'm good and warmed up now, so it's probably time to start blogging in earnest.
Braves 7, Reds 0: Tommy Hanson shuts out the Reds over six innings. Not that he was brilliant or anything. He threw a lot of pitches, got into jams and all of the kind of stuff you see young kids do. But it's all good, because even when he's been getting lit up like a pinball machine, he has continued to play this game with fear and ignorance. No wait, arrogance.
Padres 4, Mariners 3: The Padres jump on Adrian Gonzalez's back (4-4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) and finally win an interleague game. Don Wakamatsu on pitching to Gonzalez: "He ends up hitting a home run and a double when we are trying to pitch around him. That is the most frustrating part." Chris Jakubauskas on pitching to Gonzalez: "I wasn't trying to pitch around him." OK, someone's lying and no one is leaving this room until we find out who it is.
Rockies 4, Rays 3: Jim Tracy on Ubaldo Jiminez: "Ubaldo is a guy who is beginning to find his niche. I still believe there's still another step on the ladder that he aspires to take and that is to become a bona fide ace-stopper type starting pitcher in the Rockies rotation." That was his real postgame quote? It sounds like a book blurb or a marketing statement or something. I think the "in the Rockies' rotation" is what sealed it. It just sounds weird. Does Tracy really talk like that?
Astros 5, Rangers 3: I was trying to make a funny yesterday when I said that the loser of this series wins the State of Texas. I guess it wasn't too funny, though, because someone emailed me to tell me that I was being both ignorant and disrespectful. That's nothing new, but at least the emailer educated me a bit. The winner of this series wins "The Silver Boot." It's a a 30-inch tall, size-15 cowboy boot cast in silver, complete with a custom, hand-made spur. How very college football of them. I wonder if the Rangers, who once again won the Silver Boot, came running out of the dugout after the game, grabbed the boot and started whooping it up like Wisconsin does with that axe after they beat Minnesota and vice-versa.
Tigers 6, Cardinals 3: Magglio rode the pine, and will continue to do so "indefinitely" according to Jim Leyland. His replacement, Ryan Rayburn, was 0-3 and struck out twice. Game story: "Albert Pujols grounded out as a pinch hitter for hot-hitting rookie Colby Rasmus in the seventh and played first base the rest of the game and flied out in the ninth. La Russa wanted to get him a day off, plus he has a sore ankle." Two at bats and a couple of innings in the field doesn't sound like much of a day off to me, but then again, I'm not a genius like Tony La Russa.
Twins 5, Pirates 1: Nick Blackburn (CG, 6 H, 1 ER) was the man, as he basically has been in the Twins rotation all year. After the game, pitching coach Rick Anderson said "He's basically been the stabilizer." So, is Blackburn's new nickname "gelatin" or "carrageenan?" That's a little food additive humor for ya. Additives -- NOT preservatives.
Nationals 3, Yankees 0: A five and a half hour rain delay? Really? Waiting around for this game to start lasted longer than the travel and suit-up time a makeup game would have taken. This is fun too "about 10,000 people were sprinkled around the ballpark for the first pitch. When the Yankees announced fans could move down, there was a stampede toward the $2,625 seats in the front row. By the end, the upper deck and bleachers were virtually empty." Part of me hopes that the peasants ransacked the manor houses while their owners were away.
Blue Jays 8, Phillies 7: Rod Barajas hits the game winning home run in the ninth. Apparently Barajas is hated in Philly despite having played there for only one season and despite being Rod Barajas. Anyone care to educate me as to the reason for the ire? Because from where I'm sitting, this is the equivalent of Braves fans hating Paul Bako or Charlie O'Brien or someone. How can the response to a guy like Barajas -- who played all of 48 games for the Phillies -- be anything other than slightly peeved indifference?
Orioles 5, Mets 4: Francisco Rodriguez and his tired act came into the game to lock things down in the ninth, except they didn't get locked down. Matt Wieters doubled to kick things off. Dave Trembley then sent in a pinch runner for him, and was amazingly allowed to live. The pinch runner scored, so maybe it was all willed by Wieters that way to begin with. In any event, an Adam Jones bases-loaded walk followed by an Aubrey Huff liner ended the proceedings.
Cubs 6, White Sox 5: A wild come from behind win by the Cubbies. Down 5-1 in the eighth, Derek Lee hit a three-run homer followed by a solo shot from Geovany Soto to tie things up. In the ninth it was Alfonso Soriano with an RBI single. If he didn't get that, I wouldn't have been surprised to see Piniella give him the Magglio Ordonez treatment.
Marlins 2, Red Sox 1: They called this one early due to rain. Because it was the Red Sox, however, the game still took three hours and twenty-six minutes.
Diamondbacks 12, Royals 5: After two great starts following his second callup, Luke Hochevar reverted to May form, giving up seven runs on nine hits in four innings. Danny Haren, meanwhile, held the Royals to two runs on seven hits, struck out six and didn't issue a walk in seven innings.
Dodgers 3, A's 2: Randy Wolf pitched well but got another no-decision. Pfun Pfact: Vin Mazzaro is the first A's pitcher with two sacrifices in one game since Ken Holtzman on Aug. 27, 1972. I hate the DH.