Yay Jason!

Jason from IIATMS hits the big time:

Jason Rosenberg was heading home and listening to satellite radio when he heard that Manny Ramirez was fourth among National League outfielders in initial All-Star voting. By the end of the night, a new Web site was born: Vote for Manny.

“I said it would be funny if Manny got elected, because he’s coming off a suspension on July 3 and the All-Star game is a week later, so they don’t even have that sort of built-in protection,” the 39-year-old from suburban Ardsley said Wednesday. “So I got home, and just quickly threw a Web site together” . . .

. . . Rosenberg is a Yankees fan who works in finance and has a regular blog devoted to baseball athttp://www.itsaboutthemoney.blogspot.com, which he started more than a year ago. He disapproves of the 2003 rule change pushed through by commissioner Bud Selig that gives the All-Star winner homefield advantage in the World Series.

“I’m not a Bud basher,” he said. “I don’t go out of my way to criticize everything he does. I think he’s done some amazing things, the wild card and all sorts of other things.”

He intends to keep the Manny Web site up and running through the All-Star game.

Remember us little guys when you’re rich and famous, Jason.

UPDATE: Jason is going to be interviewed on Westwood One radio tonight too. All hail your omnipresent IIATMS overlord.

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Comments

  1. Sean said...

    This is an issue that doesn’t just stop with Manny. Look at how many Brewers are in the top two spots at their positions. Democracy is a great thing until it gets in the wrong hands. Fortunately, we have you, so champion our cause!

  2. Pete Toms said...

    Regrettably Jason’s stunning good looks are not visible over radio. (unless his Facebook photos are fradulent)

    A hearty mozel tov to Jason.

  3. David said...

    Certainly I wish everybody rewards for hard work and recognition for good ideas, including this fellow.

    However, I do want to quickly nit-pick when he commended Selig for creating the wild-card. 

    Bud Selig deserves ZERO credit for creating the wild card.  All three other major sports had it by the time that MLB instituted it in 1995.  Crediting Selig with creating the wild card would be like crediting me for creating plumbing if I install a kitchen sink at my house.  I didn’t create a damn thing, I just saw that other people had done something that worked, and I rode on their coattails.

  4. Jack Marshall said...

    Craig, as you can see from other comments here,“Yay Jason” was widely interpreted as approval, and there was certainly nothing in your post to suggest otherwise. I assumed there was an element of protest in the stunt, just as the clods at “VotefortheWorst” claim to be protesting American Idol with their efforts to louse up what for a lot of Americans is a competition they enjoy, and for the singers is quite literally a life-changing opportunity. So I am supposed to excuse an excercise by people who don’t give a damn about an activity, designed to spoil it for the millions who do, which will also potentially harm or abort the careers of talented performers, because it’s a “protest”? I happen to enjoy the All-Star Game. Lots of other people do too. Players (other than Manny Ramirez) regard it as an important honor; some even get bonuses as a result. None of these people are responsible for what he is supposedly protesting. (Yeah, the stupid tie game embarrassed Bud—-whom I detest—-but mostly it just ticked off millions of fans who invested four hours in a game with no pay-off. I suppose your friend loved it.) Who is Jason Rosenberg to decide that all these people should be disappointed, annoyed or harmed so he can make a statement, flex his on-line muscles, feel important, attract more people to his blog, and get media gigs?

    I’m sure your friend is a swell guy, but there is no justifying this kind of self-serving, shot-gun protest, and when somebody says a result that is going to upset millions who are innocent of the conduct being protested would be “funny,” it is per se wrong and proof positive of the jerk gene. Friend or not, I think you should either say so, or at least not validate his conduct by cheering him on.

  5. Craig Calcaterra said...

    “Who is Jason Rosenberg to decide that all these people should be disappointed, annoyed or harmed so he can make a statement, flex his on-line muscles, feel important, attract more people to his blog, and get media gigs?”

    Jack, I’d suggest that that exact statement could be turned around on a person who has made it his business to tell us that we should all be dissappointed, annoyed, and outraged about the morals and ethics of the steroid era.  Put differently, he’s one man with an opinon and he has every right to voice it. People can listen to him or not, just as they choose to listen or not to what you or I have had to say about anything else on which we opine.

    If you disagree with what he’s doing, fine, say so.  But to question his right to say it and to call him a self-serving jerk for doing so crosses a line.

  6. Jack Marshall said...

    It crosses no line at all. Surely you comprehend the difference between words and conduct? Jason’s welcome to his opinions. He’s not welcome to screw up other people’s enjoyment for his own purposes, and when he does, he should be called on it. Actively promoting and facilitating obnoxious and chaotic conduct goes far beyond stating opinions.

  7. Jason @ IIATMS said...

    Jack,

    I am no one. Just like you.  I had a point of view, an opinion, a thought to share.  I used the power of the internet plus a bit of initiative to share those things.  Everyone has a right to agree or disagree with those things and I welcome all of it.  I’ve been complimented and bashed. 

    Self-serving?  No, it’s just fun.  Fun as hell.  Suddenly I, an absolute no one, am being asked for interviews on national radio broadcasts, newpapers, the freakin’ Associated Press?  Who am I?  No one.  No one but someone with an idea, a thought, an opinion with an internet connection and a half-ounce of initiative.

    So please halt the personal attacks.  Criticize the plan, the message all you want.  Just cool it on the personal attacks.  It defeats all arguments and makes you look the fool, not me.

    Again, thanks for the support Craig (and others).

  8. David said...

    Jack:

    What was being championed here wasn’t the actual content or message of the blog, but rather that the writer achieved some celebrity from it.  I agree with most of what you wrote (although I can’t really know that the writer is a jerk), but I can’t believe that you would actually be surprised at the celebrity culture and the satirizing of pop culture institutions (like MLB or American Idol).  I mean….this is the clearly way things are and probably the way they will be for a long time, and it’s disingenuous to act surprised, in my opinion. 

    If you want integrity and cultural purity, you’re in the wrong country.

  9. Craig Calcaterra said...

    I’m not buying that distinction, Jack.  If anyone should understand that words matter, it’s a lawyer, and I find it dubious at best that you expect no action to be taken as a result of your words.  You want people to shun certain players and certain writers based on their views of PEDs in baseball. You want them to vote their ethics (or your ethics) with their pocketbooks.  If you don’t, you’ve wasted an obviously large amount of effort in what can only be described as persuasive writing and advocacy.

      But even if I did buy your words/conduct distinction, to suggest that what Jason is doing is something far worse than offering an opinion is to discount as sheep anyone who votes the way he suggests they do.  He’s not making anyone do anything. If people vote for Manny because of his site, it’s because they are convinced by his statement of purpose.  All he has done is create a platform for that statement with a link to MLB’s voting page.

    And I think you’re obligated to do more than to simply state that voting for Manny is “obnoxious and chaotic conduct.”  Why is it so?  He’s on the ballot. He’s eligible.  Maybe he’s not worthy on the baseball merits, but baseball has never been too concerned with that when it comes to the All-Star game (see, Varitek, Jason in 2008).

    If the response is that we should not honor a guy who broke the rules, one must ask why baseball hasn’t seen fit to make him ineligible for the game.  Which, as he says, is Jason’s whole point to begin with.

  10. Ralph said...

    Jack,

    In my estimation, Jason’s not “screw(ing) up other people’s enjoyment for his own purposes”.  He’s merely highlighting and exploiting flaw in the current MLB rules and ASG voting.  By pointing this out and promoting it, hopefully there will be a change.

    Settle down and unbunch your panties.

  11. David said...

    Ralph,

    The blog is, by design “screwing up” the All-Star game.  That’s it’s sole purpose.  So I don’t know why you had to put that in sneering quotes.

    Really, though, I don’t think that there’s anything at all wrong with Manny being in the game (although there’s a LOT wrong with the media surrounding it).  Manny’s obviously one of the greatest hitters of all time, and a very popular player.  Yes, he’s out for 50 games this year, but I’m sure there’ve been lots of times when injured players got in, and there’ve definitely been times when players got in based upon popularity alone rather than their competitive merits. 

    So really, the only thing provocative about Manny being in the All-Star game is the media’s self-referential focus on their own hysterics.  Because there’s no cause for outrage over his inclusion – certainly not when contrasted with some other dubious All-Star selections (Craig pointed out Varitek last year, and every year it seems there are four or give guys playing entirely because of their fame.)

  12. Ralph said...

    No David, the blog isn’t screwing up the ASG.  The blog is inanimate, but it’s putting Jason’s views out there for people to read.  Jason has every right to express his views and opinions and I know that you wouldn’t disagree with me on this.  Whether people agree with and follow his opinions is on them, not him.

    Quoting what Jack said isn’t “sneering”, it’s being factually accurate.

  13. Jason @ IIATMS said...

    David, you’re flat out getting it backwards:

    “The blog is, by design “screwing up” the All-Star game.  That’s it’s sole purpose.”

    No.  The point is to FIX the ASG by highlighting the inherent flaws, as I see them.

    * The fact that a player coming off a PED suspension can be selected

    * The fact that the selection process is built for an exhibition but the game counts for something

  14. Jack Marshall said...

    Yes, I believe (and in fact know) that the web has generated many people who delight in using its power to cause problems for others. A website like this one, like “Votefortheworst,” attracts these people, galvanizes them and serves as a catalyst for destructive conduct. I think tapping into that is irresponsible.  To take a much more serious example, an anti-abortion website that opines that abortion is murder is offering an opinion, but one that puts the photos and addresses of abortion clinic doctors up with an exhortation to “stop the murderers” is engaging in conduct. I may opine about unethical politicians or lawyers, or biased journalists, and I might say that watching a show like “Jon and Kate plus 8” is enabling child exploitation, but I’m not organizing any boycotts: if people want to act on my arguments, they are on their own. If I do try to coordinate action, I have an obligation to do so responsibly, avoid inflicting needless harm on innocent bystanders.

    I like satire. I sometimes make my living writing satire, in fact. But satire constructed to louse up its target is more than satire. The fact that something is common or to be expected doesn’t make it right, or immunize it from criticism.

    If the driver in front of me throws a bag of trash out his car window, yes, I will think of him as a jerk. This is because doing such a thing is the mark of a jerk. Now, he may in every other way be the salt of the earth….I wouldn’t bet on it, but it’s possible. If I were sitting next to him when he littered, I would tell him, as a friend, that he was acting like a jerk. That’s not a “personal attack,” that’s a fair characterization.

    Given a lack of any other data, I thought it was reasonable to conclude that one who engages in what I do regard as jerk-like conduct “has the jerk gene,” which many of us, including me, have an obligation to struggle to rise above.

  15. Jack Marshall said...

    Yay Jason? I don’t get this at all. This fool thinks it will be “funny’ to deface the All-Star Game with Manny Ramirez, who not only won’t deserve it on the basis of his production to that point, but will also embarrass baseball and keep a deserving, non-cheating star off the team.People like Jason simply enjoy causing discomfort and chaos, spreading their cynicism and taking pleasure at robbing others of their own fun and passions. He is the same breed as the creators of computer viruses,the same anti-social instincts as the people who try to screw up on-line polls because it makes them feel powerful. It’s the equivilent of amusing yourself by farting in a crowded elevator. “Yay Jason,” eh? Good to know the kind of conduct you admire.

  16. The Common Man said...

    “the web has generated many people who delight in using its power to cause problems for others. A website like this one…attracts these people, galvanizes them and serves as a catalyst for destructive conduct. I think tapping into that is irresponsible.”

    Puh-lease, Jack.  Nice hystrionics.  The All Star Game, for the past 70 years, has been the third most important and culturally relevant day in July (the first is obvious, and the second is my birthday, though that’s only been important for the last few decades).  To suggest that voting in Manny will somehow be a destructive act is rididulous.  The All Star Game is bigger than Manny, and even if it weren’t, it’s unclear how Manny’s place in the top three vote-getters would be “destructive.”

    If Jason is successful, here’s what’s likely to happen:  Manny says “no” and stays home and someone else takes his place.  Or MLB steps in and changes its rules retroactively, and the problem Jason is trying to highlight gets solved.  Everyone wins.  You don’t have to watch Manny, Ibanez or whoever starts in LF, another deserving guy gets the roster spot, and Manny gets three days off.  If your enjoyment of the All Star Game is ruined by fans voting in a player who isn’t likely to accept the invitation anyway, you’ve got a very low threshold, my friend. 

    On the other hand, if Manny bucks history and decides to attend, there are 17 other starters you can root for, and 49 other players.  I think you can manage.  And if you do have to see/think about Manny, is it really a bad thing?  Should we stick our heads in the sand about MLB’s PEDs problem, or allow it into the sun where we can talk about it, give it greater exposure, and hopefully be inspired to take steps to minimize it?

  17. Jack Marshall said...

    Ah, yes, the old “it’s all trivial anyway, so why get upset about it?” argument.

    As Bill James has correctly pointed out, Americans spend more time thinking and following baseball than they do cancer research. Ok, this isn’t nuclear proliferation or mass unemployment. It’s setting out to annoy people, rewarding a player who does not deserve to be rewarded (and don’t think Manny will detect the irony intended, and causing a distraction from what used to be a fun summer night of just baseball. That matters.

    The rule loophole isn’t a problem if nobody votes for suspended players, you know—-making something occur that probably wouldn’t, to force a change in a rule to prohibit the unlikely occurrance is a mighty weak reason to cause trouble. If one person’s enjoyment of the game is diminished as a result, that’s one person too many.

  18. The Common Man said...

    “Making something occur that probably wouldn’t, to foce a change in a rule to prohibit the unlikely occurrance is a mighty weak reason to cause trouble.  If one person’s enjoyment of the game is diminished as a result, that’s one person too many.”

    Not likely to occur?  Manny was in 4th place already, man.  There’s a decent chance he was going to be elected without Jason’s help.

    And what about all of Manny’s legitimate fans, Jack?  Aren’t they entitled to their enjoyment too?  And won’t theirs be significantly more diminished than yours? 

    Anyway, I’m not saying the game is trivial and doesn’t matter.  In fact, I love the All Star Game as much as you, and relish that it has given me some of my greatest baseball memories (Puckett’s big game in ‘93, Torii Hunter’s catch, Ted Williams on the field, Cal Ripken’s homer in his last game).  I’m saying that Manny’s inclusion can perform a legitimately positive function if it airs dirty laundry and forces the game to work harder to clean up.  I think that might be worth enduring 2 at bats and 4 innings in LF, and the discussion (or the awkward silence)that surrounds him.

    Not that he’ll be there.  Again, I doubt he will, and not because he’s ashamed or doesn’t want to cause drama.  I don’t think Manny will get the irony and stay away.  He’ll stay away because he doesn’t want to go to the game and would rather take three days off.  He’s done it before and is likely to do it again.  I’m sure his knee is getting sore just thinking about the A.S. break.

  19. Jeff said...

    Jack,

    You are making far too big a deal out of the All-Star game.  It is a glorified exhibition.  Yes there is a rich history to it, but the game has ceased to be relevant for many years.  Think back about how many games have starred players that we now know were cheating.  Think about how people were HORRIFIED when Pete Rose ruined Ray Fosse’s career in a friggin All-Star Game?

    Fans vote for the players.  This is the fundamental flaw in the All-Star Game.  What is the difference between a fan voting for Manny because it is funny and exposes a problem with the rules and a fan that votes for a player from their favorite team who is undeserving?  Either way, they aren’t taking the actual game seriously.  Fans who would much prefer to see the best/most deserving player participating lose out in either direction.  If they want the most deserving to make it, then they better go vote many times for the most deserving.

    The secondary issue, and the reason that I WILL VOTE FOR MANNY, is that it is impossible to separate the users from the non-users.  To try to pretend that everyone that hasn’t been whispered about or caught never used them is a completely naive exercise.  I’m disappointed about performance enhancing drugs’ pervasiveness, but it’s about time we came to grips with them.  Let’s bring the whole thing in front of everyone and talk about it. No better time to do that then the All-Star game when there is nothing better going on, and there is way too much media coverage.

    Thank you Jason for not just thinking something, but for acting.  Now it is everyone else’s job to decide how they want to proceed, but at least you threw it out there for us to discuss!

  20. Killeverything said...

    I think the guy’s a jackass.

    Just as Jack Marshall said. The PED issue isn’t a big enough black eye for baseball. Let’s have one of the “caught” superstars play in the All-Star game too. “Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.”

    The whole situation disgusts me. It’s arbitrary too, Manny refuses to play in the ASG anyway, and has for some time. Way to go Jason.

  21. Jack Marshall said...

    Ok. I think it’s outrageous that that Roland Burris isn’t being run out of the Senate, given that he has now been proven to be a influence-peddling opportunist who perjured himself in his testimony before Congress. To vividly illustrate this folly, I use my immense influence to promote Burris for the Presidency….and he wins (maybe because he ends up running against Newt Gingrich). Now his success sends the message that bribery and dishonesty works (well, it often does, but that’s a different issue)and the Presidency becomes a travesty (which it has been before—-maybe this isn’t such a good example..)

    But the POINT is, if you say, “Well, but that’s the Presidency..” then you’re back to the “the All-Star Game doesn’t matter, so it’s OK to manipulate it to make a point” argument. In Baseball World, where I spend much of my time, it DOES matter. Still.

    Do the values-deficient Manny fans have the right to vote for their pet? Sure. And the Larry Craig fans, and Octomom fans, and Michael Vick fans, and Barry Bonds fans and John Edwards fans have their rights too—-but we don’t have to make it easier for them to flaunt their atrocious taste and warped principles to the embarrassment and annoyance of everyone else.

  22. Sara K said...

    Is it ethically sound to devote a website to a popular hometown player whose production is nowhere near league elite? Aren’t they messing with the integrity of the contest?

    And what is “atrocious” and “warped” about wanting to protest the rules under which the ASG is currently operating? If the game is supposed to count, then it is absolutely ridiculous for fans to control the voting. You can dislike Jason’s methods all you want, but at the same time, offer up an alternative method for generating exposure for the cause of changing the flawed rule.  Never mind – there really isn’t one. It’s a sad but true that it takes controversy to get noticed.  Your position seems to be that we should ignore the absurdity of the selection process and take what we’re given. Who’s the one who doesn’t care?

  23. Jeff said...

    The Presidency and the All-Star game are not even close to being comparable.  One is the leader of the free world, the other is an exhibition where men play a child’s game in exchange for millions of dollars.  It is supposed to be a distraction from real and/or everyday life.  And as Sara just said, if the All-Star game really matters, then fans shouldn’t be involved in the process to begin with!

    And all of this is the point of Jayson’s website/quest!

  24. The Common Man said...

    Indeed, Jack, and if All Stars had any responsibilities beyond showing up for the game and playing a few innings of baseball, perhaps your analogy would make a lot of sense.  Instead, it is absurd.

    We don’t live in a black and white world where every philosophy we hold must be pure and extended to its logical conclusion.  Rather, there are shades of grey and “the right thing” can depend on the context of the situation.

    Protests are designed to inconvenience and upset people so that flaws in a system can be rectified.  You know, I bet a bunch of nice people were late for work when the cops had to haul Rosa Parks off a bus too.  I’m not trying to conflate the two necessarily, but to suggest that protests that ruin everyone’s good time are somehow beyond the pale of good taste seems to miss the point of the protest.

    Sure, the being an All Star is an honor.  And perhaps Manny wouldn’t get the joke.  But I think the overwhelming majority of fans, executives, players, coaches, and even some media-types would get it.  And even if their and our All Star experiences are marginally adversely affected by the Vote for Manny movement, it’s a conversation that we should keep having as long as PEDs are a problem in baseball.  The All Star Game, because of its visibility and status, because many of us think that the spectacle of the game still matters, is an ideal venue to talk about the issue, hopefully in a rational way.

  25. Jack Marshall said...

    [Although it’s beside the point, I think the fans do a decent job more often than not. If they want to vote a guaranteed Hall of Famer or the previous season’s MVP into the line-up instead of some unknown having a great first half, that’s a rational decision.]

    I’ll buy the protest argument, as long as the protester, like Rosa Parks, or the war protesters who create traffic jams here in DC and then go to jail, suffers for his goal.

    But sitting home at your computer promoting a result you think is “funny,” while making bystanders, fans and others who just want to see a good All-Star game with rosters that don’t make them vomit, as you acquire interviews and annointment by—Buster Olney!!!—-isn’t exactly what Thoreau had in mind.

  26. Kevin S. said...

    You guys might want to try actually reading Jason’s blog post about this before you condemn him for it.  Then again, doing so will make you both realize how much of a tool you each are, so maybe you shouldn’t if you’re faint of heart.

  27. Sara K said...

    Every year, there are at least five ASG selections that make me want to vomit.  Of course, that’s because they were selected in a popularity contest that has nothing to do with selecting the most deserving players. Boy, I wish someone would do something about that wacky voting system!

  28. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Jack and Kill,

    Go read Jason’s latest post at IIATMS (link in the blogroll to the lower left on this page if you can’t find it). His reason for doing this is as a protest—albeit an unconventional one—of Bud Selig and baseball’s failure to institute a Shawne Merriman rule that would have prevented Manny from even being eligible for the All-Star Game in the first place, which he believes should be the case.  It is his hope that Manny winning the vote would place baseball in an awkward position that would highlight and shame it for its failure to have a rule which I can only assume both of you would be in favor of.

    On a more general level, Jason is a friend, and my “Yay Jason” is directed at him getting some national media exposure.  He has worked very hard to make what is an excellent blog over the past year, and whether or not you agree with what he’s doing there, I am happy that he is realizing some success.  So yes, “Yay Jason.”

  29. The Common Man said...

    “sitting home at your computer promoting a result you think is “funny,” while making bystanders, fans and others who just want to see a good All-Star game…isn’t exactly what Thoreau had in mind.”

    This is true, but Thoreau didn’t have the internet in the 19th century, so his protest options were limited. It was tough to protest from your living room.  smile

    And we don’t know much about the consequences of Jason’s quest.  Sure, he’s getting media exposure, but with that exposure can come ugly and nasty attacks.  I wouldn’t want to see his inbox right now.  Now, that’s not a tangible punishment, but neither is your discomfort at Manny at the All Star Game a tangible thing.  You are still able to watch the game in relative peace.

    Finally, it is still unclear just how inconvenienced or put out anyone would be by Manny’s appearance.  The All Star Game itself means almost nothing (except home field advantage in the W.S.).  The spectacle of the All Star Game, however, has great meaning for a lot of baseball fans.  But Pete Rose has played in the All Star Game.  Dixie Walker, a virulent rascist, is a former All Star.  Ty Cobb would have been an All Star if the game had existed in the 1900s and 1910s.  And we know that players who have used in the past, (Caminiti, Palmeiro, A-Rod, and others)
    have played in the game in the past.  And half the teams from the 1960s and 1970s would have been on Greenies.  Face it, the game’s rep may not be sullied, but it should have been.  Instead of putting a fresh coat of paint on a rotting house, let’s fix the house by pointing out the rot and working to replace it.

  30. Jack Marshall said...

    Retroactive revulsion! Interesting concept! But I don’t buy it. Activities are not generally retroactively sullied by the subsequent conduct of a participant. Sure: it’s harder to laugh at O.J. in “The Naked Gun” now, but there was nothing wrong with laughing then. I especially like the idea that the All-Star Game is diminished by who MIGHT have been voted to it if there was one when he played. Would Joe Jackson have been elected if he could have been on the ballot due to a rule loophole about banned players in 1920? I doubt it…but I guess Jason would have tried to make it happen…if there was an internet then… you know, to dramatize that durn loophole!

  31. Sara K said...

    I see you have zoomed in on the part of TCM’s reply that was most germane to the discussion at hand….

  32. My Pet Goat said...

    There’s nothing wrong with democracy or the hands of the people.  What’s wrong is a system that rewards ballot stuffing… and two hot months…

  33. Jason @ IIATMS said...

    Thanks Craig and Kevin and others.  I don’t mind the vitriol; I’ve gotten plenty of it.  It’s been outweighed by the good words, support and laughs I have heard.

    I never, EVER, anticipated the legs this thing would have. 

    For those of you who took the time to read and got it, thank you.  Sincerely.  You have no idea how much I appreciate it.

    There are always people who will disagree with something and I’m OK with that; it’s just like the voting.  Everyone’s got a voice and a right to use it.  I’d like the criticisms to be a less personal in nature, but that’s my problem.

    It’s not just about the fact that Manny is eligible; it’s also about the stupid ASG rules.  Don’t get me riled up again…

    So yes, the interview last night went well.  I will try to find a way to post the audio for it soon.  I was also on a STL radio station this AM and they couldn’t have been nicer and more supportive.  Of course, I got called a “douche” by WFAN this morning, so that’s a big feather in my cap.

    There’s been a few other interview requests and whatnot.  But my 15 minutes are about up.

    As Wooden (I think) noted in the comments here yesterday… 14:58…14:59…

  34. The Common Man said...

    OK, you want a more germane example for our conversation, Jack?  In 2006, Tony LaRussa’s Cardinals won the World Series.  In Spring Training of 2007, LaRussa was arrested for and pled guilty for DUI.  That summer he managed the All Star Game.  Discuss.

  35. Sara K said...

    Stop that, TCM!  I’m still waiting for him to explain how “legit” fanboy sites are any more ethical than the MannyBlog, and if you keep teasing, we’ll never get there.

  36. Jack Marshall said...

    Not worth discussing, is it? DUI is irresponsible, but one DUI doesn’t tell me anything about someone’s character. What does it tell you? Maybe he had one beer too many: what was his BAL? His crime isn’t baseball related; it wouldn’t get a lawyer disbarred or even disciplined (Tony’s a lawyer too, remember.) Repeat DUI’s are another matter. “Anybody can make a mistake” is absurd when applied to a player on a steroid cycle (one mistake doesn’t encompass months of specific acts and decisions)but it is absolutely applicable to many DUI cases. Bottom line: I don’t think LaRussa’s DUI reflects on the All-Star Game one bit. He’s managing because of what he accomplished the previous Fall, anyway.

    By the way, Sara, who were the FIVE fan selections last season that “made you want to vomit”? If I recall, the players, fans and “experts” were pretty much on the same page. Varitek was the obvious botch…the World Champs’ catcher and Captain. That’s a whole lot better than calling a guy who quits on his team one season and gets banned for drugs the next an “All-Star.” Ask the Red Sox players which they’d rather have on the field with them.

  37. Jack Marshall said...

    OK, Sara: If some idiot wants to set up a fan blog because he loves a certain player and wants him to make the All Star team because it will be an honor to his favorite and a validation for him, there’s nothing wrong with that. When I was 13, I would have done that for Eddie Bressoud (who finally DID make the team, in 1964, thank God.) Surely you can see the ethical difference between that and the person who wants to promote a player’s candidacy because it will embarrass the sport? It’s not just results that matter; motive is part of the equation too. I might think a fan who thinks PEDs don’t matter promoting Manny because he’s “the best right-handed power hitter of his generation” is wrong in almost every way possible and insensitive to valid principles of fairness and honesty, but his ACTION is sincere, honest, and loyal. Just dumb.

  38. The Common Man said...

    First, I’m sorry Sara.  I didn’t mean to spoil the fun.

    Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice… 

    Tony’s DUI tells me he executed poor judgement while intoxicated.  And sure, he didn’t hurt anyone.  But he could have.  Tony was found asleep at a stoplight.  What if he had rolled through?  What if he had fallen asleep while in motion and hit someone?  But that’s beside the point, I’m not trying to play the moral superiority game with you.  It’s not a contest of who’s worse, LaRussa or Manny.  It’s an acknowledgement that LaRussa was arrested for committing a crime, pled guilty, and was still featured on a grand stage because it was within the rules for him to do so.  It’s an acknowledgement that, regardless of how you feel, the game has never actually been pure, not when La Russa’s managing and your favorite stars of the 70s are playing it hopped up on amphetamines and cocaine.  So it’s silly to pretend now that “All Star” is anything more than a comment on a player’s ability and popularity.  Not when other All Stars include La Russa, Dave Parker, Dwight Gooden, and Gaylord Perry, men whose conduct and honesty and “All Star”-ness have similar holes to Manny’s.

    Finally, you’re impugning Jason’s motives pretty quickly there, aren’t you Jack?  Pissant little hippy just wants to piss people off and annoy them.  Can’t have an honest point to make.  Just because you don’t agree with his motives and desire for baseball to police itself effectively, doesn’t mean his motives are any less sincere, virtuous or loyal than yours.

  39. Jack Marshall said...

    The more I read the so-called defenses of Jason’s site (and I am absolutely sure he didn’t give the ethical implications a moment’s thought, which is normal), the more I’m convinced that it’s not defensible, because you guys are tying yourselves up in knots. Obviously an “Elect Milledge” campaign has no weight, because it is a joke. A website to promote anorexia is unethical, because there are vulnerable young girls who will read it, follow it, and it has a good chance of making them sick. A website advocating using squirrels as toilet tissue to save the environment is just satire. It places the squirrels in no danger.

    Throwing a skunk into a picnic [ Pinic= All Star Game; Skunk = Manny ]to argue for a better picnic is just per se wrong when lots of people enjoy the picnic and are perfectly happy with it as it is…UNLESS 1) the intended reform is important enough to outweigh all the innocent people who are annoyed, inconvenienced, etc. 2)that is really the motivation, and not personal benefit 3)there is a substantial likelihood that the end result will be the desired reform, and not just the ruination of one picnic.

    So the defense I read consists of:

    - He’s not throwing a skunk in a picnic, just suggesting it would be funny if someone did. This is obviously untrue: he has taken steps toward coordinating the skunk throwing.

    - The picnic has always had skunks. This is disingenuous—-obviously Jason knows Manny is an uber-skunk, or he wouldn’t be doing this.

    - He has a right to throw a skunk in the picnic. Sure. That doesn’t mean it’s a fair or responsible thing to do.

    —Everybody throws skunks in picnics these days. The Worst Defense Ever.

    - It’s not going to work anyway, because Manny won’t play. Fine, but that’s not a defense of the plan. If Manny doesn’t play, then there’s no skunk, there’s no real disruption, and there’s no reform.

    —“Who are you to criticize?” Everybody should make judgements about whether conduct is right or wrong, and speak up about it. Sorry if that spoils some people’s “fun,” but that’s how we set societal standards.

    Craig’s “he’s a friend, and I was just cheering the fact that he’s getting some publicity for this” is the best argument, which is ironic since this is what prompted my original post. Cutting a friend some slack is natural, and I’m sorry, Craig, if I misunderstood.

  40. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Jack—my defense of Jason is not solely based on the fact that he’s a friend. I’ll also throw in with (a) this is rather amusing; and (b) this is a picnic that could use a skunk or two.

    It strikes me, though, that you have a burden you haven’t carried yourself, and that’s establishing that Manny’s presence at the All-Star game would in any way detract from anything approaching a significant number of people’s enjoyment of the game.  You assume it in all of your attacks on Jason’s efforts, but it’s by no means apparent (as others have noted, a large number of people were already supporting Manny’s All-Star candidacy before Jason came along). Simply labeling something “unfair” and “irresonsible” doesn’t make it so.

    Your displeasure in this all seems to hinge on your general assumptions that steroids in baseball (or whatever it is you choose to claim Manny represents) are an absolute wrong that ruins or threatens to ruin the goodness of the game.  I see no evidence of this at all and believe that it’s an instance of a person assuming that people share their moral and ethical beliefs.

  41. Jack Marshall said...

    Jason has been pretty clear about his motives, I’d say. I have no problem with his primary objective at all. His strategic objective…marring the All-Star game as a means to get baseball’s attention, electing a player, not because he is deserving but because he isn’t, is what’s wrong.

    Parker and Gooden’s substance abuse and legal problems only hurt their performance and careers—-I have never said that problems like this should make a player ineligible as an All-Star. I have come to believe that Perry’s use of the spitball should have gotten him suspended or bounced…for whatever reason (nostalgia, novelty), Gaylord’s spitters were regarded at the time as kind of cute. We learn. He never should have been an All-Star, but I hardly regard the games he played in as retroactively sullied

    Manny is in an entirely different category. Lumping him (or Bonds, or Clemens) with players like Cobb or the boozing stars of yesteryear just blurs the issues, presumably intentionally.

    I truly don’t understand your La Russa arguments at all. And electing a player in spite of his misconduct is 180% different from electing a player BECAUSE of his misconduct.

  42. Jack Marshall said...

    I’m somewhat stunned you feel this way, frankly. Sure, labeling something doesn’t make it so. Not labeling doesn’t make it less so,either, but it sure makes it harder to identify what it is. You will be relieved to know that I won’t rehash the steroid arguments. But I am confident that a solid majority (and if not, a rational minority) of the public believes that cheating is wrong, breaking the law is wrong, using banned substances to acquire multi-million dollar contracts is wrong, lying is wrong, and a player recently caught at all of the above is no All-Star. That any of that should be the least controversial is profoundly depressing, and if an intelligent commentator like you really sees “no evidence’ that steroids threaten the game, that is just tragic.

  43. Kevin S. said...

    That’s funny, I always assumed that at the very least, a rational minority would understand that baseball accolades aren’t about morality, and that the ASG isn’t nearly as important as douche bag Selig would like to pretend it is.

  44. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Sure, it’s wrong. And baseball adopted some rules and penalties for it. Those rules and penalties don’t include and exclusion from All-Star eligibility, however, so a vote for Manny is not, even according to Major League Baseball—which itself purports to care very deeply about steroids—illegitimate.  If you nonetheless believe a vote for Manny is illegitamate, then your faith and love in the All-Star game should already be betrayed by his very presence on the ballot, rendering your arguments against Jason’s efforts meaningless. 

    And let me alleve your feelings of tragedy: I too think steroids are harmful and destructive and should be driven from the game.  My “no evidence” statement, however, was not directed at arguments that say steroids are a threat.  Indeed, I think (and have written) that they threaten players’ health and to some degree—though the exact degree we simply can’t ascertain at present and probably ever—they threaten to harm competitive integrity.

    What I said was that I don’t think that they threaten to “ruin” the goodness” of the game, defined as turning fans off of it in anything approaching significant numbers, rendering the efforts of clean players meaningless, or otherwise destroying baseball in a way that so many commenters have claimed.  It’s a problem for baseball in the same way Venezuela is a problem for United States policy. Troublesome. If left unchecked possibly seriously troublesome. But by no means a terminal threat.

    Ultimately, you must admit that you’re arguing for a blackballing of baseball players over and above what the rules of baseball call for.  That’s a legitimate position to take, but by no means should it be accepted on faith, and it does not seem to me anyway that it’s a position from which we should begin when assessing ideas like Jason’s.

  45. Jack Marshall said...

    Thanks for the clarification. My sense of tragedy is much reduced.

    It doesn’t surprise me that baseball never considered a policy for steroid-suspended players. You may recall a somewhat related flap over Kenny Rogers when he was conceivably All-Star worthy while serving a suspension for attacking a photographer. Baseball, at least under Bud, never fixes anything until it blows up. Indeed, this is Jason’s rationale, no?

    You do know better than to cite the ballot as proof of anything : how many years have we heard the explanation about how long in advance they are printed?

  46. Craig Calcaterra said...

    I agree that is Jason’s point.

    As for the ballots, I’d guess that online votes—the kind he’s encouraging with the embedded link on his site—account for many times more than the paper ballots from ballparks and supermarkets or wherever. They certainly could have changed those.

  47. Jack Marshall said...

    Agree, certainly. You’d have to assume, however, given the sport’s track record, that its failure to do anything was just the usual passive “maybe nobody will notice” MO, with a “we can’t have one ballot on line and a different one handed out in the stands!” excuse built in.

  48. Kevin S. said...

    180%?  So caught up in your own self-righteousness, you’re conflating two cliches.  Nice.

    How can you possibly be blind to the fact that baseball *refuses* to act unless it’s hand is forced?  Bud won’t do anything unless sufficiently embarrassed.  Jason’s doing his small part to force that embarrassment.  Months before Vote For Manny, there was Vote for Milledge.  Was a campaign to elect somebody demoted to AAA a week into the season as a method of highlighting the ridiculousness of the ballot construction any more reprehensible to you?  Or because Milledge just sucked, as opposed to cheating, is it OK with you?

  49. Marc said...

    Just an outsider’s point of view after reading all 3 pages of these comments:

    1.) I hate Manny. Always have. Steroids have nothing to do with it. Being a Yankee fan and a baseball fan are that reason. And yes, I laughed my ass off the day he was busted.

    2.) I support Jason’s blog for the reasons he intended, which have been restated here many times so no need to respond.

    3.) Although Jason requested to keep the personal attacvks out of the debate, I disagree to this extent:  Jack, you are a douchebag.  Anyway you cut it.  Cut out your hippy, old man drama. Stop comparing this to politics, law, DUI, anorexia, Peter Rose, Joe Jackson, blah blah blah.  Stop being such a douche. Jason had an opinion and shared it.  So did you.  Only difference is that his made sense to many people, in the know, and it started a great debate.  I’m sick of reading your posts because you are a fool, who probably thinks he has never been wrong in his life.  You want to go on a rant, start your own blog.  Earn the respect Jason and Craig have for their numerous contributions to our entertainment.  Go start your own blog and see if anyone gives a crap.  Let me know when the AP picks up your stories and ESPN invites you to be on the radio.  You can undermine a shout out from Buster Olney, but if that happened to me, I would find myself more than slightly erect.  So chill out, acknowledge other people may be right for once if they disagree with you, and just try for one day to not be a douchebag.

    Thank you all for your time and to Jason and Craig, keep up the GREAT work!

  50. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Marc—as much as I’d like to thank you for the kind words, I have to be fair here and condemn the personal attacks and name calling and stuff.  Maybe we can adopt the umpire-player argument rule: you can call an argument douchebaggy, but let’s not call the person making the argument a douchebag. 

    Above all else, let’s all do our best to keep things civil.

    Thanks, all.

  51. Jack Marshall said...

    Raising an interesting ethical question, how do you respond civilly to a comment like that? I can’t really quibble that the person who makes a douchebaggy argument isn’t probably a douchebag—-what exactly IS a douchebaggy argument? Anyway, Marc, for the record, I have a regularly updated ethics website, it does quite well, thanks; it has been “called out” by MSNBC, CNN, PBS, NPR, Fox, “O” Magazine and lots of local stations and papers, not that that makes my opinion better (or worse) than yours. And I’m sure I’m wrong quite often. My objective is to get people to at least think about all the ethical implications of what they do, and if that’s too douchebaggy for you, tough.

  52. Marc said...

    Actually, I never used the term, douchebaggy. That was Craig. For the record, I just called you a douchebag.  Well, I also called you a douche. And a hippie, though that may or may not be an insult.  Called you an old man as well, but same rules to hippie may apply, plus that’s a relative term.  However, as requested I will refrain from any more personal attacks.

    Your objective is to get people to think about ethical implications.  Fine. I think Jason is doing the same thing, which is to get MLB to consider the implications of Manny getting elected. Plus changing some rules he considers silly.  Plus, and my favorite point, showing the main stream media, that we as fans don’t want to sit and talk about steroids and PEDs non-stop and let’s just focus on what we all really love…which is baseball. 

    The only bags I will refer to from hereon out, will be the ones at first, second and third base.

    In the meantime, I will go back to fantasizing about Buster Olney commenting about me.  Maybe even a threesome discussion including Peter Gammons.

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