Special thanks to Caryn at Metsgrrl for pointing me in the direction of the story about New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman calling bloggers “psychotic” over the weekend. My self-imposed exile from Twitter caused me to miss quite the interesting news.
Now it’s no secret that bloggers, especially those who blog about sports, are not well-received by many sports writers (looking at you, Murray Chass). In fairness, there are many sports writers (looking at YOU, Gordon Edes) who have embraced us but, for the most part, sports bloggers are still pretty much treated like red-headed stepchildren by much of the sports world.
I’m fine with this. I didn’t start blogging to get some kind of validation from the mainstream sports media (or anyone in baseball, really). Blogging is fun for me. Blogging is cathartic for me. Blogging helps me remember things I might soon forget if not for my writing them down. It’s all about me. :) Well, it’s about my readers too. While I definitely try different ways to drive some traffic to the blog, I’m happy “talking” to the group of people I do each day and I’m pleased I haven’t bored folks to death (yet).
Back to Cashman. Over at Subway Squawkers (it’s a Yankees blog, be warned if you click the link, but one that has the best summary of what went on) we learn that Cashman threw out the “psychotic” label because the Yankees were, seemingly, stealing signs from the stands and got called out on it via a blog (Keith Olbermann’s blog, to be exact. A guy who I would classify as a bit more than just a blogger and who is a die hard Yankees fan). Major League Baseball took the subject seriously enough to investigate and found that the Yankees did violate an MLB rule in regard to using hand signals because “Communicating pitch types, pitch speed, through hand signals, is prohibited…” (that link brings you to Allan’s Joy of Sox site that has another good rundown of the situation and is Red Sox friendly!)
So they weren’t stealing signs, most likely, but they were violating a rule. Call me kooky, but I think that’s worthy of writing about – even if I didn’t write about it in a timely manner. But Cashman thinks it’s much ado about nothing and anyone who wrote about…well, let’s read his own words (again, thanks to Subway Squawkers):
“Anybody who obsessed about it yesterday, I kind of feel the psychotics who obsessed about it yesterday, I think we all did them a favor by keeping them off the street and preventing them from hurting others,” Cashman said.
Just so we’re clear, if you write about the Yankees violating a rule you are “psychotic” “obsessive” and “silly” according to Brian Cashman. (Cashman clarified his comments thusly: “I was calling the blogosphere psychotics that really focused on it because it’s silly”.)
Now I’m definitely silly and obsessive. I’ll give Cashman that. But neither of those qualities of mine have anything to do with why I would find the Yankees violating a rule created by MLB about hand signals as something interesting to write about. The key word here is “psychotic”. That’s a bit harsh, Bri, no?
The advent of online message boards made it possible for people who before never had a voice to post their opinions on things. This took off like gangbusters for sports fans. Finally we could talk sports without calling a radio show or hounding our families or coworkers. We found a place to be heard among other like-minded people. Blogs were just a natural extension of message boards and through those talented, interesting writers who might not have journalism degrees are now being heard. All this has really done for sports (and given that MLB seems to have the most sports-related blogs out there) and more for Major League Baseball is INCREASE interest in them. We bloggers are giving the teams we blog about FREE publicity on a daily basis. I don’t expect a “thank you” but I sure don’t expect to be generalized as being “psychotic” either.
I have a tip for Brian Cashman: If you don’t want people to write about the things your team is doing that break the rules, how about making sure your team doesn’t break the rules? Try turning your anger on the people who deserve it instead of shooting the messenger?