September 1, 2014

ESPN OTL Segment Shows Journalists Still Dissing Bloggers

Wow – I just finished watching the ESPN Outside The Lines segment on the recent Raul Ibanez steroids blog post that has the interwebs on fire!

The guy in question, Jerrod Morris, a writer for Midwest Sports Fans, wrote an article that discussed how Raul Ibanez’s power numbers have increased this year and speculated on the reasons why this jump occured. One explanation, he mused, was performance enhancing drugs and, well, the rest was history. The blogosphere began reporting that Jerrod said that Ibanez was taking steroids (not accurate), and ESPN took it a step further by getting two journalists together (including Ken Rosenthal and a guy from the Philadelphia Inquirer) to interrogate Morris.

Man, this was a takedown that was orchestrated like no other. I’d encourage you to watch it yourself and form your own opinions, but some of mine are:

1. Many in the media still thinks bloggers are unprofessional, unaccountable, inaccurate writers – the writers that were tearing Morris apart kept hammering on the fact that he made accusations without any facts. When I read the article and watched the segment, I thought that Morris wasn’t given a fair shake – he was pretty clear in his statement online and on ESPN that he didn’t accuse Ibanez of taking steroids but it everyone seemed to try to accuse Morris of that very fact. Weren’t the mainstream media members pushing Morris on something that wasn’t accurate? It seemed they were practicing the very activity that they were accusing the blogger of – hmm…

2. No one has really spelled out how Ibanez was made aware of anything – This seems like a big game of telephone, where the blogger posts something, another media outlet writes their interpretation of it, another person relays this to Ibanez, and the player unleashes on someone where no one is clear on what the message was.

3. Jerrod’s blog is going to blow up because of this – The very media outlets that try to discredit Jerrod and his blog have actually done quite the opposite- they have made everyone aware of the power of these blogs to write on hot topics and tackle topics that the mainstream media won’t. I think Jerrod and his blog will ultimately be the winners here…much to the dismay of folks like Ken Rosenthal.

writers note: The only research I did for this article was reading Jerrod’s words and watching the OTL segment ;)

6/11/109 Update
A few words from the blogger (Jerrod Morris) today wrapping up his thoughts…

After reflecting more about the interview on Outside the Lines yesterday, just a few more thoughts:

Ken Rosenthal asked at one point, “how did we get here?” What I wish I had said was: “We got here because one newspaper mischaracterized what I said, because a reporter from that same paper went running to Raul Ibanez for a comment without (ostensibly) Ibanez or the reporter reading the actual article I wrote, and because the mainstream media and its holier-than-thou high standards decided to run with the story. If none of that had happened, the Raul Ibanez story would be making its way towards 300-400 views right now and fading from relevance even here at MSF, as opposed to being a national story.

I wasn’t setting out to create a firestorm, but it is curious (there’s that word again) that the MSM was so quick to jump on the story. Could it be because the MSM salivates anytime the terms “steroids” or “PEDs” and an actual player’s name are in the same sentence? Might such stories drive pretty high traffic and viewership? Seems to me they would (and, admittedly, the last few days have proven it for us here at Midwest Sports Fans. Thanks mainstream media!).

Philly Fans Getting Riled Up Over Manny Ramirez’s All-Star Votes

ballots

Update:

the latest voting results (6/1) show Manny in 5th place for an outfield spot with 635,530 votes. He trailed Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun (908,745), Philadelphia’s Raul Ibanez (817,849), the Cubs’ Alfonso Soriano (775,319) and 1st place vote getter Carlos Beltran (741,875). Milwaukee’s Mike Cameron was sixth, about 100,000 back.

Those Philly fans are an ornery bunch just about all the time. Try showing up to an Eagles bar wearing anything other than a green NFL jersey on Sunday and see how you are treated.

These days, however, their ire is directed squarely at one Manny Ramirez. That’s because Manny is still a leading candidate to start in left field for the NL team. That leaves the Phillies’ Raul Ibanez, who is having a stellar season, out in the cold. Ramirez has a comfortable 50,000 vote lead as of Sunday, even though he is currently serving a 50-game suspension courtesy of Major League Baseball.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating for Manny Ramirez to get the starting slot ahead of Ibanez. The Phillies’ left-fielder is 36 and playing one of his best seasons ever. Through 49 games, Ibanez is batting .333 with 17 home runs, 46 RBIs, 40 runs, and 4 stolen bases. Ibanez is a serious standout in the NL right now (regardless of position) and should be recognized for his achievements.

However, we get to the crux of the issue that irks Philly fans so much these days – the voting system that powers everything from American Idol to the All-Star Game…the popular vote! Popular voting doesn’t guarantee that “All-Stars” will actually play in the game – it merely ensures that the most popular players for any given position are selected.

Ever since Sanjaya practaically made it to the 4th place spot on American Idol, we’ve learned all to well how the popular vote can be used for evil as well as good. The drama that unfolds is pretty captivating – as Sunday’s Philadelphia Enquirer showed us. Take a look at the first selection from the mailbag addressed to John Gonzales:

How can Manny Ramirez be suspended for 50 games and still be ahead of Raaaaaaaul Ibanez by 50,000 votes in the all-star voting? I know a name carries a player in voting, but this system is really ridiculous. I don’t care if the Phillies make the All-Star Game. I just worry of the integrity of the game itself.

- Mike

Mike,

You’re absolutely right. It’s crazy that Manny isn’t even playing and yet he’s way ahead of Ibanez – a guy who’s having arguably the best season of anyone in the National League right now.

I wouldn’t worry about the game, though. Whatever “integrity” MLB had vanished when it shipped a bunch of fools and liars to D.C. to talk about steroids with some other fools and liars.

These days, baseball focuses less on integrity than it does on the ballpark experience. MLB is about summer evenings at the park and Dollar Dog Nights and beach blanket giveaways. Just go with it.

- Gonzo

Wait a minute…since when did integrity come in to play here? Has the All-Star Game voting been compromised in some fashion? Did officials from some big accounting firm get it wrong somehow? Has MLB let us down by changing the rules on how the All-Star Game’s players are determined?

The answer to the last three questions above is NO. Fans have decided that the All-Star game should be more about celebrity and popularity then about statistics from the first half of the season. They are voting for the person they want to see (and see perform) during the game – and so far that person is Manny Ramirez, not Raul Ibanez.

You know who isn’t complaining right now (other than Manny Ramirez)? The Fox Broadcasting company, who will surely get better ratings with Manny in the lineup than Raul Ibanez