How is this article any different than what I wrote about Mark Prior? I'm not picking on Bob Klapisch, who wrote one of my favorite pieces in recent years over on Baseball Analysts.
Here's the differences:
1. Klapisch is in Mets camp. That makes a difference. I rely on sources.
2. Klapisch has a BBWAA card, having written for the Bergen Record for years before moving over to ESPN.com. I guess you could say that anyone with an internet site can pretend to be a journalist, but that some internet based writers are different since they have ink on their resumes. Now again, I'm not picking on Klapisch or the Record, by all accounts a fine newspaper, but with its sister paper, the Herald News, they have a combined daily circulation of 181,000. If you believe Alexa and the theory that newspapers are moving more to the web, here's an interesting graph.
3. Klapisch's colleagues don't attack him. Even in the competitive New York press, there's no defensive backlash when anyone gets a scoop. When's the last time you heard someone say "Anyone in Jersey with access to a typewriter can pretend to be a journalist"?
Just like there's no stats vs scouts, there's no ink vs internet as far as I'm concerned. I have no problem with most people in the press and there are far more internet sites doing crap work than there are newspapers. Of course, there are lazy, embittered writers who are worried that somehow, they're getting scooped and lashing out, not at me personally, but at the .com they think is part of my name.
When Dan Rather and CBS put out a questionable memo, the right-wing bloggers came out in force, so fast that many thought that Rather had been set up. Turns out that they had ol' Dan over a barrel and he's been shunted aside despite a mostly stellar, if occasionally bizarre career. When someone from the net makes a move, the mainstream circles the wagons. It doesn't work the other way around.
The net would rather eat its own. The sheer democracy of any asshole having the ability to become a widely read asshole is both freeing and dangerous. Watch any thread descend and go off on tangent, no matter the subject, giving rise to the Hitler Rule. It's easier to attack than to do something original, easier to react than improve, and far easier to remain static than move forward.
The baseball writers have their BBWAA and I've written far more than I'd like to in the past about that subject. Internet writers -- the ones concerned about professionalism and standards -- have nothing and on the few occasions where something started to move, it got bogged down in minutaie, definitions, and personality conflicts. I know I have this personality that comes off on-line as arrogant and that I can be an all-fired asshole pretty regularly.
The funny thing about the Prior commotion is that no one remembers that I'm a lifelong Cubs fan. No one remembers all the times I defended Prior when he was attacked. No one notices that Prior was the model in my book Saving The Pitcher and that more than almost any other player, I want him to succeed.
If you read what I wrote, I simply pointed out that I'd heard something. Beat writers and columnists do this all the time. They're right sometimes and wrong sometimes, justlikeme.
Its my duty to report information and give it context. That's what I do; that's what I'm paid for. It's my full-time job. All I ask is that next time, when I point to the smoke, don't say I yelled "fire."