Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Disappearance of True Sports Journalism

Around the time I was nearing the last leg of my daily morning commute, while I was hustling through the howling winds by battery park on my way to the subway, my thoughts were on baseball.

I thought first of David Wright, since he's a resident of the City, and I wondered what he might be doing today. Was he as excited for the season as I was? With the dawn of blogs, followed by facebook and twitter, the intensity of the fans during the offseason has been increasing.

And as the Winter Meeting have progressed - with little action by anyone, save for the Yankees who dealt a few of their overhyped prospects for a glorified platoon player - lots of Mets fans have become increasingly agitated. They were first bothered by the fact that the Mets wouldn't be spending money this offseason (which was perpetuated by the vast majority of the Mets' beat writers). Then, they were aggravated when a Yankee shill who's about to be honored by the Hall of Fame for some reason, penned an article stating that all the Mets were interested in was signing low-cost Latino's (the inflammatory part of the article was slyly removed by editors from the online edition after fans got wind of it).

When the first actual quote from anoyone but an unnamed source or supposed team insider came out yesterday (from Omar Minaya stating that the Mets would indeed be in on the big free agents), the writers printed it. They didn't apologize for spinning their agenda's in their effort to move papers. They didn't give the Mets credit. Everyone is aware that the object is to sell papers, and interesting negative stories sell. But if you're going to print stories like that, back them up with facts and common sense.

And then it dawned on me...The same supposed journalists who have been damning blogs to hell, are slimier and more fallacious than most bloggers. Worse, they're vindictive and agenda-driven. What else could possibly explain the unbelievable amount of piling on that has been done to the Mets since the 2009 season came to a close? A team who from 2005-2008 won 90+ games per year on average, had suffered a hellish injury marred season. Their punishment for their injuries and the record that resulted, has been writers (mostly local and some national) claiming that the Mets are a loser franchise that won't spend money. A team with no direction.

The fans who follow this team, but aren't as consumed with baseball as some, bought into the nonsense. They started to believe that the Mets were a loser team, even though 2005-2008 proved differently. They feared that the Mets wouldn't spend money, even though they've spent money every season and offseason in recent memory (obtaining Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Johan Santana, Francisco Rodriguez, and extending David Wright and Jose Reyes).

So far this offseason, all the Mets have done so far is signed a backup catcher and showed remarkable constraint. It's something I'm thrilled about. While other teams have been handing out contracts to middling players that were excessive in both years and dollars, the Mets have lied in wait. It's the tact they took with Carlos Beltran, who signed in January. And it's the tact they took with the Johan Santana sweepstakes, which concluded around February. As the days have passed, the suitors for Matt Holliday have dwindled (the Cardinals are getting impatient, the Yankees dealt for Granderson, Red Sox officials have indicated they only have interest in Jason Bay).

All the while, the Mets lie in wait. Some of the fans that were perilously close to the edge, due in large part to the rambling and nonsensical hyperbole from the area's baseball writers, have slowly started to back off the edge. Others are still skeptical. The one's who have been level-headed throughout, are becoming even more confident in the direction of the team. One thing, though, is starting to become clear. The area writers (with some exceptions...Dave Lennon of Newsday for one) may want to take a look in the mirror before accusing blogs of being nonsense filled wastelands that are threatening to make newspapers obsolete. With every article that gets pumped out, the disappearance of true journalism is becoming more and more obvious. The writers are doing a fine job of single-handedly making their work obsolete. They don't need any assistance from us.

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