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Friday, March 28, 2014

Craig Calcaterra: On journalists with access to the clubhouse vs. journalists who don’t.

A positive, constructive meeting in which Puig came away saying all the right things about wanting to be a better player and a good teammate and a manager saying that it’s all good and that everyone is heading in the right direction. No teammates, on the record or off, are saying they have continuing problems with Puig. It’s a sourced and reported story of a team nipping a problem in the bud.

But this all happened on Tuesday. Before Bill Plaschke wrote a column in which Puig was a cancer and all of the same things about Puig being receptive and Mattingly saying there are no issues between the team and Puig were spun as things that were negative and not to be believed. Likewise, my Twitter correspondents — the ones who told me that I must listen to and believe the people who live in and report from that clubhouse rather than think I know better — were essentially dismissive of it too. No, Puig’s a jerk, they say. He’s bad news for that team.

Why is it that all of us have to believe what the reporters and people on the team have to say and the reporters themselves do not? And why do those folks get to assert their superior authority — I’ve been there, I know, you haven’t, you don’t! — and totally dismiss the actual statements of the principals involved? It’s almost as if it’s someone besides me “telling people how it is” without any basis for doing so.

In any event: until someone wants to actually report and explain what they assert is so obvious — Yasiel Puig is a big a-hole who is hated by his teammates and that dynamic has harmed the Dodgers — I’m going to choose to believe what Don Mattingly and the Dodgers say about the situation. And here’s what they’re saying about the situation:

“It was good for everybody. Donnie just wanted to squash this, and it did,” one veteran, who asked not to be named, told ESPN.com.

Puig said he understood his teammates “wanted to help me get better” and encouraged them to approach him directly anytime they had something to say to him.

“Puig’s a good kid. He just didn’t come up through the system like we all did,” a veteran teammate said.

Afterward, Mattingly addressed the media and said of Puig, “We’re good. I’ve got no issues with Yasiel.”

I assume this will be dismissed by the Plaschkes and Joneses of the world as mere PR, spin, etc. Which, sure, happens a lot. But if it is, tell us why it is. Report something which gives us a reason to believe that everyone here is lying and that, in reality, Puig is still a malignant force who is going to bring the Dodgers down. Don’t merely assert it and expect us to believe you.

Tripon Posted: March 28, 2014 at 12:42 AM | 17 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dodgers, media

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   1. Lassus Posted: March 28, 2014 at 08:17 AM (#4678096)
I hope Plaschke coming after Craig is akin to the Germans attempt to take Stalingrad.
   2. Fist Pumping Maniac Posted: March 28, 2014 at 09:44 AM (#4678129)
I'm no Plaschke fan, but I saw Craig's appearance on MLB Network over the winter. Unimpressive.
   3. BDC Posted: March 28, 2014 at 10:00 AM (#4678142)
I actually think, having been a journalist in the clubhouse for a couple of years myself, that beat writers know a lot more than they write, and that what they glean on background or just by being flies on the wall, and then imply or suggest in their stories, usually delivers a fair impression of stuff like morale and chemistry.

The bigger issue is, who cares. The human-interest angle in stories like "Does star get along with manager?" is usually weak. Watching that star play baseball is a lot more fun.
   4. Tripon Posted: March 28, 2014 at 10:03 AM (#4678144)

I'm no Plaschke fan, but I saw Craig's appearance on MLB Network over the winter. Unimpressive.


The issue is that Plaschke hasn't been a beat writer for years. He's definitely not in that clubhouse day in and day out, but he wrote that hit piece anyway.
   5. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: March 28, 2014 at 10:30 AM (#4678167)
Craig's having an interesting conversation on Twitter at the moment with Jeff Fletcher, a reporter from the Orange County Register. Basically, the reporter is saying that there are two different conversations going on. The first is that Puig is an ####### and a lot of other players hate him. The second is that Puig is hurting the Dodgers.

Fletcher's point is that the first conversation is basically accurate, but the second is something reporters are inferring from the first and is much, much less supportable by the evidence. That certainly seems like something I can buy; it's not tough for me to believe that Puig is a difficult personality and frustrating player to deal with, but that's different from saying he's some kind of net negative for the team.
   6. Randy Jones Posted: March 28, 2014 at 12:12 PM (#4678247)
Don't care about any of this and have not followed any of it. However, if Plaschke says something, it's generally safe to assume that the opposite is true. He is probably the worst sportswriter employed by a major news service now that Mariotti is gone.
   7. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: March 28, 2014 at 12:38 PM (#4678262)
The first is that Puig is an ####### and a lot of other players hate him. The second is that Puig is hurting the Dodgers.

Fletcher's point is that the first conversation is basically accurate, but the second is something reporters are inferring from the first and is much, much less supportable by the evidence.


Right. Which comes back to, Puig's bad behavior will be tolerated by management and teammates alike for as long as he plays like a star. When he regresses to playing merely like a palatable regular, whether that's in 2014 or 2024, management and teammates will immediately stop tolerating his bad behavior.

This is true in any line of work, not just sports. People who have total job security, either through being highly skilled or other means, openly behave however they want. The great majority of people whose employment depends partly or mostly on the goodwill of their boss and co-workers have to conform to the culture around them.
   8. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: March 28, 2014 at 01:50 PM (#4678297)
This is all so tired, ground to death, and a waste of time -- making it perfect for Twitter! Anyway, one might as well pull up rec.sport.baseball archives from the way back machine dicussing reporters' assertions that Albert Belle was going to bring down the mid-90s Cleveland Indians.
   9. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: March 28, 2014 at 02:25 PM (#4678320)
One thing I was never a fan of was when a writer who didn't have clubhouse access would guess at the personalities of the players, infer how those guesses affected chemistry, and then conclude how that would affect the team's overall record and on-court/field chemistry in a highly-read but mostly unreadable 12,500 word opus.(Ahem, the Sports Guy).
   10. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: March 28, 2014 at 02:35 PM (#4678324)
One thing I was never a fan of was when a writer who didn't have clubhouse access would guess at the personalities of the players, infer how those guesses affected chemistry, and then conclude how that would affect the team's overall record and on-court/field chemistry in a highly-read but mostly unreadable 12,500 word opus.(Ahem, the Sports Guy).


At least with the Sports Guy, he openly admitted he was just being an observer. That was kind of his shtick. I think the problem is more with the guys who could have clubhouse access and just sort of parrot the same crap over and over again.
   11. madvillain Posted: March 28, 2014 at 02:38 PM (#4678325)
This is all so tired, ground to death, and a waste of time -- making it perfect for Twitter! Anyway, one might as well pull up rec.sport.baseball archives from the way back machine dicussing reporters' assertions that Albert Belle was going to bring down the mid-90s Cleveland Indians.


You would think, after the past 100 years of \"######## that are good at baseball" thing the media would realize that for the most part, being an ####### doesn't really matter. If you can hit the ball, throw the ball, run and catch it, there is a place on the team for you. First example that comes to mind is Youk, who is a complete redass, but nobody gave a #### when he was going 290/380/450 at 3b. Ditto hundreds of other good players.

I'm sure Puig is pretty cocky and can rub some older team mates the wrong way, especially those that started from a different place in life. That said, the chances that it affects the Dodgers on the field are about zero. I'd be more concerned with Puig getting sullen or depressed and it affecting his play, not that of his team.

you can't ####### say @sshole? jeez.

   12. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: March 28, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4678337)
you can't ####### say @sshole? jeez.


How about ###################!!!!

Bet that makes it.

[EDIT] - Whoa. It did not.
   13. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 28, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4678345)
Stop trying to sneak past the nanny, you #############ing #######################-######!
   14. BDC Posted: March 28, 2014 at 03:24 PM (#4678370)
"Donkey-rimmer" seems to be OK. Try "donkey-rimmer."
   15. Moeball Posted: March 28, 2014 at 03:43 PM (#4678383)
one might as well pull up rec.sport.baseball archives from the way back machine dicussing reporters' assertions that Albert Belle was going to bring down the mid-90s Cleveland Indians.


...and have the Indians been to any WS since 1997?

A-Ha, there's the proof! It's all "Joey's" fault.
   16. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: March 28, 2014 at 04:22 PM (#4678407)
"Sir, might I suggest a different game?"

"Why is that?"

"Substantial violence and swearing."

"Holy ####! You're shitting me! I can't expose my son to goddamned swear words at his age. That sort of #### will #### him up. That's bullshit they make video games with swearing. What son of a ##### would make a game like that?"
   17. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: March 28, 2014 at 04:32 PM (#4678412)
"Sir, might I suggest a different game?"


"Video games don't make people more violent, and I'll kill anyone who disagrees."

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