Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Friday, February 17, 2012

Eder: Heyman by the Numbers

Heyman well he’s a total blam-blam (Boras Lackey Among Media-Boras Lackey Among Media)

The chart above shows that Jon Heyman wrote about Scott Boras clients at a rate well above double Buster Olney’s or Ken Rosenthal’s. When doing my research, it was the consistency of Boras pieces that most astounded me. While Rosenthal and Olney’s articles would often come with Fielder and Madson updates or signings, Heyman wrote regularly about other agents like Carlos Pena, Edwin Jackson, and Carlos Beltran. Even more amazing was the rate at which he linked Boras clients to the Yankees. Even though Rosenthal and Heyman both wrote the same number of articles, Rosenthal only linked them once, with Heyman linking them nine times. That means that 32% of the time that Heyman wrote about Boras clients, the Yankees were involved. As many clients as Boras has, when two of every five articles are about Boras clients, and more than one of every eight are linking Boras clients to the Yankees, something suspicious is happening.

I recognize how incredibly competitive the national baseball media can be, but if it’s true that Heyman has sacrificed his incredible reputation for what appears to be a partnership with the infamous Scott Boras, he has disrespected his readers. While you expect quality out of such a writer every day, I find it hard to trust one that would willingly release rumors based on someone’s agenda. Not only does this influence baseball fans, but it influences the whole baseball market, and is something I could foresee being banned by the next CBA. I wholeheartedly hope that these numbers are a big coincidence, but it sheds a lot of doubt on such an excuse.

Repoz Posted: February 17, 2012 at 03:44 PM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: media, yankees

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 17, 2012 at 04:13 PM (#4063630)
I don't think any of us are surprised by such numbers. At the same time it would be interesting to see if there were agents that appeared in Olney or Rosenthal columns at an unusual rate. The Heyman-Boras link has been discussed for so long that I'd be surprised if any other such agent/writer set up were so tight.
   2. andrewberg Posted: February 17, 2012 at 04:51 PM (#4063673)
I'm more interested in the reliability of the information. If Heyman knows Boras and gets info from him, that's just a well-cultivated source. If Boras is playing him (which seems to be the implication with the Yankee stat), then Heyman needs to reevaluate how he reports what he gets from Scotty.
   3. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: February 17, 2012 at 05:12 PM (#4063695)
Re: #2, does Heyman disproportionately break the news when Boras clients reach a deal? If so, it's easy to imagine a deal in which Heyman tries to help intensify the bidding on Boras' clients in return for being the first to get the news from Boras any time a player reaches an agreement. I think that's what people suspect. Otherwise, it's just Heyman working hard, and you can't really fault him for reporting the information he gets.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: February 17, 2012 at 05:12 PM (#4063697)
Not only does this influence baseball fans, but it influences the whole baseball market, and is something I could foresee being banned by the next CBA.

What would get banned? Free agent rumors? How would you enforce the ban on whatever it is that's getting banned?

The CBA is, of course, an agreement between the MLBPA and MLB. Agents and the media are not parties to the agreement although clearly agents have to abide by various restrictions around the UPC, etc. It's hard to see why the MLBPA would object to the current arrangement which, if anything, would seem to spur interest in its members. The owners might object but what are they willing to give up to the union? And are they willing to accept similar restrictions on their own leaking behavior?

Then you get to enforcement. There will be no way to punish the media. In theory you could punish the agents but you'd have to "prove" they leaked the information and how in the world are you going to do that? The media intentionally use "a person familiar with the negotiations" to try to hide even which side the information came from.

But I would like to see evidence that this influences the actual baseball market because I don't believe it. If you jump your offer to an FA because you read an anonymously-sourced report that the Yankees might be interested then you deserve what you get.
   5. bobm Posted: February 17, 2012 at 05:52 PM (#4063731)
If you jump your offer to an FA because you read an anonymously-sourced report that the Yankees might be interested then you deserve what you get.

But if someone reports an anonymously sourced offer (usually by an unspecified, maybe even ficticious team) in exchange for exclusive scoops from the anonymous source/agent, then that reporter is just a prostitute.
   6. Erix Posted: February 17, 2012 at 06:22 PM (#4063749)
#3 Just from memory Tim Brown of Yahoo! broke the Prince signing.
   7. bobm Posted: February 17, 2012 at 06:30 PM (#4063757)
This seems as good a place as any to post this:

If it’s February, it must be time for Jon Heyman to stump for Johnny Damon
Craig Calcaterra Feb 16, 2012, 3:19 PM EST

My favorite all-time “Jon Heyman trying to get Johnny Damon a job” column came two years ago when Heyman noted Damon’s “matinee-idol looks and obvious love of the big stage,” and parroted previous Scott Boras comments about Damon’s love of Detroit while wondering why oh why Damon had not yet been signed by someone.

He’s got a new one out now, and it has the air of a conspiracy theory...

I think the stuff people say about Heyman being a Scott Boras mouthpiece is over-played. Of course Boras is a source for Heyman, and if you were a reporter and had an awesome source like that you’d report what he gives you too.

But this column seems more like a sales pitch for Johnny Damon’s services than a piece of reportage.


http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/02/16/if-its-february-it-must-be-time-for-jon-heyman-to-stump-for-johnny-damon/
   8. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 17, 2012 at 06:57 PM (#4063764)
The media intentionally use "a person familiar with the negotiations" to try to hide even which side the information came from that they have no source, and are just making #### up.

FTFY.
   9. KT's Pot Arb Posted: February 17, 2012 at 07:39 PM (#4063783)
So dumb. Heyman doesn't influence anyone or anything. He reports just like everyone else. It's up to readers to interpret how much they want to believe anonymous sources. If any GM ups an offer solely because of anonymous sourced rumors from any reporter, they should be canned.

This is just more whining by butthurt fans because their home teams player hired the best agent in baseball to get them out of town
   10. DA Baracus Posted: February 17, 2012 at 07:55 PM (#4063788)
So dumb. Heyman doesn't influence anyone or anything.


But he is influenced by Boras, which is the point of the article.
   11. KT's Pot Arb Posted: February 17, 2012 at 08:10 PM (#4063791)
But he is influenced by Boras, which is the point of the article.


it's his job to be "influenced" by Boras. When the biggest agent in baseball calls to tell you that the Yankees are making an offer to one of his clients, he's supposed to report it. He can contact the Yankees for comments (fat chance they'll give any) but he can't bury sources.

The hot stove league is made of rumors, true and false. It's his job to report them unless he knows they are false. No one can show he's knowingly reported false stories, so we get a worthless pseudo statistical study like this.
   12. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: February 17, 2012 at 08:15 PM (#4063793)
Lean on Heyman until they can't afford the ticket?
   13. DA Baracus Posted: February 17, 2012 at 08:41 PM (#4063803)
it's his job to be "influenced" by Boras.


No, it's his job to report legitimate information. The study indicates that he is not perhaps doing that because he is too heavily influenced by Boras.
   14. SteveF Posted: February 17, 2012 at 09:11 PM (#4063812)
When the biggest agent in baseball calls to tell you that the Yankees are making an offer to one of his clients, he's supposed to report it.


I think the problem is more the way it has to get reported these days. He doesn't name his source (much like every other baseball reported these days). When you have an unnamed source and cannot go on the record with the name of the source (preventing you from reporting "X says Yankees made offer to Y.") then ideally you should be confirming that the source who is unwilling to go on record is actually telling you the truth by getting multiple independent sources. That used to be the way it was done.

It's not simply a Heyman problem. It's an industry wide sports journalism problem created by the current reporting climate. Arguably Heyman is the least problematic because you know you can't believe a word he says about any Boras client. With other journalists it's less clear.
   15. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: February 17, 2012 at 10:14 PM (#4063834)
it's his job to be "influenced" by Boras. When the biggest agent in baseball calls to tell you that the Yankees are making an offer to one of his clients, he's supposed to report it. He can contact the Yankees for comments (fat chance they'll give any) but he can't bury sources.

I think the question is whether Heyman writes puff pieces or treats Boras players differently in "exchange" for being on the top of Boras' speed dial when news breaks. Nobody faults Heyman for cultivating sources with agents. It's his integrity of his writing that people question.
   16. Something Other Posted: February 18, 2012 at 08:12 AM (#4063930)
It's not simply a Heyman problem. It's an industry wide sports journalism problem created by the current reporting climate. Arguably Heyman is the least problematic because you know you can't believe a word he says about any Boras client. With other journalists it's less clear.
It's not just an industry-wide sports journalism problem, it's a journalism problem and a broader integrity problem.

It's similar to tv "journalists" "covering" a story by pitting two talking heads from opposite sides against each other and scarcely referring with those funny things called "facts". It reached it's apogee in an Onion article that mocked NYTimes "objective" reporting as having been reduced to "President Reagan claimed today the Earth was flat. Democratic spokesmen denied the President's claim, stating in fact the Earth was round".

Uncritically regurgitating the statements of sources isn't reporting, it's public relations. Uncritically reporting without troubling to verify the claims of a single anonymous source is a firing offense. It's so blatantly serves the source that it's simply not credible. No editor should allow it.

Of course, I don't think anyone considers Heyman a reporter, so there's that.
   17. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: February 18, 2012 at 08:43 AM (#4063933)
I'm more interested in the reliability of the information. If Heyman knows Boras and gets info from him, that's just a well-cultivated source. If Boras is playing him (which seems to be the implication with the Yankee stat), then Heyman needs to reevaluate how he reports what he gets from Scotty.


I'm honestly not sure if the word "playing" should drop the "l" to make this statement more accurate.
   18. Lassus Posted: February 18, 2012 at 09:20 AM (#4063940)
As a skeptic, I have to admit even I'm growing tired of the "everyone's a liar" thing that seems to be accepted by many as truth.
   19. Something Other Posted: February 18, 2012 at 09:37 AM (#4063944)
I'm skeptical of that position.
   20. KT's Pot Arb Posted: February 18, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4064016)
No, it's his job to report legitimate information. The study indicates that he is not perhaps doing that because he is too heavily influenced by Boras.


This "study" says nothing of the kind. Its like saying the tech beat reporter at CNBC is too heavily influenced by his sources at Google and Apple, because he keeps reporting all their news.

There is often no way for a sports journalist to confirm a rumor. The Yankees aren't going to confirm interest.

And Boras, for all his PR puffery over clients, may be very accurate when leaking stories. At least no "study" has shown otherwise.

Heyman is merely reporting rumours as rumours. You, me and every baseball fan enjoys reading those rumours. He fails no journalism ethics test that Boras haters have yet devised.
   21. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 18, 2012 at 12:55 PM (#4064021)
This "study" says nothing of the kind. Its like saying the tech beat reporter at CNBC is too heavily influenced by his sources at Google and Apple, because he keeps reporting all their news.


Not true. The "study" is saying that the tech beat reporter at CNBC is reporting news at Google and Apple much more frequently than his competitors at CNN and Fox.

I don't disagree that this is a "study" in the loosest sense of the word but it certainly seems to match up with the general perception. At the very least I think Heyman needs to demonstrate that his reporting on Boras meets a standard of objectivity.
   22. tshipman Posted: February 18, 2012 at 01:05 PM (#4064028)
I think that the ethics of sports rumor reporting are really bad, and Heyman is worse than the industry as a whole. Rumors are frequently run with little or no corroboration and seem to frequently be both anonymous and single-sourced. Heyman manages to be worse than the industry as a whole by accepting Boras's statements at full face value as what appears to be a quid pro quo arrangement where Heyman prints all of Boras's rumors and Boras gives Heyman exclusive access. The quid pro quo is what is especially troubling.
   23. DA Baracus Posted: February 18, 2012 at 01:45 PM (#4064052)
This "study" says nothing of the kind. Its like saying the tech beat reporter at CNBC is too heavily influenced by his sources at Google and Apple, because he keeps reporting all their news.


Not quite. He's constantly reporting Boras clients to the Yankees, fine. But pretty much the only evidence we have that the Yankees are interested in Boras clients is Heyman. This isn't that hard to follow.

Herman's reporting on Boras clients has long been suspicious. The article gives a little more ammo to the notion he's not the most honest reporter.
   24. The District Attorney Posted: February 18, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4064055)
The "study" is saying that the tech beat reporter at CNBC is reporting news at Google and Apple much more frequently than his competitors at CNN and Fox.
And although I don't think it's part of this "study", the other side of the criticism would analogize to his reporting seemingly nonexistent consumer demand for Google and Apple products.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14!
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogTony Oliva turns 76; Gardenhire: 'He should be in hall of fame'
(1 - 3:16am, Jul 22)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogMisremembering Mantle's Final Season
(28 - 2:19am, Jul 22)
Last: bjhanke

NewsblogJim Bouton Still As Opinionated As Ever
(136 - 2:05am, Jul 22)
Last: greenback calls it soccer

NewsblogOTP - July 2014: Republicans Lose To Democrats For Sixth Straight Year In Congressional Baseball Game
(2701 - 1:59am, Jul 22)
Last: bunyon

NewsblogOMNICHATTER 7-21
(34 - 1:44am, Jul 22)
Last: Dale Sams

NewsblogPadres’ Offense May Go Down as Worst Ever
(79 - 1:36am, Jul 22)
Last: Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB)

NewsblogMLB.COM - Toman: Lewis takes exception with Rasmus' bunt
(117 - 1:17am, Jul 22)
Last: Baldrick

SABR - BBTF ChapterWho's going to SABR??
(35 - 12:27am, Jul 22)
Last: Neal Traven

NewsblogTrading for Price would be right move for Cubs | FOX Sports
(53 - 12:26am, Jul 22)
Last: PreservedFish

NewsblogGeorge "The Animal" Steele Mangles A Baseball
(109 - 11:11pm, Jul 21)
Last: NJ in DC (Now unemployed!)

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread- July 2014
(803 - 10:41pm, Jul 21)
Last: RollingWave

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1956 Ballot
(5 - 9:57pm, Jul 21)
Last: Moeball

NewsblogBraves release Dan Uggla
(35 - 9:51pm, Jul 21)
Last: Roger McDowell spit on me!

NewsblogESPN : GM Offers To Get Prostate Exam During Game
(15 - 9:34pm, Jul 21)
Last: Never Give an Inge (Dave)

NewsblogThe Blaze: Chicago Cubs File Suit Over Fake Mascot — You’ll Understand Why After Watching Punch He Allegedly Throws in Windy City Bar Brawl
(10 - 9:04pm, Jul 21)
Last: JE (Jason Epstein)

Page rendered in 0.3708 seconds
52 querie(s) executed