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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Evan Weiner: The baseball writers v. Roger Clemens

“barbarians at the gate”...you are now on the clock.

To the remaining working members of the BBWAA and the ranks continue to thin out in the United States, they really don’t care what that stinkin’ jury decided. The barbarians at the gate, the BBWWA members, will continue to protect Major League Baseball even if the owners of the game realize that it is nothing more than a business, a part of an overall business portfolio for some captain of industry.

A player on steroids is bad. Owners colluding to keep down players’ salaries in the 1980s and an arbitrator’s decision to award the players $280 million in 1990s. Well, it is part of the history books. Owners, including George W. Bush, found guilty of bad faith negotiating in 1994 in the 1994-95 players strike, well that is part of history. Owners demanding new taxpayers stadium or else, that’s part of history. Hamilton County selling off a hospital to pay down the debt at the Cincinnati Reds baseball stadium?

Not a baseball writers’ problem.

Clemens will always have the baseball writers’ stigma of being tainted no matter what that jury ruled. Just look at what Mort Zuckerman’s New York Daily News (a publication that loses copious amounts of money and now has an executive editor Colin Myler whose last job was being the editor at Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World in London—a paper that Murdoch shut down after allegations of wide spread phone hacking began to surface and a committee of Parliament held hearings on what might be viewed as widespread corruption at Murdoch’s News International.).

Zuckerman’s main baseball scribe, the Hall of Famer and scab Bill Madden, has made his thoughts known. On the paper’s website under Madden you will find this gem. “Roger Clemens not worthy of Baseball Hall of Fame induction despite not guilty verdict at perjury trial.”

Repoz Posted: June 21, 2012 at 09:58 AM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: media, roger clemens

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   1. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 21, 2012 at 10:21 AM (#4162650)
On the paper’s website under Madden you will find this gem. “Roger Clemens not worthy of Baseball Hall of Fame induction despite not guilty verdict at perjury trial.”


I'm reminded of one of Gonfalon's comments (as usual he has delivered the proper blend of humor here), which succinctly summed up the writers' reaction to this: they woke up on verdict day and found that Christmas had been canceled.
   2. boteman Posted: June 21, 2012 at 12:32 PM (#4162776)
Why doesn't Repoz just post one master Roger Clemens thread and let it build up to incredible, even dangerous, proportions like the many "tastes great/less filling" political threads? That would consolidate this nonsense.
   3. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: June 21, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4162803)
The barbarians at the gate, the BBWWA members, will continue to protect Major League Baseball even if the owners of the game realize that it is nothing more than a business, a part of an overall business portfolio for some captain of industry.
Huh... that seems like a different usage of "barbarians at the gate" than I thought the phrase meant. I always thought it meant "the barbarians are poised to overrun our city", i.e. figuratively "jackasses are about to destroy us". This usage seems to be more like "the people we're paying to guard our city are barbarians", i.e. figuratively "we can't trust our own safeguards".

Does anyone know more about this phrase? Which is the normal usage, etc.? Thanks.
   4. Karl from NY Posted: June 21, 2012 at 01:30 PM (#4162817)
It's written here as an absolute phrase. Think of it as "With the barbarians at the gate, ... ". It's not an appositive phrase equating barbarians with the BBWAA writers.
   5. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: June 21, 2012 at 03:40 PM (#4162920)
That would only make sense if the comma after "members" was a mistake, no?
   6. McCoy Posted: June 21, 2012 at 03:50 PM (#4162927)
Perhaps he is thinking about Varangians and Constantinople and trying to create a new phrase.
   7. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: June 21, 2012 at 03:58 PM (#4162931)
I can't believe you guys are parsing commas and historical phrases given the overall atrocious quality of the prose in TFE.
   8. baudib Posted: June 21, 2012 at 05:04 PM (#4162979)
now has an executive editor Colin Myler whose last job was being the editor at Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World in London—a paper that Murdoch shut down after allegations of wide spread phone hacking began to surface and a committee of Parliament held hearings on what might be viewed as widespread corruption at Murdoch’s News International.


This is a pretty egregious misrepresentation of Myler's involvement at NOTW. Myler is the guy who was sent to NOTW after the first phone-hacking scandals came to light, and it was Myler's warning about the extent of the problem that James Murdoch chose to ignore.
   9. John DiFool2 Posted: June 21, 2012 at 06:22 PM (#4163020)
This usage seems to be more like "the people we're paying to guard our city are barbarians", i.e. figuratively "we can't trust our own safeguards".


Kind of like how the Capital One barbarians switched from being the foe of credit cards to being users of them.
   10. Downtown Bookie Posted: June 21, 2012 at 08:08 PM (#4163062)
For the typical old-time members of the BBWAA, things are looking mighty bleak. Baseball writers earn their living from the newspaper industry; an industry that, while it may not be dying, is certain not in good health.

And how do the typical baseball writers justify their position? Ideally, they would love to present themselves as subject matter experts. But sabermetrics has exposed the typical writer as lacking even the most fundamental knowledge of how the game is played; and, perhaps more importantly, of how baseball games are won.

So, if an old-time baseball writer can't justify his position based upon his knowledge of how the game is played, what's left? Well, he can claim a greater knowledge of the sport based upon the access he has to the players and other participants. See, the sportswriter isn't typing away in his parents' basement; oh no, the sportswriter is there in the clubhouse, with the players and the managers, getting the real story of what's going on in the game.

But this is facade as well, as the steroid scandal has shown. Yes, baseball writer, you were there, in the locker rooms, with the players, while what may be called the sport's biggest story in decades was being played out; and you reported not a word; being caught, as it were, sitting on your access.

So there it is. Your typical old-time BBWAA member. A non-essential worker in an industry that's hemorrhaging cash. Not a pretty picture.

So what is the baseball writer to do? Adapt? Nay; ATTACK! Blast those numbers geeks! Howl against the players of the steroid era! Logic does not matter; neither does the truth. Facts are meaningless. This is life or death! So attack, attack, and go down fighting. The war is on, and the HOF vote will be the final battle.

And that's the battlefield where it will end; the HOF vote. Because those who own the game know what's best for its bottom line, and keeping its best players from receiving its ultimate honor doesn't put money in anyone's pocket. So, as they do so well with players who can no longer help them win, those who run MLB will soon divorce themselves from a BBWAA that no longer helps them add cash to their coffers.

Oh, not tomorrow; or next week; or even next year. And not in one fell swoop. It will be gradual; first, others, non-BBWAA members will be added to the voting rolls, so as to water down the BBWAA's influence. Then there'll be changes in the requirements for election; then in how long a voter gets to keep voting privileges; and so on, until the electorate has been shaped into a body that will add, and not detract, from baseball's bottom line.

DB
   11. silhouetted by the sea Posted: June 22, 2012 at 12:27 AM (#4163322)
If I could figure out a way to give a standing ovation on line, I would give DB one for #10.

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