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Monday, December 10, 2007

The Biz of Baseball: Brown: Bob Dutton Addresses the BBWAA Inclusion Process

The multi-threaded craniopagus parasiticustom continues! And the extensive…Baseball Writers’ Association of America - Badge list.

Brown: Regarding your comments on “40 games being the cutoff”... have you ever known a member of the BBWAA sponsoring a prospective member for inclusion that was below this threshold? This gets to addressing the chorus of voices that are saying that there’s a “good old boy” network at play.

Dutton: The way our membership works is qualifying outlets (newspapers, wire services, etc., and now internet sites) send us a list of candidates. There’s no such procedure of a member sponsoring a prospective member.

Also, the 40-game standard is mine. I didn’t mean to imply it as an association threshold. It isn’t. As I [mentioned] previously, there is no specific standard.

I do doubt, however, many members would recognize someone who attends fewer than 40 games as needing a BBWAA credential.

 

Repoz Posted: December 10, 2007 at 08:55 PM | 113 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: announcements, community, hall of fame, history, media, online, special topics

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   1. Roy Hobbs of WIFFLE Ball Posted: December 10, 2007 at 09:29 PM (#2640566)
Who aren't they turning away besides Law and Neyer? Man, that's a lot of new members in recent years.
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 10, 2007 at 09:31 PM (#2640571)
I wonder if Bob is regretting taking the post of El Presidente.

With great power comes great responsibility!

one member from the Denver area referenced in Law’s blog posting went as far as calling Law “a liar”

What's the deal Maury? You can't call Tracy out by name? How dare you besmirche the name Woody Paige! He does that just fine by himself!
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 10, 2007 at 09:36 PM (#2640579)
I am really curious as to how some of these other guys get in the BBWAA. For example, at the Star, two of Bob's colleagues - Jeffrey Flanagan, who has a free wheeling, bits and pieces column, and David Boyce, who for the most part covers the NBA and small colleges, both have BBWAA memberships and have voted on baseball awards, even though neither covers the Royals on a daily basis. Bob Dutton is really the ONLY beat writer for the Royals for the Star. I can understand credentialing Posnanski, since he writes a lot of columns on the Royals and needs access, but I would be shocked if Flanagan or Boyce attend as many as 40 games a year.

EDIT: Whitlock is a member of the BBWAA????? He writes about the Royals, what, maybe once or twice a year????

EDIT: I also noticed Rany Jazayerli got in.

EDIT: Some of these people credentialed by the Kansas City Star, I've never even heard of, and I read darn near every Royals article. Holly Lawton?
   4. Roy Hobbs of WIFFLE Ball Posted: December 10, 2007 at 09:38 PM (#2640585)
This list is going to be dissected like a frog in biology class. And the BBWAA is going to look very, very bad. This could be the tipping point for the Laws and Neyers.
   5. McCoy Posted: December 10, 2007 at 09:41 PM (#2640590)
How come nobody is calling their BS when they do these interviews?
   6. Roy Hobbs of WIFFLE Ball Posted: December 10, 2007 at 09:44 PM (#2640596)
How come nobody is calling their BS when they do these interviews?


Probably because they don't want to compromise their ability to score other interviews in the future. Why does Larry King get access to everybody? Largely because he's lobbing softballs in there left and right.
   7. Maury Brown Posted: December 10, 2007 at 09:44 PM (#2640598)
How come nobody is calling their BS when they do these interviews?
Because, quite frankly, there's more than enough noise from a cast of thousands doing that. The point of this article is to allow the BBWAA to address some questions that have come out of the inclusion process. THAT is what I'm concerned about. I add some commentary within the article that should show that I see more than a couple of flaws in the system. No need to go screaming from the highest mountain on this topic.
   8. Repoz Posted: December 10, 2007 at 09:47 PM (#2640603)
How come Bill Gallo got a badge in 1960...but Jon Gnagy didn't?
   9. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: December 10, 2007 at 09:48 PM (#2640607)
I wonder if Bob is regretting taking the post of El Presidente.


This is tremendous, Don, just tremendous. The atmosphere heavy, uncertain, overtones of ugliness. A reminder, in a way, of how it was in March of 1964 at Miami Beach when Clay met Liston for the first time and nobody was certain how it would turn out.

The crowd is tense; they’ve been here since ten this morning.

And… and I think I see… the door beginning to open. El Presidente may be coming out.

The door opens.

It’s he… it’s El Presidente waving at the crowd.

A shot rings out! He turns… he runs back toward the building, trying to get in. This crowd is going wild. He’s caught in a crossfire of bullets.

And down! It’s over! It’s all over for El Presidente!
   10. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 10, 2007 at 09:49 PM (#2640608)
This could be the tipping point for the Laws and Neyers.


Probably not. There's still not enough critical mass on the Internet for the BBWAA to take this little tempest seriously.

-- MWE
   11. Maury Brown Posted: December 10, 2007 at 09:49 PM (#2640609)
Man, that's a lot of new members in recent years.
Think of how the inclusion of internet-based writers could make the list grow exponentially.

FYI... On my attempt at landing HOF voters list, which has some members that are not reflected in the badge list (includes many lifetime members who are no longer active).... The response from Dutton was that the HOF's business is the HOF's business.

I would have been surprised to gain access.
   12. Maury Brown Posted: December 10, 2007 at 10:05 PM (#2640634)
I wonder if Bob is regretting taking the post of El Presidente.

With great power comes great responsibility!
I had never been in contact with him before this story broke. I can tell you that I have one heck of a lot of respect for the guy now. He spent a large part of his weekend dealing with me for this article, and addressed nearly every question -- some of which, despite a prior comment, were hardball in tone.
   13. Roy Hobbs of WIFFLE Ball Posted: December 10, 2007 at 10:07 PM (#2640637)
Probably not. There's still not enough critical mass on the Internet for the BBWAA to take this little tempest seriously.


If this list is picked apart the way I suspect it will be, it will be difficult to avoid addressing the members that attend less than 40 games for their job. That's a lot of members and it seems clear some (likely many) don't attend more games than Keith or even Rob. If that is the case, then Dutton has to answer for it or look like a complete joke. Maybe he will think he can dismiss the internet people with option B, but I think there's a decent chance he will have to note the obvious. Of course, it really comes down to internet sleuthing and how well the members-they-supposedly-don't-have-but-we-all-figure-they-have are sniffed out.
   14. Maury Brown Posted: December 10, 2007 at 10:14 PM (#2640646)
On those mentioning "the list"... Bob made it very clear that the membership roles were nothing secret. Although he initially said that the names should be in the media guides (as noted, the Orioles do have a listing while other clubs do not), he provided the list. I made sure and ask if there would be an issue with publishing it, and he again responded that the BBWAA was not trying to hide anything as it pertains to the list.

Regarding the comments about those that may not attend games... Would be good to get some sort of clarification on this, would it not? I'm not saying that it isn't the case, but stating that someone puts out a limited number of articles is a basis for a conclusion that said member does not attend the requisite number of games is speculation until the member in question says as much. Agreed?
   15. McCoy Posted: December 10, 2007 at 10:22 PM (#2640658)
No need to go screaming from the highest mountain on this topic.

It has nothing to do with screaming from the mountain top. I'm simply asking for reasonable followup questions when somebody says or writes obviously flawed or misleading statements.
   16. Roy Hobbs of WIFFLE Ball Posted: December 10, 2007 at 10:22 PM (#2640659)
On those mentioning "the list"... Bob made it very clear that the membership roles were nothing secret.


I don't doubt it wasn't "secret," but I bet this is the first time 99% of us have seen it. It couldn't have been much better concealed in the past if it actually were secret.

I'm not saying that it isn't the case, but stating that someone puts out a limited number of articles is a basis for a conclusion that said member does not attend the requisite number of games is speculation until the member in question says as much. Agreed?


Two other questions: What about people that have written no baseball articles in a year or longer? I have a feeling there will be more than one of them turned up. Also, if someone submits a limited number of articles, do they need the credential to do their job? They may attend more than 40 games, but a consistently low output of articles might indicate they don't require membership to do their job. If they aren't producing much writing, they might just be there enjoying the game and some free food for all we know.
   17. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 10, 2007 at 10:23 PM (#2640663)
On membership, are all BBWAA members voted on by this "board", or is it just people that apply through the national office (i.e. internet writers)? I think the case is that if you're a Star reporter, you go to the Kansas City office.

So I can kind of understand why there might be this double standard. The local chapters are going to be very lax on who they let in, for whatever reason, probably because they don't want to create enemies in their own market. But the national office is much stricter because you have to deal with people from across the country, with all divergent views, some stuck in the mud types, that you never have to deal with face to face, so they feel free to reject you if they want.

That's the only way I can explain Jason Whitlock getting a BBWAA membership, and Rob Neyer not.

How did Rany get a BBWAA membership I wonder? He writes for Baseball Prospectus, but got in through the Kansas City chapter? Why couldn't Rob get in through the Seattle chapter then?
   18. Roy Hobbs of WIFFLE Ball Posted: December 10, 2007 at 10:25 PM (#2640667)
How did Rany get a BBWAA membership I wonder? He writes for Baseball Prospectus, but got in through the Kansas City chapter?


Doesn't Rany live in the Chicago area? I believe he used to anyway.
   19. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 10, 2007 at 10:32 PM (#2640674)
I know for awhile he was studying at U of Nebraska.
   20. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 10, 2007 at 10:33 PM (#2640676)
from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rany_Jazayerli

Rany Jazayerli (born June 14, 1975), a Chicago-area dermatologic surgeon, is a co-founder and a writer for Baseball Prospectus. Invented the concept of Pitcher Abuse Points (PAP).

Jazayerli is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the University of Michigan School of Medicine. He is a board-certified dermatologist and a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology.
   21. Craig Calcaterra Posted: December 10, 2007 at 10:35 PM (#2640679)
Cross-posted from my blog, but more people are reading this anyway:

Brown: Is there a need to be "at the ballpark" to add value to the BBWAA with the advent of MLB Extra Innings and MLB.TV that allows writers the ability to see games, and therefore, the only difference is physically being at games?

Dutton: Physically being at games, I believe, means more than your question seems to imply unless you see no value in direct contact with players, management, staff, etc. I believe the access granted to such people through our credential, which is the result of negotiation with MLB and the MLBPA, is the primary benefit most members value. That is also the main reason the association places a premium on members demonstrating a need to be at ballparks.

I understand that this is a thorny issue, and that Dutton himself notes that it's not a hard and fast standard of the BBWAA, even if it is one that seems to hold sway with many of its members. Still, the notion Dutton seems to be getting at is that, in the BBWAA's mind, the essence of being a baseball writer is the process of reporting -- talking to players, management and staff -- as opposed to the written product that results from that process.

Which seems silly. It's the Baseball Writers' Association of America, not the Baseball Reporters' Association of America. Why give precedence to process over substance? As so many have demonstrated, it's quite possible for a BBWAA member to go to 162 games a year and write nary a damn enlightening word. Neyer and Law could provide a staggering amount of high-quality analysis sitting in their dens all summer (they don't, but you get what I'm saying).

Ultimately this is about gatekeeping. About ascribing the defacto title of "professional baseball writer" to only those who pass a test that is largely irrelevant to what should be the whole damn point: good, informed, and informative baseball writing. The problem with gatekeepers, though, is that even if well intentioned, they tend to keep consumers (in this case readers) from getting what they want. I believe that there are thousands who want the voices of guys like Rob Neyer and Keith Law voting on postseason awards and, ultimately, the Hall of Fame. I also believe that those same thousands (not to mention Rob and Keith themselves) would like to feel that the sources they know and trust are an accepted part of baseball journalism as a whole.

Maybe the latter point is debatable -- there are those who get off on iconoclasm and outsiderism -- but I'm a traditional guy. I like to imagine Neyer and Law sipping brandy, smoking cigars, and exchanging tales of the day with rumpled sportswriters. That's not going to happen, though, because the BBWAA, like all gatekeepers, believes it knows better.

Ultimately Rob and Keith will be just fine. One or both of them will eventually get in, and even if they don't, the world won't end. But the BBWAA has reached a key moment in its history. Going forward, it has a choice: it can continue to honor process above craft and risk its demise as a relevant organization, or it can define its mission in a way that makes sense given the obvious direction in which baseball writing is heading.
   22. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 10, 2007 at 10:42 PM (#2640684)
Has anyone tried to go for a dermatology appointment with Rany? I think that would be very surreal.
   23. Rocco's Not-so Malfunctioning Mitochondria Posted: December 10, 2007 at 10:56 PM (#2640697)
Isn't it also just slightly possible that the BBWAA needs to hold out a higher standard if they're going to start letting in internet writers? The press box in stadiums is only so big. In the past, when there was a pretty finite universe of newspaper beat writers, and there were more seats than there were actual baseball writers, then what was the harm of letting in people who didn't do as much actual game reporting? If they really start letting in internet writers, it potentially expands the field of potential members exponentially, but there's still only the same number of maximum spots that can actually fit in the press box seats.

I mean, how ridiculous is the argument here? It's like saying "well, Harry Lochhead was good enough to play in the majors, so *insert name of random short season ball player* should be able to play too because he's obviously better than Harry Lochhead." That, of course, would be ignoring that it was the worst player on the worst team in history, and that it was before integration, formal scouting, foreign players, minor leagues, etc.

If they keep letting in schlumps, then we can accuse them of having a double-standard. In the meantime, I'll believe the pretext that they'll actually start to limit who can get credentials because the universe has expanded.

I agree that keeping out Rob Neyer is probably a bad choice, but I can understand the rationale, and it's not necessarily a pretext. They'll never SAY that they're changing the standards, but there are legitimate reasons for doing so.
   24. sunnyday2 Posted: December 10, 2007 at 11:13 PM (#2640721)
It seems that 2 different issues are being conflated. Just because a guy doesn't go to 40 games or however many doesn't mean that he doesn't "need" a credential, does it? Say I want to go to a game a week, based on what and how often I write. I still "need" (would like to have) a credential when I do.

Or are they conflating what Neyer and Law want (a credential) with what the existing members want (to be able to have their head up their ass in peace).

Then again, this would all be no problem if they were honest. If it's about the size of the press box (and some of the members take up a couple stools) fine. Say so.
   25. Snowboy Posted: December 10, 2007 at 11:13 PM (#2640722)
Neyer and Law could provide a staggering amount of high-quality analysis sitting in their dens all summer

Yes, they can, and they do.
And that is the entire point of why they were denied BBWAA membership. They do not NEED to be at the park to make their living; they do not NEED access to the players, coaches, managers to do their job, so the committee decided that they did not NEED membership.

Ultimately this is about gatekeeping.

I disagree. Perhaps it is about gatekeeping for some, but we can't ascribe motive to every BBWAA member, can we? I think this is more about a failure to understand the mandate of the BBWAA. It is an association formed to protect the interests of people who write about baseball every day for newspapers. Those people need daily admission to the ballparks, and need access to the players, coaches, and managers to conduct interviews.

If you think it's wrong that only BBWAA members get to vote for the MVP, that's another issue.
If you think you are smarter than the local beat writer, that's another issue.

(Not picking a fight with you, C.C., just picking some quotes from your post because they are representative.)
   26. Endless Trash Posted: December 10, 2007 at 11:20 PM (#2640734)
766 Yoshiki Sasaki Hochi Shimbun Boston
767 Takashi Settai Nikkei Boston
768 Takaaki Yamauchi Nikkan Sports News Boston
769 Dai Yuasa Sankei Sports Boston


Well, that answers Chris Wok's question from the other thread...
   27. GGC Posted: December 10, 2007 at 11:27 PM (#2640743)
Isn't it also just slightly possible that the BBWAA needs to hold out a higher standard if they're going to start letting in internet writers? The press box in stadiums is only so big.
I've talked a few times with one of the guys from The Hartford Courant. They cover the Red Sox and the Yankees, but this year they stopped sending their guys on the road. I'm not sure if any other papers are cutting down on a physical prescence in the press box, but it wouldn't surprise me. Wok will be happy to see that there are some Japanese papers accepted by the New York chapter.
   28. robneyer Posted: December 10, 2007 at 11:31 PM (#2640746)
Snowboy, have you actually looked at that list? There are a number of BBWAA members who don't write about baseball every week. Let alone every day.
   29. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 10, 2007 at 11:31 PM (#2640747)
It does seem to me that what we as outsiders view as the reason for being in the BBWAA (voting on awards, HOF, a certain stamp of approval) is not what the BBWAA considers the essential reason for membership in the organization (being granted unlimited credentials to MLB games). And as I said elsewhere, I think it would be wise for the BBWAA to expand the orgnanization's reach beyond at-the-ballpark issues, which seems the best way to prevent the organization from losing relevance.

But until it makes this fundamental change to the organization's mission, and it's under no obligation to do that, then the decision to limit membership based on whether game attendance is an essential part of the job is reasonable. The BBWAA should, however, search for greater consistency in the use of the attendance requirement, even if it means leaning on the local chapters that are likely the cause behind so many non-deserving members.
   30. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: December 10, 2007 at 11:46 PM (#2640763)
By my count, Maury's list has 42 members from the Chicago area. Twenty pre-date 1997, and two more from 1997; which I suppose matters given that it takes ten years membership to get the Cooperstown vote.

Too lazy to write down their names, but if anyone's curious, they are numbers: 14, 20, 69, 83, 92, 104, 115, 122, 134, 169, 171, 206, 218, 235, 239, 242, 245, 256, 279, 282, 315, 357, 366, 368, 378, 383, 404, 427, 428, 472, 472, 510, 567, 592, 614, 637, 646, 657, 668, 686, 695, 718, and 736.

If you are of weak stomach, I urge you NOT to check the identity of #239.
   31. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: December 10, 2007 at 11:47 PM (#2640765)
There are a number of BBWAA members who don't write about baseball every week. Let alone every day.

Hell, there are a few who don't write about baseball every year. Mike Kellams of the Chicago Tribune? Tom Quinlan and Nick Pietruszkiewicz of the Daily Herald? Stu Courtney of the Chicago Sun-Times? I've never heard of any of them and I read these papers almost daily.

Then there are other writers who aren't exclusively baseball writers, such as Jay Mariotti, and others who are off the baseball beat, such as Teddy Greenstein (he writes about college football and the media for the Chicago Tribune).

I guess my question is where there is any on-going requirement that once inducted to the BBWAA that these folks *continue* to report about baseball regularly. I see that there are allegedly writers removed from the list -- how did that happen?
   32. robneyer Posted: December 10, 2007 at 11:48 PM (#2640768)
My understanding is that to be removed from the list you have to be convicted of a Class A felony.

Not accused. Not indicted. Convicted.
   33. Snowboy Posted: December 10, 2007 at 11:50 PM (#2640771)
robneyer, to make my point within limits, I used the words "daily" and "newspaper", when of course we know the association also works for people who write weekly, monthly, features, for magazines, and so on.

And, yes, from looking at the list and reading the comments of some posters above, it seems not everyone has been held to the same high standards they applied to you. Obviously the backdoor way in is through a local chapter. Or just copy Rany's badge, and put your own name on it with #589.
   34. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: December 10, 2007 at 11:53 PM (#2640772)
Then there are other writers who aren't exclusively baseball writers, such as Jay Mariotti,

When is the last time that Jay Mariotti interviewed an athlete or a coach?

Heck, when is the last time he went to a baseball game?
   35. robneyer Posted: December 10, 2007 at 11:55 PM (#2640775)
34: Well, sorry to be so nit-picky, but you did mention specifically "people who write about baseball every day for newspapers." And the association does NOT work, or rather was not designed to work, for people who write weekly, monthly, or for magazines. Roger Angell, who's been writing about baseball for The New Yorker for more than 40 years, has never been a BBWAA member.

Until last week, it supposedly was strictly for newspaper writers who write regularly about baseball. Except as we've seen, many members write irregularly about baseball, if at all.

It's time to stop defending the criteria, because it's clear the criteria exist only at the BBWAA's convenience. All their official arguments for rejecting Keith Law are, as we speak, crashing down around us.
   36. Maury Brown Posted: December 11, 2007 at 12:01 AM (#2640784)
The list has been something to go through. I doubt (emphasis *DOUBT*) John Canzano takes in the requisite number. He, like myself and Rob, lives in Portland, does a radio show, and would be racking up one heck of a lot of miles in his vehicle to get to Safeco to take in games.
   37. base ball chick Posted: December 11, 2007 at 12:03 AM (#2640785)
maury,

i wrote to bob and pointed out (politely) to him that there were people on that list who were most positively not now and never had been baseball writers and they most definitely positively didn't go to no 50 ML ballgames a year and in fact they didn't even need to go to one to do their jobs. i said i hoped he would point this out to the people who want to keep out writers like neyer and law.
   38. robneyer Posted: December 11, 2007 at 12:05 AM (#2640790)
Bob Dutton's just doing his job. He didn't have to release that list, though. And when he did, he must have guessed that we'd be going over it with a very fine comb, and what would happen next. I think he's actually one of the good guys in all this.
   39. Maury Brown Posted: December 11, 2007 at 12:13 AM (#2640795)
I think he's actually one of the good guys in all this.
As I mentioned in the article and elsewhere, he deserves much credit for this. I could have been stonewalled. He could have stuck by the "media guides" comments... none of that. He went well beyond the call on this. As I said, I did emails with him back and forth all weekend for the article, and President title, or not, he didn't have to get back to me until Monday, or at all, for that matter. Rob's very much right in his comment.
   40. jmp Posted: December 11, 2007 at 12:15 AM (#2640797)
It seems clear that Law and Neyer were singled out because of who they are, but also because of their affiliation with ESPN. Alan Schwarz was given membership this season. He was writing a weekly column for the Times and had work appear in other media outlets. I enjoy Schwarz's work a lot, but much of his writing doesn't involve daily treks to the local park.
   41. Keith Law Posted: December 11, 2007 at 12:26 AM (#2640806)
I'm guessing Rany got in because he used to freelance for a print publication in the KC area. Might have been in Wichita; I'm not sure any more.

Also, he would have gotten in via the local chapter; the national committee's rules and obviously much more stringent, including requiring that the writer be a full-time employee of his publication.
   42. Mister High Standards Posted: December 11, 2007 at 12:26 AM (#2640807)
Because, quite frankly, there's more than enough noise from a cast of thousands doing that. The point of this article is to allow the BBWAA to address some questions that have come out of the inclusion process.


I thought the purpose of the article was self promotion. Or maybe, that is just the standard not the rule.

Also, is Elvin done painting the house yet?
   43. base ball chick Posted: December 11, 2007 at 12:27 AM (#2640808)
robneyer Posted: December 10, 2007 at 06:31 PM (#2640746)

Snowboy, have you actually looked at that list? There are a number of BBWAA members who don't write about baseball every week. Let alone every day.

- correctamundo
and there are PLENTY of people who don't ever go to baseball games on that list

i think that there is a good chance that things are gonna change and very soon
   44. Maury Brown Posted: December 11, 2007 at 12:30 AM (#2640815)
I thought the purpose of the article was self promotion.
That thinking thing always gets you in trouble. I'll play the part of Crash. You stick to being "Nuke" LaLoosh.
   45. BDC Posted: December 11, 2007 at 12:40 AM (#2640825)
Interesting. I went through the members listed for the Ft Worth Star Telegram. Obviously a major metropolitan newspaper, but its baseball coverage tends to consist of one game story and one column, plus maybe a couple of notes, even on game days during the season; and frequently that stuff is buried on p.5, especially if any Cowboy develops a hangnail, even in May or June.

The Startlegram BBWAA members are:

Randy Galloway, Gil Lebreton, and Jim Reeves, sports columnists who certainly do write about the Rangers (Reeves the most, Galloway the least), though the Cowboys are the main focus for all these guys, 24/7/31/12 every year.

Ray Buck, who does mostly three-dot replies to readers, called "Buckshots," which are of course mostly about the Cowboys. (The Startlegram does an entire extra section the day after every Cowboys game; that's in addition to the regular Sports section.)

Cody Bailey, an editor.

Jan Hubbard, who writes about the NBA.

Dave Sessions, a staff writer who does report quite a bit on the Rangers.

Sessions probably does, but I would guess that few of the others show up at the Ballpark much. (I am extrapolating from when I went to the Ballpark press box pretty often a few years back, and never saw the columnists until a division-clinching game).

T.R. Sullivan, the long-term (and excellent) former Startlegram beat writer, is not on this badge list, no doubt because he is now employed by mlb.com, not by the paper.

Jeff Wilson and Anthony Andro, current Startlegram Rangers beat writers, are not on the list either (but perhaps will join it soon?)

In other words, three of the four Ft-Worth-based writers who actually report on the Rangers continuously are not BBWAA members per Maury's list, while several other guys who pay intermittent attention to baseball are.

Is Ft Worth representative of other cities and their press corps WRT the BBWAA?
   46. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: December 11, 2007 at 12:42 AM (#2640828)
You'd think with all the people in the media box who want to choke Rob, he would have gotten in, no problem. Giving him a BBWAA badge would have granted them easier access to his neck...
   47. robneyer Posted: December 11, 2007 at 12:44 AM (#2640832)
Thanks, Bobby Metro. You've begun the next stage of this process, which is for someone with knowledge of each city's sports coverage to go through the credentialed BBWAA members in that city and see how much they actually write about baseball. If we wanted to get truly obsessive, we could actually check the Web archives and come up with actual numbers.

This would, I think, be fairly instructive.
   48. BDC Posted: December 11, 2007 at 12:55 AM (#2640844)
My pleasure, Rob.

I am interested in the omission of mlb.com writers from the BBWAA -- I haven't been following this at all, and it has sort of crept up on me glacially. I was reading TR Sullivan in the paper all the time, and then I started reading mlb.com more than the paper, and he was there too, and all of a sudden he wasn't in the paper. His job has changed almost not at all. He is still a fine, highly experienced baseball writer, the best of the Ranger beat writers IMO, but none of those mlb.com beat writers are BBWAA members now (or, anymore), I guess. Is that just because there's a perceived conflict of interest in a branch of MLB reporting on itself? I don't see much difference in the reporting; in this instance none at all. Sure, the mlb.com stories are mostly positive stuff that works to promote the game; but so are beat-writer stories and interviews in the newspapers. Scorched-earth journalism does not prevail much in everyday baseball reporting.
   49. robneyer Posted: December 11, 2007 at 01:05 AM (#2640855)
Yes, it's because of the conflict-of-interest issue.

You're right: most of the MLB.com guys are doing essentially what they were doing before, or what they would be doing if they worked for newspapers. But I think the BBWAA's position on this, while tough, is reasonable and mostly fair.
   50. Srul Itza Posted: December 11, 2007 at 01:09 AM (#2640857)
The main reason most of the people here even care about this issue, as has been noted, is because the BBWAA votes on the MVP/CY/ROY/MOY awards, and on the Hall of Fame. A lot of people SAY they don't care about these awards, but we spill an awful lot of virtual ink over here over something that we "don't care about."

You can talk about the other awards all you want, the ones handed out by the Players, TSN, etc. It is just talk. The fact is that the BBWAAA MVP is THE MVP award. Most people don't give a damn about any other.

How exactly did those awards come about? Can any baseball historian here tell me how it came to be that the BBWAA decided to start handing out this kind of hardware? It does not really seem to fit their mission statement.

Of course, there mission statement has a certain amount of hooey in it (Big Surprise. Huge).

The BBWAA and MLB for a very long time had an important symbiotic relationship. For many decades, the BBWAA and the papers they wrote for were the main publicists for Base Ball. They confirmed the importance of the games, and conferred legitimacy on it, by writing about it. In turn, MLB have the papers a story to sell, and gave the sportswriters a way to make a living, along with a supply of crummy food in the press box. The BBWAA served the purpose of providing the nexus between the two on a national level.

And when Mr. Clark invented the Hall of Fame, the BBWAA provided a wonderful source of expertise to select the members.

Now, of course, the number of people who get their main news and information from the print media is shrinking. But the first, and main, culprit was not the interwebs. It was Radio and Television. The interwebs merely continued that process.

Being a certified, past-50 old Fart, I of course still love newspapers. I just happen to read more of them on-line these days. And the same reporters are, in fact, STILL the source of much of the information that makes its way to the TV, Radio and the 'net.

The answer to some of these issues is pretty obvious, and Mr. Dutton has already mentioned it elsewhere: Associate Memberships for those people who really do NOT need access to the field and the press box, in order to do their job, but whose knowledge and expertise would add a great deal to the decisions regarding awards and HOF membership.

As to the awards, though, maybe it is time for the BBWAA to get out of that business. Their decision, since "tabled" [which means exactly WHAT to a decision that was not going to take effect for 5 years ANYWAY] to "disqualify" those who have incentive clauses from the awards, along with the decision by some papers to bar their own reporters from voting on those awards, indicates that it may be time for the BBWAA to find a way to divest themselves from this task, while maintaining the historical nature of the award. While they are discussing the disqualification issue with the MLBPA and the MLB, maybe that should also be on the agenda.

As for the HOF, it is the HOF who should be looking at this issue. They can broaden the voting pool whenever they want. or, for that matter, narrow it. Given the articles on this subject, there appear to more than a few people with a vote who don't have even the semblance of the credentials for this job.
   51. jwb Posted: December 11, 2007 at 01:23 AM (#2640868)
My understanding is that to be removed from the list you have to be convicted of a Class A felony.

Actually, Rob, I think you have to stop breathing.

Heck, when is the last time [Mariotti] went to a baseball game?

The time that Harrelson threatened to kick his ass.

Roger Angell, who's been writing about baseball for The New Yorker

since a week before I was born, and I am making retirement plans. Povich and Koppett have stopped breathing, and are therefore not on the list. If you think anyone on that list is a better writer than Angell, I'd be really interested in hearing about it.

Thank you Maury Brown, Bob Dutton, Joe Posnansky, Rob Neyer, Keith Law, Tracy Ringolsby, and all of your unnamed sources. It's not often we get a glimpse of what is behind the curtain.
   52. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 11, 2007 at 01:38 AM (#2640877)
Maybe he will think he can dismiss the internet people with option B, but I think there's a decent chance he will have to note the obvious.


I don't.

Until and unless this discussion makes it into the MSM, the BBWAA isn't going to pay much attention to it.

-- MWE
   53. base ball chick Posted: December 11, 2007 at 01:43 AM (#2640882)
robneyer,

well, i can tell you that in houston texas, we have 2 baseball beat writers, brian mctaggart (member) and jose de jesus ortiz (member) and columnist richard justice (member, DEFINITELY knows baseball)

john lopez is also a BBWAA member. he writes about baseball maybe once a year. if that. and he hates it

fred faour is an editor BBWAA - he's never written a thing in his life for any newspaper i can find

but unfortunately, these editors get elected by the local chapters even if they don't know the difference between a squeeze and the infield fly
   54. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 11, 2007 at 01:47 AM (#2640887)
The list for Pittsburgh:

Bob Hertzel (17): Unfamiliar to me, but appears to be a sports columnist for the Times West Virginian, which as you may expect from the name, is based in Fairmont, West Virginia (and not Pittsburgh at all). Fairmont is about 90 miles away from Pittsburgh, and as such, I'm skeptical as to whether he actually turns up at too many games at PNC Park. From looking online, he writes about baseball sporadically.

Bob Smizik (25): Sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, writes about baseball fairly frequently in season, and sometimes out of it as well. Probably legit.

Paul Meyer (41): Covers baseball for the Post-Gazette when Dejan is unavailable, and provides weekend notes at all times. Legit.

Gene Collier (55): General humor columnist for the Post-Gazette, occasionally writes a (generally facile) column about baseball. Suspect, probably classified as a sportswriter due to inertia, since his columns were more sports-oriented 15 years ago.

Ron Cook (63): Sports columnist for the Post-Gazette. Dumb as a brick (I used to work with one of his ex-co-workers), but writes about baseball fairly often. Probably legit, more's the pity.

Alan Robinson (121): Pittsburgh's AP guy. Legit.

John Perrotto (193): Writes weekly notes and such about the Pirates for the BCT, which is under the Trib's umbrella; also writes for BA and BPro. Legit.

Dejan Kovacevic - misspelled "Dejean" on the list (605): The P-G's beat guy for the Pirates. Legit.

Trib guys: I don't read the Trib at all unless someone links to it, given that it's a Scaife paper with a butt-ugly layout, and is generally the last to run any new story. As such, I don't know any of their guys very well. Mike Prisuta (563) is mostly a football guy, Joe Starkey (569) mostly covers hockey but also runs baseball stuff fairly often as well, and I don't really know Rob Biertempfel (484), Jim Rodenbush (733), or John Harris (775) at all.

That's what I've got. Sorry it isn't more help.
   55. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 11, 2007 at 01:53 AM (#2640894)
Also, he would have gotten in via the local chapter; the national committee's rules and obviously much more stringent, including requiring that the writer be a full-time employee of his publication.

Okay, that's what I asked about in #18. It seems like its easy to get in through local chapters - I'm sure the major newspapers of the area has major weight, plus you don't want to tick off people in your market that you see all the time, so you pretty much let in anyone - Jay Mariotti, Jason Whitlock, etc.

But Rob and Keith had to go through national office, which is much harder to get into, because you are subject to the board, and full membership voting. That's when people who hold grudges, or are luddites against the interwebs can yell and scream about how these young whippersnappers shouldn't be allowed in because they are not "newspaper" writers.

So it seems to me that the BBWAA needs to come up with some kind of standard here. It seems like they're going by the seat of their pants, saying you need to go to a certain amount of games, but we don't have an exact number, and we're not requiring that our local chapters have the same requirement. Their reasons for having the requirement are legit IMO, but not having an explicit standard that is applied uniformly is grossly unfair to people like Keith and Rob.
   56. Craig Calcaterra Posted: December 11, 2007 at 01:54 AM (#2640895)
Pete Toms (who showed up briefly here the other day and writes a blog called A Baseball Geek) reports that Wayne Scanlan and Don Campbell of the Ottawa (Ontario) Citizen are on the list. Pete has read that paper every day for many years and while these seem like decent enough writers they rarely if ever cover baseball.

This makes sense that the nearest MLB team to Ottawa is 250 miles away in Toronto. Pete doubts that either of those guys make the trip too often.
   57. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 11, 2007 at 01:57 AM (#2640897)
Pittsburgh area media:

Bob Hertzel: Sports editor of the Dominion Post in Morgantown, WV, and an official scorer for many years for the Bucs.
Bob Smizik: PG columnist, writes frequently about the team.
Paul Meyer: Former PG beat writer, still travels and writes about the team.
Gene Collier: PG columnist.
Ron Cook: PG columnist. Collier and Cook write less frequently about the Pirates than Smizik, but both keep their hands in.
Alan Robinson: AP writer covering the Bucs.
John Perrotto: Beaver County Times beat writer (the best of the beat writers until Kovacevic came along).
Rob Biertempfel: Tribune-Review columnist and beat writer.
Mike Prisuta: Tribune-Review columnist. He mostly writes about the Steelers.
Joe Starkey: Tribune-Review columnist, former beat writer.
Dejan Kovacevic: Current PG beat writer; backed up Meyer until 2006.
Jim Rodenbush: Tribune-Review. Backup beat writer.
John Harris: Tribune-Review. Steelers' columnist, hasn't written much of anything about baseball.

EDIT: I see Vlad beat me to it on most of these guys.

-- MWE
   58. Roy Hobbs of WIFFLE Ball Posted: December 11, 2007 at 02:11 AM (#2640907)
Has anyone tried to go for a dermatology appointment with Rany? I think that would be very surreal.


He could use MAP (Mole Abuse Points) to measure unnecessary sun exposure. Would being the Livan Hernandez of moles be a bad thing or a good thing?
   59. Bobby Swift Posted: December 11, 2007 at 02:19 AM (#2640911)
294 Jack Todd Montreal Gazette Toronto

From: http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/columnists/jack_todd.html

There isn't one mention of either 'baseball' or 'MLB' in his official bio.

For the past 10 years, Jack Todd has been sports columnist of the Gazette.

He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska, where he was a scholarship athlete in track and field, specializing in the high jump, triple jump and 400 meters.

After working for the Akron Beacon-Journal, Detroit Free Press and Miami Herald, Todd left the U.S. during the Vietnam War and settled first in Vancouver, where he was a general assignment reporter for the Vancouver Sun. After stints with Radio-Canada International in Montreal and several years spent trying to write the Great American Novel, Todd joined the Gazette in 1986 as a copy editor on the sports desk and spent four years as city columnist before moving to sports, where he has covered two World Cup soccer tournaments and five Olympic Games.

Todd won the National Newspaper Award for sportswriting in 1999, an honour for which he has been nominated three times. His book, The Taste of Metal, was short-listed for a Governor General's Award and won the Mavis Gallant Award for non-fiction. In addition to his column duties, he is currently at work on a lengthy novel set in Nebraska and Wyoming during the 19th Century.
   60. JJ1986 Posted: December 11, 2007 at 02:22 AM (#2640914)
Tony Kornheiser is on the list. He doesn't appear to have written anything for the Washington Post this year, about baseball or any other sports.
   61. Bobby Swift Posted: December 11, 2007 at 02:38 AM (#2640922)
732 Christian Red New York Daily News New York

Christian Red is a member of the 'Sports Investigate Team' otherwise known as the 'I-Team'.

Check out their blog here: http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/iteam/

He was admitted this year. I'd like to know how many games he attends per year and whether he really needs a BBWAA credential to do his job.
   62. Honkie Kong Posted: December 11, 2007 at 02:48 AM (#2640924)
He was admitted this year. I'd like to know how many games he attends per year and whether he really needs a BBWAA credential to do his job.

Maybe he has heard a rumour that some players are using steroids and is planning to investigate it?
Certainly jives with the anachronism shown by this organization.
   63. susan mullen Posted: December 11, 2007 at 02:54 AM (#2640927)
The continuing relocation of stadium press boxes to nosebleed sections conveys today's reality. In these situations, "voters" can barely see what's taking place on the field. This business about attendance at the games being the most valued benefit is just smoke. When the BBWAA was first formed that may have been the case. Air travel hadn't been invented. A car dealership was awarding post season baseball awards. Voters themselves say the most important thing in their life is their vote. The president of BBWAA is a transitory position. The real longtime power is held by Jack O'Connell.
   64. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 11, 2007 at 03:06 AM (#2640934)
This makes sense that the nearest MLB team to Ottawa is 250 miles away in Toronto. Pete doubts that either of those guys make the trip too often.
Don't be silly; what about the Expos? Oh. Nevermind.
   65. Howie Menckel Posted: December 11, 2007 at 03:34 AM (#2640956)
I know about 10 pct of the membership, and frankly fewer than half regularly attend games now.

A guy like Hertzel covered MLB for decades, though.

This is not a bad time for the parent group to think over what the criteria should be going forward.

And for the bomb throwers, this site is not that far off from legitimacy in the eyes of 'insiders.' Why kick that away?

There is something beyond either ass-kissing or bomb throwing. And it's a good place to be.
   66. Sean Forman Posted: December 11, 2007 at 03:58 AM (#2640976)
And for the bomb throwers, this site is not that far off from legitimacy in the eyes of 'insiders.' Why kick that away?


I did get a media credential at the winter meetings when I asked in person.

I also saw BTF on several browsers in the room. Last year I mentioned to Rosenthal how admired he was on BTF, and he thought I was kidding. He said something like "but those guys kill me every time I write something."

Many, many writers are very aware of the site and read it often for a lay of the land as to what is happening. They also all use sites like B-R or cot's contracts or theBaseballCube, etc. Many of them read prospectus or the Hardball Times.

Also, I likewise cringe at a lot of the comments that come out of here about the writers. A sports writers job is not as easy as many might think it is. From what I've seen most of them are at the ballpark from 4pm to 12pm or later on gamedays. They stand around for hours on end listening to platitudes emanating from players most of whom with a high school education or less whose sole non-sports interests are porn and gambling.

At the winter meetings I see them prowling the lobby from 10am to 1am most days. They sometimes have 20 minutes between the end of the game and their deadline to finish their stories. They aren't paid that great and can spend 100 days a year on the road. And newspapers are laying people off like crazy. Anyone who thinks they could with little or no experience do a better job is probably fooling themselves. Do it for a month and see how it goes.

I'm not excusing the lazy or inaccurate work that does go on, but I think a lot of people hold them to a standard they don't reach themselves.

All that said, Neyer and Law should have been admitted. What are they if not Baseball Writers?

Edit:Fixed quote.
   67. Menchwarmer Posted: December 11, 2007 at 04:03 AM (#2640977)
Dutton brought up a good point when he said that access to MLB parks is the primary value most members associate with BBWAA membership. However, I think that the BBWAA should concern itself not only with the wishes of its members, but also of the general baseball public. We don't care a single bit who has access to ballparks. On the other hand, we have quite a bit of interest in the major awards and the hall of fame, and we want to know that the people making those decisions are the most qualified. Attending 40 games a year (assuming that's true for all BBWAA members, which is highly unlikely) is, in my opinion, not nearly as legitimate a qualification as writing about baseball every day, like Neyer and Law do.

To that end, I'd suggest a "tiered" membership - people like Rob and Keith can get the voting rights while not getting park access (since they don't need it anyway). This ensures that press boxes aren't getting ridiculously clogged, but some of the best baseball writers out there still get their say and we, the fans, are satisfied with who's getting their say.
   68. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: December 11, 2007 at 04:22 AM (#2640993)
(Rosenthal) said something like "but those guys kill me every time I write something."
Ken, if you're reading this, when people call you Robothal, it's meant as a compliment. :)

I'm not excusing the lazy or inaccurate work that does go on, but I think a lot of people hold them to a standard they don't reach themselves.
In our(?) defense, we're not (as a general rule) sportswriters - we don't need to be held to the same level of scrutiny. That doesn't excuse a lack of civility or understanding (I don't relish the thought of thousands of nitpickers going over my work in a public forum), nor should posters not try to write well and put forth clear, cogent arguments, but expectations should be governed accordingly. (Clearly, I'm no professional writer - too many commas, too many words.)

Add me to the list of those who would naively argue for some sort of tiered membership system. I'm a little reluctant to argue as to how a professional organization I'll never join should conduct its affairs, but obviously the current system is less than ideal.

Lastly, while I'm piling onto already vented sentiments, I'd like to both thank Rob and Keith and Tracy (among others) for contributing here - both in general and in the BBWAA threads - while, at the same time, note that I don't understand why you'd go public in these kinds of forums with your feelings on this issue if you're invested in it.
   69. Kurt Posted: December 11, 2007 at 04:44 AM (#2641008)
Tony Kornheiser is on the list. He doesn't appear to have written anything for the Washington Post this year, about baseball or any other sports.

Technically, he and Wilbon do daily mini PTI-type blurbs on page 2 during the week. I don't think he needs press box credentials to do them.
   70. robneyer Posted: December 11, 2007 at 04:52 AM (#2641014)
Lastly, while I'm piling onto already vented sentiments, I'd like to both thank Rob and Keith and Tracy (among others) for contributing here - both in general and in the BBWAA threads - while, at the same time, note that I don't understand why you'd go public in these kinds of forums with your feelings on this issue if you're invested in it.


You're welcome. And yes, the decision to go public with my feelings is debatable, if not downright foolish. But frankly, what's interesting to me is the discussion; even if participating here hurts my chances for some theoretical future reward -- Hall of Fame ballot, dancing girls, whatever -- it's a risk I'm happy to take. I've had more fun in the last few days than I have in a long time.
   71. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: December 11, 2007 at 05:05 AM (#2641022)
I think they did a good job picking the Pittsburgh people - the only ones whose names I don't recognize are the people who write for papers in Greensburg and Morgantown.

EDIT: Wait a minute, it says "Greensburg Tribune Review" instead of "Pittsburgh Tribune Review". There are no members listed for the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. And all 5 "Greensburgh Tribune Review" members were added in the last five years. That's odd.
   72. Sean Forman Posted: December 11, 2007 at 05:07 AM (#2641023)
I've had more fun in the last few days than I have in a long time.


You need to get your nose out of the stat books a little more Rob. :-)
   73. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: December 11, 2007 at 05:13 AM (#2641024)

Many, many writers are very aware of the site and read it often for a lay of the land as to what is happening. They also all use sites like B-R or cot's contracts or theBaseballCube, etc. Many of them read prospectus or the Hardball Times.


Wow! I thought the high point of my career as a fan was when I got Tracy Ringolsby to respond to my comment about how people make fun of his hat. But if, um, the next under-60-year-old GM of the Phillies, if they ever have one, does something I suggest on this site, even if it's just signing Derrick DePriest...well, I'll pretend they got the idea from here. And if Bill Conlin suggests that they do something like that...he probably did get it from here.

I really wonder if the whole Baron Von Awesome to-do about the Pirates trying to lose was one of the tipping points for them to fire their one figurehead and hire another figurehead (he may not be a figurehead...we'll see). The rage from just about every Pirates fan here was significantly more intense than it had ever been before after the Matt Morris trade. I mean, usually Pirates fans are filled with rage, but this was frightening. Now it's back to a dull roar.

Also, I likewise cringe at a lot of the comments that come out of here about the writers. A sports writers job is not as easy as many might think it is. From what I've seen most of them are at the ballpark from 4pm to 12pm or later on gamedays. They stand around for hours on end listening to platitudes emanating from players most of whom with a high school education or less whose sole non-sports interests are porn and gambling.

Yeah, me too. People quoted in sports articles are not trying to get their philosophies out to the people, and people writing sports articles are not trying to do anything more than give the latest update on what's going on with the team. The mockery of articles that don't have any particular point, or the mockery of GMs and managers for saying nice things about the team that are obvious lies but have to be said anyway, is annoying.
   74. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: December 11, 2007 at 05:14 AM (#2641025)
They stand around for hours on end listening to platitudes emanating from players most of whom with a high school education or less whose sole non-sports interests are porn and gambling.

Sounds like the Lounge.
   75. McCoy Posted: December 11, 2007 at 05:22 AM (#2641029)
Yeah, me too. People quoted in sports articles are not trying to get their philosophies out to the people, and people writing sports articles are not trying to do anything more than give the latest update on what's going on with the team. The mockery of articles that don't have any particular point, or the mockery of GMs and managers for saying nice things about the team that are obvious lies but have to be said anyway, is annoying.

So basically calling it in or going through the motions should be tolerated.

Damnit I want mediocrity and more of it!
   76. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: December 11, 2007 at 05:27 AM (#2641035)
You see, McCoy sometimes a sportswriter has nothing to write about, because nothing interesting has happened that day that he was not already aware of or that he has not already written an article about. And if something interesting has happened, perhaps he wants to save it for a feature article, or someone else at the paper is already writing about it. However, his job requires that he write an article about nothing. Therefore he does so, and people on the internet make fun of him for it. He's required by his job to waste the readers' time now and then, but you're not required to waste everyone's time making fun of him for it.
   77. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: December 11, 2007 at 05:39 AM (#2641042)
Damnit I want mediocrity and more of it!


I'm here!

And I'll agree that we're often too hard on sportswriters. Finding something new to write about 250 times a year would kill me. At some point I'd probably be churning out lazy, self-writing articles at a rate of about 75%.
   78. Repoz Posted: December 11, 2007 at 05:47 AM (#2641043)
(Rosenthal) said something like "but those guys kill me every time I write something."

Ken, if you're reading this, when people call you Robothal, it's meant as a compliment. :)


Rosenthal has admited to enjoying this handle.

Many, many writers are very aware of the site and read it often for a lay of the land as to what is happening.

Yeah...Plenty of times I've gotten emails from writers wanting to know what was meant by certain comments/Primer inside jokes/thanks for posting etc.
   79. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: December 11, 2007 at 05:49 AM (#2641044)

Yeah...Plenty of times I've gotten emails from writers wanting to know what was meant by certain comments/Primer inside jokes/thanks for posting etc.


You do encourage them to sign up and talk with us/defend their position, right?
   80. base ball chick Posted: December 11, 2007 at 05:50 AM (#2641045)
writing every day is darned tough. and i'm just a blogger so i don't have no deadlines and i don't have to toe the company line

AND i don't hafta worry about saying the wrong thing and pissing off the players/manager/GM/owner

but coming up with something original and interesting even every 2 weeks is tough

the beat writers they got a tough job. and i wouldn't want it. so i respect the hard work they do even if i don't agree with what they say.

most of the writers who really irritate/offend me are columnists - marriotti, plaschke, lupica, simers, that red sox guy who thinks he's funny but he ain't...
   81. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: December 11, 2007 at 05:51 AM (#2641046)
even if it's just signing Derrick DePriest
My favorite collegian that I've ever watched on a regular basis - nearly seven feet of soft toss.

However, his job requires that he write an article about nothing.
Also, different people look to sports and sportswriting for different things. Me, I'd like as much as I can get in terms of intellectual rigor, arcane details, in-depth info - my baseball fandom is something I work at, a job I love. By comparison, some people I know want pablum, generic stuff to help them pass the time - explicitly not wanting to think. I can't fault people for writing for both audiences or in between the two.
   82. Repoz Posted: December 11, 2007 at 06:06 AM (#2641053)
You do encourage them to sign up and talk with us/defend their position, right?

All the time...but I usually get the "I'm a lurker not a poster" biz.
   83. Boots Day Posted: December 11, 2007 at 06:14 AM (#2641056)
Drew Litton of the Rocky Mountain News is on the list; he's their cartoonist. And 90 percent of his cartoons are on the Broncos.
   84. McCoy Posted: December 11, 2007 at 06:19 AM (#2641060)
You see, McCoy sometimes a sportswriter has nothing to write about, because nothing interesting has happened that day that he was not already aware of or that he has not already written an article about. And if something interesting has happened, perhaps he wants to save it for a feature article, or someone else at the paper is already writing about it. However, his job requires that he write an article about nothing. Therefore he does so, and people on the internet make fun of him for it. He's required by his job to waste the readers' time now and then, but you're not required to waste everyone's time making fun of him for it.

I'm sorry Attucks but I'm not accepting that. Telling me that a guy has nothing to write about, can't think of anything to write about but has to write something so they phone it in and we should accept that is wrong. I would love to have those standards for my occupation.
People should make fun of reporters who write about nothing, it might actually coerce them into writing something of substance. If you don't call people on their habits they tend to think their habits are acceptable.
   85. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: December 11, 2007 at 06:40 AM (#2641070)
Chicago List (incomplete)

14 -- George Vass, Baseball Digest: I haven't read it and don't know.
20 -- John Kuenster, Baseball Digest: Ditto
68 -- Mike Downey, Chicago Tribune: More of a general columnist, but does write on baseball, particularly in the summer.
69 -- Mike Imrem, Arlington Heights Daily Herald: Also more of a general columnist at this point, but has written a lot about baseball. I believe he may have once been a beat writer, perhaps several years ago.
83 -- Jim Litke, Associated Press: A general columnist who occasionally writes about baseball. I'm not that familiar with him but a Google search shows he has a few columns on baseball, but they are in the minority.
92 -- Dan McGrath, Chicago Tribune: Former (and perhaps current) sports editor. He writes the occasional column, but doesn't write regularly. He has written on baseball at times.
94 -- Dave Van Dyck, Chicago Tribune: He frequently writes about baseball, though he's had other beats at times. He's legit.
104 -- Fred Mitchell, Chicago Tribune: He may have been on the baseball beat a long time ago, but now writes an "Around Town" sports column
115 -- Paul Ladewski, Daily Southtown: He's a general columnist, I believe, though he also is on the Bulls beat. I don't know if he was once on the baseball beat, but he's been in the BBWAA for years.
122 -- Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune: You know about him. He's legit.
134 -- Mike Nadel, Copley News Service: I'm not familiar with him, but he has a bio saying that he's essentially a general columnist. A Google search does come up with a few baseball articles, but I don't know how frequent they are.
169 -- Rich Gano, Associated Press: I believe he's legit. I recall reading several of his baseball columns.
171 -- Toni Ginnetti, Chicago Sun Times: She's had a bunch of different beats, but does write regularly about baseball. She's legit.
206 -- Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune: Cubs beatwriter -- legit.
218 -- Barry Rozner, Arlington Heights Daily Herald: A general columnist at this point, but he may have been a beat writer at one point and he does write about baseball frequently. I'd say he's legit.
235 -- Mark Gonzales, Chicago Tribune: Frequent baseball writer -- legit.
239 -- Jay Mariotti, Chicago Sun Times: You know about him. He does focus his attention on baseball in the summer, but that's it.
242 -- Phil Arvia, Daily Southtown: Another general columnist. I don't believe he writes about baseball all that often.
245 -- Mike Dodd, USA Today: Yet another general columnist who writes about baseball in the summer.
256 -- Bruce Miles, Arlington Heights Daily Herald: Cubs beat writer. Legit.
279 -- Scot Gregor, Arlington Heights Daily Herald: White Sox beat writer. Legit.
282 -- Robert Kuenster, Baseball Digest: I don't read it and don't know
315 -- Rick Telander, Chicago Sun Times: You probably know him as well. He's another general columnist who writes infrequently about baseball.
357 -- Tom Quinlan, Arlington Heights Daily Herald: Sports editor. I don't know if he writes anything about baseball, but if he does, it's rare.
366 -- Gordon Wittenmyer, Chicago Sun Times: Cubs beat writer. Legit.
368 -- Nancy Armour, Associated Press: Another general columnist. A Google search pulled up few, if any, baseball articles.
378 -- Joe Cowley, Chicago Sun Times: White Sox beat writer. Legit.
383 -- Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune: Former Cubs beat writer, but at this point he only writes about college sports and the media.
404 -- Jeff Vorva, Daily Southtown: Cubs beat writer. Legit.
427 -- Chris DeLuca, Chicago Sun Times: Legit baseball columnist.
428 -- Sean Deveney, Sporting News: I'm not familiar with him, but it seems like he writes about the NBA as well as baseball.
472 -- Rick Morrissey, Chicago Tribune: Another general columnist who writes about baseball fairly frequently in the summer.
510 -- Stu Courtney, Chicago Sun Times: Sports editor. I don't know if he writes about baseball at all.
567 -- Carol Slezak, Chicago Sun Times: She's had a number of beats, usually writing fluff profiles. She does write about baseball regularly during the summer.
592 -- Larry Gross, Chicago Defender: Sports editor. He writes about baseball occasionally, but not about MLB.
614 -- Nick Pietruszkiewicz, Northwest Herald: Assistant sports editor who used to be more of a general columnist. I don't know how much baseball he writes about at this point.
637 -- Hiroke Abe, Sports Nippon: I haven't a clue.
646 -- Greg Couch, Chicago Sun Times: A general columnist who writes a lot about baseball.
657 -- Shuchi Isihara, Kyodo News: I haven't a clue.
668 -- Dean Magnavite, Daily Southtown: Sports editor; I don't think he writes about baseball at all.
686 -- Andy Seligman, Associated Press: I'm not familiar with him, but it doesn't appear that he's a frequent baseball writer.
695 -- Nate Whalen, Daily Southtown: Writes fairly regularly about baseball. Legit.
718 -- Mike Kellams, Chicago Tribune: A sports editor who doesn't write about baseball.
736 -- Toshinori Sawada, Tokyo Sports Press: No clue.
   86. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: December 11, 2007 at 06:56 AM (#2641080)
Many, many writers are very aware of the site and read it often for a lay of the land as to what is happening. They also all use sites like B-R or cot's contracts or theBaseballCube, etc. Many of them read prospectus or the Hardball Times.

Earlier today (looks at clock), OK fine, technicaly it was now yesterday - I got an e-mail from from Chicago's AM 1000 WMVP, ESPN radio.

I'm not excusing the lazy or inaccurate work that does go on, but I think a lot of people hold them to a standard they don't reach themselves.

No kiddin'. I'm lucky when I have an entire column at THT without a major SNAFU. And I only write one a week.

DeJesus, I'm pretty sure your incomplete list is complete.

One thing about Chicago: since there's twice as many games here, a writer can skip a lot more and still qualify by any standard.

239 -- Jay Mariotti, Chicago Sun Times: You know about him. He does focus his attention on baseball in the summer, but that's it.

He does go to the games. Never in teh clubhouse, but it's in the press box where Hawk Harrelson yells at him.
   87. Snowboy Posted: December 11, 2007 at 07:00 AM (#2641082)
I was remiss earlier to not begin by loudly applauding Maury Brown for publishing the names of the BBWAA members. That is a landmark list? Kudos also to Bob Dutton for providing it.

I have a question which only a true insider/historian can answer: what is the process for removal of credentials? How common is that, how often does it happen?

I don't really expect an answer (although I'd love one, and with all the surprises of the last week, you never know!). But here's my train of thought...should we get freaked out by all the names on the list, since only a select few of them get to vote for the MVP/ROTY/etc, and only those who've been a member for 10 years get a HOF vote? The member list looks like a triangle, optically, but maybe by 2017 the 2007 class will be less than 88 members? Maybe the 1987 class also had 88 members?

Also, as we comb the list for "I've never heard of him!" victims, we need to consider what I will call the legacy members. Just because (example) Bob Hertzel isn't familiar to you, maybe he once was a daily writer? (Hence I ask the question, how often are credentials revoked?)
   88. CFiJ Posted: December 11, 2007 at 07:03 AM (#2641083)
DJF, I'm pretty certain the Japanese guys on your list are the poor souls who were dispatched to Chicago to follow Tadahito Iguchi's every move. I would guess they're legit, in that they had to go to every game, every practice, and any event Iguchi showed up at while he was in Chicago.
   89. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: December 11, 2007 at 07:04 AM (#2641085)
You need to get your nose out of the stat books a little more Rob. :-)

And on to the stat sites, right Sean? ;)

By region:

1. NYC 138
2. LA/Ana 65
3. Bos 48
4. Bal/DC 47
5. Chi 43
6. SF/Oak 38
7. StL 35
8. Phil 30
9t. Tor/Mon 28
9t. Sea 28
11. Mia 27
12. Cin 25
13. Det 23
14. TBD 22
15. MIN 21
16. Ari 20
17. Cle 19
18t. KC 17
18t. Col 17
18t. Dal 17
18t. Atl 17
22. SD 15
23. Pit 13
24t. Hou 12
24t. Mil 12
None 7 (6 have none listed and there's no #607, goes from 606 to 608)

Total is off by one. Drat.

If there's time to write it, I gotta a THT column in this.

Prediction: Bagwell doesn't have a chance. Biggio may have to wait a few years.
   90. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: December 11, 2007 at 07:34 AM (#2641095)
My favorites from the list:

31 Pierre Ladouceur La Presse Toronto
38 Serge Touchette Journal de Montreal Toronto
62 Kelly Bradham Nevada Mail Kansas City
166 Pat Caputo Oakland Press Detroit
181 Gary Childs Peoria Journal Star St. Louis
508 John Canzano Portland Oregonian Seattle
518 John Hunt Portland Oregonian Seattle
741 Kirk Wessler Peoria Journal Star St. Louis
   91. Maury Brown Posted: December 11, 2007 at 07:43 AM (#2641101)
FYI...

I just updated the BBWAA badge list to include all the BBWAA Chapter Chairpersons as based off of the 2007 MLB Media Information Directory.

I found this to be interesting to look through. Those that may throw water on some members due to some thought of smaller newspaper publication should take note. That assumption (for whatever strange reason), would be erroneous (see bottom of the Badge List).
   92. TomH Posted: December 11, 2007 at 01:08 PM (#2641148)
It's 1950. Jackie has won an MVP award. Is baseball fully integrated.? No way. Are there big problems? You bet. But is there progress? Sure nuf.

We're better off today than we were last month. Glass is half full, gang. Glad to see Dutton's interview even if things aren't exactly as I'd like to see them.
   93. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 11, 2007 at 01:24 PM (#2641152)
the beat writers they got a tough job. and i wouldn't want it. so i respect the hard work they do even if i don't agree with what they say.

most of the writers who really irritate/offend me are columnists - marriotti, plaschke, lupica, simers, that red sox guy who thinks he's funny but he ain't...
I want to echo what BBC says here -- and I think it's generally true. People around here don't generally criticize the poor unfortunate souls who have to follow the <strike>Devil</strike> Rays around for 162 games and write a different story on how the team lost that day. It's the columnists, who don't have such a tough job, who are supposed to be providing the behind-the-scenes stuff and the analysis, who bear the brunt of the criticism.
   94. jmp Posted: December 11, 2007 at 01:29 PM (#2641154)
Snowboy, I'm fairly sure the BBWAA list only includes active members of the group. Any previous member that had been a member for 10 years gets a gold card that gives them the HoF vote, but are no longer eligible to vote for the annual awards. I think Maury mentioned that he was looking into getting that list, if available.
   95. Bug Selig Posted: December 11, 2007 at 01:57 PM (#2641166)
Pat Caputo is an absolute gem. 0% style. 100% substance.
   96. Maury Brown Posted: December 11, 2007 at 02:26 PM (#2641194)
I think Maury mentioned that he was looking into getting that list, if available.
Yeah, I'm not holding my breath. Bob isn't making it available, and you can bet the HOF isn't going to be as forthcoming as Dutton was. I'm of the belief that you always ask, but as I said... Not hopeful.
   97. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 11, 2007 at 02:35 PM (#2641203)
"EDIT: I see Vlad beat me to it on most of these guys."

Yeah, but you did a better job, so at worst that's a push.

"Also, I likewise cringe at a lot of the comments that come out of here about the writers."

I admit that I was more blunt here in anonymity than I would've been to some guys' faces, but I stand by everything I said. The colleague who worked with Cook, for example, said that during their time together Cook often didn't know very basic things about the sports he was covering, like which player played for which team, or which team was located in which city. If you make your living by writing about sports, there's just no excuse for that crap.

I do think that there are a lot more negative comments directed at the bad writers than there are positive comments directed at the good ones, which is kind of a shame. In the interest of parity: Dejan and Perrotto are very good beat guys, and Smizik, while not perfect, has made some real and substantial improvements in his writing and analysis over the last few years (not a trivial thing for a guy who's been doing this as long as he has). Oh, and Brian O'Neill is a valuable resource within the area baseball discourse, even if a lot of the things he writes about are kind of old hat to the saber-friendly types here.

"I think they did a good job picking the Pittsburgh people - the only ones whose names I don't recognize are the people who write for papers in Greensburg and Morgantown."

Yeah, and there aren't any really terrible omissions, either. The only other people I really associate with Pirates writing are Mark Madden (who I'm just as glad isn't in the club), Steve Novotney (who's probably not eligible between his past affiliation with the Pirate Report and his current absence from a newspaper staff), and Brian O'Neill (who hasn't had his gig as Stats Geek all that long).

"Wait a minute, it says 'Greensburg Tribune Review' instead of 'Pittsburgh Tribune Review'. There are no members listed for the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. And all 5 'Greensburgh Tribune Review' members were added in the last five years. That's odd."

That's the old name of the paper (and they're still better at covering things around Greensburg than on the other end of the city). The company changed it to try and snag a greater share of the Pittsburgh market, kind of like the Not-Really-In Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
   98. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 11, 2007 at 02:38 PM (#2641210)
It was a fine thing for Dutton to talk to Maury, and of course we can't paint all BBWAA members with a broad brush. But come on, Dutton provided absolutely no defense at all for the snub, other than the 40-game thing, which he pulled out of thin air. In my mind, his inability to come up with a better explanation than that serves as additional evidence that it was, indeed, a snub.

Yes, it looks like the BBWAA is moving forward in a lot of ways, and Dutton might well be providing progressive leadership. But they are a long, long way from being taken seriously by me. Individual members are judged on their own merits or lack thereof.
   99. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 11, 2007 at 02:41 PM (#2641212)
Wok will be happy to see that there are some Japanese papers accepted by the New York chapter.

Agreed. Some of them are very good. I hope when they take their first Taiwanese writer, they'll take an Internet guy like Louis Chao or our very own Sardonic before they take one of those idiots sent by the papers here. (The Media here is run by a bunch of 25 year old pretty girls who just got out of college, they have no idea how the World works, and they're trying to tell me that so and so is a better pitcher than so and so. No thanks.)

Also, the 40-game standard is mine. I didn’t mean to imply it as an association threshold. It isn’t. As I [mentioned] previously, there is no specific standard.

I LIKE the attendance standard. 40 Games is perfectly reasonable.

However, if you're going to have an attendance record, ENFORCE it. Keep a record of the attendance records of ALL members. If a member doesn't hit the 40 game mark for 2 years in a row, or doesn't attend say 100 games in 3 years, sorry, he/she is gone. SEE YA.

Also, I'd like a content-related standard as well. If you're a writer and you don't at least produce say 15 baseball articles a year, sorry, see ya. You're taking somebody else's spot, somebody probably cares more than the current member and would put out more baseball content then the existing member.

(Doesn't apply to editors obviously, but the editors have to prove they 'Edit' baseball articles or something.)
   100. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 11, 2007 at 02:44 PM (#2641219)
As an example of the kind of columns Cook turns out, behold: "It's very simple: Simon is a steal".

This one is also quite entertaining in retrospect, particularly when read alongside this one.
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