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Friday, November 23, 2007

Crashburn Alley: Conlin’s Losing Numbers

I can’t help it, I love Bill Conlin. 

Conlin’s delicate E-mail answers to Bill B’s questions…

Know what, pal? Bash this. . .Tell your bloggers, my career against theirs. . .

and the gagaroostic second ...

Don’t you need to contact the 30 electors–including the two Mets beat writers–who failed to give write a single first place vote instead of a commentator who does not vote for the awards. You’re a Mets fan and you had your little bubble of arrogance and smugness burst. Your team choked big time, an epic gagaroo. At least the 1964 Phillies had an excuse–they were probably no more than the Cardinals, Reds, Braves, Dodgers and Giants that year. One question: When a Mets team chokes in a forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a gagging sound? Next time bring more to the table than wishful fan numbers that bear no semblance to reality. I wonder how it feels to be the Phillies #####.

Repoz Posted: November 23, 2007 at 01:03 PM | 106 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: phillies, sabermetrics

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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 23, 2007 at 01:39 PM (#2623671)
If Bill B. had been a disrespectful clod to Conlin, I could have understood the latter's tone. But Bill wasn't a disrespectful clod, so Conlin looks very immature and petty. His reading comprehension skills needs some work, too.

BTW, who is this Write guy and what team does he play on?
   2. aberg Posted: November 23, 2007 at 02:24 PM (#2623690)
Sometimes I wonder why I choose to live in Philadelphia. They only way this attitude could ever be worthwhile is if he somehow agreed to do a "smack-off to the death" with Howard Eskin. They could call each other bud sarcastically and roll their eyes until one of them dies out of sheer disdain for his fans. The larger problem is that this persona is pervasive enough that many people have adopted it as an out-and-out personality. Makes trips to the gym somewhat uncomfortable.
   3. wj1958 Posted: November 23, 2007 at 02:33 PM (#2623694)
Isn't it great that a cocky, ignorant overated Philly writer can still be blowing hard after being swept out of the playoffs in the first round?
   4. Repoz Posted: November 23, 2007 at 02:45 PM (#2623700)
Tell your bloggers, my career against theirs. . .

Bill musta read the "one chair" comments from the other thread...
   5. Textbook Editor Posted: November 23, 2007 at 02:52 PM (#2623701)
Time for the fat clown to retire, me thinks. The DN will never fire him, unfortunately. Like I said in the other thread, we just have to be patient and wait for these clowns to retire/die off...
   6. PerroX Posted: November 23, 2007 at 03:18 PM (#2623723)
Get rid of Conlin and another "Philly guy" will just take his place.

Besides, why should he respect some Poindexter with a blog?
   7. Starring RMc as Bradley Scotchman Posted: November 23, 2007 at 03:40 PM (#2623734)
Sometimes I wonder why I choose to live in Philadelphia.

It's always sunny?
   8. PerroX Posted: November 23, 2007 at 03:42 PM (#2623737)
It's all that brotherly love.
   9. Crashburn Alley Posted: November 23, 2007 at 04:13 PM (#2623748)
Check my article again on Crashburn Alley for Conlin's latest (third) response.

"The only positive thing I can think of about Hitler’s time on earth–I’m sure he would have eliminated all bloggers.[...]"
   10. Big Ed Posted: November 23, 2007 at 04:23 PM (#2623756)
From what I've seen it's always a mistake to mention the internet, listservs, or blogs in emails to these guys. Blogs are particularly threatening.

The fact is that the newspaper industry is in decline from internet competition. These columnists are almighty working journalists. Charlie Steiner used to refer to bloggers as just some guys typing in their pajamas.

Conlin can retire when he wants, although TV appearances have puffed up his ego. But nothing brings out a virulent reaction like mentioning the internet.

I sometimes wonder why newspapers publish writers' email addresses. There should be an ombudsman at the paper to which a recipient of some of this nasty stuff could send this material -- demonstrating how this channel is being abused.
   11. Crashburn Alley Posted: November 23, 2007 at 04:28 PM (#2623761)
I may, in fact, write the Daily News about the behavior of Conlin and his colleague Marcus Hayes (linked in my article on Crashburn Alley).

I sent Conlin an E-mail which reads thusly:

Mr. Conlin,

May I ask why you have this despotic obsession with anti-bloggerism? What have we done to upset you so?

Granted, you are much more of a journalist than I may ever be, but that does not mean I do not bring up good points or understand baseball as well as you do, even if we see things from different perspectives.

I don't think it's too much to ask for you to have an open mind when it comes to this stuff, and I know you can do it. You used to be anti-Blyleven for the Hall of Fame, but you eventually saw the case so many of us in the Sabermetric community saw: how underrated Blyleven was.

As a writer in Philadelphia, I really can't fault you for championing Rollins. Had I been born a tinge more self-gratifying, I probably would be doing the same thing. All I ask of you and anyone else who has a different view on who should have won the NL MVP award is to approach the debate with an open mind. I gave you some statistics that make the case for Wright, I feel, very strongly. If you don't see the situation the way I do, that's fine, and you have every right to have a differing opinion on the subject.

But because I, or anyone else, do not have a degree in journalism doesn't mean we are somehow beneath you, or our opinions are less valid.

As I mentioned, it's rare that a journalist takes time out of his day to respond to his readers, and for that I thank you. I just suggest practicing a more mature way of responding. Suggesting that bloggers are a minority worthy of cultural cleansing might not be the best road to take. Such behavior is probably why you aren't viewed favorably among bloggers. Treat them with respect, and they will return the favor.

You are not done learning, Mr. Conlin. As much as you think you may know about baseball, you can still learn more. And, fancy this, you may be able to learn something from us bloggers. The same works in reverse -- we may be able to learn something from you.

I appreciate the time you've taken to respond to my E-mails and I hope a more mature discourse can take place between yourself and bloggers like me. We're not out to get you! When you attack us, though, we will defend ourselves.

Thanks,

Bill B. (Crashburn Alley)
   12. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 23, 2007 at 04:29 PM (#2623763)
"The only positive thing I can think of about Hitler’s time on earth–I’m sure he would have eliminated all bloggers.[...]"


But allow Conlin to work? Is that something necessarily to be proud of during that epoch?

I understand the fear newspapers have regarding the Internet, but still...
   13. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 23, 2007 at 04:32 PM (#2623765)
I may, in fact, write the Daily News about the behavior of Conlin and his colleague Marcus Hayes (linked in my article on Crashburn Alley).


I don't blame you, though they probably would get raises for their antics instead.
   14. philly Posted: November 23, 2007 at 04:45 PM (#2623770)
I don't think it's too much to ask for you to have an open mind when it comes to this stuff, and I know you can do it. You used to be anti-Blyleven for the Hall of Fame, but you eventually saw the case so many of us in the Sabermetric community saw: how underrated Blyleven was.


I think you just cost Blyleven a HoF vote.
   15. Crashburn Alley Posted: November 23, 2007 at 04:46 PM (#2623771)
I think you're right. Sorry, Bert!

Note to self: Say to old fogeys the exact opposite of what you actually believe.

"Hey, Conlin... Bobby Abreu really sucks, doesn't he?"
   16. Van Lingle Mungo Jerry Posted: November 23, 2007 at 05:20 PM (#2623789)
UltraMega, I urge you to follow through with your plan to write the Daily News and forward your e-mail exchange with Conlin. Private correspondence though it may have been, his final missive crossed the border from cantankerous ignorance to offensive. If I were his employer, I would find it unacceptable. Better yet, is there a rival paper of any significance in Philly? Perhaps they'd like the "scoop" of exposing a well-known columnist for their competitor as longing for the Hitlerian extermination of thousands of people for doing nothing more than exercising their right to free speech.
   17. PerroX Posted: November 23, 2007 at 05:34 PM (#2623794)
You can write the Daily News.

The result?

You get a form letter and Conlin never hears about it.

Someone actually responds and speaks to Conlin and it makes no difference.

Conlin is actually instructed to act differently and he ignores all future email from readers.

Generally, people who complain, even legitimately, are seen as cranks.
   18. Lassus Posted: November 23, 2007 at 06:38 PM (#2623826)
It's all that brotherly love.


Sun Ra had relocated to Germantown at one point, and over the course of his years in Philadelphia came up with a few of his own nicknames for the city. One was the whimsical "City of Brotherly Shove", and when in a less light-hearted mood, "the worst place in America."

Yeah, yeah, I know there are plenty of good people and positive qualities to the city (biggest collection of Rodin outside Paris!) but when I was in Bangkok, I overheard two german tourists talking: "Yah, Philadelphia not very nice." The city now has an international reputation.
   19. Rough Carrigan Posted: November 23, 2007 at 07:16 PM (#2623839)
So . . . Conlin's pretty big on Phillip K. Dick's "The Man in the High Castle"?
   20. aberg Posted: November 23, 2007 at 07:19 PM (#2623844)
It is immediately apparent that a great number of philadelphians are extremely angry, as if they have been singled out and slighted by a glibaliEd economy changing the city's manufacturing identity. At least that is a contemporary excuse; I find it hard to imagine the populace was happier,
more compassionate, or better educated in the last century any time.
   21. aberg Posted: November 23, 2007 at 07:21 PM (#2623848)
deleted double post
   22. PerroX Posted: November 23, 2007 at 08:04 PM (#2623876)
Philly never recovered from being ex- US capital... and being passed by NYC as the most prestigious American city.

Or maybe it was that Elton John song.
   23. phredbird Posted: November 23, 2007 at 09:23 PM (#2623916)
ultrameg, i encourage you to send this exchange to conlin's superiors ... not a lot will happen to him, i imagine, but this really should go up the ladder. i'd especially make sure you complain not just to the sports section editor (he won't have as much stroke at the paper as conlin), but to the managing editor for news and the editor in chief. those are two people who could do something about conlin if they wanted to.
   24. mgl Posted: November 23, 2007 at 09:31 PM (#2623920)
Conlin is apparently an ass, but no one makes Hitler comments like that unless there is something seriously wrong with them. If he were a major figure, that comment would be on the news and he would be fired or called on to be fired. That comment was really over the top to say the least.
   25. TDF, trained monkey Posted: November 23, 2007 at 09:44 PM (#2623926)
Wanna hit him where it would really hurt? Send a copy of the emails to ESPN's ombudsman. Think they'd want to be associated with a guy making those Hitler comments?
   26. Lassus Posted: November 23, 2007 at 09:48 PM (#2623929)
His boorish jerkiness was bad enough, but thru all this I only saw those Hitler comments just now. That guy deserves a public-outcry asswhupping.

Because I guess he thinks all bloggers are dirty jews, blacks, and romany beggars?
   27. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 23, 2007 at 10:04 PM (#2623938)
I sometimes wonder why newspapers publish writers' email addresses.

------------------------

You can write the Daily News.

The result?

You get a form letter and Conlin never hears about it.

Someone actually responds and speaks to Conlin and it makes no difference.

Conlin is actually instructed to act differently and he ignores all future email from readers.

Generally, people who complain, even legitimately, are seen as cranks.


This is a bit of a two way street. I've probably sent about ten e-mail letters to the NY Times and the Washington Post, and maybe a couple of dozen to various columnists or reporters in response to a specific story or op-ed piece.

In response, I've had maybe 25% of the letters to the various editors published in the paper itself, and the rest just got the form letter.

But of the ones I've sent to individual writers, there's a lot more variety. Most of them just give you the impersonal form letter (too many letters to reply to, etc.---which makes you wonder why they even bother to publish these e-mail addresses in the first place), but a fair minority actually wind up going back and forth a few times.

The one time I really got into it was when I sent a letter to the Post ombudsman, complaining that their automobile columnist was little than a shill for the automobile industry, on the grounds that he seems to be a big fan of SUVs and souped up performance cars, and constantly dismisses the smaller cars that actually get you from place to place without busting your budget.

The ombudsman passed the letter on, and man, did I ever get an inbox full. We went back and forth a good dozen times. Lots of silly "elitism" charges on his part, and hot denials of "shilling." (He took the word a lot more literally than I'd intended it.) But even though we didn't change each other's opinions, it was still a bit refreshing to find a mainstream writer who took a reader's opinion seriously enough to take (a lot) of time to respond.

All of which is to say that although Conlin acted like a jerk in his e-mails, at least he took the time to reply. That counts as a positive in my book, since most writers don't even read your first sentence before hitting the auto-reply or the delete key. The real problem is that once a writer gets "branded," he's essentially immune from criticism unless he does something really egregious like race baiting.
   28. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: November 23, 2007 at 10:16 PM (#2623946)
my career against theirs
Conlin also threw that out as his last retort to me in my "Rollins MVP" exchange. When I wrote back that 1) I don't write well enough to be a professional writer so I didn't want his job 2) I am actually doing well, thank you, and may or may not make more than him --
I did not hear again from him.
There was a question earlier about another major newspaper in Philly and there is -- the Inquirer. Alas, both papers are owned by the same company.
Conlin is great, in his mind, because he learned at the feet of Gene Mauch. He's been coasting for a long time.
   29. rr Posted: November 23, 2007 at 10:39 PM (#2623953)
None of this surprises me except the Hitler/Pamphleteer thing. I would think Conlin's bosses might reprimand him for that.
   30. caspian88 Posted: November 23, 2007 at 10:43 PM (#2623955)
Apparently Conlin isn't all that great a student of history, either, as Hitler did get rid of pamphleteers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophie_Scholl
   31. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: November 23, 2007 at 10:44 PM (#2623957)
unless he does something really egregious like race baiting.

Or endorsing genocide?
   32. Repoz Posted: November 23, 2007 at 11:30 PM (#2623974)
   33. GregD Posted: November 23, 2007 at 11:58 PM (#2623977)
I actually think Conlin writes the column essentially for free. If I remember correctly, he's been officially retired for several years. If so, his value to the DN (cash-strapped, desperately in need of content, sports-heavy) is so high that he could be executing bloggers and still be kept on. The Inquirer--the main Philly daily--is owned by the same people who own the DN, and typically ignores the DN (while the DN has been given rein to mock the Inqwaster.)
   34. AndrewJ Posted: November 23, 2007 at 11:59 PM (#2623980)
Does Philadelphia have one of those free alternative weekly newspapers that like nothing more than attacking the mainstream newspapers?

Repoz linked to the Philadelphia Weekly in #33. There's also the City Paper.
   35. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 24, 2007 at 12:29 AM (#2623988)
Considering how much bandwidth is used by bloggers and the rest of us calling mainstream sportswriters every variant of idiot, including inventing new ones, it's no surprise many of the scribes share this POV about the breed. But none of that excuses Conlin's exchanges here. It's disgusting.
   36. Repoz Posted: November 24, 2007 at 12:29 AM (#2623989)
   37. haven Posted: November 24, 2007 at 01:16 AM (#2624000)
I don't understand the point of trying to egg on Conlin. Or being surprised that Conlin lashed out when being egged on......

Want to demonize Conlin for his rhetoric. Fine. But IMO nobody comes of well in this exchange. Nobody.
   38. depletion Posted: November 24, 2007 at 01:27 AM (#2624005)
Bill Conlin is sure he is getting more and more "ink" because of this exchange. Maybe someday he'll realize there are still plenty of people who lived through Hitler, are quite old, and whom he just gave an unneccessary kick in the shins.
   39. Lassus Posted: November 24, 2007 at 02:00 AM (#2624016)
haven - how exactly was anything Conlin dished out deserved?
   40. haven Posted: November 24, 2007 at 02:10 AM (#2624021)
haven - how exactly was anything Conlin dished out deserved?

When did I say it was deserved? Just that his lashing out was far from surprising regardless of whether the words he chose when responding were inapropriate or not.... And they were inapropriate.

Doesn't make those attacking him in the first place come off any better IMO.
   41. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: November 24, 2007 at 02:11 AM (#2624022)
I didn't think the words to which he was responding were particularly inappropriate. They were, in fact, fairly gentle. Conlin just exploded.
   42. Lassus Posted: November 24, 2007 at 02:15 AM (#2624024)
Yeah, that is more what I meant. I've been searching for the "attack".
   43. haven Posted: November 24, 2007 at 02:15 AM (#2624025)
I didn't think the words to which he was responding were particularly inappropriate.

Perhaps because you agreed with the words to which he was responding. While he vehemently disagreed with those words.
   44. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: November 24, 2007 at 02:24 AM (#2624027)
Disagreement is not inappropriate. There's nothing ad hominem or even particularly condescending in his email. I just don't see anything Conlin said as a proportionate response, at least in a vacuum.

Of course, it's not in a vacuum. Conlin's ire was provoked not by tone or by attack, but by simple content, and by identity. He obviously loathes the statistics that he doesn't want to take time to understand, and loathes the people who he perceives as threatening the hegemony of himself and people like him. That's an understandable, if not particularly enlightened, way to respond to changing times and mores.
   45. haven Posted: November 24, 2007 at 02:28 AM (#2624028)
There's nothing ad hominem or even particularly condescending in his email.

I guess this is where I disagree. While I didn't particularly disagree with the point of the email/post, I actually did think it/they were worded to get a rise out of Conlin. Which was what I did not think was necessary.
   46. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 24, 2007 at 02:57 AM (#2624040)
Haven,

I thought Bill's letter to Conlin was pretty reasonable, though if he truly linked to FireJoeMorgan in his e-mail, that's a different story. That could definitely be seen as designed to get the rise out of Bill.

I just look at it like bloggers behind sites such as FJM and Drunk Jays Fan (if that's typical of the content there) really can't be claming any high ground in this battle.
   47. Crashburn Alley Posted: November 24, 2007 at 03:13 AM (#2624043)
As the author of the E-mails sent to Conlin, I can tell you that I had no intention of "getting a rise" out of him. I read the article online, saw the link to his E-mail address, and wrote the E-mail. I had no intentions of ever putting anything said between us on my blog until he acted like a petulant child.

He has clarified his "Hitler comment," by the way. Make of it what you will...

I think I’ll let the words I wrote after the death of my dear friend and colleague, the former local Associated Press Bureau Chief Ralph Bernstein and the nearly half century relationship my wife and I have had with Ralph and his family through good times and bad represent me against any contrived and baseless attempt to slime me as an anti-Semite. I was a speaker at Ralph’s Memorial service. Quite obviously, the Hitler line was used in a satiric response to what has turned into a concerted assault on my Jimmy Rollins column and on my career. It was quite obviously used in a personal e-mail. I did not publish the insulting things said about me. As editor of the Temple University News in 1960-61, I received death threats from the White Citizens Council after writing an editorial denouncing Gerald L. K. Smith and his anti-black and anti-Semitic hate-mongering newspaper “The Cross and the Flag.” I was one of the most outspoken critics of Marge Schott’s blatant anti-Semitism to the point some of my columns had to be toned down. Ditto my stand on Al Campanis, a friend, by the way, and Jimmy The Greek Snyder. I also had a long and close relationship with the late, great Dick Schaap, who wrote about my impact on The Sports Reporters at length in his autobiography, “Flashing Before My Eyes.” I am heartened that both a clear conscience and the First Amendment will be at my side.
   48. Rough Carrigan Posted: November 24, 2007 at 03:38 AM (#2624049)
#28, Andy.
I sent an email to Howard Bryant at espn.com complaining about factual misrepresentations in an article he wrote. We exchanged a couple emails after that. He was pretty reasonable overall. His real argument wasn't quite what the article had said but we ended on politely agreeing to disagree. He was an adult about the whole thing.
   49. Lassus Posted: November 24, 2007 at 03:41 AM (#2624050)
Oy.
   50. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: November 24, 2007 at 03:46 AM (#2624053)
Maybe it's a generational thing. Knowing that I was emailing a blogger, fairly likely to post my words someplace, and knowing that I was in an adversarial communication, I would not have used the Hitler line. I think that Conlin's words (comparing bloggers to the pamphleteers of yore is fair game, and may yield some fruit) would have stood fine in its absence, and someone who makes his living with the pen must know that to mention that name is to take any conversation into a completely different area.

I'm reading into it a bit here, but IMO Conlin thinks that individual numbers mean absolutely nothing when it comes to MVP voting; that an MVP ballot could/should be submitted without any scrutinizing of the numbers of the individual players.

Does this lead to a horrible bias toward big-market or hometown stars? Yep. Does it sometimes come down to a contest to see which candidate is most famous? Yes. But it's the only logic that I can try to apply to this situation.
   51. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 24, 2007 at 04:15 AM (#2624063)
#28, Andy.
I sent an email to Howard Bryant at espn.com complaining about factual misrepresentations in an article he wrote. We exchanged a couple emails after that. He was pretty reasonable overall. His real argument wasn't quite what the article had said but we ended on politely agreeing to disagree. He was an adult about the whole thing.


Good to hear. Bryant's one of my favorite mainstream writers, and his Shut Out is the best take on the Yawkey era Red Sox that I've seen to date.

I'm also glad that UltraMega posted that "Hitler comment" clarification from Conlin, and the content of Conlin's note doesn't surprise me. This reminds me a bit of that "scandal" that arose a few weeks ago when Tim Page of the Washington Post fired off a nasty e-mail to Marion Barry after getting some unsolicited e-mails. Page rightly apologized for both the content of the e-mail and the fact that he'd used his Post e-mail address to send it instead of his personal one, but it was still one of those classic "gotcha" (or "Sharpton") moments where a public mountain was made out of what was essentially a private molehill. In both of these cases you can acknowledge the stupidity / crudity / insensitivity of the comments but at the same time not try to blow it up into something way beyond what it really was.

P.S. to the above: I'm using "Sharpton moment" in the generic sense here. I have no idea whether Sharpton actually became involved in this particular Page/Barry incident.
   52. tyler Posted: November 24, 2007 at 04:32 AM (#2624070)
Godwin's Law

As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.
   53. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 24, 2007 at 04:39 AM (#2624072)
As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.

We all know about Godwin's Law (which has been posted on various threads here maybe 50 or 100 times), but in this case the Hitler comparison was one of the starting points of the thread, and introduced by Conlin. It wasn't something that anyone here brought up.
   54. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: November 24, 2007 at 04:45 AM (#2624073)
Who, exactly, labeled Conlin as an anti-semite? I just figured that he used a comparison that he didn't think through.

There must be some Mets fan somewhere just bawling his eyes out over the semi-literate Conlin "electors" volley. And if he's particularly sensitive about the Holocaust (as opposed to those of us who read about it but weren't personally effected by it), he'd be even worse.

Thinking about Andy's #52, if Conlin had used a personal, not professional email account, would that have made a difference? I think it would have, but I'm not really sure why I think that.
   55. vortex of dissipation Posted: November 24, 2007 at 04:46 AM (#2624074)
53. tyler Posted: November 23, 2007 at 11:32 PM (#2624070)

Godwin's Law

As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.


This is true. I post a lot on the History Channel World War Two board, and when talking about fighter aircraft, people always bring up the Fw 190 and Bf 109.
   56. tyler Posted: November 24, 2007 at 04:56 AM (#2624077)
Andy - not intended to apply to anyone on this thread, but to the original Conlin emails.

Vortex - clearly, the planes are evil since Hitler was evil.
   57. mgl Posted: November 24, 2007 at 08:42 AM (#2624093)
People say stupid, offensive, insensitive, racist, etc. things all the time without consciously being racist or intending to hurt or be offensive to a particular person or group. Because someone makes a "Hitler analogy" in some bizzare, unthnking and totally inappropriate manner, which Conlin did, does not make him a racist or anti-Semite or whatever. He might be and might not be any of those things. Of course, almost anyone who was ever caught saying something ostensibly racist or prejudicial in public ends up vehemently denying that they are racist/prejudiced, and they always cite a littany of things they have done or said in their life that proves that they are not racist or prejudiced.

But none of that excuses what they said. What Conlin said was pretty gross in my opinion and I frankly cannot fathom how any normal person would even come up with an analogy like that. To me, whether Conlin is anti-Semitic or not, and he probably is not, he is clearly an ignorant ass, and his Hitler comment was merely an example of him being an ass and being ignorant.

If he wants to be a mench about it, no need to tell everyone about all of his Jewish friends and how much he has fought for civil rights. He merely needs to apologize for the Hitler comment and that would be the end of that, although it would not change the fact, as evidenced by his e-mails and columns in general, that he is indeed an ass.
   58. rfloh Posted: November 24, 2007 at 11:32 AM (#2624099)
#48

Linking to FJM in your email to him was probably unwise.
   59. Crashburn Alley Posted: November 24, 2007 at 02:12 PM (#2624123)
You may have a valid point, rfloh, but I just don't see it. Perhaps you could explain in further detail how it was unwise? Thanks.

Also, I doubt he clicked it... he barely read what I wrote. I don't think he read what FJM said about him.
   60. The importance of being Ernest Riles Posted: November 24, 2007 at 02:24 PM (#2624128)
Linking to FJM in your email to him was probably unwise.

Is there ever a time when linking to FJM is wise?
   61. rfloh Posted: November 24, 2007 at 02:38 PM (#2624129)
#60

While some may find FJM's style interesting, others do not.

Comments like this, from the FJM link, do not demonstrate a mastery of rhetoric:

Since you're really close-minded to new ideas, I'm going to be super ageist and assume you're very, very old -- that you reek of embalming fluid and Centrum Silver, that you give out buckwheat pennies at Halloween -- so I'll speak up: YOU CAN'T COMPARE COUNTING STATS ACROSS ERAS AND BALLPARKS.


And just when you think Bill Conlin is done -- just when you think he can't top the inanity, uninformeditude, and just plain willful ignorance he's exhibited in the first 95% of the article, he slams you with the hanging chad reference. Well played, Conlin. You may not be knowledgeable about baseball, but you're a hell of a comedy writer. You've just made a believer out of me.


The league OPS in 1958 (adjusted for Banks' home ballpark) was .752. This year it was .794 (adjusted for Rollins' home park). If you insist on getting really dumb, the batting average in 1958 was .267, compared to .279 this year. I feel dirty just writing that, but maybe, just maybe, it will help Bill understand what he's doing wrong. PEOPLE SCORED MORE RUNS THIS YEAR.

Banks OPS+ 156
Rollins OPS+ 118

This is stupid.


Also, referring to Rollins as "Flying Fireplug" and Hanley as "Shitty Assplug", which the FJM link did, really served no purpose.
   62. Crashburn Alley Posted: November 24, 2007 at 02:49 PM (#2624136)
I kind of see what you're getting at, but isn't it worse to let them continue to bash Conlin behind his back?

I don't know about you, but I'd prefer someone criticize me knowing I'm watching/reading/listening as it is not cowardly. My intent by linking to FJM wasn't to incite anything, but you do have a point that it probably wouldn't have served any positive purposes.
   63. Russ Posted: November 24, 2007 at 03:00 PM (#2624142)
Comments like this, from the FJM link, do not demonstrate a mastery of rhetoric:


Bingo... the idea of blogging, IMO, is good (the more opinions you allow, the number of good opinions allowed increases, regardless of the rate). However, the American "culture of the masses" has greatly eroded the grace and precision of rhetoric... of course, this erosion was started by the newspapers and television media themselves, so someone like Conlin doesn't really have a right to go on the attack for that reason. I just don't know how you put the genie back in the bottle at this point. Can the American education system reform itself to cope with the modern age where information is (basically) free and skills like analysis, interpretation, and argument are what give someone real power?
   64. rfloh Posted: November 24, 2007 at 03:12 PM (#2624146)
#63

Perhaps, but FJM does not use subtle rhetoric. Their "schtick" appears to be poking fun at people.

Comments like "I'm going to be super ageist and assume you're very, very old -- that you reek of embalming fluid and Centrum Silver, that you give out buckwheat pennies at Halloween" and "the inanity, uninformeditude, and just plain willful ignorance he's exhibited in the first 95% of the article," are going to irritate (some) people.
   65. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: November 24, 2007 at 03:14 PM (#2624147)
I'm also glad that UltraMega posted that "Hitler comment" clarification from Conlin, and the content of Conlin's note doesn't surprise me. This reminds me a bit of that "scandal" that arose a few weeks ago when Tim Page of the Washington Post fired off a nasty e-mail to Marion Barry after getting some unsolicited e-mails. Page rightly apologized for both the content of the e-mail and the fact that he'd used his Post e-mail address to send it instead of his personal one, but it was still one of those classic "gotcha" (or "Sharpton") moments where a public mountain was made out of what was essentially a private molehill. In both of these cases you can acknowledge the stupidity / crudity / insensitivity of the comments but at the same time not try to blow it up into something way beyond what it really was.

Are you saying that Conlin's hitler comment was just a "private molehill"? I don't agree with that at all. It wasn't antisemitic, but it was incredible ignorant and offensive. Conlin has to be pretty disturbed to say that it would have been good if Hitler had gotten rid of all bloggers.
   66. PerroX Posted: November 24, 2007 at 04:06 PM (#2624167)
The response to Conlin only helps him, IMO -- a lot of immature, high-schoolish castigation and name-calling from hobbyists who have no bosses or anybody else to answer to if they take the low road. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain by making, as Andy says, a mountain out of a molehill.

And there's a huge difference between private correspondence and published content. Even if the original email didn't intend to rile Conlin, THE PUBLISHED RESPONSE can only be read as an effort of revenge to a rude email.

And idiots who fire back insensitive comments in response to insensitive comments are hypocrites of the worst rank.

The reactions are more disgusting than Conlin's flippant, insensitive, PRIVATE response.
   67. The importance of being Ernest Riles Posted: November 24, 2007 at 04:06 PM (#2624168)
rfloh: agree. It would be one thing if the site's schtick was to objectively show that certain authors/commentators are blatantly wrong. But instead, seem to think that a subscription to BPro makes them expert analysts and use that as an excuse to be mean-spirited. Totally lame.
   68. rfloh Posted: November 24, 2007 at 04:14 PM (#2624172)
#67

Oh come on. Conlin's Hitler snark was over the top. Let's say that the means of correspondence was not electronic. Let's say that ultramegaok had written a letter to Conlin and Conlin responded with a Hitler joke in actual hardcopy. Would Conlin have done that?

#68

Eh, all I'm saying is that FJM isn't suitable if you're trying to persuade someone (a non "BP-head") who disagrees with you.

<edit: I'm not a fan of FJM, and actually frequently find myself defending JM>
   69. Crashburn Alley Posted: November 24, 2007 at 04:25 PM (#2624181)
And there's a huge difference between private correspondence and published content. Even if the original email didn't intend to rile Conlin, THE PUBLISHED RESPONSE can only be read as an effort of revenge to a rude email.


A) I don't know if you intended to imply this, but I do have the legal right to post our E-mail correspondence. I had no intent on making it public until he acted boorishly.

B) My publishing it wasn't intended to be revenge. I'm not a vengeful person. I thought it was humorous more than anything. I wasn't offended or angry. I had no idea that the situation would burst into what it has.
   70. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: November 24, 2007 at 04:31 PM (#2624187)
The reactions are more disgusting than Conlin's flippant, insensitive, PRIVATE response.

Oh please.
   71. PerroX Posted: November 24, 2007 at 04:55 PM (#2624197)
I do have the legal right to post our E-mail correspondence.

Just like Conlin has the legal right to respond to you however he sees fit.

My publishing it wasn't intended to be revenge....I had no intent on making it public until he acted boorishly.

So you didn't publich it to get back at him for his boorish behavior?

I'm not a vengeful person. I thought it was humorous more than anything. I wasn't offended or angry. I had no idea that the situation would burst into what it has.

Here's what you blogged:

I’d just like to point out the snippet of his article which deserves much ire.

Contradicts all four statements.
   72. PerroX Posted: November 24, 2007 at 05:01 PM (#2624198)
Hypocrisy bothers me more than insensitive comments.

Over the top? That's a bad thing? Is FJM not over the top? Many of the comments on this board? The reaction to Conlin's Hitler reference?

Ultimately, where I defend Conlin, is the fact that he's a man -- a boorish man, an insensitve man, an ignorant man when it comes to sabermetrics -- and his opponents are not. Most of you have nothing on the line in attacking Conlin, some have noteriety to gain if they can get Conlin, and the rest of the petty moralizing is itself an act of resentment.

It's pretty easy to see why bloggers have earned Conlin's contempt.
   73. PerroX Posted: November 24, 2007 at 05:04 PM (#2624202)
#72 pulled the "ire" line out of context, but it still applies -- you set out with "ire" and sought a measure of revenge in your interactions with Conlin.

All fun and games until someone gets hurt.
   74. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: November 24, 2007 at 05:34 PM (#2624215)
I kind of see what you're getting at, but isn't it worse to let them continue to bash Conlin behind his back?

It's the Internet. Nothing public is behind anyone's back. If FJM is comfortable with the particulars reading their criticism, I don't have a problem with it either. But linking to it in your email is a tacit approval of their content.

Big companies don't allow external links - for a long time ESPN.com didn't, and neither did Salon.com. This is for legal reasons; they don't want to be responsible for the content of external links. If little Tommy is reading a Neyer column, the corporate overlords don't want an external link there which could lead to necro-bestiality, even if it didn't lead to that when the column was posted.
   75. Big Ed Posted: November 24, 2007 at 06:47 PM (#2624272)
The reactions are more disgusting than Conlin's flippant, insensitive, PRIVATE response.

Conlin better not be using the theory that his response was private. Let me mention an incident from years back.

Curt Schilling materialized as a participant in a Philadelphia Phillies listserv, back when he was with the team. The interaction was meaningful for the people involved. Then someone passed on some frank email remarks of Curt's, critical of Phillies management, to Bill Conlin. Who of course published them, embarrassing Curt -- who certainly regarded it as privileged communication.
   76. Dan Szymborski Posted: November 24, 2007 at 09:57 PM (#2624348)

A) I don't know if you intended to imply this, but I do have the legal right to post our E-mail correspondence. I had no intent on making it public until he acted boorishly.


This actually can be a bit of a tricky thing - I don't think it has been tried in court (and the lawyers can correct me if I'm wrong), but Bill Conlin would automatically get copyright protection for an e-mail he sent you. But the fact that you were using it as a basis for commentary and critique, not just re-posting it muddies the waters.
   77. Lassus Posted: November 24, 2007 at 10:22 PM (#2624361)
Lawyers? What lawyers?
   78. Crashburn Alley Posted: November 25, 2007 at 01:03 AM (#2624405)
Just like Conlin has the legal right to respond to you however he sees fit.


I never said he didn't.

So you didn't publich it to get back at him for his boorish behavior?


No. It had nothing to do with him, really... I initially posted it for laughs.

Contradicts all four statements.


Perhaps ire was a bad word choice on my part.

Bill Conlin would automatically get copyright protection for an e-mail he sent you. But the fact that you were using it as a basis for commentary and critique, not just re-posting it muddies the waters.


Once he clicks "Send," he forfeits those rights.
   79. PerroX Posted: November 25, 2007 at 02:24 AM (#2624428)
Ultra --

Obviously, I don't like your tactics or arguments, but at least stand behind them. Maybe you are an innocent, but helping to create a controversy with a public figure is a too-typical tactic of the beginning blogger trying to make a mark.
   80. Lassus Posted: November 25, 2007 at 02:44 AM (#2624435)
Alex, you're going off the rails here. He forced Conlin to say all that stuff? Give me a break.
   81. Crashburn Alley Posted: November 25, 2007 at 11:32 AM (#2624547)
Alex, all I ask is that you at least attempt to get the whole story instead of filling in the question marks with a guessing game. If I took myself less seriously, I would have been offended by your continuous questioning of my integrity.

I don't know if you're familiar with someone named Luke Halpert, but he used to write for MetsBlog and he was one of the first people I told about Conlin's comments, and he told me to post it to my blog because I'd get a lot of hits, and I told him that I wasn't looking for attention. I only cite that because I'd prefer not to be known as a rabble-rouser when that clearly wasn't my intention (I can't blame you for thinking otherwise, as you and I have had, presumably, no contact before).

As for me being a "beginner blogger," I've been posting my writing to the Internet for about five years. However, for about three of those years, my audience was essentially limited to people I knew. It was hosted on a free account on Tripod and I had my writing on there mostly so I could practice my web design coding simultaneously. I purchased the CrashburnAlley.com domain in August of this year, so my writing is a bit more publicized since I have built up a rapport with other bloggers, which I believe has been quite a valuable experience. I'm a "beginner" in the sense that I'm new to having a larger audience. But I've never looked to "hit it big" or gain any kind of notoriety, I simply like to write and to have good-spirited debates.

Again, I say this to you, Alex, with all due respect.
   82. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: November 25, 2007 at 12:09 PM (#2624548)
and he told me to post it to my blog because I'd get a lot of hits, and I told him that I wasn't looking for attention.

What did he say to change your mind? Obviously, it got posted.

I think 100% courtesy on your part would have been to email Conlin one last time after all of that and say, "I just wanted to let you know that after some deliberation, I've decided to post our email conversation. If you'd like to make an additional comment or clarification, I'd be glad to post that as well, unedited."

Not that I think this was a necessary step by any means; I support your decision to post it.
   83. Crashburn Alley Posted: November 25, 2007 at 01:17 PM (#2624555)
As I mentioned, I posted it more for laughs than anything. Kind of a "look at this idiot" kind of thing, not a call to arms among bloggers.

He didn't change my mind... I didn't think much would become of it.

Also, I balk at showing courtesy to someone who told me that I shouldn't have freedom of speech and that I was worthy of Hitlerizing.
   84. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: November 25, 2007 at 01:26 PM (#2624559)
Also, I balk at showing courtesy to someone who told me that I shouldn't have freedom of speech and that I was worthy of Hitlerizing.

That's your right, and I'm fine with it. But I think it would have immunized you a bit from the feeling that you "suborned" this tirade from Conlin in a "trap".

I disagree with Alex (and others) on that point from my reading of your stuff. But I wouldn't deny that their view makes some sense.
   85. Crashburn Alley Posted: November 25, 2007 at 01:55 PM (#2624566)
I think I showed him more than enough courtesy in my E-mails. I always referred to him as Mr. Conlin and I interspersed my message with niceties like "Happy Thanksgiving."

Given the way I was being spoken to, I was very courteous.

If people want to question my motives, I have no problem with that, as long as they're not stating their assumptions as fact. Someone at Lookout Landing was making this mistake.

TVerik, I do agree that if I had been completely and utterly professional, I would have little to no questioning of my motives, but you can always make the right decisions when you play Monday morning quarterback. If I had to do it over again, I'd leave out the citations of FJM and BBTF, and I'd state (not ask for permission) that I'd be posting our E-mail correspondence publicly.

Personally, I don't see the difference between telling him and not telling him in terms of consequences. There's nothing he can do to prevent it. Well, I guess he could have offered me $100 and I wouldn't have posted them. :)

Thanks for the critique. I can't improve without it.
   86. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 25, 2007 at 02:47 PM (#2624581)
If I had to do it over again, I'd leave out the citations of FJM and BBTF, and I'd state (not ask for permission) that I'd be posting our E-mail correspondence publicly.

That does address the two most important critiques, and it's good to see you've learned something from your experience. FJM is a sometimes semi-amusing blog that we can enjoy within a BTF context, but most outsiders are never going to be able to get past its insulting and snarky tone. And publishing private e-mails without prior notification is not only rude, but once it's become known that you've done that and are unrepentent about it, good luck in getting any public figure to respond to anything you might write in the future. There's a very good reason that most bloggers don't need either Hitler or Conlin to consign themselves to permanent oblivion.
   87. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: November 25, 2007 at 02:59 PM (#2624586)
Bill, reading your notes to Conlin again, I was struck by how frontloaded they were. If we assume that the Con read only the first part of each (ending with the Wright reference in the first one and the shot at "trait of those who work at the Daily News" in the second, then I understand his feeling a bit more. If both notes had ended right there, it's my opinion that they're far more confrontational.

Are we missing stuff on your blog? It looks like the exhange went:

you
Conlin
you
Conlin
Conlin
Conlin

If there were other "you" notes in between the Conlin ones (which seems likely to me), I think you should publish them in that order. Any omission represents an opportunity for unfairness on your part. I'm NOT accusing you of unfairness, but if I were Conlin and the exchange couldn't be private, I'd want the whole trail out there for everyone to see.
   88. Crashburn Alley Posted: November 25, 2007 at 04:05 PM (#2624616)
Good point. I'll edit it now.

http://crashburnalley.com/?p=47
   89. The Bones McCoy of THT Posted: November 25, 2007 at 04:27 PM (#2624628)
For what it's worth, when I'm replying to a reader I do so under the assumption that it may well become public. I understand that and act accordingly--not so much as regards my tone but I generally make sure the spelling and grammar are passable.

Besides, being civil to even the most ornery reader generally results in kick-ass feedback both in the column under consideration as well as future ones. Once folks know they'll be treated with respect they won't hesitate to pass along thoughtful points.

There are some smart mofos out there and if they volunteer to add to may personal database, who am I to turn it down? I have my grade 12 diploma and that's it; I wouldn't be able to survive as a writer without being allowed to pick smarter folks' brains. Knowledge about many aspects of the game means outlets will pay for what I write--so from my point-of-view it's like they're offering me free money.

Heck, I look at my writing before I found this place compared to now and my current stuff is much less embarrassing.

Best Regards

John
   90. villainx Posted: November 25, 2007 at 04:36 PM (#2624632)
Personally, I would take down the whole thing. I understand you have your right to do so, but if it's for no greater purpose than to show how silly Conlin behaved, what you are airing is essentially private matters.

Then again, it might be what your blog does, and you stated implicitly that you aren't beneath/above publishing private correspondence. Conlin was slightly forewarned. Even though I think it would be better if you made your intentions more explicit.
   91. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: November 25, 2007 at 04:54 PM (#2624642)
I disagree with your call, villainx. I think it's way too late; you can't just take it down now. To publish or not to publish originally is the only choice, IMO.
   92. Crashburn Alley Posted: November 25, 2007 at 04:57 PM (#2624644)
Well, it's too late now to take it down. Pretty much everyone on the Internet has seen it, ha ha.

I didn't do too much on my blog besides opine mostly on the Phillies and MLB. I have the odd NFL or political post, as well. It's not like I have a habit of E-mailing journalists and trying to agitate them, though I do have a history with another Daily News columnist, Marcus Hayes, whom I never spoke with directly.
   93. PerroX Posted: November 25, 2007 at 05:52 PM (#2624673)
Ultra --

I give you credit for your measured response to my criticisms, and you do not seem to take yourself too seriously.

As for the 'beginner' comment, it goes to what I see as a certain innocence on your part.

For instance, would this be a polite email?

---

Dear Mr. Conlin,

Isn't it about time you retire? The grind of writing a daily column is apparently killing you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sincerely,

A. Perros

---

It's difficult, I've got my own failings in this regard, but try to be aware of your ulterior motives and that a knife slipped in with a smile can get a harsher response than outright hostile confrontation.

Good luck in your future endeavors.
   94. PerroX Posted: November 25, 2007 at 06:15 PM (#2624690)
He forced Conlin to say all that stuff? Give me a break.

I used the hypothetical above because I recently experienced an analogy at work.

One young ambitious employee has recently been goading our supervisor with questions about when she will retire. It could be an innocent question, but the employee has a sharp tongue and the underlying message is, "I'll be happy to take your place, the sooner, the better", or something to that effect. The supervisor didn't respond to the provocation, but was well aware of the intent.

A week later, another young employee who is quite the innocent and with no ill intent asked the sup the same question -- "When are you going to retire?"

The response was, \"#### you, I'll retire when I damn well please, I'll be here long after you've moved on!" followed by the silent treatment the rest of the day.

Should a supervisor be fired for that response? Who owed who an apology? Should anyone get a reprimand? Or are such exchanges to be occasionally expected working in tight quarters in stressful circumstances?

I like direct confrontation, with a few expletives thrown in when necessary to get your point across. If you pull the cat's tail and it scratches you, do you go running to mama, or punish the cat, or condemn it's response in escalating the confrontation? (While Ultra was the catalyst, the responses condemning Conlin bother me more)

To get respect, you have to give it. The bloggers, no matter how polite their emails, are as a whole disrespecting Conlin (even if deservedly so). You can't expect someone to be nice to you under those circumstances, not in the real world.

If you're going to dish it, you've got to be able to take it.

If I don't like Conlin or his response, don't go crying to his editors or go moralizing about the evils of Hitler references, just poke more fun at him, demonstrate the ridiculousness of his response, be smarter -- respond as an adult, not with appeals to some higher authority.
   95. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: November 25, 2007 at 06:20 PM (#2624694)
The supe owes the Imp an apology, and if she doesn't give in, she should be reprimanded. No one ought to lose their job unless this is a pattern. She should "rise above it" - the silent treatment over a whole day alone tells me that she's in the wrong. She should feel badly about the situation right now.
   96. PerroX Posted: November 25, 2007 at 06:40 PM (#2624705)
In reality, the employee apologized to the supervisor. The supervisor did feel bad that she jumped the employee, but perhaps she should apologize as well, but why is it okay to insult someone politely but defend yourself impolitely?

And in a workplace, what's more intolerable, someone getting in your face when you cross their line, or someone getting back at you covertly when you cross the line, but continue to smile in your face?

I've caught it verbally from the supervisor above, but give me ten of her to the nice one who stabbed me in the dark, who plays by the rules above the table while kicking, grabbing and twisting under it.

Ultimately, in the workplace, what counts is who is getting the job done. You'll accept people with a rough personality if they're pulling weight.
   97. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 25, 2007 at 06:42 PM (#2624707)
Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.

- M. Corleone
   98. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: November 25, 2007 at 06:48 PM (#2624713)
If they were exact coworkers, I'd agree with you, Alex. But assuming that the employee reports to this very supervisor, there are a host of other issues. Is there any way, in reality or in perception, that the employee's next promotion or near miss will be effected by this? Will this prevent others from asking the supervisor a question, no matter what the subject? Did others witness this, and feel that the supe lost control of the situation and of her emotions?
   99. PerroX Posted: November 25, 2007 at 07:32 PM (#2624734)
In my workplace, most of the time the supervisor of the day is not your direct supervisor. They have power over you that day, and the power to write you up if inclined.

The supervisor in question is my direct supervisor. She's let me have it before, and at the time I thought unfairly so. But I dealt with the situation one-on-one, didn't involve anyone else, learned what sparked the response, learned how to be more aware of how my actions affected others, etc., etc. I have a great work relationship with the supervisor to this day, probably the best I've had with any supervisor -- because she pulls no punches. I know exactly where I stand at any time. She gives me more-than-fair evaluations, and helps me to navigate the minefield of workplace politics.

Sure, there need to be rules and standards of behavior, but workplace reality is much more complicated than those can adequately cover. The real underlying problem is paternalism, when employees are treated and expected to behave as children and not adults. Work should be about responsibility and accountability for one's actions.

The more real the workplace, the more human, the better. The more political, the more power relationships are hidden and embedded, the worse.

YMMV.
   100. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: November 25, 2007 at 07:36 PM (#2624736)
A supervisor should not allow the perception (let alone the reality) of favoritism or the opposite.

A supervisor should not discourage open communications from anyone by reacting badly to a question.

A supervisor should not let people think that he has ever lost complete control of a situation like that.

"Straight shooting" is to be admired in corporate America. But it isn't a good excuse for violation of one of my three "rules".
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