FAUSTIAN BARGAINS? Blogs affiliated with YES either toned down their criticisms of the Rafael Soriano signing after the fact or were punished with the removal of their YES toolbar according to a report by Moshe Mandel at The Yankee U. I read both Pinstriped Bible and River Ave. Blues. They are great blogs with talented and passionate writers. They were not censored, censured is more like it.
To be censorship, there has to be a direct suppression of content. This wasn't.
However the incident illustrates the grander problem with sports journalism and why independent voices with some clout are necessary for proper coverage. The broadcast networks and cable networks that cover teams or sports strike bargains to gain the rights to air those teams or sports. In doing so, they become partners with the leagues or teams. The relationship between NESN and the Red Sox, YES and the Yankees and SNY with the Mets is more overt as the clubs own their networks. The boundary between the club's temptation to shape coverage and the networks decision to alter coverage to shine the most favorable light on the team is indistinguishable. Mandel notes this:
[O]ne of two things took place:
1) Ownership asked YES to block the criticism from being affiliated with YES in any way, and YES complied,
2) YES took preemptive action because they knew that ownership would be upset if they saw the criticism linked to from the YES website.
At what point does the desire to maintain access interfere with the ability to be an honest broker of information? One need only examine the fawning entertainment press to understand the awfulness of that outcome.no comments
PATRIOTS FANS PLIGHT Like Lyford, I skipped the Conference championships on Sunday last. And despite the close locale of the coming Super Bowl, I'll pay far too little attention to the NFL's grand spectacle. The problem with Jets-Steelers is that there is no rooting interest and therefore little motivation to watch. Sure, the Jets lost, but they lost to America's Most Wanted quarterback, which leaves a mighty bad taste in one's mouth. Not quite as horrible the accolades the Jets ladled on the Ben, but still. On the NFC side the Packers are the least objectionable choice, but still, the two teams that ended New England's quest for title number one makes for minimal interest.
Here's to baseball!no comments
"WAS THIS YOUR BIG SPLASH TONY?" Hitler's dramatic re-enactment of Arte Moreno's reaction to the Vernon Wells deal.no comments
The network refuses to comment on claims it has rejected an ad, so all you've got is a company with an immense self-interest in lying about it. You know, I'm not even going to link to the news website I'm talking about, because the answer to the question in the post title is that the news site is whoring for traffic.
UPDATE: Original title suggested the ads were watchable, that's been fixed. Sorry for the misleading title.no comments
LATE TO THE PARTY BUT STILL COOL
Bill discovers the thoroughfare where Antiques Roadshow meets This Week in Baseball (Insert obligatory "How 'bout that!")
Jonah Keri (you'll need to provide your own 80s hair rock soundtrack as it is a published piece and not a podcast) tackles The Manny Effect over at FanGraphs.
Speaking of Manny, Mark Smith at IIATMS has something to say about how stacked the AL East is.
Rany Jazayerli applauds Gil Meche.
Brock Cohen continues the search for the intangible, unquantifiable GRIT.no comments
THE FUTURE OF HOME VIDEO First we have Leo Grin's assessment that streaming is Hollywood's fitful future:
Once physical DVDs become a non-issue, studios will buckle one by one and offer their new releases to the major streaming companies, just as the record companies all eventually conceded to Apple’s 99 cents per individual song plan. The day new movies are able to be streamed directly to your TV via Netflix on the same day they are available at Redbox kiosks, that’s the end of that brick-and-mortar (metal-and-plastic?) business model.
Grin's betting on Netflix as the king of that digital world, but Investor's Business Daily reminds us no model is guaranteed success and that today's Netflix earnings represent a crucial moment for the presumptive leader.
Investors have been big believers. Netflix’s Oct. 20 earnings report came up a penny short. Shares still jumped 13% the next day. Shares also shot up a month later as Netflix announced a streaming-only service.
But some on Wall Street worry that Netflix may be overhyped. The $7.99 streaming-only subscription price will attract lots of customers, but Netflix is paying more for content. It may also ultimately face higher fees from ISPs to stream movies and TV shows.
Netflix is blazing a trail, but the road ahead remains rocky.no comments
JEFF PEARLMAN MAKES A CLASSIC BLUNDER. Third on the list following "never get into a land war in Asia" and "never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line," Jeff Pearlman feeds the trolls. Expect many more tweets like this over the next forever, Jeff.
RELATED: Why one should never feed the trolls.
ALSO RELATED: Always punch up "[One] should ignore the specific attack and respond with a reaffirmation of their actual value. And shooting the messenger just looks petty! Keep this in mind the next time you see an angry response to a blogger or analyst!"
UPDATE: Craig Calcaterra explains how to cultivate a positive environment in the comments section:
[A] responsible blogger has to take responsibility for the stuff above the page break and below it, and not cultivate an an environment where the readers feel there’s a distance between themselves and the writer. A distance which provides the commenter cover, he thinks, to leave all sense of civility at the door.
How do you do it? By commenting yourself. By responding to reader criticisms in the thread. By acknowledging when you’re wrong and making edits to the original post showing that your product and logic is as transparent as can be and that you’re listening. When someone comes into a comment thread with sharp elbows, you make a point to engage them. Positively if possible, but by arguing back if necessary. And of course, you do so by making it crystal clear that your comment threads have standards. Mine: no racial, misogynistic, homophobic or otherwise bigoted baloney. Fight hard for your points but don’t attack others. No spamming. That’s about it.no comments
IGNORED FOR 39 YEARS the recommendation made to President Nixon nearly four decades ago seems closer than ever to being enacted. "The modern debate over the decriminalization of drugs in the United States can be traced to the spring of 1972. That March, a commission appointed by President Nixon to review America’s drug policy and led by former Pennsylvania governor Richard P. Shafer made a shocking recommendation: Marijuana should be decriminalized. Simple possession, Shafer’s commission recommended, should no longer be an offense and the “casual distribution” of small amounts of pot for no, or little, remuneration should be decriminalized as well. Nixon was livid. Even before the report was published, the president vowed not to loosen penalties for pot possession." Nixon, easily the most reviled politician of the last half sentury, set the tone for a flawed and failed drug policy that has destroyed more lives than it has saved. It's time to decriminalize marijuana.no comments
Has any team, anywhere, at any time in history, ever messed up a valued prospect as badly as the Yankees have Joba Chamberlain?
But that assumes he's messed up. Here's what I wrote at Hardball Talk:
Small sample size caveats apply. In August and September, Chamberlain made 28 appearances, had a 2.36 ERA and held opponents to a .200/.245/.350 batting line, facing 106 batters. Does that say he’s fine? Of course not. But the notion that Chamberlain is a busted commodity overstates things by a damn sight. Small samples size caveats off. He’s 25 years old, has pitched 353.1 innings in the major leagues and owns an ERA of 3.77 and a K/9 of 9.2. Exactly how is it that we regard him as being messed up badly?
The only way the Yankees will truly mess up with regards to Chamberlain is if they listen to their fans and media types who insist he can't make it in the Bronx and sell him off for fifty cents on the dollar.no comments
PROPERLY FRAMING THE MATT GARZA TRADE Sky Kalkman nails it.The reason the Rays win this trade every time is because with Jeremy Hellickson available to replace Garza, the Rays are trading a surplus commodity. The acquisition of young, cheap talent while shedding salary without sacrificing performance gives the Rays an obvious win, even if Garza is the Cubs ace in 2011. It's much like the Pirates trade of Nate McLouth that allowed them to play Andrew McCutchen full time.no comments
STILL STUNNED THIS ISN'T MORE COMMONLY UNDERSTOOD Memo to Orioles: Signing relievers to multi-year deals is badno comments
HEATH BELL WANTS TO STAY IN SAN DIEGO Another coup for the quality of life argument. But the decision to retain Bell is one that the Padres can hardly justify unless Bell takes a huge hometown discount. Small-market clubs can ill-afford overpaying for relievers. And I don't expect Jed Hoyer to make the same mistake that Dan O'Dowd did with Huston Street.no comments
OCCAM'S RAZOR STRIKES AGAIN Everyone has an explanation, but few see the reason. Andrew Luck's decision to stay at Stanford is easier to understand when one considers that there is no guarantee that their will be an NFL season in 2011. With a defined benefit (room and board and a top-notch education) that is irrevocable, why would Luck depart for the probability of being locked out without the ability to either play football and thus maintain his skills or continue his education - Stanford is pricey after all? The smart play is staying in school.no comments
THOMAS SOWELL: ON CONSTITUTIONAL LITERALISM "But if law is not a body of rules, what is it? A set of arbitrary fiats by judges imposing their own vision of "the needs of the times"? Or a set of arbitrary regulations stealthily emerging from within the bowels of a bureaucracy?" Or what is so important that it needs to be preserved, protected and defended if it is subject to revision by judicial fiat rather than legitimate legislative amendment.no comments