I’ve added a few more comments from people regarding yesterday’s letters posted on the web site. I’ve marshaled all of the responses onto another page, where the discussion continues.
To wrap things up, I’ll turn to Howard Bryant once again, as he responds to many of the points brought out on the above page:
It strikes me that one of the central disconnects in this whole discussion is in how it is framed, that the very phrase "CBC" infuriates because it is not wholly accurate, and thus has become part of the media schtick. Using that abbreviation gets the discussion off on the wrong foot, usually irreparably.
As I've said in the past, I AGREE with the James argument that the closer should be used best when the game is on the line. What has always perplexed me is that everyone knows that the save statistic is essentially meaningless, yet executives have allowed it to raise the salaries of relief pitchers for the past 15 years. But the Red Sox first attempted this new strategy without a proven closer at all. The theory is solid. The execution was not.
Should people apologize for being wrong on the bullpen? Of course, not. They *weren't* wrong, because the current 'pen is very different in personnel and in use than when the season began. The club remained flexible in trying to solve the problem, and it appears that they have.
That's what good organizations are supposed to do.
As for the rest of the discussion about our business, I've found it very interesting being back in Boston how much time is spent on the personalities of the writers, a phenomenon very different than in other cities I've worked.
Someone asked how I feel about a writer calling someone a "piece of junk." I don't advocate that, and I wouldn't do it.
Another person suggested that sports reporters aren't "serious" journalists, for those folks are covering the "real world." I don't think that is particularly fair.
When I worked in Oakland, I stopped covering murders b/c it hurt being in a woman's house minutes after her eight-year old was killed in crossfire, asking for quotes.
I covered technology for the San Jose Mercury News, responsible for networking and explaining the ramifications of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which was daunting and I think made me a better reporter.
I switched to sports not because I couldn't handle it, or wanted to watch Jason Giambi stand around in his underwear, but because I wanted to write a book on the history between black players and the Red Sox, and being in the game was the only way to reach those sources. Are there people in the biz who cover sports 'cause they like being around this lifestyle? Absolutely yes. Are there writers who don't have the chops to cover complex subjects, so they cover sports? Yes, to that. But people cover different subjects for different reasons. Bob Hohler at the Globe covered the Clinton White House. My favorite assignment was covering the video game industry, because of the wonderfully creative people, and because playing games for a living was *fun!* And when someone died, you could hit the reset button and start again.
Sorry for the long post!
I want to thank Howard for taking the time to respond both to the original piece and to the reactions that it spawned. He brought up a couple things that I was going to mention, namely that he himself had covered news other than sports, and that Bob Hohler came over from the news side of the business. Hohler certainly didn’t make the change because he couldn’t handle what he was doing.
I think this exchange has been productive. I wish other media people would take the time to attempt to explain some of their viewpoints, and help the readers to understand where they’re coming from on different issues. A couple writers in the past had agreed to answer a few questions for this site, in which I hoped to let them do just that. They never answered the questions I sent to them. Others have offered to do a chat type discussion here, and I may take them up on their offers.