PI column and hate mail o’ the day

DMZ · January 8, 2005 at 1:00 am · Filed Under Off-topic ranting 

Sooooo… No, I haven’t been linking to the PI pieces I’ve been writing (here’s the last one on the bullpen). This is going to sound weird, but it’s been a lot of stuff I’ve written about here, but mostly I’m working out how to write for them, so as astute readers have noticed, it’s not a voice I’m comfortable with, and there’s been a lot of editing (side note: if you’ve got ideas, comments, except to mention Mateo didn’t make the cut, please — email me, I’d love to hear about how to make that format work better). I’m sort of used to working with Jonah @ BP, where the conversations for my column went–
Me: “So I’m thinking about writing about x, y, or z.”
Jonah: “Ooooh, Y. Definately. And talk about this other thing.”
Me: “Heeey, yeah.”

Then I’d see if I could crank something out. And sometimes Jonah would reject it, or we’d go back and forth and finally get to something good. That took years. I’m sort of.. trying to force it.

But anyway, to my point about not linking. It’s also sort of a trial thing, and I didn’t want our readership causing the PI mail servers to catch fire and fall over with email. I mean, I love everyone, but fired up readers got the M’s to apologize, in public, for something, which is like the mountain bowing to the wind. Anyway, so this new audience… duuuude. Check this out.

Generally, USSM email runs like this:
“Hey, I totally disagreed with you guys on this. I don’t think you considered these things, and this other thing could be equally important…”
“I didn’t understand this.”
“Can you write about this?”

So from the PI, what’s happened is that there’s been two kinds of feedback. There’s people who want to say something in one of those three ways, and then there’s been a group of people who sooooooooooooooooo hated the article they hunted down my BP address, or sent email to the USSM address, and it runs like —

I’m sorry one of your dim witted reporters, Derek Zumsteg suggested JJ Putz is a good reliever without exceptional stuff. The last time I checked, a guy 6’5” 250 that threw 91-96, with a snappy slider was considered having exceptional stuff. Or maybe you think “Every Day Eddie” can thumb balls to homeplate at 88 mph has exceptional stuff. Besides that you listed JJ Putz as the 2005 setup man. Seems odd considering he doesn’t have “exceptional stuff”. No team throws a rag arm out there for the 7th and 8th inning. Or maybe your used to the high school team you sat the bench for and when they needed a rag arm to finish the game of a blow out they brought you in. Listen it’s quite evident from your article you know absolutely nothing about baseball, bullpens, how they’re managed, or what good stuff is made of. So I suggest you go back to your playstation, put in MVP 2004, create yourself on the Mariners, and give yourself a 105 mph fastball. Now that’s exceptional stuff.

I don’t even know what to say to these guys.

The last bit is always what gets me. There’s a form for hate mail, and it goes
[opening insult]
[long diatrabe, sensible or otherwise]
[closing insult that suggests alternate activities]

I got it sometimes at BP, particularly in discussing lighting rod topics. But everytime I write someplace with a much larger audience, it’s as if there were a thousand people sitting around, waiting with that clever ending insult, waiting for someone to write something they could email them about.

I wonder, having spent the last day or so thinking about tone (see Dave’s post on the BA roundtable thing), whether the tone is inevitable. The immediate reaction of anyone faced with such blasting hostility is to strike back out of reflex, dig in, and look for allies. I’ve written here more than anywhere about my attempt to evolve from the radical, every article contains two barrells of idiot-toasting, red-hot 100% argumentation buckshot into something better. I won’t get back into that.

But every time I get mail like this, my gut reaction is “Why do I bother? Why not swing the shining straight razor of sarcasm? Call the manager a moron, the GM a bum.”

I don’t agree with this guy, and I wish he hadn’t emailed me, but really — I sent emails like that in 1994. I want to argue with him, I want to explain how many games I go to, how many times I’ve seen Putz pitch up close, even since the fastball speed increase of 2003.

But what I really want is for the USSM readership to clone itself, say… 20 times. Or more. And then go take over M’s fandom. If you can do it by Thursday, when the next one comes out, pizza’s on me at the 2005 feed.



38 Responses to “PI column and hate mail o’ the day”

  1. AK1984 on January 8th, 2005 1:11 am

    Look, my advice — which probably isn’t worth that much — is this: don’t take everything to heart. I am a writer, too, amazingly enough (I am the sports journalist and columnist at the community college I attend) and I get a lot of flack. It is very easy to take one’s work to heart, especially, when a lot of effort has been put in to produce that given work; however, a stoic and distant attitude must be taken in regards to one’s emotions when it concerns such an issue. While it is remarkably easy to get upset, discouraged, and pissed off — amongst a multitude of other emotions — it is nevertheless more productive to jus’ let it slide, which is the best way to deal with incidents like the one you are encountering. Hopefully, more people will appreciate what you do, in comparison to those of whom who dislike it; nonetheless, it must be expected that not everyone will like — with some hating it — but making everyone enjoy your work is not your main objective, for garnering readership and informing the consumer is your true goal. In the end, all the matters is one thing—Good Times!

  2. Christopher Michael on January 8th, 2005 1:36 am

    The more people you reach the more e-mail you’re going to get. Sadly some people just don’t know how to comunicate very well. I’m sure you’ll find some people that will dog you every time you write an article for the PI. At least they’re reading.

  3. Adam S on January 8th, 2005 2:06 am

    Ouch. Sadly the 90% of the people who agree with you or at least find your insights interesting aren’t going to write. It’s those who disagree and unfortunately many of them are bozos like the guy you quoted.

    There’s no way to respond to a mail filled with personal attacks like this, which is unfortunate because everything between “Derek Zumsteg” and “8th inning” seems like a reasonable argument. It doesn’t matter because the guy isn’t looking for an explanation, he’s looking for a fight with name calling and hair pulling.

  4. John in L.A. on January 8th, 2005 2:06 am

    For what it’s worth… I like it when you link your articles. I don’t read the newspapers, so when they run I miss them unless you link them.

    But your column is one that I like to read for the same reasons I read this site: the realization that the writer knows more about the subject than I do. That’s not a feeling you get a lot from newspapers these days. There is much more about inside info and quotes then there is good analysis.

    So fight the good fight and realize that your readership is not used to what you provide. But they will grow with you. Seriously… you will educate people. It’s a tremendous thing. Imagine a fan base that actually knew as much as the people on here. You are helping to create that.

    I’m a writer as well, though in an entirely different field. And the criticism – taking it, learning from it, ignoring it- is unworldly. Most people I know couldn’t handle it. It’s like having job evaluations everyday by thousands of different people. It’s not just about having a thick skin… it’s also about learning to distinguish between what can help you and what you need to ignore. The Putz guy? Yeah, ignore him.

    At any rate… thanks much for the articles. All of you.

  5. aaronc on January 8th, 2005 2:58 am

    I guess gthe issue is this; folks looking for USS Mariner or something similar are either going to be looking for it, or if they come across it accidentally catch on fairly quickly to the fact that this is not a blog written and patronized by casual, unobservant fans. But the PI, Times, etc. has huge readership, and there are a lot of folks out there who have bizarrely distrutful attitudes towards the media. (Sports an otherwise; a quick glane at the “Letters to the Editor” section of any newspaper should make that apparent fairly quickly.) The fact is, there’s plenty of room for disagreement; I’ve found myself in disagreement with plenty of opinions presented in this forum more than a few times. But this type of person (outlined in the post) is common among the general populace, and they will inevitably pop up now and then. It’s one of the things that sucks ab

  6. Bela Txadux on January 8th, 2005 5:36 am

    Yo, Derek the Z., re: email insulters . . . Their comments say everything about them and little about you: this is the point to begin with and end with in valuing hate speech for what it’s worth, i.e. cockroach feces. Someone sending venomail, or the equivalent kind of posts, _really doesn’t care JACK about what you actually said_, and indeed you, Derek Z. are as nothing to the guy: he’s looking for a place to dump, and hoping that’s your braincase. Step back; take a quick look in the mental mirror; doesn’t look like the guy he thinks he’s writing to, does it? His insults are misaddressed. Now, if you choose to _then_ engage with some actual grain of substance in the emotional excreta, that is up to you, and may on occasion be either reasonable, productive, or both. Usually neither, but. But the hate isn’t personal at base, strange as that may seem: it’s what the guy’s got so it’s what he’s got to give. And that’s pretty damn _sad_ when you think on it, but you don’t need to buy it from him so that he has less of it himself.

    Regarding your piece at the PI, there are several points regarding clearer construction which might be of use that I’ll make if I find time. To send email, I prefer to get on my own (non-company) machine which is at home, and anyway I’m out of time tonight. If article construction comments are acceptable here, drop a post, and I’ll just pop off en blog instead. It’s nothing that would be demeaning, just basic issues or rhetorical and narrative organization.

  7. DG on January 8th, 2005 8:45 am

    Man DZ, That one is brutal, and without a leg to stand on. over at ITP, I get hate mail, but nobody that took so much time to prove their idiocy beyond a reasonable doubt.

    I’m still laughing at it.

    Ya get yer know-it-alls, jerks, idiots and then sometimes you get your regular pansy that hides behind an email address or a screen name and lashes out at those above him/her on the ladder of life.

    Though I tend to disagree with you on half of your points, both here at USS Mariner and the PI pieces, I surely don’t feel the need to make an arse of myself by saying J.J. Putz has exceptional stuff, or implying that you STILL play MLB 2004 when 2005 is coming out in a matter of week.


    Go Zum,


  8. DG on January 8th, 2005 8:46 am

    One more thing Zum,

    Can I call ya Zum?

    It just flew off the keyboard at me so…

  9. urchman on January 8th, 2005 8:47 am

    I agree with comment #3. You’re educating people who aren’t used to reading this type of analysis. I remember several years ago when I first discovered Rob Neyer’s columns on espn.com, and at first, I was really confused and had no idea what he was talking about. I stuck with it, and learned alot, and eventually moved on to reading BP & blogs like this one. Even if you don’t use stats any more advanced than OPS in your PI columns, you’re still talking about baseball from a different perspective than most people are used to. I was raised thinking about baseball as reported by the local media, and it’s taken me awhile to adopt a more sabermetric viewpoint. Give your readership time, and ignore the bozos like the guy who sent you that email.

  10. john on January 8th, 2005 8:48 am

    Its because sports readers have become accustomed to hearing overly banal commentary from Seattle beat writers. Anything that challenges their misconceptions sends them spinning. Prose has sadly become more important than substance. Maybe they would be more satisfied with Fairlyesc comments like “the team that scores more runs wins.” I find it refreshing to pick up the the Thursday PI and read something that has some meat to it.

  11. Rey Quinones on January 8th, 2005 9:10 am

    All I can say is that when you stick your neck out into the general population, you are bound to get this kind of idiotic feedback. Just keep in mind that for every bonehead that insists on contacting you just so they can try and put you down, there are two people that either enjoyed what you wrote or at least learned something.

    I guess what I’m saying is…don’t stop what you are doing. You’re a great writer.

  12. David J Corcoran on January 8th, 2005 9:17 am

    Do you really want 20 David J Corcorans running around?

  13. BB on January 8th, 2005 10:17 am

    Just as we expect the sports players, movie starts, and politicians to rise high above the insulting fans even if (or especially if) the insulting fan has a kernel of truth in the insult, you need to ignore the small percent of your readers that write with this tone. Sure it may seem like they the majority because they make so much noise. They are not the majority.

    While inserting this T. Roosevelt quote may be incredibly ironic, since he knocks critics, in this case think of yourself as the doer of deeds (the writer of opinions) and the insulting hate mailers as your critics….
    “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

    Keep up the good work; and learn from them that caustic, insulting criticism really isn’t a great piece of work.

  14. PT on January 8th, 2005 10:56 am

    The person who sent you that email seems to base his opinion purely on his pre-existing beliefs. You simply cannot engage in a rational argument with the reader. When someone like that questions your credentials, it does no good to respond since he will not be swayed anyway, regardless of how convincing or qualified you are. Instead, take solace in knowing that the vast majority of your diverse, well-informed, and intelligent readership recognize your talent, even if we rarely send emails to acknowledge it.

    There’s no need to justify your credentials. Just keep making your cases based on observations and let the bomb-throwers destroy their own credibility with their words and actions.

  15. The Ancient Mariner on January 8th, 2005 11:04 am

    Part of it, too, is that you’re running into Sturgeon’s Law. If you aren’t familiar with it, Theodore Sturgeon was a great SF writer who once observed, “Ninety percent of science fiction is crap. But then, ninety percent of anything is crap.” Sturgeon was right, and in my experience that includes this sort of thing. You’ve built a blog that attracts people who (mostly) contribute that good 10%; at the P-I, you’ve now thrust yourself into the attention of the rest of the fanbase. Consider it the price you have to pay for connecting with other ten-percenters who haven’t yet discovered what you have to offer, and count your blessings that idiots like the one you quoted can only e-mail you, they can’t get you fired. You can delete them–some of us have to live with them, and try to keep them pacified. It’s not such a bad deal, really, if you can keep your ego shields up.

  16. Not Mark on January 8th, 2005 11:19 am

    Unsolicited advice from someone who used to teach writing, and since then has worked as an editor and sometime writer: if you know you’re saying something potentially controversial, deal with it head-on. Anticipate what people are going to yell at you for, and work your rebuttal into the original piece. The last thing you want to do is get into post-facto shouting matches with these guys, so do what you can to defuse them from the get-go.

    So to the email you quoted: the basic disjunction here is what consitutes good stuff, and how you evaluate it. The writer has a fairly common notion that good stuff means “throws really hard.” So imagine if your article had included something to the effect: “a popular misconception is that the velocity of a fastball tells you what you need to know about the quality of a pitcher’s stuff.” Then, in a couple more sentences, take that apart. If the writer still sends you email, at least you’ll have forced him to argue on the basis of specific factual claims you make, rather than just calling you names.

    I speak from experience. I write occasionally for an email newsletter, and one of the topics I cover is religion. When my topic is Islam, I know — again, from experience — that I’m in for some hate mail, from fundamentalist Christians who think Islam is the work of the devil, and from Muslims who define as “Islam” whatever they personally believe, and attack me as ignorant for contradicting them. So when I’m writing, I have these two guys on the other side of my desk. I know what they’re likely to say, so I write in a way that defuses those ignorant arguments from the get-go. It doesn’t always work, but in the end I’m in a better position to defend myself than I would have been had I not used that strategy.

  17. Laurie on January 8th, 2005 11:40 am

    Hey Derek (I will not call you “Zum”) – take it as a compliment! Think of all the colorful insults that come from the stands and consider yourself a member of an elite group of folks whose mamas wear combat boots. Or much worse things, these days.

  18. scott on January 8th, 2005 11:45 am

    Comments made in #16 are pretty good/valid.

    Remember that not everyone will like your point of view, and conversely you will not likely convert everyone to your point of view on most topics. If you can remember that you don’t have to prove to “them” that your point of view is the right one, you’ll be better off.

    Don’t take things personally.

    For what it’s worth I get interesting insight that I was otherwise unaware of when I read your stuff.

    (and I guess I identify with #2 – eg I don’t send e-mail when I agree… heck most of the time I don’t feel that I’m informed enough on Baseball in general to comment effectively)

  19. Noel on January 8th, 2005 11:58 am

    Derek –

    (1) Good writing. Keep it up, and keep on linking to your P-I articles so I don’t forget to look for them. 🙂

    (2) You can’t keep all of the people happy all of the time. Just concentrate on the rational/intelligent readers (hopefully the P-I has some of those).

    (3) Flame mail is the equivalent of the ad-hominem insults hurled by the “bleacher creatures” at games. Those people have a fixed viewpoint and can’t be reasoned with.

  20. hurt on January 8th, 2005 12:03 pm

    A few years ago I also would email columnists with these opinions in this basic format also. A Salon.com movie reviewer emailed me back when I took offense at his comparing LOTR to Kurosawa. I had solid arguments in my favor but they were immediately discounted because of the opening rip.

    I couldn’t get him past the insult and there was no discussion whatsoever. I learned the lesson.

    I would offer you the same advice. If an email starts with “Hey stupid”, its message is lost despite the validity of its content.

  21. Anonymized for protection from my own forums on January 8th, 2005 1:10 pm

    I am a computer game developer, and part of my life are forums where game fans praise or condemn every aspect of what we do or don’t do, every day. Hundreds of thousands of posts, many of which make all kinds of accusations or assumptions about what’s going on.

    As others have said, it’s important to realize that generally the most vocal is a small minority. Also, it’s not about facts or resolving an issue, it is about establishing or maintaining a position in the social hierarchy (and yes, there is a social hierarchy involved, even if it just exists in one person’s head).

    The quoted person isn’t about understanding pitching, they’re about establishing themselves above the rest of your readership as a critic of you. There’s nothing you can do to change their mind, so don’t try. Addressing it later only raises their status: you have a column and they don’t, but if you address them in your column, you make them more important than other readers of the column who are not addressed.

    But you likely know all this. It was a great column.

  22. Jason Lake on January 8th, 2005 1:14 pm

    I had the good fortune of being a sports writer and editor the past couple of years. To echo comment #14, it’s not a sound investment of your time to attempt a rational argument with the flame-mailer in question. If the PI allows, you could respond to his/her comment in your column with a further breakdown of JJ’s pros and cons and leave it at that.

    Also, if you find your editors are riding you, don’t sweat it. It’s their job to be anal retentive. Plus, we/they make mistakes all the time. Like not spelling “Kerry Ligtenberg” correctly.

    The R’s are artfully arranged on the RBQ, aren’t they?

  23. Jason Lake on January 8th, 2005 1:22 pm

    And to follow up on #21, if you do write something further about JJ, don’t mention the name/handle of the flame-mailer in question, because it’ll just elevate that person and prompt more flaming from him/her. Address the topic rather than the person.

  24. J on January 8th, 2005 2:06 pm

    Wow. Just wow, man.

    I think the scariest thing about that is that there are people who are willing to let themselves get so bent out of shape and blatantly nasty about something that you’ve pretty much established as an opinion-based weekly guest column. You’d think with all the people threatening to cancel their memberships over something they didn’t like over the years, no one would be left reading, but journalism seems to be more of a tool by which the people reinforce their own beliefs these days (and who’s to say how much has really changed in that regard? I won’t try on that one…)

    I’ve said similar things about Putz, and I suppose the only reason I’m not being called out on it is because the forum I use to do it isn’t nationally syndicated. Perhaps the internet just makes the whole angry letter concept that much easier to follow through on. But whenever you’re coming out of a position of authority, someone will end up disagreeing… just hopefully not to this degree.

    It would be easiest to just send back a similar e-mail, but like others have said, use the topic as an example and not the person. The latter would only fuel the “us vs. them” mentality.

  25. Jim Thomsen on January 8th, 2005 7:55 pm

    I’m about to feel your pain. I just wrote a piece debunking the myth of Willie Bloomquist that, come tomorrow morning when it hits the news racks and front porches, will hurt the feelings of his friends, family, teammates and former coaches. After some back and forth, I told the Kitsap Sun sports editor to include my e-mail address in the essay’s tagline. I expect to get killed.

    I’m taking a lot of what’s being said here to heart. As the wise editor from the movie “Absence of Malice” said, “I know how to tell the truth, and I know how not to hurt people. But I don’t know how to do both at the same time, and neither do you.”

    Doesn’t mean I don’t wish I did, though.

    Keep doing what you’re doing, Derek. I’ve been ripped on a zillion times for things I’ve written, and the thing to realize is that most people who shred on you listen with less than half an ear. They selectively retain information, absorbing some and discarding the rest through the filters of their personalized prejudices.

    I remember in my first job as a reporter, I wrote a story about how Navy touch-and-go landing practices at a local field had an empirically established negative effect on local birds and wildlife, though Navy experts were saying those claims were overblown. Within hours of its publication, I was buried in phone calls — some people screaming that I was “face down in the Navy trough” and others alleging I was a “tree-hugging enviro-Nazi.”

    In near-tears (hell, I was 22 and still mostly a kid), I went to my editor and said, “What did I do? Why are all these people mad at me?”

    He said (words not verbatim but reasonably close): “You told the truth. The last thing everybody in the world really wants to hear. If half are mad at you because you did one thing and the other half are mad at you that you did the other, then you did your job. You represented all sides. You were fair. And nobody really wants to be fair. They want what they want. If you’re going to make it in this business, you’ll have to decide if you can live with that — if you can live with the fact that you’ll meet a million people and make few friends.

    “But the friends you do make will be the best ones you’ve had in your life, because they’ll see through all the shouting to what you see.”

  26. planB on January 8th, 2005 8:39 pm

    The ease and anonymity of email means you’re gonna get flamed even if you write a masterpiece. Ignore it.

  27. Bela Txadux on January 8th, 2005 8:53 pm

    So Derek,

    I’m going to capsulize in my own way some points made by Jim Thomsen and Anonymized above regarding ranters, because said points represent my own views and approach to kranks as well:

    —Most people don’t want to hear the truth; most don’t even want to here _a_ truth; most people do want to hear what they already understand, and preferably what they already believe.

    —Ranting critics didn’t really listen to what a writer said, or didn’t hear if they listened: don’t expect an accurate representation of your views or the issue.

    —The function of ranting is to enhance the krank’s status, relative to the audience certainly, relative to you if possible; understanding the issue involved is at best tertiary, and functionally irrelevant.

    —If you respond, you automatically enhance the krank’s status, even if no one but the two of you know that you responded.

    —I never respond to troll’s in forums, and see responding to krank critics in general as ill-advised.

    —If the misinformation a krank is spreading starts to get cited by _other_ people, or rather less often if they make a substantive point in a poor way which starts spreading among others, I might respond to the point indirectly, but not address the initial source or tone of the remark.

    —On the rare occasion a krank makes an entirely reasonable remark in a reasonable way, I might elect to respond to that, directly and very briefly, to see if the person can get on and stay on an even keel: it’s called behavior mod.

    Hope that’s of some use.

  28. Gaelan on January 8th, 2005 8:54 pm

    The problem with people who aren’t that smart or don’t know very much about a subject is that the first thing they don’t know is that they’re not very smart and that they don’t know very much about the subject. Which is why the most ignorant people tend to be the most righteous. Whenever I read something like that letter I remember Plato’s Republic and two critical lessons. 1) The first step towards wisdom is knowing you are not wise. 2.) The burden of philosopher’s is to live amongst those who are not philosophers.

  29. toonprivate on January 8th, 2005 10:42 pm

    a couple of thoughts: 1) a little crazy response isn’t such a bad thing. it means people are reading. and response, even crazy response, is better than feeling your sending your thoughts into the void 2) the proper answer to insulting emails is simple: thank you for bothering to write. in your nicest tone. be appreciative. “i’ll be watching jj very closely next year because of your email.” it gets them every time. in other words, enjoy the game!

  30. kboy on January 8th, 2005 11:53 pm

    Re: #25 — Jim, that was an awesome post. And while I don’t know DMZ personally, the work done here at USS Mariner is really important to me. I might not be able to pick you guys out of a police line-up (I couldn’t make last year’s feed!), but I do consider you guys (virtual) friends — if only for sharing your excellent insight, knowledge, and opinions while asking little in return from me other than civility on the forums. Thanks for all you guys do — I can’t wait for next Thursday’s column… And I can’t wait to read Jim’s piece on WFB 🙂

  31. G-Man on January 9th, 2005 12:22 am

    Ditto the others – there are always going to be some who flame you. Don’t worry a lot about it.

    OTOH, there’s a lesson to be learned for all of us. See how the attck makes Derek feel? So think twice before dumping nuclear-strength insults on a writer. And I’m talking to Derek, Dave and Jason, as well as all the readers here.

  32. tyler on January 9th, 2005 12:29 am


    More thoughts…

    Remember that your readers here greater admire and appreciate your efforts. keep up the good work regardless of a few negative responses. And remember, this is typical in our current “Rome is burning” age, with the aggressive voice of sports radio. He was probably a frequent caller that forgot it was email and thought he had to write that way otherwise you’d hang up on him.

    Like many others, I understand your misgivings completely. Being a teacher, I’ve always tried hard to connect with all my students, but occasionally I have kids that no matter how much effort I put out, are bound and determined to dislike me. It used to really bother me, and still does to some extent.

    But i came across a quote from the goofy ex-yank Mickey Rivers that helps keep me balanced:
    “Ain’t no use worryin’ ’bout things you got control over, ’cause if you got control over ’em, ain’t no use worryin’. And ain’t no use worryin’ ’bout things you got no control over, ’cause if you got no control over ’em, ain’t no use worryin’.

  33. DMZ on January 9th, 2005 4:59 am

    —If you respond, you automatically enhance the krank’s status, even if no one but the two of you know that you responded.

    I have mixed feelings about this. Sometimes a reasonable reply gets an apologetic response (“There’s a human on the other side? Yipes!”) and sometimes it seems to make people even crazier. I’ve never been sure what to do about it, so it varies.

    What I don’t do is flame back much… having seen writers get into it with readers like that on other things, I don’t want to be that guy.

  34. Jerry on January 9th, 2005 11:04 am


    I am surprised that you are getting that much negative feedback. Reading your stuff on this site, and comparing it with the two PI articles, I thought that you were pretty diplomatic in the PI. Saying negative stuff about the local team is going to get you negative responses, but I thought that, overall, you were very kind in your criticisms and concerns. The articles come off more as a realistic and reasoned evaluation of the club than pessimism.

    I must admit that, when I read really critical appraisals of my favorite team – like the discussion of the changes in the M’s after last offseason in Baseball Prospectus in the 2004 book – my initial reaction was defensive. In hindsight, most of the criticisms raised were dead on. However, in your articles in the PI, I thought that you raised issues without taking the same hyper-critical tone. I am not sure if this is to suit the article to a more mainstream audience, because the signings this offseason have been better, or a combination of the two.

    You are always going to get BS from people, no matter what you say. But I think that it reflects well on the PI that they are willing to incorporate a more skeptical and critical analysis of the M’s moves and the teams chances for 2005. We already have the company yes-men in the media right now, so a different perspective is nice. The last thing that this world needs is more Finnigans.

    Don’t let the chumps out there bother you. Your insights are much needed in the media, and I think that it is great that the type of discussions from this site are making it into the PI.

  35. Tim on January 9th, 2005 11:32 am

    Why exactly is Hasegawa hated so much by people? He’s one year removed from a ridiculous season. You want him to be the guy who only pitches with a 5 run lead/deficit with 2 outs in the ninth? Sure, he had a bad season last year, but why should he just be dismissed as being a terrible pitcher? I’ve seen nothing from JJ Putz that makes me want him pitching in a big situation over Hasegawa.

  36. Jerry on January 9th, 2005 1:01 pm


    I sorta agree and sorta disagree with your point. If you look at Hasegawa’s stats over the past few seasons, going back to before he came to the M’s, he used to be a solid, mid-3 ERA reliever. Then, he had his stupid 2003 season, which was definitely a fluke for him. Then, he had his worst season ever last year, which was probably a fluke as well. Hopefully, he will be able to achieve a happy medium or better next year. At the end of the season, he was pitching a lot better. I highly doubt that he will bounce back to his 2003 stats, but if he pitches like he did from 2000-2002, he will be a useful reliever for the M’s, and perhaps be someone the M’s could trade at the deadline. Relievers tend to have about 5 times as much value at the trade deadline as they do otherwise, so he could be a valuable commodity then.

    Although the bullpen wasn’t too good last year, the M’s have a lot of guys who could come in. Villone, Shiggy, Putz, Guardado, and Sherrill are all pretty much locks if they are healthy, and hopefully another starter will push Franklin into the pen as well. The M’s also have Mateo, Atchison, Thornton, and perhaps Nageotte who could come in and help. I don’t know much about Rick Guttormson, but perhaps he can be this year’s Indy league find. All in all, I think that guys like Shiggy, Villone, and perhaps Franklin – guys on the last years of their contracts who could be solid relievers – should be prime candidates for mid-season trades if the M’s are not contending. I was disappointed that the M’s didn’t take the opportunity to move Villone last offseason, and hopefully he will pitch well enough to garner some interest from other teams. Since the M’s are rebuilding, a strong bullpen is not a huge need. I would rather see the M’s move some payroll, pick up some prospects or cheap players, and leave constructing a bullpen for next offseason. Obviously, you don’t want the team to continually blow games when they get to the bullpen, but the M’s seem to have a lot of ‘adequate’ relievers that are probably too old to be in AAA (like Mateo, Atchison, Thornton).

  37. Gary Bloom on January 9th, 2005 2:06 pm

    The time to worry is when you get ignored.

  38. wabbles on January 10th, 2005 12:15 am

    Finally! Someone who isn’t blinded by the aura of the closer. Someone analyzed a year’s worth of games and when teams used their closer, they won 87 percent of the time. When they used somebody else, they won 86 percent of the time. Sutter and Eckersley are the exceptions, not the rule.