PI column and hate mail o’ the day
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
[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.