Ichiro returns to fetid odor of Silva suggestions
With the return of our Japanese contingent, Baker at the Times finally got to ask Ichiro about last year’s chemistry questions. Ichiro: Time to act like “professionals” is the result, a long piece including much Ichiro-ness.
But I want to take a second and question the premise of this:
There’s been a whole lot said since Ichiro was last here and he had to be asked for a response to all of it. Doesn’t matter whether it makes us feel uncomfortable asking, or whether the timing would have been better two months ago. Ichiro wasn’t here two months ago. He was here today.
he had to be asked for a response to all of it.
Does he? What happens if he isn’t?
Now, this is a fine follow-up, in which a story which was built, briefly caught fire, and was rekindled this spring is continued.
But at the heart of this is the fundamental disagreement I’ve had with the whole thing: that it must be reported, and followed. The whole thing operates on the premise that it’s important, which I obviously disagree with, and moreover that it was a cause of rather than result of the team’s poor fortunes last year. We’ve talked about that a lot: clearly Geoff believes that this was a key factor in last year’s failure, and it’s been something he’s talked about over and over (and included his reasons, so I’ll refer you there).
What you get then is this:
* Clubhouse chemistry is an important factor in a team’s success
* Therefore, clubhouse chemistry is an important story to cover
* Therefore, there’s a need to report stories which allege clubhouse factions, threats of violence averted by clubhouse * meetings, etc, even if that means using and protecting blind sources, and itself creates controversy
* When clubhouse chemistry is an ongoing controversy and topic of discussion, further stories following up on it are called for
Which made this exchange stand out
After asking me for specifics about what Riggleman had said about the other players, he then immediately asked if I had any specific examples of what he could do differently to make the situation better.
Since he seemed to be waiting for an answer to his question, I shrugged and said: “Talk to them?” (Refering, of course, to anyone with a beef). [sic]
Not really my place to be telling anyone in that clubhouse how to go about their business, but he was asking and someone had to fill the void, so I put it out there. Once I did, Ichiro finally did answer the initial question., but he was asking and someone had to fill the void, so I put it out there. Once I did, Ichiro finally did answer the initial question.
Not really my place to be telling anyone in that clubhouse how to go about their business
This is where it all led. It is, by this logic, okay to judge that chemistry is bad, to advance the opinion that chemistry is important, use that to justify covering and later actively building a story from blind sourcing (later found to be of particularly dubious quality), creating a nationally-covered controversy about Ichiro’s safety in the M’s clubhouse, cover it through spring training again as a possible risk to this year’s team and so on.
Since he seemed to be waiting for an answer to his question, I shrugged and said: “Talk to them?”
I don’t want to get into the absurdity of that response, since obviously Geoff wasn’t prepared to offer a cogent analysis. I want to get into what went into that response:
In all of the reporting done on this, in all of the interviews named and unnamed, nothing came up?
Really? At no point in talking to Carlos Silva about what a jerk Ichiro was did the question “what do you want him to do?” come up? Or Putz? Or, assuming there were additional sources, those guys?
And if that was it, if the only thing Silva wanted was for the cool guy to come over and talk to him more often — doesn’t that destroy the premise of the whole thing, from start to finish? If the people who are complaining so long and so vociferously have complaints so trivial that they don’t even have a way to be resolved, there’s no reason this should ever have been a story unless it was one about what a moron the complainer was.
If someone’s leaving their towels lying around, that’s a specific complaint that can be covered and addressed. And maybe there’s even a harm we can address.
That’s not what’s going on here. Again, Silva and Putz and whoever else might have been in on this were anti-Ichiro for no reported reason, their complaints unaddressable. And yet the stories written weren’t “Carlos Silva is a jerk” but “Ichiro selfish”.
And we still don’t have an answer to the question of what Ichiro is supposed to do to heal a rift that may not exist now and which he never created.
I cannot wait for the season to start in the hopes that we can get past this.