5 Questions with… Gotham Nation’s Mark Healey


Mark Healey is an editor, writer and broadcaster who loves baseball.  Currently, he is the Editor-in-Chief of “Going 9 Baseball” and the host of “Going 9 Fantasy Baseball” on SiriusXM’s Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). Most recently, he served as the Online Editor for Baseball Digest magazine (Dec 2009 – Feb. 2012), which has been in publication since 1942, making it the oldest, continuously published baseball magazine in the United States. He is also the founding editor of Gotham Baseball magazine, which was named Best New Sports Magazine by Amazon.com in 200.

Morning Mark. Thank you for your time today.

   1.    You and I have always been big Mets fans but share our concerns with current Mets ownership. Do you see any chance in the near future of the Wipons going back to the world (real estate) where they came from?

Healey:  Anything is possible, but I don't think so. Once the Wilpon / Katz ownership group was able to settle its case with the Madoff trustee, any chance that the Wilpons would be dealt a financial blow that would force it to sell the team went south. I do think that significant financial issues remain, but as long as the major banks are willing to do business with the Wilpon / Katz ownership group is in place for the foreseeable future.

   2.    A prospect catcher with team control, a backup catcher with tons of experience, a projected 2015 SP3, a top Latin prospect, three viable pen options… has this been a good off-season for Sandy Alderson regardless of whether or not a decent outfielder is eventually signed?

Considering what he had to work with and certain realities that he had to address, Alderson's offseason has the potential to be very good. While not thrilled with the outfield blueprint -- though I do think that Colin Cowgill could be a nice surprise -- the short-term, low cost BP depth he created has some potential. And given that the starting rotation should be a strength, having a few vets in the BP mix will prove important. I love the Marcum signing as well.  The big get, IMO, will be Bourn, who can help the Mets in a variety of ways. But not at any price, and certainly not if they lose the 11th pick.  To criticize Alderson at this point is silly. He's made some mistakes, but none have been worthy of a public outcry.

    3.    Maury Brown estimated last night that the Miami Marlins are currently valued between $1.1-$1.5 billion dollars. This basically is a team without a viable roster or fan base. Where does this all end, Mark? Will we have a billion dollar contract someday?

As I said, anything is possible. But let's see if someone signs a $300 million contract before we speculate about a billion

    4.    Let me ask you a question you usually ask me. Is there any one or two Mets minor leaguers that really excite you right now that you can see being added to the “new look” New York Mets in 2014-2015?

Gavin Cecchini and Brandon Nimmo are the guys I am most excited to see.The Mets have always been pretty good at developing pitching -- even during down periods -- but if this organization is ever going to be consistently competitive they have to produce above-average position players. Based on what I have heard, each of these guys brings solid talent and a great baseball IQ with them to the ballpark. But unlike in years past, when I covered the minors on a regular basis, I have not seen either guy play.

    5.    And lastly Mark, the industry has changed so much? Even Jay Horwitz is on Twitter now and Adam Rubin links to his blog in his morning report. Are we getting closer to blogger/hard press parody or will guys like me always be second fiddle?

That's a great question, Mack, for a variety of reasons. As someone who has worked in print, digital, and broadcast media, it's clear to me that the industry is changing rapidly. But your question of parity between mainstream media (MSM) and New Media is a complicated one. It all depends of what one's definition of parity is. For every blogger that just wants to be read, or linked to, or invited to a team-sponsored event, there are those who want to be treated as member of the media, issued credentials and given clubhouse access. I can understand and identify with all of those needs / desires.  However, I also believe that the marketplace will determine one's eventual destination. If one creates credible, creative and consistently entertaining content, it will be read, shared and promoted by others. Treat your audience with respect and they'll return it a hundredfold.
The question of credentials is another matter. Most pro teams are looking to LIMIT the number of media passes they issue, not expand on them, especially on a daily basis. While some promote their willingness to be inclusive, it is always on their terms and are more likely to be promotional opps than anything else.

The audience for online content is hard to predict as well. While on one hand there are those who mock print journos every minute on social media, many times those same people question an independant journo or blogger's source's information if it is news they don't care for.

My advice to anyone seeking this parity or mutual respect is simple; just do your thing and let everything else take care of itself. Or take something from the words of a once fine journaist who lost his way, and failed to heed his own advice:

"When a club official comes to you and says, 'Why don't you be a nice fellow? After all, you're one of us.', never believe for a moment that you are one of them, because you are merely tolerated -- and then for only as long as thery feel they can use you and your paper. You belong to your readers and them alone." Dick Young.

Thanks for the chance to chat, Mack, Always a pleasure.


Michi L. said...

Mack really nice post! I like the way Mark Healy is thinking and writing. Plus its nice to read something positive about Nimmo and Cecchini

James Preller said...

Very nice. I was a big Dick Young fan as a kid, before it all went sour, and I'm sorry that his reputation has gone so far off the rails. He was an important journalist for many years.

As for parity (not parody -- ha!), I think the current atmosphere wildly undervalues the guys who actually go and GET the news (not just baseball, but journalism across the board). It's one thing for a reporter to attend a town budget meeting and write it up, but something entirely different for a blogger to link it and paraphrase it five minutes later. In my view, we see that far too much in the blogging world, where folks are chasing "hits" but not really providing meaningful content. That said, other blogs can be very important, in terms of CONTRIBUTING original content to the conversation, because they are more like the role of a traditional columnist: reflective, analytical.

But again: I'm really turned off by how many bloggers such link Adam Rubin and parrot his content ten minutes after the fact.

Nice job, guys.

Mack's Mets © 2012