Reese Kaplan -- Courage Comes Far Too Late


There's a great difference between us "mere" bloggers and paid professional beat reporters.  The primary differentiator is access the clubhouse and the players.  Another is consistency.  The reporters are at every single game, home and road, whereas we bloggers view as many as we can usually on television when real life permits us to do so.  We don't get to see the pre-game routines or the after-game post-mortems and/or celebrations.

Why do I bring up these issues now?  Well, a great many of us have been writing and clamoring for change for many years based upon things that were readily apparent to anyone with a critical eye. We were not buying into the narrative that was spoon fed to the sports media who did the Mets' bidding by fomenting the illusion that the clubhouse was peachy keen, that the manager had no say over decision making and that at no time was Terry Collins' job every in danger.

By now you've all read or heard about  Newsday's Marc Carig's article skewering the happy family fairy tale that's been spun for the past seven years.  In it, he had players stating what a poor communicator Terry Collins has been, how he blatantly favored veterans, how he was nearly fired on multiple occasions only to be granted a stay of execution by team owner Fred Wilpon and how he indeed had full control of the lineup pencil.

While a great many bloggers probably felt a tremendous sense of vindication if indeed what beat reporter Carig said was true, upon reflection I have more questions than answers.  First of all, if all of these issues were present for the past many years, were the Mets particularly brilliant in keeping it all off the back page headlines or were the reporters with full access to the players and front office personnel derelict in their duties?  After all, had they known these things and not reported them, then they are complicit in being part of the problem.  It hearkens back to the days where Babe Ruth was a well known womanizer, drunkard and such, but the reporters all swept it under the rug.  That kind of false narrative seemingly has long gone out of favor with journalists, but perhaps it still exists in 2017.

The other thing that occurs to me is that if the reporters were aware of all of these matters then why did they choose not to run with it?  Were they afraid of losing their access to the team?  Having a reporting credential denied would obviously be a major impediment to that reporter getting his job done, but a ballclub taking that kind of action for a reporter doing his job would cause even greater criticism of the club than transparency would (though I could see the Mets doing just that given their predilection for choosing the most shark-filled route navigating the turbulent waters of the media).

Perhaps the reporters felt that their loyalty to the clubs and their access to stories was more important than truth.  Ask Woodward and Bernstein how fighting for and reporting on truth worked out.  It led to real change happening.

While I thank Carig for having the courage to make this story public, I still would like to ask the question, "What took you so long?"


Thomas Brennan said...

Not wanting to jeopardize the paycheck; being a journalistic whistleblower can be a lonely place. Playing it safe can lead to job longevity.

That's why we are needed!! We have zero $$ at stake.

Hobie said...

Thomas, whistle-blowing is the name of the game. It isn't news if it's not a scandal. Every reporter, from the Ypsilanti Dairy Dispatch to the NYT ultimate goal is to played by Robert Redford in the next Oscar-nominated docudrama. Every story is look-at-me first.

Leak-proof Met locker room or conspiratorial beat writers, those are the two choices? How about the kernel of truth in Carig's article is blown up to full-scale botanical garden to put HIM on the back page & imbedded in every blog post?

Terry's faults are manifest & public unlike most of us able to mask deficiencies in anonymity. Dinner and chat with Terry or Carig? TC hands down.

Reese Kaplan said...

Put me down for Carig. I would lose my appetite and probably not be able to hold back on the number of obvious criticisms if breaking bread with TC. In Carig's case I could ask some questions about timing and motivation, but otherwise just simply talk the state of the game and the future of the team.

Anonymous said...

No Single snowflake feels responsible for the avalanche

Gary Seagren said...

And were trusting the FO with making the right calls here?

Thomas Brennan said...

Gary, they already blew it by overplaying their vets and not tanking in September. I have an article later this week on the meaning of getting a # 6 pick as opposed to, say, a #5 pick or a # 1 pick.

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