Monday, May 26, 2008

Rapidz: Ironically, 'putz' also has a 'Z' on the end

Someone, please, enlighten us all on what was the point of the article the National Post ran today on the Ottawa Rapidz.

Let's presume this has nothing to do with the CanWest chain being preferential toward the Liberal Party and Rapidz co-owner Rick Anderson being an ex-Liberal who changed parties many years ago. It would be pretty low to crap on a fledgling baseball team and the people who are emotionally invested in it just to service a shallow political agenda.

There isn't the will or the malice to do a Fire Joe Morgan-style line-by-line dismantling of a column batted out by Don Martin. He either had some encouragement from higher-up or just settled on it himself. Let's just say that this hit-and-run hatchet job wasn't right and it wasn't fair.

"And when what looked to be an easy double play by the Rapidz became two runs scored for the visiting New Jersey Jackals after a wild throw from second base soared five rows behind first base, well, that could arguably be creatively marketed as the sort of ball game entertainment you'll never see in the big leagues."
It was the first flippin' game. Why not point out that Nick Trainor made a great throw from right field to cut down a run in Friday night's game, if you're just going to use one random example? Slagging a ball team and its players based on a couple misplays, yeah, that contributes a lot to the discussion.

Hey, on Sunday, Jon Lester of the Boston Red Sox made a throwing error against the Oakland Athletics (or as The Post abbreviated it, "Oakland As" -- it's only had an apostrophe for about 100 years). What a loser! This guy's actually getting paid to play baseball? So what if he threw a no-hitter in his previous start? There have been seven errors committed in the majors today, and that's with a light schedule.

That's a pretty typical example from the article. Granted, this is coming from someone who gets defensive and protective when people who don't have a screw's clue about baseball write about baseball. It's an outrage (granted, only about 1/100th of an outrage as this) to see a paper with the Post's reach not bother to get multiple sources or double-check basic facts.

It would have been nice, for instance, if a journalist from a paper distributed across Canada had bothered quoting more than one person for his column, like say any of the 4,246 paying customers who turned out on Thursday for Opening Day, some of whom he could have found with just five minutes of Googling, maybe less. Contary to the article's claims, Vancouver is still in affiliated baseball. It's a farm club of the "Oakland As," as a matter of fact.

Some Can-Am League players do get signed by the majors. The league's leading slugger from last summer, Sandy Madera, is hitting .333 with a 1.002 on-base-plus-slugging (OPS) in the Boston Red Sox organization. Of course, the Red Sox also employ Jon Lester, and he made a throwing error on Sunday, so what do they know?

Of course, putting any of this in the article might have provided some context that didn't fit into the neat little package.

(Of course, no one really believes Don Martin is a putz, but Frank magazine readers should appreciate the pun. This is more about yours truly being defensive and sensitive when someone else gets the space to do a big column about baseball.)

Pro ball, but low ball (Don Martin, National Post)


Rob Pettapiece said...

Death, taxes, and the Don Martin Elbow Drop.

Rob Pettapiece said...

One can only conclude that bashing Ottawa's baseball team gets you a badge at the National Post. A year and eight days ago, Joe O'Conner eagerly devoured the Lynx.

sager said...

Good find, Rob ...

"The Calgary Herald's Don Martin - who traditionally delivers the flying elbow drop to a pundits' pile-on - travelled to Crosby, Ont. on Tuesday and found Dion riding a hay wagon, eating an apple and looking very, very sad. True to form, he offers the following schoolyard taunts by way of analysis: '[Dion] has always had the geeky potential to look like a loser. He has rivals who openly think he's a loser. Now he has an electoral result that confirms his status as a loser.' "

It might be OK in politics, since it's all white noise and bullflop, but this is sports, which judging by how much we talk about it, is a hell of lot more important than election results.

Every writer needs a mean streak and a willingness to call BS when it's needed. It wasn't needed with respect to the Ottawa Rapidz, certainly not after the team's first regular-season game and certainly not from someone who betrays precious little perspective on baseball.

Greg said...

Does Don Martin know anything about baseball? Obviously not.

Don, it's not class A ball. Independent leagues are not ranked; they do not carry a classification.

Don, it's independent baseball, not minor league baseball. Minor league baseball consists of club's affiliated with Major League Baseball.

Don, last I checked, Ottawa and Edmonton aren't cold during the independent ball season. I lived in Edmonton, I know.

Don, it's simply asinine to compare the Rapidz to the Yankees in any way, shape or form. Even a casual baseball fan knows that.

Don, if you did any sort of research, the Edmonton Eskimos had to billet players not long ago during training camp. When should we expect you to write a flogging of the CFL?

Oh, no, Don! Two errors on one play? Did you know Tommy John, whom many believe to be a hall of fame pitcher, made three on one play once? Here's the breakdown: In the fourth inning against the Brewers, John muffed a ground ball for one error and threw wildly past first base for a second. Then, inexplicably, he intercepted the throw home from right field and threw wildly past the catcher.

So, Don, a team folded after the 2007 season? Do you remember the Vancouver Ravens of the NLL? Or how about the CFL's foray into the USA?

John Edwards said...
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