• Who’s Bashing Who?

    Posted by on February 4th, 2008 · Comments (16)

    With a comment left at an entry made earlier today here, “SteveB” (aka commenter “Schteeve” at Bronx Banter) sent the following inquiry towards my direction:

    Are you happy that you are the ringleader of the new breed of Yankee basher? Because that is what you are. I would HATE to be a “fan” of your ilk. So, have fun “rooting” for the Yankees, if that’s what you call it.

    This is not an attempt to single out “SteveB.” But, I am using his inquiry to tee-up this entry since it (the claim) is something that has been thrown at me before in places – just perhaps not so directly. And, as I expect (if things go according to plan – don’t ask, but, I promise to share information as soon as I can) the readership of this blog to soon increase (and the claim is something that may come up again in the future), I thought it made sense to do a one-time entry on this topic – to use now, and again, if needed, to quell these types of accusations towards my “fandom” of the Yankees.

    I must confess, when it comes to Yankees like Kei Igawa, Kyle Farnsworth, Carl Pavano, yes, without question, I have a tendency to beat on them pretty good. If that makes me a Yankees basher, then I guess that Yanks-basher team photo is going to be pretty darn crowded.

    But, have I ever “bashed” Andy Pettitte? Melky Cabrera? Hideki Matsui? Mariano Rivera? Worm Killer Wang? Joba Chamberlain? Ian Kennedy? Joe Girardi? No, not as far as I know.

    At the worst, maybe (somewhere) I may have had a small isolated critique on some of them – if anything. And, such feedback from me on them would be hard to find – and offset by many, many, more positive entries from me on them.

    If anything, I believe that some feel I am a Yankees “basher” because of comments/opinions that I have shared (at times) regarding Mike Mussina, Jason Giambi Alex Rodriguez, Phil Hughes, and Brian Cashman. However, I’ve also said good things, in the past, on these people as well. Go ahead, check the links on each of their names. You’ll see positive things that I have written about them in the past. If I were a true “basher” would I have written these “good” things about these men?

    I can say the same about Joe Torre, Derek Jeter, Bobby Abreu, Johnny Damon, Robinson Cano, Jorge Posada and various Yankees prospects in the minors. Yes, at times, I’ve been critical of them. But, other times, I’ve written glowing things about them. If you don’t believe me, just do a search on this blog and see for yourself.

    Why does this “positive and harsh” comments thing happen? To put it simple: WasWatching.com prides itself in being “Yankees-blinders and Pinstripe-Pollyanna” free. I believe that it’s only fair to look at “the other” side on “Yankees” things – as well as the favorable side. If something or someone is good, I’ll trumpet it. However, I’m not going to sugarcoat anything “Yankees” at the same time – just to make it savory to the reader.

    Does that make me some anti-Yankee fan who feeds off pinstriped schadenfreude (as some like to claim)? Or, does that just make me a Yankees-blogger who is attempting to provide unique commentary from someone who is a diehard Yankees fan?

    After all, I am a diehard Yankees fan.

    I think about the Yankees everyday. Need proof? Check the entries to this blog since “Day 1.” Over the last 1,020 days, I’ve written something about the Yankees in just about every one of those days. Would a non-fan think about the team, everyday?

    Have you ever watched a game with me? Go ask Alex Belth. Back in May 2006, we went to a game together and this is what Alex wrote afterwards: “Yeah, and I’ve got to say Steve was a real pleasure to watch a game with. First, because he’s been to many games over the years and is a first-rate storyteller but also because he’s just mad enthusiastic. He cheers loudly, claps his hands, gets the chants going. Just a load of fun to be around.”

    Actually, I pity the poor people who sit around me at a Yankees game. I’m sure that I’m annoying to some – the way I root so hard for the team at the Stadium.

    Further, if I wasn’t a Yankees fan, would the October scars of 1995, 2001 and 2004 still burn so badly for me (all these years later)?

    I could go on for a while on this; but, at the end of the day, I fear some people are going to believe what they want to believe – for whatever reason. Maybe it makes them feel better, or more like a fan, if they question someone else’s “fandom”? I dunno.

    Nonetheless, the more I think about this, I now find myself wondering about “bashers.” After all, when someone goes on the attack, and starts launching accusations towards my “fandom” of the Yankees, because of something that I did or didn’t write, calling me “the ringleader of the new breed of Yankee basher” (as “SteveB” did today), aren’t they, then, in turn being a “basher”?

    Is not the definition of “bash” to “criticize (another) harshly, accusatorially, and threateningly”?

    Now, that’s interesting. In reality, when people call me a “basher” they’re performing a form of “bashing” themselves – via their harsh accusations.

    Having now gone through the exercise of hashing this out through writing about it, at this junction, it seems to make more sense to just realize where these accusations are coming from, and the “bashing” nature behind them, and just ignore them with the security that I know I’m a diehard Yankees fan and that I shouldn’t have to prove it any time that someone wants to come out of the weeds and question me on it.

    Yeah, that’s what I’m going to do. It’s the most rational approach to deal with such a thing.

    Comments on Who’s Bashing Who?

    1. vocallytrnsfrmd
      February 4th, 2008 | 11:10 pm

      word.

    2. brockdc
      February 4th, 2008 | 11:45 pm

      Believe in what you do, Steve – and I think that should be enough. The web’s rife with bitter little weirdos with massive Internet muscles. A sane, balanced person who disagrees with your posts would engage you in rational discourse as opposed to personal attacks (an all too common occurrance on this site). But, like I said, the anonymity of the Net lends itself to such behavior.

      In the end, it’s your blog. Do your thing to the best of your ability and filter out the noise. Despite what a vocal minority seem to insist, you do have a loyal fan base.

    3. baileywalk
      February 5th, 2008 | 12:25 am

      As I (and others) have said, it’s your blog. So write what you want when you want about who you want.

      But the opposing view to this?

      Well, first off, I think we all know you’re a Yankee fan. And I don’t think anyone objects to you criticizing Yankee players, coaches, the GM, etc. I think what gets on people’s nerves is the near obsession you get with people you don’t like — in particular Cashman and Hughes — and how you nitpick them to death. You’ve probably found fifteen million ways to write that Cashman is a bad GM. I think you often do research with a conclusion in mind already, and then sometimes go off the rails slightly to make your point.

      With Hughes — well, it’s this mysterious dislike you have for him. You could tell me that that’s untrue, but go ahead and look back at what you’ve written. It’s venomous. You’ve smacked him around about nearly everything — from his mechanics to his web site to his work ethic to his blog. It’s been nonstop. With Hughes, more than anyone, it’s oddly personal. The only time I’ve really seen something positive about Hughes was after the near no-hitter, and you were still musing about his “low” velocity. Otherwise, it’s been one petty attack after another.

      Just with young players in general you don’t seem to like or trust them — unless you fall in love with them, and then you want to hold them aloft in the jungle and dedicate a song to them (Gardner, Gonzalez, etc.).

      But whatever. Saying what you do doesn’t make you a basher. It’s just your opinion. Others may disagree, but it’s your blog — so unless you go completely away from the stats and go the Abraham route of personal insults, it’s all valid.

      Is there sometimes a bitterness that leaks through into your writing? I would say yes. But there’s also an enthusiasm and love for the game, too.

      So, again, it’s your blog, and ultimately if you weren’t opinionated and didn’t have strong feeling about this team and baseball, you wouldn’t have a blog.

      You’re not a basher… you’re just a passionate fan. And I don’t think they have much to do with each other.

    4. Rich
      February 5th, 2008 | 1:47 am

      I echo baileywalk’s comments.

      I find some of the objects of your of your criticism hard to understand, but as long as a person supports their criticisms with facts, and is willing to attempt to counter (or accept) the rebuttals that others offer, I have no problem with it.

      You’re largely willing to do that.

      In a similar vein, some people used to call me a Torre basher. I believe that I was merely engaging in reasoned, fact-based criticism.

      I think people who use the word “bash” are signaling that they can’t factually counter their way out of a paper bag.

    5. Basura
      February 5th, 2008 | 5:34 am

      I disagree with your claim of this site being “Yankees-blinders and Pinstripe-Pollyanna” free.

      YOUR Yankees blinders, to me, means every little thing the Yankees does is WRONG down to lowest level of nitpicking unless it’s the rare player such as Tyler Clippard who’s earned total praise for the same unknown reasons you find fault in others’ minutiae.

    6. gphunt
      February 5th, 2008 | 8:24 am

      Steve, I like this website. I like the debate it brings out in people and there’s nothing better then a good debate.

      I wish that people would learn to debate and respond without getting personal. State your reasons why you think so and so is wrong and that’s it. No need for these personal attacks.

    7. mehmattski
      February 5th, 2008 | 8:56 am

      Steve, I hope you know that I respect you and your site- you do something every day that I tried for a while and just couldn’t keep up. Your fandom is unquestionable.

      With that said, I must agree with some of the posters above, especially baileywalk and Basura. On the whole you write positive things about the Yankees, without being a polyanna and you do critique things. Yet, it seems like individual players are either immune to critique (Melky and Cano, and lately, IPK) or immune to support (Hughes and Mussina, and especially Cashman). It’s not your critiquing that gets most of us down… it’s your inability to back down an inch when shown contrary evidence (a lot of the time).

      Finally, if I may speak to you personally as a fan, there is one thing that bothers me the most. When you criticize people like Mussina, A-Rod, and Cashman, it is usually based on post-season performance and the reality that the Yankees haven’t won a World Series in eight years. Calling the three of them failures and, indeed, blasting them for their inability to win in the playoffs comes off as arrogant to me. There is much more to the baseball season than winning the World Series. There are teams who have never won one, or teams who haven’t won in a century. Their fans keep coming back, and many of them remain happy to cheer on their team.

      And I’m guessing that 99.9% of other team’s fans would not be secretly hoping their team finishes third so that their GM looks like a fool…

      So, Steve, clearly this is your space and you can say what you want. But my advice to you would be to take into consideration some of the excellent research your readers do. Once in a while, make a post dedicated to recanting some position you may have erroneously taken. That would make me, the reader, a lot more willing to participate in discussions.

    8. antone
      February 5th, 2008 | 9:27 am

      Steve- I think it’s good that you look at both sides of things as any good objective fan should.

      I do think things have gotten a little negative around here, but in the end I know you mean well, and I think the reactions of some of the posters is more to blame for the negativity.

      They don’t seem to handle your opinions too well when they disagree with you, and I think overall it just puts you on the defense all the time which kind of takes away from the blog.

      The blog is at it’s best when people have opinions and then discuss them with class regardless of whether or not they are correct. I don’t always see that from the readers and I think that is when things get ugly.

      I also think the way you write things doesn’t come through to some people the way you intended it to. Often times I will read something you write and understand your point but it seems like others misinterept what you are saying.

      I’m not saying I agree with all your opinions but I can definitely see the basis for why you may think one way or another. For instance with Hughes, to me you are saying that there is no gaurantee he is going to be great and this is true but other people seem to think that means you think he stinks. I personally think that you are just trying not to jinx him by annointing him the next great thing but hey I could be wrong!

      I don’t enjoy the blog as much right now as in the past but I usually enjoy the blog more during the season since I like to discuss more game related topics but I still read this blog over all the other Yankee blogs. The style of writing, discussions, and analysis is the best of any Yankee blog.

      Good luck with your critics!

    9. Raf
      February 5th, 2008 | 10:17 am

      I wish that people would learn to debate and respond without getting personal. State your reasons why you think so and so is wrong and that’s it. No need for these personal attacks.
      ==========
      I agree

    10. Raf
      February 5th, 2008 | 10:20 am

      Yet, it seems like individual players are either immune to critique (Melky and Cano, and lately, IPK)
      ———–
      To be fair, I’ve seen Steve take on Melky & Cano.

    11. alvarof
      February 5th, 2008 | 10:52 am

      I read the Pinstripe Blog, Pete Abraham’s, NoMaas and yours … you are not a basher but sometimes both Pete and you come out as Cashman haters … and don’t get me wrong, NoMaas and Steve Goldman did criticize Joe Torre, but always backed up numbers and coherent arguments. By the way, I LOOK (don’t read) Pete Abrahams blog, somehow he gets the news first but he really sucks.

    12. singledd
      February 5th, 2008 | 11:54 am

      How do I get my Handle to say “OldYanksFan”?

      First off, as I have posted on Bronx Banter, Lohud, Yankees Chick, and other sites, this is without a doubt one of the very best Yankee sites on the Net. Your dedication, as demonstrated by numerous posts per day, and your fandom, can not be questioned.

      I am, and expect to continue to be, one of your strongest supporters. However, with that said: (drum roll please). The following 2 statements really sum of the issues I do have with WW.

      “I think you often do research with a conclusion in mind already, and then sometimes go off the rails slightly to make your point.”

      “Is there sometimes a bitterness that leaks through into your writing?”

      Especially of late, there has been a tone here that has made reading your posts less enjoyable then it should. I would like to point out that fact and truth are not always relevant if there is not proper persective.

      For instance, I could say Bobby Abreu stinks because he does NOT get on base 6 out of 10 times. This is true, correct? I could post pages of data to demonstrate this. But without the perspective that getting on base 40% of the time is considered great, my statement is irrelevant at best and damning at worst.

      For Cashman, what is a good batting ‘average’ in trades and aquisitions? And what other responsibilities does he have that are not immediate visible? And what about judging by ‘outcome’, as opposed to the conditions and circumstances of the moment?

      Vasquez, Contreras and Weaver were all sound ‘gets’ at the time. There was plenty of evidence that getting Pavano was a correct move. However, these all had terrible outcomes. But Cashman is not responsible for ‘outcome’, only his judgement at the time.

      I personally was against the Santana trade. It was a very tough decision, and close to a toss-up, but in my mind Cashman did it right. If Santana pulls a Pavano and never throws a pitch for the Mets, I will NOT feel more vindicated. Conversely, if he wins 7 CYs in a row with a sub 1.00 ERA, I will not second guess my opinion. In terms of Santana, the trade partners, the money and ALL the others factors, nobody can really say what will happen. You analyze the info you have, and make your best decision.

      But saying “see, Cashman was wrong because look how bad _____ was” is wrong. The guy is a GM, not a fortune teller.

      So here’s my advice. Keep up the great work. But maybe, when considering a post, even if your ‘facts’ are correct, maybe ask yourself is it really relevant to a discussion? Have you tempered your facts with perspective?

      And lastly, not to beat the Cashman thing to death but… when you consider that this guy has worked under great pressure, has survived George Steinbrenner all these years (and now the Steinettes), that when he wins it’s because the Yankees got money but when he losses it’s because he’s bad, it’s somewhat amazing that we haven’t found him on top of a McDonalds roof with a machine gun in hand.

      I’m somewhat amazed the guy can still walk upright.

    13. SteveB
      February 5th, 2008 | 12:03 pm

      Ahhh! Now I’m famous. Did I get personal? No, I don’t think so. Sorry if you disagree. I reacted to the opinions you constantly state, and stated my opinion of them. True I insinuated that you aren’t my ideal of a “real fan” but 1) who cares what I think, and 2) My definition of a real fan is totally open for debate.

      I wish you had excerpted my entire post, but I guess that’s the nature of the beast.

      I think your tone is negative, and I think you don’t provide a cohesive counterpoint such as, “Cashman blows because he does X, and I would do Y and Z…and see how that’s better?”

      That is the essence of my critique, but I will say, and I’ve said this before that I believe your mission for this blog is to generate readership, and to do that you often take hardline, controversial positions because you know it stimulates debate. It’s smart marketing.

      I don’t have a pollyanna view of the Yankees at all, but I do think they are on the right path. I also am a glass half full kind of guy and at the same time, I realize that the expectation to win the W.S. every year is insane.

      I’m glad to know you are an ardent fan, and start chants, and yell and all that stuff. That’s what baseball is all about.

      So, sorry if you took my critique personally, maybe I was just trying to be….controversial.

    14. SteveB
      February 5th, 2008 | 1:15 pm

      Also, I’d love to get a deeper explanation from you of “where these accusations are coming from.”

      Also, I like “brockdc’s” (i guess putting a poster’s name in quotes is the cool way to try to marginalize their opinion) comment calling me a “weirdo” in the same post that he decries personal attacks. Pretty smooth.

    15. February 5th, 2008 | 5:05 pm

      Just wanted to say thanks to all for their feedback on this.

    16. February 5th, 2008 | 7:39 pm

      You’re welcome.

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