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Cliff Lee and the media

Dec 17, 2010, 11:36 AM EDT

Cliff Lee phillies throwing

Bob Raissman writes about how really no one in baseball media got the Cliff Lee story right. Fair enough. I can’t remember the last time everyone was this fooled about a big signing. But I think Raissman is a bit unfair with this passage:

In fact, none of the legion of ESPN’s highly promoted, self-decorated baseball reporters, all who appear on the World Wide Leader’s multiple media platforms, knew what the heck was going on with Lee and the Phillies. Since ESPN promotes these baseball reporters as better than the rest of the schlubs on the beat, it should be embarrassed.

No one at ESPN got the story, true, but it should be noted that Jayson Stark was one of the first — and may have been the first — to surmise that the Phillies could be involved (even Heyman, who first reported that a “Mystery Team” was involved didn’t believe it was the Phillies).  Stark got there, not based on actual inside information, but based on his overall read of the situation.  I’m not suggesting that Stark be lauded for breaking anything because he didn’t, but I think that understanding what’s going on based on experience can be just as valuable as actually getting the scoop. In some cases, more valuable. ESPN should not be “embarrassed” for this.

Everyone is wrong sometimes and everyone is right sometimes, but I prefer that the baseball writers I read spend as much time thinking about this stuff as they do checking their Blackberries.  It’s certainly a lesson I’m learning as I dip my toe into the scoop biz more and more.

  1. BC - Dec 17, 2010 at 11:39 AM

    I got it right. Or at least I was the first one on this blog to muse about it. Go back and check.
    (Hey, I very seldom get to pat myself on the back, indulge me this once…)

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Dec 17, 2010 at 11:46 AM

      You did. I remember. I applaud your premonition. As for the comment from Obamablowz…even with just two words and one tag name, you’ve said so much about yourself.

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Dec 17, 2010 at 11:47 AM

        Ha, good, it was removed….thanks HBT for using reason.

    • Jonny 5 - Dec 17, 2010 at 11:51 AM

      BC, You da man.

    • Utley's Hair - Dec 17, 2010 at 12:22 PM

      Way to go, BC. I’ll see if I can get Cliffy to take it easy on the Mutts for an inning or two in 2011—the innings may not be consecutive (or even three outs at a time), but I’m sure he’ll oblige.

      • Jonny 5 - Dec 17, 2010 at 1:18 PM

        Even then, I was all “Ho hum, they won’t match the Yanks offer, waste of energy to hope for this.”

        Then I woke up the next day. Woot!!!!

      • Utley's Hair - Dec 17, 2010 at 1:27 PM

        I’m still trying to picture the first contact from Rube.

        RAJ: “So…uh…Cliff…how’s it going?”
        Cliffy: [clenched jaw; icy stare drops room temperature 30 degrees]

      • Jonny 5 - Dec 17, 2010 at 1:49 PM

        Wow, mine’s totally different. It goes more like this

        Cliff: Hey, did Amaro call us yet?

        Agent: No

        Cliff: Please call him and see what he’ll offer, the wife is making me INSANE over here. Maybe tell him i’d take a “Royish” contract just to shut her the heck up.

        Agent: You sure?

        Cliff: is a bull frog’s a$$ watertight?

        And sure enough, the first two years of his contract are less than the 40 million halladay rakes in over the next 2 seasons. Then it’s uphill from there. I guess Roy was told he’d be taken care of with “Lee” money after his last year is up. More in the 25 million range or something to that effect.. if he’s still “Roy” that is.

  2. Jonny 5 - Dec 17, 2010 at 11:54 AM

    So what grounds does Bob feel they failed on? Was their intelligence agency not working hard enough to infiltrate the Phillies or Lee household with their spies? Or was their crystal ball out of calibration? I just don’t get it… But that’s nothing new when it comes to understanding people I guess…

  3. drunkenhooliganism - Dec 17, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    Is he saying that ESPN should be embarassed for not guessing? Or for not having ESP? The story wasn’t out there. they didn’t take a chance in order to be first. They laughed at the idea of a mystery team because their sources said that it didn’t exist. Ruben runs a tight ship, he doesn’t leak information. Even the pathetic Heyman (the one who presumably got it right) specifically stated that he didn’t think it was the phillies.

    I hate what ESPN has become, and on the list of things that ESPN should be ashamed, this doesn’t even make the top 1000.

  4. Utley's Hair - Dec 17, 2010 at 12:25 PM

    Hey my heart was racing for the entire night after Stark made me regret my resignation to the Phightins not having a play AT ALL. For that, I’m glad nothing leaked out, as opposed to the sieve in the Bronx.

  5. stackers1 - Dec 17, 2010 at 1:01 PM

    Bob Raissman is a super-deluxe jackov anyway. He’s got nothing good to say about anyone. His job is to watch sports on TV & write about how bad the announcers are.

  6. macjacmccoy - Dec 18, 2010 at 2:10 AM

    Finding out when a deal is done is nowhere close to predict what will happen. Everyone was talking Rangers Yankees no one said well it might be Philly. Thats what he means just bc Stark was the the 1st to confirm it means nothing. In a couple hours the Phillies were going to announce it anyway.

    If these guys were as good as there made out to be they would have had the Phillies involved the whole time. At the very least they should have had the Phillies included as a possible location in the last week..

  7. macjacmccoy - Dec 18, 2010 at 2:13 AM

    “’Im not suggesting that Stark be lauded for breaking anything because he didn’t, but I think that understanding what’s going on based on experience can be just as valuable as actually getting the scoop. In some cases, more valuable. ESPN should not be “embarrassed” for this.”

    Thats exactly the guys point know one understood what was going on if they did they would have knew the Phillies were a possible landing spot for Lee the whole. The expierence clearly isnt what they think it is.

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