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Pinstripe Bible and River Ave. Blues issue statements about the censorship allegations

Jan 28, 2011, 2:30 PM EDT

Image (1) yankee%20stadium.jpg for post 4012

On Tuesday Moshe Mandel of TYU presented evidence which strongly suggested that the YES Network and/or the Yankees caused one Yankees blog — Pinstripe Bible — to ratchet-back criticism of the team in light of the Rafael Soriano signing, and that it punished another blog — River Ave. Blues — by removing the Yes Network toolbar for a period of time.

In the past 24 hours or so, both blogs issued statements on the matter.  Here’s River Ave. Blues, passed along at the bottom of a TYU post from yesterday:

“The YES Network has no editorial control over the content produced by River Ave. Blues, and at no point during our relationship has YES ever asked us to edit or remove any post we’ve published on RAB.”

Here’s Pinstripe Bible:

On Tuesday, Moshe Mandel of the blog TYU raised some questions about the Pinstriped Bible in the aftermath of the Rafael Soriano signing, making allegations of censorship. I chose not to comment at the time. However, given the volume and tone of speculation I have read, I would be remiss if I did not say the following: the Pinstriped Bible has been affiliated with YES almost since the network’s beginning. In all that time, I have never been asked to alter the tone or substance of my commentary. The day that happens is the day we part company, though I don’t expect such a thing to come to pass, because the YESmen understand as well as I do that our readership is looking for honesty, not propaganda.

In response to the former statement, I consider the matter closed.  As TYU noted, RAB did not change its posts on the Soriano matter.  All that happened was that the YES toolbar disappeared for a period of days and then returned.  It’s possible that the toolbar stuff was punishment by YES, but it’s also possible there were other reasons for it.  And ultimately, I don’t think most readers care a lick about whether a toolbar is there or not as long as the content is good and credible and that has never been at issue with RAB.

In response to the latter statement, I asked Steve — on Twitter — if that also means that no one at YES or the Yankees voiced displeasure at his initial post. My reason for asking was that there is more than one way for an organization to influence the message.  Even if Steve was not asked to change the content of his post, was it possible that there was subtler pressure being applied in the form of harrumphs, veiled threats, smoke signals or anything else?  Steve dismissed the possibility:

Me: Steve: so is it the case that no one at YES or the Yankees was critical of your initial post?

Steve: No. I revised the post upon further consideration and input from colleagues.

I know both the RAB writers and Steve Goldman of Pinstripe Bible (in that way you know people you talk to online).  I have no question about their quality as writers and analysts.  I likewise have no cause to question their integrity whatsoever.  If there is any doubt about this at all, let me be clear: my interest in this topic is no way meant as a criticism of RAB or Pinstripe Bible.  Rather, I am interested in the extent to which the Yankees and/or the Yes Network has attempted to influence what affiliated bloggers are writing about the team if, in fact, they are.

Having said that, I will honestly say that I don’t know how to reconcile the changes in the Pinstripe Bible post — outlined in TYU’s initial report — with Steve’s statement today.  I take him at his word. But I still not sure I understand how that post ended up as mangled as it did.

Obviously we as bloggers are entitled to change our minds about things.  Blogging is often a game of ready-fire-aim, and our initial opinions on a matter are often in need of later revision as new facts come in or as we reflect on a matter for a while.  And that’s how it should be. Immediacy is important for blog readers and the benefits of such immediacy outweigh the costs most of the time. But a corollary to that notion is that a blogger’s change of opinion on a matter should be transparent.

I don’t begrudge Steve for reflecting on his initial opinion of the Soriano signing and ratcheting back his rhetoric some.  I’ve done that many times myself.  But it does strike me that a better way to handle it is to update a post or do a second post that makes clear that the blogger’s mind has, in fact, changed.  Doing so helps the reader better understand your thought process and helps them weigh the credibility or your opinions.  Not doing so causes the reader — as it caused TYU, me and others in this case — to question why the changes were made and to wonder if it was something greater than a mere change of mind.

Again, these are just my personal thoughts on the matter and I don’t presume to have a monopoly on wisdom on this topic.  Just thinking out loud, really.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Jan 28, 2011 at 2:46 PM

    I agree with you 100% on this Craig. The general feel of a blog post should NEVER be revised. EVER. Stupid typos and stuff like that should even remain, with a strike-through of the initial mistake and the right word next to it. Once you click post or send or whatever it is you click, you should not be able to take what you say back. And if you made a factual mistake, that is as telling as anything else you may have said because it shows that your opinion was based on faulty information.

  2. Jonny 5 - Jan 28, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    Yes, changing a post afterwards instead of stating in an update afterwards a change of heart, or anything else for that matter is a really quick way to disillusion your readers, and lose their trust. if you made a mistake, don’t get rid of it. Just tell everyone you messed up. It’s simple. It just makes people think right away that you’re trying to destroy evidence. I’d say if Moshe says the “censorship” never took place, I have to take his word for it.

  3. Old Gator - Jan 28, 2011 at 3:47 PM

    I don’t believe either one of them. They have acne on their backs.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jan 28, 2011 at 3:59 PM

      Acne? I thought that was Charlie Sheen on their backs w/ a suitcase.

  4. lordd99 - Jan 29, 2011 at 3:14 AM

    Interesting, but I don’t believe a word of it. I’ve been reading Steve Goldman for years, and he’s an excellent analyst. He doesn’t hold back. Sometimes I think he goes a little too far in trying to find the negative, but I’ve never seen him pull down a story and do a substantial revision, as happened with his initial Soriano posting. It was pulled down and came back hours later (I think he posted his initial story faster than he did the revisions), and the copy changes didn’t flow all that easily.

    Pinstriped Bible post stories throughout the day. As you noted, if he had additional thoughts, including some on the positives of the Soriano signing, all Steve had to do was post an additional story. That would have made perfect sense.

    Even the Pinstriped Bible statement seems a bit forced, and doesn’t quite answer the question of why the changes were made. Colleagues? Really? Perhaps the Yankees front office conveyed their displeasure to these people, who then told Steve. That allows him to deny he was forced to make changes, but it’s really the same thing.

    Craig, I sense you don’t buy the answer, but out of respect for Steve you’ll take him at his word. I have great respect for Steve Goldman’s work, too, yet I’m not buying this. In some ways, it makes it worse!

  5. Professor Longnose - Jan 29, 2011 at 7:53 AM

    I’m glad he responded, but not only didn’t he address fully the issue at hand, the post on PB with his statement allows no comments.

  6. fuggles7 - Jan 29, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    Just wondering if NBCsports has ever put pressure on you for any of your blogs Craig, and if so, what did you do?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Jan 29, 2011 at 3:20 PM

      Two things I recall: once I linked to a NSFW site and someone told me not to do that. Another time I made a drug reference and someone told me that it wasn’t in very good taste. On each occasion they were right and — more importantly — I had agreed to avoid that kind of thing beforehand, so it wasn’t unexpected.

      No one has ever taken issue with my opinions or assessments on any baseball topics. No one has ever asked me to ratchet things back or take down a post or anything like that. With the exception of that language stuff, nothing.

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