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Heyman and Olney fight about the Red Sox and it’s a good, good thing

Feb 10, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT


As we noted yesterday, Jon Heyman took the curious tack of accusing the Red Sox of being cheap or small market or something and suspecting that the team owners are spending money on their soccer interests or whatever.  It was fairly silly, and no shortage of bloggers have weighed in on just how silly it is.

But it’s not just the bloggers. Buster Olney took to Twitter this morning to tear that line of reasoning to shreds:

He later said in reply to another person that “The Red Sox have made mistakes in the past, but they can’t be accused of being cheap.”  Which is 100% correct.

I find this all rather interesting, simply because it’s so rare that you see two of the big name baseball columnists in direct disagreement like this.  But it’s not just interesting for gossipy purposes.

One of the things you see in the political blogosphere and mainstream media is a willingness for pundits and commentators to engage each other directly. It doesn’t need to be nasty, though sometimes it is.  What it does more broadly speaking, however, is it allows for ideas and arguments to be tested, honed and refined. It helps put lie to baloney rather quickly and, ultimately, the readers are all better served.

We don’t see that too often in sports writing, at least in a way that includes the big names like Olney and Heyman.  Rather, there’s this sort of fierce deference most of the time, with a commentator voicing what may be baloney and no one else of stature questioning it that much.  It’s almost seen as rude to do so. And if you do it, you’re considered something of a bomb-thrower.

I wish we had more of it in baseball writing.  A culture in which fierce debate can be had about these kinds of things without someone considering it a faux pas and without people blocking one another on Twitter* and what have you.  A culture of discourse in which it is business, not personal, and in which strong debate and opinion can be aired without everyone getting all upset about it.

Maybe that never happens because people tend not to view sports as being as important as politics. But I wish we could see more dust kicked up than we do. Ultimately knowledge and insight is advanced and disseminated in a much better fashion that way and the baloney is less able to flourish like it does.


NoteEvan Grant of the Dallas Morning News said today that Heyman blocked him Why would he do that?  Why would anyone secure in their arguments and place in the world do that to a colleague?

  1. fryban - Feb 10, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    Interesting points, but more importantly; what’s going on in that stock photo? How is that tie blowing in that direction? If the force of the taller man’s yelling were to move the tie, it would be in a downward direction. The only possible explanation is that he’s actually blowing air through his right index finger.

    • Jonny 5 - Feb 10, 2012 at 11:30 AM

      Fryban, Think about it, The tall man represents Heyman. He’s obviously talking out his a$$ again. There must be a wall behind him redirecting the hot air towards the shorter Olney. Lots of hot wind blowing out of that rear end.

      • natstowngreg - Feb 10, 2012 at 12:27 PM

        Obviously, heightism.

  2. canadaman54 - Feb 10, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    Sounds like someone misses his legal career…

  3. butchhuskey - Feb 10, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    Jon Heyman is a smug scumbag and a disgrace to baseball journalism. Olney, on the other hand, is a professional through and through.

  4. paperlions - Feb 10, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    Baseball writing/analysis culture in which direct debate regularly occurs on emerging or controversial topics leading to greater insight and understanding without people getting offended: sabermetrics.

    • joetiburzi - Feb 10, 2012 at 12:00 PM

      I love sabermetrics, but this is total crap. If an old school writer posts something ignorant or generally at odds with the new school approach and Klaw or Cameron or whoever call that person out, the sabermetrics masses usually follow with a flurry of attacks, often personal. It gets out of hand quickly. The sabermetrics crowd can be territorial, arrogant, dismissive, close minded, and immature… Just like everyone else.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 10, 2012 at 12:09 PM

        Read the FG comments sometime. Sure, they have lots of stupid comments (it’s the internet, after all), but there’s also a LOT of healthy debate.

    • paperlions - Feb 10, 2012 at 12:09 PM

      I am talking about sabermetricians having discourse with each other. Arguing with a fan of pitcher wins will not advance baseball analytics. I am not referring to the understanding of specific individuals, but the creation and advancement of a body of knowledge by those engaged in the process.

      • joetiburzi - Feb 10, 2012 at 12:21 PM

        And I would argue that it still isn’t very nice to jump down someone’s throat, even if they do believe in wins.

      • paperlions - Feb 10, 2012 at 12:53 PM

        I agree. With such a fundamental difference in opinion, it is impossible to discuss a topic as the discussion will be re-focused on the disagreement in philosophy. Jumping down someone’s throat isn’t constructive….but then….neither is the ignorant crap written by those that refuse to educate themselves as they slam all those basement dwelling bloggers.

        There is fault on both sides in this respect.

      • joetiburzi - Feb 10, 2012 at 1:29 PM


  5. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 10, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    This absolute “MY OPINION IS ALWAYS RIGHT” jackass-ism in journalistic lack of integrity drives me nuts. Why guys like Heyman wouldn’t want to spend a lot more time in debate and constructive viewpoint sharing is beyond me. If I were them, I’d consider that chance a highlight of my career. Baseball is meant to be discussed and argued as much as it is loved.

    • The Rabbit - Feb 10, 2012 at 12:10 PM

      Baseball is meant to be discussed and argued as much as it is loved.
      Agree completely. It’s part of the allure of the game.

      BTW, Heyman continually proves he’s a douchenozzle©. Has he blocked Olney yet?

  6. APBA Guy - Feb 10, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    Heyman also advanced this view on “Clubhouse Confidential” and “Hot Stove” on MLB Network. Also without a challenge from the show’s other participants. It wasn’t entirely a throw-away line either, they had graphics prepped and up. “Clubhouse Confidential” is usually better than that, but Brian Kenney wasn’t hosting yesterday. Still being that this was on the MLB Network, I’m surprised any criticism of team ownership, no matter how implied or gentle, got past the producers.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 10, 2012 at 12:26 PM

      MLBN is pretty vocal, and their analysis is light years beyond what we’ve had to put up with historically. Amsinger and Kenney are fantastic.

  7. cur68 - Feb 10, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    Craig asks: ” Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News said today that Heyman blocked him(.) Why would he do that? Why would anyone secure in their arguments and place in the world do that to a colleague?” Answers simple: Heyman isn’t secure in his arguments. He knows that he didn’t put a lot of thought into what he says or writes. The whole point of staying out of arguments is to avoid thinking.

  8. Jonny 5 - Feb 10, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    Twitter is bad at formatting good debates. It’s really good for saying “hey, you’re a dumbass” though.

  9. buffalomafia - Feb 10, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    I am a true blue Yankees fan & even I know that Boston is by far not cheap!

  10. fetch - Feb 10, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    How do you get to work at a major newspaper as a baseball columnist and have an MVP/HOF vote by thinking the phrase is “woe is me”?

    • fetch - Feb 10, 2012 at 12:56 PM

      I obviously mean “whoa is me” because I am an idiot who can’t type

      • Hands Four - Feb 10, 2012 at 2:55 PM

        ya had it the first time…

      • cur68 - Feb 10, 2012 at 3:01 PM

        No, Mr. Hands, Mr. Fetch was trying to quote Mr. Evan Grant, who’d spelled it “whoa” in his twit. He, Mr. Fetch, was, however, too smart for his own good and spelled “woe” correctly. In fact, just to round out the argument because this is the interwebs, I’m avoiding my thesis, and I can needle the religulous a bit, allow me to point out that the phrase is from the Christian mythologies and the fable of Job. It’s in the Christian Propaganda as “Woe unto me” (Job 10:15). Commonly transformed for modern consumption as “Woe is me”.

      • natstowngreg - Feb 10, 2012 at 6:02 PM

        *stands, mouth agape, admiring The Awesomeness That Is Cur*

        Now all we need is a couple thousand well-chosen words from Old Gator about how all this means the Fish will win the NL East. Or not.

  11. ultimatecardinalwarrior - Feb 10, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    Come on, Craig! Everybody knows you do this through your “Old Hoss Radbourn” alter ego.

  12. deathmonkey41 - Feb 10, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Once someone insulted the Red Sox, ESPN had to sic their pitbull on him. I heard Karl Ravech slashed his tires the same day and Chris Berman used up his voicemail space talking about his mancrush on Tom Brady.

  13. bigleagues - Feb 11, 2012 at 2:43 AM

    Still no response from Olney regarding charges he plagiarized my HardballTalk Comments in his takedown of Heyman.

    Apparently he’ll only engage hasbeens – and not neverhavebeens.

  14. bigleagues - Feb 11, 2012 at 5:06 AM

    Because I had NOTHING better to do tonight, I just further expanded (under CC’s 2/9/12 post) why John Heyman’s comment about FSG overspending on LFC is pure fiction . . . some fairly basic fact checking and reasearch – a concept apparently foreign to the celebrated Heyman – reveals that LFC has been cutting payroll since FSG took over, in part to reduce debt and mainly because this season’s marks the start of a UEFA mandated 3-year window in which clubs MUST not exceed a total of $45M in total losses. Teams MUST be in BREAK-EVEN compliance by 2014 or risk UEFA sanctions related to championship play.

    Payroll disparity has grown so rapidly that 2nd tier clubs have almost no hope of competing with upper tier clubs. And UEFA is considering how to best implement a potential salary cap.

    John Heyman couldn’t have been more offbase with his inane comment. And for that masterful act of willful ignorance . . . John Heyman is my Asshat of the Week (Trademark 2012 JBL Productions, All Rights Reserved).

  15. giselleisasucubus - Feb 11, 2012 at 10:40 PM

    I’ve been saying it for awhile. Heyman is a thin-skinned hack.

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