May 18, 2012, 1:32 PM EDT
As always, give this one a pass if you don’t care about the navel-gazing stuff about blogging (and a bit of politics, but not directly), but I find it fascinating, so whatever. And yes, this rambles a bit, but I think I get to a point that is useful for our purposes.
This quote came from Andrew Sullivan today:
A blogger who is not prepared to make a total fool out of himself is not a real blogger.
It’s a satisfying quote in and of itself, but it’s made more fascinating in context and I want to unpack that a bit.
For those who don’t know him, Sullivan is a political blogger. One of the first political bloggers, actually, and one of the most widely read ones at that. And he’s terribly controversial too for any number of reasons. Some of the controversy is rooted in his personal life, career path and history. In more recent years it’s because he’s kind of an odd duck, politically speaking: he’s a long-time conservative who, since the middle of the past decade or so, has more or less gone to war with the conservative/Republican establishment (and they with him).
Part of this is philosophy and a big disagreement between he and his peers regarding what conservatism truly is. Part of it is Sullivan’s repudiation of the Iraq War, of which he was originally a staunch supporter. Part of it is that he is a huge fan of Obama and sharp critic of the current GOP. Part of it is that he’s just unique: you don’t find too many dudes who are Oxford-educated, devoutly Catholic, openly-gay (and HIV-positive), pro-gay marriage with a long string of conservative bona fides, jobs and positions who suddenly becomes a champion of a ton of lefty causes while still claiming to be a conservative. We love labels in this country and Sullivan doesn’t wear many of them well.
The context of that quote: Sullivan has taken some hits recently for claiming to be highly critical of Obama while really being a fanboy. I actually see both sides of this. He is critical of Obama on a lot of things. Torture, civil liberties, some cowardly foreign policy positions and some other things. But it’s also the case that it seems like nothing short of Obama killing someone in cold blood with a Glock on national television will cause him to change his view of the man. Kind of a tough position to be in when you claim — as Sullivan’s personal motto does — that he’s “of no party or clique.” Fact is, he’s emotional. People try to slam him (with some homophobia implied, I believe) by calling him “excitable”, but he’s basically an emotional writer.
Today Sullivan copped to a lot of that, but offered this defense (and here is where this starts to be relevant for us):
A blog updated every 20 minutes or so can only reveal a blogger’s human gyrations in the kind of granular detail a weekly columnist or less frenzied blogger can avoid. It is not always pretty; but I always try to keep it honest and open. Maybe I should be ashamed. I certainly feel exposed. And I wish I were omniscient and prescient and never had emotional responses to events … but that wouldn’t be much fun would it?
I agree with Sullivan on some things and disagree with him on others. But it is an absolute fact that, as a blogger, I model myself after him. This was a conscious decision back when I started out in 2007. Originally in terms of blog frequency — I think Sullivan’s popularity has a lot to do with the fact that he posts A LOT — but eventually in terms of temperament too.
No, I’m not as emotional as he is, but I really do believe in the idea that a blog is an organic, reactive medium that should best be read as a whole over time. That the blogger, if he wants to create and speak to a community, has to be willing to react quickly and from the heart even if it means being wrong sometimes. To not try to be omniscient or pretend that he didn’t totally whiff on something once when writing about that topic again. To believe what you believe and to state it strongly, but to be prepared to change your position when the facts change on the ground and to not spend too much time trying to tortuously bend old positions into new ones as if they were always consistent. Human reasoning and learning doesn’t work that way.
I don’t always do that, of course. I have blind and stubborn spots. And of course this is a baseball blog not a political blog like Sullivan’s, so the stakes aren’t exactly as high, meaning that one need not look as fearless or foolish when those inevitable “human gyrations” occur. But that is the goal and it is the thinking.
And it’s why I usually criticize writers who approach baseball from a position of authority, as if they know it all and you readers don’t. It’s why I laugh at people who slam me in the comments because I’m changing my position on something. What, we can’t learn too? It’s just baseball. Sure, I thought Bryce Harper was a punk when I first encountered him, but that was a kneejerk reaction. I feel differently now. So what? You never change your mind?
OK, enough of that navel gazing. I just like to throw this kind of stuff out there from time to time in order to make sure people know where I’m coming from.
May 21, 2013, 10:39 PM EDT
Finally some good news for the Anaheim Angels. According to beat writer Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, staff ace Jered Weaver could be activated from the disabled list for a start next week if everything goes well during his appearance in an extended spring training game on Wednesday. Weaver has been out since…
May 21, 2013, 9:20 PM EDT
Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com has the news: Chris Sale has been scratched from Wednesday’s start with mild tendinitis in his left posterior shoulder, the team announced Tuesday. … A team official said Sale is expected to make his next start on Tuesday against the Chicago Cubs. Hector Santiago will take the mound in his place. Sale has…
May 21, 2013, 8:31 PM EDT
Royals catcher Salvador Perez left Monday’s game against the Astros after slamming into the fence in front of the home dugout at Houston’s Minute Maid Park while trying to track down a foul popup. Perez has been diagnosed with a deep right hip bruise, according to beat writer Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star,…
May 21, 2013, 7:27 PM EDT
From Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com comes word that the Phillies have scratched second baseman Chase Utley from Tuesday’s game against the Marlins because of pain in his right side. The Phillies aren’t giving out many details, only saying that Utley will be reevaluated by team doctors on Wednesday. He apparently felt the discomfort while taking pregame batting…
May 21, 2013, 6:43 PM EDT
The top of the minor league OPS leaderboard is typically littered with Triple-A veterans and A-ball players too old for their leagues. That’s still the case this year, but numbers two, three and four on the list are all top prospects. Minor league OPS leaders (minimum 100 at-bats) Scott Van Slyke (26 Dodgers): 1.236 OPS…
May 21, 2013, 6:25 PM EDT
MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports that the Rangers have scratched Nick Tepesch from his scheduled Wednesday start against the A’s due to a blister on his right middle finger. Ross Wolf will be called up from Triple-A Round Rock to pitch in his place. Tepesch developed the blister Friday evening on the only slider he threw…
May 21, 2013, 5:38 PM EDT
Sorry. That headline may have been a bit dramatic. But see, I turn 40 in July. And while I’m generally cool with that — and while I am, in all honestly, in The Best Shape of My Life — it has dawned on me pretty clearly that we are almost to the point where there…
May 21, 2013, 5:00 PM EDT
From the press release machine: The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that Milwaukee Brewers Minor League left-handed pitcher Alan Williams has received a 50-game suspension without pay after a second positive test for a drug of abuse in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The suspension of Williams, who…
May 21, 2013, 4:46 PM EDT
As expected the Cubs activated Matt Garza from the disabled list to face the Pirates tonight, which will be his first start since being shut down with elbow problems last July. His recovery from the elbow injury was delayed by a lat injury suffered during spring training, which is how he ended up missing 10…
May 21, 2013, 4:30 PM EDT
Larry Dierker has been part of the Astros family forever. He played there from 1964 through 1976, served as a radio broadcaster from 1979 through 1996 and managed the team from 1997 through 2001, winning the Manager of the Year award in 1998 and winning four division titles in his five seasons at the helm.…
May 21, 2013, 4:16 PM EDT
Jair Jurrjens’ return to the majors was a brief one, as the Orioles sent him back to Triple-A to make room on the roster for Miguel Gonzalez coming off the disabled list. Jurrjens predictably struggled in his first big-league start since July of 2012, allowing four runs in five innings against the Rays. He had…
May 21, 2013, 3:51 PM EDT
What type of MLB player do you want to be?
May 21, 2013, 3:40 PM EDT
The NFL just granted Super Bowls L and LI to San Carlos Santa Clara, California and Houston, respectively. Also in the running was Miami, but it was shafted. Why? Because neither Miami nor the State of Florida would pony up taxpayer dollars for upgrades to the Sun Life Stadium. Why wouldn’t they? Florio gives the…
May 21, 2013, 2:46 PM EDT
For the second time in a month Daric Barton was placed on waivers by the A’s and passed through without being claimed by any of the other 29 teams. Our own Bill Baer wondered over the weekend if Barton could be a fit for the Mets or other teams getting little production from first base,…
May 21, 2013, 2:31 PM EDT
The late Stan-the-Man’s house is on the market. Built in 1962 and, not surprisingly given the age of its owner when he passed, it rather looks it. But like Joe Morgan’s dated home (a) the bones are good and if you just redid the place it’d be fine; ad (b) it’d be kinda cool to…
May 21, 2013, 2:14 PM EDT
Patrick Corbin was never considered an elite prospect and had a decent but unspectacular rookie season for the Diamondbacks last year, throwing 107 innings with a 4.54 ERA and 86/25 K/BB ratio. He had to compete for the fifth starter job this spring and now … well, it’s safe to say his rotation spot is…
May 21, 2013, 2:00 PM EDT
Eh, probably not. But such speculation is way more fun than Dodgers and Angels baseball these days. Also: I inexplicably used the term “legit” twice in this video. Sorry, everyone.
May 21, 2013, 1:30 PM EDT
Paul Lukas of UniWatch figured out that MLB is putting all teams in uniforms with camouflage design highlights on Memorial Day. He figured it out because the team store for each team has the jerseys on sale, with the note “as worn on-field, Memorial Day, May 27, 2013.” I’m informed by an MLB source that the…
May 21, 2013, 1:20 PM EDT
Indians closer Chris Perez has been pretty active on Twitter over the years, but apparently the negative comments following a blown save Saturday and another poor outing Monday led him to delete the account last night. I can’t imagine having to deal with the angry, ugly comments that athletes receive on Twitter every day, let…
May 21, 2013, 1:00 PM EDT
Matt Kemp is an Oklahoma native, so the tragedy in Oklahoma City yesterday certainly hit home for him. He’s doing something about it: I’m giving $1000 for tonight’s HR and every HR until the All-Star break for the victims of my hometown in OKC. #PrayforOklahoma — Matt Kemp (@TheRealMattKemp) May 21, 2013 So too is…
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