Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Sifting Through Crap

I love baseball. I love writing. If I had my pick of professions, ballplayer would be No. 1 and writer would be No. 2. But since I’m not athletically adept, No. 1 is right out of the picture. So it’s only logical that I am in hot pursuit of No. 2, and it makes even more sense that I’m trying to write about baseball.

The problem with this is simple supply and demand. There is a diminishing demand for sportswriters, since no one reads anymore. And since the Internet provides absolutely anyone with a forum to express his or her ideas, the supply of sports writing suitors has snowballed into infinity.

It seems that the only way to make a name for one’s self in this field is to go out on a limb, find an edge and stick to it. I’m still trying to find my edge, and am trying to be as patient as possible. No sense in forcing myself into something I don't fully agree with. This is all coming together in a minute, I swear.

One thing I’ll never do on this space: fabricate information to gain readership. I realize that the Internet is a breeding ground for deception and dishonesty, and that plenty of readership can be gained by making up a few juicy rumors that will never come to fruition.

The preceding four paragraphs all lead up to one idea: Gotham Baseball (www.gothambaseball.com, and I refuse to hyperlink to it) is the sorriest excuse for a baseball website on the Internet. Sorrier even than the Sporting Brews, if that’s possible.

My flirtations with GB began a mere week or so ago, when Boston Dirt Dogs linked to their rumor mill, which reported a four-way blockbuster in the making. I found this rumor so intriguing and uncharacteristically plausible that I even penned a few words on the subject.

It took a jab from Peter Gammons to wake me up:

"Trading Ramirez to Baltimore -- which would also include Matt Clement -- for Miguel Tejada could be determined later this week. It has long been fueled on the Tejada end by his close friend, David Ortiz. It does not in any way include a four-way creation of a Mets fan's Internet fantasy."


So here’s a guy with actual connections to actual Major League officials completely dispelling any four-way trade rumors. Sorry, GB, but I think Peter Gammons’s word is worth just a smidge more than yours.

I could have just sworn off the site after reading this, dismissing them as a bunch of jokers. But, upon revisiting Dirt Dogs this morning, I saw yet another link to GB, this time proposing a three-team deal that would cut Baltimore and Tejada right out of the picture. The proposal:

The Mets would get Manny Ramirez (and his whole contract).
The Rays would get Aaron Heilman and Anderson Hernandez.
The Red Sox would get Lastings Milledge, Danys Baez and Julio Lugo.


Unlike the first proposal, this one is completely unreasonable, and reeks of attention-mongering. Seriously, do you think the D-Rays would give up Baez and Lugo for Heilman and Hernandez? From reading about the D-Rays dealings, I can safely say that they’d surely hold out for more than those two players, especially when the two other teams involved are the Mets and the Red Sox. Additionally, if this scenario was plausible outside of GB’s fantasy world, couldn’t the Mets just send Heilman, Hernandez, and Milledge to the Sox directly?

Seeing this unfounded rumors, I decided to look back at some other GB rumor mill content. First up, December 19th, Mets and Dodgers talking deal for Kent, and it “could happen soon.” Sixteen days later, no other source has written even a word on the subject matter (though ESPN Insider could have, since they make up news, too).

Another rumor: Jim Edmonds was in play during the Winter Meetings, and that the Cards were talking trade with the Yankees. Of course, the asking price was Wang and Cano, meaning that the Cards weren’t really interested in a deal. EVERYONE has reportedly asked for Cano and/or Wang in any deal with the Yankees, and the Yankees have said “no” every time, like a smart team would.

There’s more, but it’s all the same mumbo-jumbo. Team X has superstar Y available, and they’re asking a ridiculous price from the Yankees. The Mets are shipping Lastings Milledge to every team in the Major Leagues. It’s just a bunch of repetitive nonsense aimed at keeping readers interested.

This is one reader who is completely disinterested. So disinterested, in fact, that I’m penning what looks to be 900 words on why GB’s rumor mill is sophomoric.

One concession I will make: the columnists aren’t half-bad. They write thought out, lengthy pieces about whatever subject they please, relevant to the current sports world or not. Make a site out of these guys and you have something viable. Add their faux Rumor Mill, and you have a steaming pile of crap.