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Credibility of Sports Columnists?


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STLtoday: Search for a closer escalates

By Joe Strauss

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

12/10/2008

.... a source said the Cardinals pursued Rodriguez before the former Los Angeles Angels closer reportedly accepted a three-year, $37 million bid from the New York Mets.

.... The Cardinals' bid for Rodriguez is believed to have been for three years and within the same financial neighborhood as the Mets' successful bid.

NY Times BLOG, Ben Shpigel: K-Rod Keeps Mets Up Late

Despite a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Kinzer said that the Cardinals did not offer Rodriguez a similar contract,...

So, is Strauss a liar, or did his "source" feed him bad info? Or did Strauss just get his definition of "same financial neighborhood" from Bill Clinton?

For what it's worth, I've long been very skeptical of anything which appears in the St. Louis Post Dispatch. There are ownership connections between the Cardinals and Post Dispatch, and the PD reporters' coverage of the Cardinals seems to be pretty soft, compared to that by papers in many other MLB cities. Whenever the Cardinals get rid of a player, it's frequently preceded and/or followed by reports from anonymous sources about how the player was a clubhouse problem.

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STLtoday: Search for a closer escalates

NY Times BLOG, Ben Shpigel: K-Rod Keeps Mets Up Late

So, is Strauss a liar, or did his "source" feed him bad info? Or did Strauss just get his definition of "same financial neighborhood" from Bill Clinton?

For what it's worth, I've long been very skeptical of anything which appears in the St. Louis Post Dispatch. There are ownership connections between the Cardinals and Post Dispatch, and the PD reporters' coverage of the Cardinals seems to be pretty soft, compared to that by papers in many other MLB cities. Whenever the Cardinals get rid of a player, it's frequently preceded and/or followed by reports from anonymous sources about how the player was a clubhouse problem.

Or maybe the other report was incorrect?

I think in most cities you will find fans who think the beat reporters for the different media outlets are "soft" and to close to the team and players, as well as those who believe the media is too hard.

Just look Roch Kubatko here. Some people think that because he is working at a media outlet owned by the Orioles, it's affecting his reporting for the worse, while others think his strong feelings against the Orioles chances at Teixeira and others are evidence of being too hard on the team.

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Man...all I can tell you is that each columnist had a very credible source providing them with information.

The Andy MacPhails of the world would rarely if ever pick the phone up and call the Roch Kubatko's and Joe Strauss' of the world to say, "Hey...just wanted to let you know before the press release comes out...the ink is drying on a deal to sign so-and-so...".

Until then, things can change. Minds can change. Third parties can decide to make a previously available player unavailable and vice-versa. All of those things not only make the job of reporting this stuff extremely difficult, but at times it's going to cause a writer to be wrong and, in some cases, bring his professionalism and integrity into question.

I won't name the player, but I was told last season by "a high ranking O's official" that a prospect in our organization would absolutely be in an O's uniform come September. It turned out that somewhere along the line minds changed and that player remained on the farm. I had every reason to believe said official and I believe he meant it when he said it. I asked another official "in-the-know", and he concurred.

Had I reported it here a day or two after it was told to me does that make me a liar? Unprofessional? I don't think so at all. It'll make me think twice about taking my source's word for it in the future, but it's proven to me the nature of the game and business.

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Just look Roch Kubatko here. Some people think that because he is working at a media outlet owned by the Orioles, it's affecting his reporting for the worse, while others think his strong feelings against the Orioles chances at Teixeira and others are evidence of being too hard on the team.

I think Roch's got too much integrity to let what he does be affected by who signs his paycheck. MASN had to know what they were getting when they brought him on board. I don't think he's leaning one way or the other. He's calling it like he sees it.

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I think Roch's got too much integrity to let what he does be affected by who signs his paycheck. MASN had to know what they were getting when they brought him on board. I don't think he's leaning one way or the other. He's calling it like he sees it.

Oh, I wasn't saying I agree with either side, just that based on the posts I've seen it seems that some people think he leans too far one way and some people think he leans too far the other way.

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Just look Roch Kubatko here. Some people think that because he is working at a media outlet owned by the Orioles, it's affecting his reporting for the worse, while others think his strong feelings against the Orioles chances at Teixeira and others are evidence of being too hard on the team.

So far, I like what little I've read by Kubatko. Like last night....

Right now, we're guessing eight years at around $160 million, but that's just a ballpark figure, so to speak. The Washington Nationals are believed to be offering 8/$160 million. Again, it's mostly speculation at this point. Reporters are making educated guesses and hoping that sources will come through.

Contrast that with Strauss.

.... a source said the Cardinals pursued Rodriguez before the former Los Angeles Angels closer reportedly accepted a three-year, $37 million bid from the New York Mets.

.... The Cardinals' bid for Rodriguez is believed to have been for three years and within the same financial neighborhood as the Mets' successful bid.

Reading between the lines, Strauss did say much the same type of thing that Kubatko did about contract offers, but Roch emphasized that dollar amounts being discussed were almost entirely speculation.

Although, personally, I'm skeptical that the Cardinals ever "pursued" Rodriguez. I'm also skeptical that they're seriously in the running for Fuentes. While I hope it's also an unfounded rumor, I can believe that they offered the Mariners Ankiel and a prospect for sore-armed closer J.J. Putz, and I can also believe the Mariners were dumb enough to reject it. Of course, being a Cardinals fan, I tend to overrate Ankiel. He has two partial seasons to his credit which, if projected out to 650 plate appearances, suggest that he's capable of hitting 30-40 home runs and driving in 100 RBIs.

	PA	R	H	2B	3B	HR	RBI	BB	SO2007	190	31	49	8	1	11	39	13	412008	463	65	109	21	2	25	71	42	1002007 Proj.	PA	R	H	2B	3B	HR	RBI	BB	SO2008 Proj.	650	106	168	27	3	38	133	44	140650	91	153	29	3	35	100	59	140

Last season, Rick had a sports hernia which caused him to be played in left field for 17 games and to miss several others or be used solely as a pinch hitter, which probably depressed his 2nd half production. If he could remain healthy, he might actually put up those kinds of numbers. He does still need to improve his plate discipline. In 2008, he did struggle a little against left handed pitching (.224/.268/.448/.717 in 123 PAs), but he actually hit left handers better than right handers in 2007, both in AAA before he was promoted and in the 2-1/2 months after he came up (.391/.400/.783/1.183 in 51 PAs).

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The nice thing about being a journalist is that you don't have to reveal your source.

The flip side (as mentioned) is that the only time a GM instructs someone to leak information is when he's working the media to his/her own advantage.

End game is that journalists can only report what they hear, but could very well make something up to help justify their job and promote themselves. The risk there is that striking out too often indicates you're a liar or you have bad sources - neither of which is something you want if you're a journalist.

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So far, I like what little I've read by Kubatko. Like last night....

Contrast that with Strauss.

Reading between the lines, Strauss did say much the same type of thing that Kubatko did about contract offers, but Roch emphasized that dollar amounts being discussed were almost entirely speculation.

Strauss also said he got his info directly from a source, while Roch specifically mentioned that much of what was being thrown around was speculation by reporters who were trying to get info from sources.

There's quite a bit of difference.

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