We thought we had a pretty good story when, earlier this week, Philadelphia Daily News baseball writer and former BWAA president Paul Hagen agreed to do an interview with our site.
But it turns out we went after the wrong Daily News writer. Because when it comes to providing good copy, columnist Bill Conlin has no peer.
Yesterday, Conlin wrote a column about why Jimmy Rollins deserved the NL MVP Award. It was what we in the industry call a “blow job piece”. And it was, by any measure, pretty stupid.
Not long after its publication, Fire Joe Morgan took the bait and picked Conlin’s column apart, sentence by moronic sentence.
But today, the real fun has begun. Crashburn Alley emailed Conlin and very politely asked why he thinks Rollins deserved the MVP more than Mets 3B David Wright. And this is what Conlin had to say:
Know what, pal? Bash this. . .Tell your bloggers, my career against theirs. . .
And that was just the beginning. Conlin has (so far) emailed Crashburn three times. And each email is better than the last. You can read them all here.
You could interpret Conlin’s emails as just one guy venting his mounting frustration with the blogosphere. But I think it’s more than that.
I think Conlin’s angry (and often confused) words reveal a guy who is fighting a losing battle to remain relevant. Baseball and the way we evaluate players is changing. Conlin and many other baseball writers no longer speak the language.
But don’t shed any tears for Conlin, or any other baseball writer for that matter. It’s not like they’re the only journalists who have to deal with change. The entire field of journalism is in flux. Reporters are now being asked to carry video cameras. They have to learn to write for the web. They have to learn how to record and edit podcasts.
When Conlin says calls sabermetrics “wishful fan numbers that bear no semblance to reality”, I see a guy who has taken a look at his changing profession and at the changing game of baseball and said, “Screw this. I’m too old to change.”
And if the Daily News wants to continue to employ a guy who long ago stopped doing any meaningful reporting, a guy who doesn’t want to grow as a journalist, a guy who turns a blind eye to the changes going on all around him, it’s their funeral.