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In case you haven’t been paying attention, Philadelphia Daily News columnist Bill Conlin is at war with the blogs. And the blogs are winning.

But here’s something the blogosphere has yet to unearth.

In July, the Daily News asked Conlin — “a writer who has covered the game both then and now” — to reflect on what he misses and what he is glad has changed.

We bring you his responses, as well as our snarky comments, Fire Joe Morgan-style.

THREE THINGS I MISS

1. Sitting around with the scouts in media lounges around baseball listening to these rococo poets break down games to their most minuscule points, each wrapped in a rich velour of anecdotal remembrance and apocryphal yarns.

I learned a lot from those scouts. They tought me about the evils of “wishful fan numbers”. Oh, and speaking of wrapping oneself in rich velour, I picked up a few fashion tips, too. Did you know that Hawaiian shirts can be worn pretty much year-round?

2. Day baseball and our old 5 a.m. deadlines, which caused the executive decision of the day: Do I dare risk writing after having dinner with Paul Owens? Or do I write now and miss him ripping, “My little [bleep] shortstop?”

Answer: I didn’t dare risk missing dinner.

3. Being able to buy a player a drink or pick up a dinner check at a time when the major league minimum salary and baseball beat man salary were in the same low-rent ballpark. My first full year on the beat, 1966, I was making a little more than the ML minimum of $10,500. I loved big-timing rookies.

I still love big-timing rookies. And I can do it, too. After all, I’m making ballplayer money for two columns a week! And not 1966 ballplayer money, either. The DN “gave me a generous signing bonus, a quarterly performance bonus and matched the lump sum that would have accompanied the buyout package. They also continued the subsidy of my Florida condo that has been paying the taxes and monthly maintenance since 1987. By law, they had to begin paying me my full pension in 2004, so at age 73 I’m making the top salary at the paper plus collecting the biggest monthly pension check ever paid out.”

THREE THINGS I’M GLAD HAVE CHANGED

1. Not having to take part in the group “one quote serves all” interviews that have become the sorry lot of the baseball beat writer.

In fact, I’ve stopped doing any reporting whatsoever!

2. Not having to write my stories and columns on an Olivetti portable with an “i” key that sticks … Then sending the story via a 30-pound fax machine that was called a “Telecopier” at 6 minutes a page. They were fragile and you weren’t supposed to check them with luggage, but everybody did, so they didn’t have to risk a hernia carrying them a half-mile to the gate. It was fun to see them come careening down the baggage-claim carousel chute, hit the railing and fly open in a shower of cheap plastic fittings. After that came the Radio Shack 100s holding one 25-inch story that would be lost forever if you accidentally got unplugged, as there was no memory in the early ones.

Now I write my stories on an Apple MacBook Pro, but the “i” key still sticks. What, they can come up with portable music players that work under water but they can’t invent a barbecue sauce-proof keyboard?

3. Google, instead of having some harassed clerk look up an obscure fact in a library where any clips worth reading had vanished years before. They were the days when the morgue really was …

… was … umm, I’m sorry. My heart stopped for a couple of seconds there. It does that on occassion. Where was I?

12 Responses to “More fun with Bill Conlin”

  1. Paul Moro says:

    I don’t know, Coley. Maybe you’re buying into the spin. Maybe you’ve OVERestimated Boras… Or you’ve just estimated him. Does that work? Can I say that?

  2. Sarah Green says:

    Coley, I think you might be barking up the wrong tree, here. That article is all speculation and conspiracy theory. I preferred the following piece, from that bastion of journalistic integrity, The Onion:

    http://www.theonion.com/content/news/slow_month_in_baseball_saved_by_a

  3. But that\’s the thing! We all assumed that Boras announced A-Rod\’s decision during the World Series b/c he wanted to steal the headlines. This article simply offers some alternative speculation.

  4. This reminds me of reading other conspiracy theories that are so tantalizing they may actually be true. . .but I’m not one to question his noodliness, the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    Maybe someone else can help me with the math, but the Dodgers contract works out to 256 million over 8 years. A) That is ridiculous, b) that’s roughly 10% more than the contract New York already offered him, correct? 230 million for 8 more years (technically an extension of his current deal).

    If you loved where you were, got paid great money, would you take an extra 10% to go to a completely new place?

    I think Gordon makes an excellent point, but his basic assumption is flawed. A-Rod does not care about being a Yankee. He does care that the Yankees have the highest payroll in MLB, and should therefore be able to pay him ungodly amounts of money. His current behavior is consistent with the past. A-Rod is still all about the Wilsons.

    (Wilsons being $100k bills printed by the Treasury. Largest ever.)

  5. Nick Kapur says:

    I think it’s completely the opposite of what Gordon is saying. I think A-Rod *doesn’t* want to be a Yankee.

    Basically, the Yankees were asking A-Rod for a “hometown discount” – ie forgo possible more money for the privilege of being a Yankee. And if everything had gone swimmingly in New York from day one til now, I think he might have considered it.

    But with the way he was treated in that town, by those fans and that media – the scorn, the scrutiny, all the articles saying how the Yankees could do better with Scott Brosius at third – I think in the end he just said “Fuck it, why should I take less money for these idiots?” and declared free agency, which was completely his right under his contract.

  6. Sarah Green says:

    I agree with Nick, except that I still think it was scummy of A-Rod to say all that crap about how he wanted to stay in New York and then just up and leave. Fine, opt out, take the money and run, but don’t lie, man. That’s not cool.

  7. I think what Gordon is saying is that the Yankees, b/c they are the Yankees, don’t get to ask for a hometown discount. If the Dodgers say they can afford to pay A-Rod $300 million, how can the Yankees cry poverty? They’re the Yankees! They have more money than any other team! If the Dodgers can afford A-Rod, than the Yankees surely can.

    Sarah, you say A-Rod lied about wanting to stay in New York. I don’t think he lied. I think he still wants to stay in New York. He’s just committed to getting paid what he’s worth and, while the Yankees offer was huge, it was likely far short of what other teams will pay.

  8. I’ve read the article three times now. Either I’m a total idiot and don’t understand or Gordon is talking out of his ass. This still wreaks of a guy taking the counterargument just for fun, not because he thinks it’s true. There’s no other reason to think this.

    Look, the Yankees will not look cheap for not paying A-Rod $32 over six. They’ll look smart. Because quite frankly, there’s just no way that any player is worth this much. He may be the best, but he’s not so much better that he deserves a salary that could net them two All-Stars. And his argument involving the Girardi announcement makes no sense either because we all knew by that point who the Yankees were picking.

    Plus, I find the whole “look how much money he’ll bring in” thing proposterous. He’s among the least likable guys in the league. I don’t know anyone who goes to a baseball game specifically to see A-Rod. I don’t know anyone who changes the channel to the YES Network because “A-Rod’s on deck”. I simply do not get it.

  9. Sarah Green says:

    Indeed, the entire article sounds like that scene in “The Princess Bride” where that short, evil guy is trying to make the Man in Black drink the poisoned goblet. I mean, maybe Boras only made A-Rod opt out then so we would *think* he was a douchebag, knowing that we would then second guess ourselves because obviously Boras is a genius and why would he do something so stupid, which would then lead us to conclude that A-Rod is in fact *not* a douchebag, even though he really is a douchebag and that’s why Boras instigated this whole crazy scheme anyway? Huh? Yeah! How about THAT?!

  10. Man, I can’t wait to be a cranky old guy. Those will be the days when I can buy my own loveseat that no one else can enjoy – and I will make sure that no one does by constantly lounging away on it wearing only an undershirt and wool socks. By then, my gut would probably be so big that no one would know I’m not wearing any pants anyway.

  11. Just in case people are waiting with baited breath to see if Conlin will be reprimanded by the DN, he’s got a new column out today. So we at least know he wasn’t suspended.

  12. Sarah Green says:

    Coley, I hate to be an ass, but that’s bated breath. Also, I fail to see any reason why Conlin would be suspended.

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