Thursday, June 11, 2009

Blogging About Your Fantasy Team Can Be Dangerous

posted by Jon Williams
Talking about your fantasy league research on your blog can now get you trashed on ESPN. Jerod Morris who writes under the pen name Jrod, wrote a post in which he attempted to explain Raul Ibanez's fantastic start to the season. Ibanez is on pace to hit well over .300 with 50-plus homeruns. Jrod begins his article by declaring his love for Ibanez and his pride in himself for accurately projecting him to earn a bump in his production thanks to switching from the pitcher's park that is Safeco Field to the hitter's haven that is Citizens Bank Park. It was a conclusion that many fantasy analysts had reached.

Then he shares a message he received from a league mate:
sorry, crean, but i must call bullshit on raul ibanez. you’re an objective man so i am sure you’ll love it while it lasts, but do not intend on it lasting forever. of course crazier things have been sustainable.

where have we seen this before? a recent 37th birthday is celebrated with a career year in home runs??? prior to this year ibanez has a career high of 33 home runs in one season and no other season of his 14 played with greater than 24 home runs!!! during his previous career year ibanez hit a HR roughly every 19 at bats and this year his pace is roughly every 11.

i thought they were testing???
As hundreds and even thousands of writers have done before he decides to take us with him as he conducts a little research and prove that Ibanez is simply performing the same under better conditions. He looks at park factors, the pitchers involved, the home/road splits, and even if Ibanez has a history of fast starts. Jrod is not the best or most thorough researcher but his thought process is pretty sound. Though he finds some evidence to support his ideas he feels that the evidence does not completely clear Ibanez of the speculation his friend suggested. Of course there are dozens of other angles that Morris could have used to defend Ibanez. But our blogger is far from the first to speculate about steroid use (and I'm not sure he actually did) it is pretty much a necessity if your in a fantasy league and attempting to project player performance.

Then someone tips off Ibanez that his integrity has been questioned and blames it all on this poor blogger who writes for a site called Midwest Sports Fans. This is a blog up less than a year with a Google Page Rank of 2 in the competitive Midwest sports blog nitch. It seems pretty obvious that someone at a much larger sports media company with access to Ibanez and nothing important to write, decided to have Ibanez deny steroid use and call it news. The so-called reporter in question does not have to provide evidence of steroid use he just has to blame it all on the evil blogger and he is excused.

This all leads to Jerod Morris appearing on ESPN's Outside the Lines. A show that exists to dig deeper into stories than the comedians that read from the teleprompter on Sports Center. When Morris receives an invitation to appear on the show is he supposed to refuse? I think I would have. But then most sports writers/bloggers would give an eye to be on ESPN. Personally, I don't do this to become a big media star, I'll be happy if my blog someday pays the rent. My point is that while he has to know what is coming, getting trashed on ESPN by a retard or two who probably haven't even bothered to read the article might be his idea of fun.

Now more than 200 nitwits from the ESPN message boards are trashing him in the comment section of the original post. Have they read the article? The evidence suggests not, but trash him they continue to do. They defend Ibanez from the steroid speculation with a amusing variety of subjective evidence (he's a great guy, he works really hard, Charlie Manuel is a great hitting coach...) while Raul Ibanez is talking about law suits and libel (he probably still hasn't actually read the post) and the mainstream media is once again assaulting bloggers as a group as irresponsible and inaccurate. Mainstream journalists have superior resources and a far larger audience to please. Yet aren't they even more irresponsible if they take a post written by someone they'll later call foolish and use it to create news?

Rob Neyer sums it up quite nicely:
I'm sorry, players, but you just don't deserve the benefit of the doubt. If we see something that suggests cheating, it's now fair to raise the subject. If only to knock it down. I wouldn't have raised the subject in this case, because I think Occam's Razor would suggest that Ibanez's numbers are the result of a good hitter in a good hitter's park in the weaker league having a couple of lucky months. For me, that's enough.

But I'm often reminded of that George Carlin bit, where everyone who drives slower than you is an idiot and everyone who drives faster than you is a maniac. Well, you (and Raul Ibanez) might think that Jerod Morris is a maniac. But it really just depends on how fast you're driving.
The Curious Case of Raul Ibanez: Steroid Speculation Perhaps Unfair, but Great Start in 2009 Raising Eyebrows

The Curious Case of Ken Rosenthal and John Gonzalez: Retard Speculation Perhaps Unfair, but Lecture To Blogger Raising Eyebrows

Ibanez willing to prove he's clean


Mainstream Sports Media Scared Stiff and Not Sure of Next Move


Supporting JRod: Rosenthal and Gonzalez Misguided in Their Criticisms

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