Thursday, September 4, 2008

Dear ESPN's Eric Karabell

I know I'm probably typing to the deafness of cyberspace, but I just can't read this w/out being agitated into response.

ON JULY 30TH, YOU WROTE AN ARTICLE ABOUT SAFE CLOSERS AND SAID BOTH BRIAN WILSON AND GEORGE SHERRILL WERE AVERAGE, likely to lose their jobs at any moment. Quoting YOUR WORDS re Sherrill, “he is second in the bigs in saves, but his ERA and WHIP are below average.” Wilson was leading the NL in saves at the time w/29 so it would stand to reason that his awful WHIP and ERA earned him a place on your list, like Sherrill. In other words, you rated 2 of the SAVE LEADERS as just average BECAUSE OF THEIR PERIPHERALS. I wrote you an email pointing out that saves were all that mattered, etc. b/c I am a Giants fan and knew you were absolutely wrong ON JULY 30 about the importance of closers’ peripherals, specifically and especially w/regard to Wilson.

ON AUGUST 13TH, YOU WROTE THAT BRIAN WILSON WAS “VASTLY UNDERRATED THIS SEASON.” You even had the audacity to say you thought he was so w/out mentioning that 2 weeks ago you were the one underrating him. Not only that, you essentially re-printed the email I wrote you re Wilson CONCEPT-FOR-CONCEPT, you just used your own words. But your own words didn’t change the fact that you were voicing concepts and opinions diametrically opposed to your article of 2 weeks prior. Again, you left that relevant tidbit out.

ON SEPTEMBER 3RD, YOU WROTE AN ARTICLE ABOUT HOW SAVES ARE ALL THAT MATTERS, thus completing a TOTAL 180 ABOUT A FUNDAMENTAL ELEMENT OF BASEBALL in 6 weeks. Again, you did so w/out EVER MENTIONING that you were firmly in the opposite camp less than 2 months prior.

To any intelligent fan of baseball, this makes you look duplicitous and weak. Even worse, it makes you look arrogant and a little dumb b/c there’s a link to your archive on every page and any reader worth having will be interested enough to read your old work. You are effectively selecting-out the readers any responsible writer should want to attract since no reasonable person wants to read or listen to someone who makes bold proclamations in one direction one day and the opposite direction the next w/out ever acknowledging the contradiction.

I understand it’s only baseball, etc., etc. But all any reasonably intelligent person wants is accountability when necessary. And it may seem paradoxical, but the more trivial the matter, the more accountability he/she will expect. Baseball is impossible to predict and almost as hard to completely understand. That means no reasonable person cares that you get things wrong and no respect is lost by acknowledging these facts. You just ignore a fertile ground for topics i.e. Rob Neyer’s bit about being dead wrong so much he’s entitle to gloat when right. I’d love to read more by him but ESPN, in it’s eminent wisdom, makes you pay for his writing (which is why I use Fox Sports as much as and whenever possible).

If the American public can't expect accountability from those w/public fora (and it seems we CANNOT from ESPN or Fox or CNN or MSN or etc.), then what authority do you have to report on others' lack of accountability? And then the entire concept is lost since only those that can reach the public have the ability to hold those w/power accountable - those that NEED to be held accountable if future Enrons, Katrinas, or Steroid Eras are to be avoided

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