Bob Raissman writes about how really no one in baseball media got the Cliff Lee story right. Fair enough. I can’t remember the last time everyone was this fooled about a big signing. But I think Raissman is a bit unfair with this passage:
In fact, none of the legion of ESPN’s highly promoted, self-decorated baseball reporters, all who appear on the World Wide Leader’s multiple media platforms, knew what the heck was going on with Lee and the Phillies. Since ESPN promotes these baseball reporters as better than the rest of the schlubs on the beat, it should be embarrassed.
No one at ESPN got the story, true, but it should be noted that Jayson Stark was one of the first — and may have been the first — to surmise that the Phillies could be involved (even Heyman, who first reported that a “Mystery Team” was involved didn’t believe it was the Phillies). Stark got there, not based on actual inside information, but based on his overall read of the situation. I’m not suggesting that Stark be lauded for breaking anything because he didn’t, but I think that understanding what’s going on based on experience can be just as valuable as actually getting the scoop. In some cases, more valuable. ESPN should not be “embarrassed” for this.
Everyone is wrong sometimes and everyone is right sometimes, but I prefer that the baseball writers I read spend as much time thinking about this stuff as they do checking their Blackberries. It’s certainly a lesson I’m learning as I dip my toe into the scoop biz more and more.
As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.
The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.
Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.
Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.
The Cleveland Indians will unveil a Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field on Saturday.
Robinson’s tenure in Cleveland was not long, but it was historic. On April 8, 1975, he became the first African-American manager in Major League history. He was a player-manager. One of the last ones, in fact. He spent two years in that role and then a third year — a partial year anyway — as a manager only. Robinson would go on to manage the Giants, Orioles and the Expos/Nationals, compiling a career record of 1065-1176 in 16 seasons. He is now a top MLB executive.
Robinson was, of course, a Hall of Fame player as well, lodging 21 seasons for the Reds, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels and Indians. He won two MVP awards and hit for the Triple Crown in 1966. Overall he hit 586 home runs – 10th all time – and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. For an inner-circle Hall of Famer with that kind of resume he is still, strangely enough, underrated. I guess that happens when your contemporaries are Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle.
Anyway, congrats to Frank Robinson for yet another well-deserved honor in a career full of them.