Reason for the light schedule from me this morning: I spoke at a career day at a middle school. Check out that pic: that title is how the kids in that room knew I wasn’t Murray Chass.
Not gonna lie: it was kind of fun. I’ve long held that Jr. high school kids should be frozen in carbonite until they mature, but these kids — 7th and 8th graders mostly — were really good. And totally not impressed with people who write on the Internet for a living the way people over 30 are because the Internet has always been a thing for them, so where the hell else would you write? Indeed, the biggest jaw-drop I got the entire time: telling them that when I was in the 7th grade in the fall of 1985, we did not have the Internet. Heck, even the year 1985 seemed exotic to them.
Biggest laugh: telling them that I interviewed Tim Lincecum while he was wearing no pants. Indeed, 95% of the positive response I got from these kids involved naked ballplayers and the fact that I can do my job in my pajamas. I’m probably gonna get a call from the school board for all of that.
Nosiest questions: what do I make (I told them, but I’m not telling you) and whether I’ve ever been sued for anything I wrote (I told them “not yet”). One kid asked me “do you have to write things that are true?” I told them, yes, all of us in the media have to do that with the exception of Jon Heyman who has his own set of rules. I’ll probably get more calls from the school board for introducing the subject of Jon Heyman than I will for the pantsless Tim Lincecum stuff. Oh well.
Oh, and you guys came up too. There was an overhead projector hooked up to a laptop, so I pulled the blog up as I presented this morning. After quickly scrolling by the Brandon McCarthy “asshole” post — young eyes, you know — I pulled up the ATH thread to explain to them how I get feedback via comments. Note: Jr. high schoolers in central Ohio think you people have anger issues you need to work on. “Why do they care?” one kid asked. I don’t know son … I just don’t know …
Oh well, shaping young minds was fun. Almost as fun as ruining the presentation for the guy who followed me. He was a lawyer. Guessing my slagging on the legal profession for the first ten minutes of my thing made his pumping up the legal profession a little hard for him. But hey, all’s fair in love, war and Jr. High School career day.
You’ll recall the little controversy last month when Ichiro Suzuki passed Pete Rose’s hit total. Specifically, when Ichiro’s Japanese and American hit total reached Rose’s American total of 4,256 and a lot of people talked about Ichiro being the new “Hit King.” You’ll also recall that Rose himself got snippy about it, wondering if people would now think of him as “the Hit Queen,” which he took to be disrespect.
There’s a profile of Ichiro over at ESPN the Magazine and reporter Marly Rivera asked Ichiro about that. Ichiro’s comments were interesting and quite insightful about how ego and public perception work in the United States:
I was actually happy to see the Hit King get defensive. I kind of felt I was accepted. I heard that about five years ago Pete Rose did an interview, and he said that he wished that I could break that record. Obviously, this time around it was a different vibe. In the 16 years that I have been here, what I’ve noticed is that in America, when people feel like a person is below them, not just in numbers but in general, they will kind of talk you up. But then when you get up to the same level or maybe even higher, they get in attack mode; they are maybe not as supportive. I kind of felt that this time.
There’s a hell of a lot of truth to that. Whatever professional environment you’re in, you’ll see this play out. If you want to know how you’re doing, look at who your enemies and critics are. If they’re senior to you or better-established in your field, you’re probably doing something right. And they’re probably pretty insecure and maybe even a little afraid of you.
The rest of the article is well worth your time. Ichiro seems like a fascinating, insightful and intelligent dude.
In 2012 Curt Schilling’s video game company, 38 Studios, delivered the fantasy role-playing game it had spent millions of dollars and countless man hours trying to deliver. And then the company folded, leaving both its employees and Rhode Island taxpayers, who underwrote much of the company’s operations via $75 million in loans, holding the bag.
The fallout to 38 Studios’ demise was more than what you see in your average business debacle. Rhode Island accused Schilling and his company of acts tantamount to fraud, claiming that it accepted tax dollars while withholding information about the true state of the company’s finances. Former employees, meanwhile, claimed — quite credibly, according to reports of the matter — that they too were lured to Rhode Island believing that their jobs were far more secure than they were. Many found themselves in extreme states of crisis when Schilling abruptly closed the company’s doors. For his part, Schilling has assailed Rhode Island politicians for using him as a scapegoat and a political punching bag in order to distract the public from their own misdeeds. There seems to be truth to everyone’s claims to some degree.
As a result of all of this, there have been several investigations and lawsuits into 38 Studios’ collapse. In 2012 the feds investigated the company and declined to bring charges. There is currently a civil lawsuit afoot and, alongside it, the State of Rhode Island has investigated for four years to see if anyone could be charged with a crime. Today there was an unexpected press conference in which it was revealed that, no, no one associated with 38 Studios will be charged with anything:
An eight-page explanation of the decision concluded by saying that “the quantity and qualify of the evidence of any criminal activity fell short of what would be necessary to prove any allegation beyond a reasonable doubt and as such the Rules of Professional Conduct precluded even offering a criminal charge for grand jury consideration.”
Schilling will likely crow about this on his various social media platforms, claiming it totally vindicates him. But, as he is a close watcher of any and all events related to Hillary Clinton, he no doubt knows that a long investigation resulting in a declination to file charges due to lack of evidence is not the same thing as a vindication. Bad judgment and poor management are still bad things, even if they’re not criminal matters.
Someone let me know if Schilling’s head explodes if and when someone points that out to him.