On Saturday, Paul Hoynes — who covers the Indians for Cleveland.com — wrote a column that basically called the Indians dead in the water despite owning what is now a seven-game lead atop the AL Central. The club is now considering using a three-man rotation in the postseason, a plan that Hoynes doesn’t back.
Write it down. On Sept. 17, the Indians were eliminated from serious postseason advancement before they even got there.
They have 14 regular season games left and they’ll eventually clinch their first AL Central title in nine years. But that’s where it ends, because no team can withstand the losses the Indians have suffered over the last nine days.
Hoynes’ column didn’t sit well with some of the Indians’ players. Jason Kipnis tweeted on Sunday:
Bauer joined him, tweeting:
Hoynes responded to the criticism:
The Indians’ players are allowed to feel ticked off by Hoynes’ pronunciation that the team can’t survive in the postseason without Carrasco and Salazar. In fact, it might be helpful for them to use the criticism as motivation to finish the regular season on a strong note and bring that momentum into the playoffs. When all is said and done, that column Hoynes wrote could have been the catalyst for an Indians championship. Who knows?
That being said, Kipnis and Bauer — especially Bauer — went over the line in telling Hoynes he’s “not welcome” in the clubhouse to do his job. If, to earn the trust and respect of ballplayers, reporters could only write positive columns, then the entire industry would be a sham.
A healthy journalism industry is one where writers aren’t essentially blackmailed into positive coverage. In other words, “Write glowingly about us, otherwise we will shun you publicly and make it difficult or impossible for you to properly do your job.” A lot of tech journalism, for example, is terrible because writers are too close to key figures in the industry and are afraid to tell the truth lest their contacts and perks be cut off.
Hoynes should be applauded for doing what seems to be an increasing number of beat reporters won’t do, which is to be critical of the team he covers. His obligation, first and foremost, is to present information and viewpoints worthy of consideration by his readers. Hoynes certainly fulfilled his obligation with Saturday’s column.