Wednesday, December 01, 2004

MSM vs. the Nats Blogosphere

It's funny. If you read the Blogs, including this one, about the Castilla/Guzman pickups, you must conclude that this move was absolutely horrible. But here's what Tom Boswell has to say about these two new Nats :

Will General Manager Jim Bowden make another flashy offseason free agent acquisition? He's already added Vinny Castilla, who led the National League in RBI last season with 131, and Jose Guillen, who had 104 RBI for Anaheim. That's a heart of the order right there. He got a fine young shortstop in Cristian Guzman, too.

So, is Boswell just beginning his PR job for the Nats, or are the blogs overreacting? I believe Dexys has some issues with Boswell, so I think I know where he'll come out on this.


At 12:50 PM, Blogger Randolph said...

I imagine Boswell actually knows better than to use RBI as a gauge of a player's talent... but he's pursuing a story line, and selectively pulling out whatever stats he can to make that story line work. He seems to do this more often over the last few years -- he develops an idea of what the story is based more on what seems compelling and exciting to say than on deep analysis, and doesn't really let reality stand in the way of that.

Sometimes it works -- when the Sox signed Schilling, he wrote an article that reprinted the lede from the story he had drafted when it looked like the Sox would beat the Yankees in 2003. Turns out he was right in that case. But often it just ends up being silly.

He's been a very good writer in the past, but I think he's really stretching it with this one. I don't know if it's genuine overenthusiasm, a desire to take a poke at the Orioles, or what, but he's obviously way, way off base. Columnists have to fill up space regularly and they have to address an audience that's not made up entirely of obsessive baseball geeks who post long comments on obscure blogs. Anyhow, they end up talking out of their asses a lot, even the good ones. Its frustrating, but I recognize the reality, so I don't get too worked up about it, although I'm increasingly disappointed in/by Boswell of late.

At 4:09 PM, Blogger DM said...

Excellent points, Randolph, esp. about the RBI thing. When I read that, I thought Boswell might as well have said "Vinny Castilla led the National League at being in the right place at the right time." or "Vinny Castilla is great because of circumstances in Colorado that don't come with him."

At 4:12 PM, Blogger SuperNoVa said...

Randolph, I find your suggestion that Tom Boswell is interested in writing articles that will generate excitement in a team that the Post will cover and to whose fans it will then sell additional newspapers scurrilous and unworthy. Everyone knows that the Post is trying to put itself out of business with this free Internet thingy.

At 2:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jose Guillen is a very good pickup. He's a genuine nutjob but a hell of a player everywhere he goes. He also has one of the best throwing arms for a LF in baseball.

At 9:38 AM, Blogger dexys_midnight said...

I had limited access yesterday, so didn't comment then, but Randolph really made most of the points I would have.
Tom Boswell used to be somewhat of a visionary. A couple of decades back he seemed to actually look at some real saber stats in a time when few other writers were. Now, I really don't know what has happened to him, but from what I have read, it has not been lost in the saber community that Boswell has turned to the dark side as that goes. I find it hard to call a man that I don't know lazy--although his articles over the last few years give me that impression sometimes--but I do think that he has lost his way, and now seems more interested in currying favor with certain organizations and individuals than writing a thoughtful or critical piece. My guess is that Boswell wants to get in good with the current/new owners--I liked him better as a trailblazer.

At 9:53 AM, Blogger DM said...

Anonymous, you rascal, don't taunt us! Come out of the shadows and you might see that we generally agree with your assessment of the Guillen trade. It is the Guzman and Castilla moves that have cause so much consternation.

At 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Different Anonymous here.. I can't be bothered to get a blogger account, chalk it up to laziness.

Tom Boswell is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet: smart, funny, intelligent, very knowledgable. His articles always maintain the strictest internal logic, and come to rational, well-supported conclusions.

Thus making it all the more baffling when they invariably turn out to be dead wrong.

I can't figure it out for the life of me, but he ends up being right less often than stopped clocks.. a very peculiar phenomenon. Poor Tom. Often wrong, never in doubt. :)

At 9:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boswell is still a greater writer - that is, his ability to string words together in an articulate and pleasing manner. Once or twice a year, I show one of Boz's columns to my wife who appreciates good writing. It usually turns out to be a personal profile of a specific player.

As far as analysis or prediction, he hasn't been more than half right in the 20 years I've been reading him.


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