The "Letter" Illustrates what is Wrong in Sports Journalism- An OPINION Post
Before you even begin reading this you know that it is my OPINION. Something most sports "reporters" fail to admit.
Several people asked me to comment on the "letter." Unlike many, I have gotten to the point where there are VERY FEW news sources I trust and reporters I read. Many of you will actually tell me something has happened because I was in my bubble and did not see or hear it reported. This was true about Baez yesterday- another subject for another post.
Because I filter what I accept as fact so much, I did not jump in to every detail of the Yankees letter that was finally released yesterday because
- I learned the letter was written in 2017 which meant it had little utility to the ongoing sign stealing that might have been happening in late 2017 and 2018 seasons
- I KNEW the Yankees would claim they cleaned up their act when Manfred sent the 9/15/17 letter warning the entire MLB. There is no real proof of that. It could not be in the letter because... time travel has not been invented.
To those claiming sign stealing was not illegal before 9/15/17, that is a blatant lie. Manfred's edict was to state that if people did not stop, he would hammer them for CONTINUING to violate the rules that were in place. An interesting element is that Manfred tried to nuance the delivery of stolen signs from the fact that signs were being stolen (an admitted common practice.). He then turned around and warned the teams in the infamous 9/15/17 letter that he really meant it this time- stop breaking the rules. The fact that the Astros Front Office did not take action at THAT point is their greatest sin - in my opinion. THIS is why they were severely punished- not for what they did or how they did it. That is all bogus narratives. The issue is they did not stop when the commissioner warned them to stop. We have no real evidence whether other teams stopped or not. They SAY they did until the players retire.
Which leads to an interesting side note- have you noticed how many retired MLB players come clean AFTER they retire to say essentially everyone was doing it? It would appear to my admittedly biased view that major use of electronics to steal and relay signs stopped ONLY when the Astros were investigated and subsequently punished.
No one is talking about the loss of about a half of run in this context in THIS season so I will. Is it possible that sign stealing has ONLY really been dealt with THIS season with the new PitchCom system. I have thought the sport would only be serious about eliminating stealing signs when the technology to transmit them was at least as advanced as the technology to steal them. That happened THIS year and is it a coincidence that runs are down?
Let's get back to the letter and the reporting about the letter. One "reporter" stated that the letter cleared the Yankees of sign stealing in 2018 and beyond and implicated the Astros as cheating until 2019. This was repeated and quoted a million times (ok a lot- I refuse to figure out how many) yesterday. The letter was written in 2017. How did a letter written in 2017 comment on actions in 2018 or 2019?
THIS is my biggest problem with all of the sign stealing coverage. The confluence of facts or reported facts with reporter' personal opinions and biases make what appears to be a fact based story actually a mix of facts and opinions that get repeated a million times as facts. This happened yesterday and it exemplifies a disease I see in sports journalism. Here are some of the questions I have.
Has anyone truly considered why a Yankees apologist was the one to leak the letter yesterday before the team officially released it? Could it be he was chosen to get the letter because he would do what he did and write a slanted story to impact the entire narrative yesterday.
How did HE get the letter? Who gave it to him and why? If journalism was truly alive today, these would be the questions asked today.
Who else had the letter and was just sitting on it? Don't try to tell me no one else had the letter. That is stupid.
If the letter had pertained to a team like the Astros does anyone think reporters would hold the letter? I don't.
I actually had a great debate today with one of the few sports reporters I respect and trust. He fairly pointed out that that it was one reporter confluencing facts and opinions and that other's coverage yesterday was far more balanced. This may be true, but even in that coverage I pointed out issues to him. In short, it does not matter about the fair coverage as the fake and sensationalists get all of the retweets and repeats. The narrative was once again falsely set that the Astros were cheaters in 2019 when there are no facts to support this.
This story exhausts me. It represents the worst of sports journalism. Some teams are excused while others are excoriated for very similar actions. The damage to credibility of sports reporting is HUGE but the good journalists don't seem to see it. There have been massive job losses in journalism in general. Those that care about the truth must hold those in media only for the clicks accountable. The entire fake narratives business that has infected sports journalism where one agenda driven hack with a huge following spews his own opinion laced BS among the facts of the letter and tries to steer the narrative away from the team that was so worried that the release of the letter would harm the reputation of the team that the fought its release for two years. THIS is the issue today. The fact that the Yankees scandal involved COACHES actively sending the stolen signs to players on the field seems to be glossed over by many. The Astros scheme was a PLAYER led and executed scheme. Which is worse?
Legally, the Yanks scandal is far worse and the reason why the letter was material in the lawsuit is that if TEAM OFFICIALS (coaches) executed an outside the rules sign stealing scheme and the league knew about it and glossed it over publicly while privately saying it was cheating, then you know what you have? A lawsuit involving the funds of those who bet on Yankees games. The team and the league that covered it up are in legal jeopardy. You aren't hearing that yet, but you will. This is not the end to the Yankees's and MLB's nightmare, it is the beginning.
The fake narratives that have infected sports journalism is the reason this site exists. At the site we give you the DATA and our conclusions. If you interpret the data differently or can bring additional data, THAT is the conversation I want to have here.
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