Yankee fans were stewing after last night’s game-ending blown call at first base by Jerry Meals, and apparently the Yankee manager shared that sentiment. In case you missed it, you can watch video of the Yankee post game interview with the manager here, and get the reports of what transpired afterward in the manager’s office here. I didn’t think Joel’s initial question was in any way out of line, but the way he followed up by badgering the Yankee manager and Girardi’s reaction speaks volumes about what the two men think of each other. As a Yankee fan tuning in to get news on the team, incidents like this just get in the way.
Let’s get a few things on the table from the outset. In the newspaper biz there are reporters and columnists. Reporters are there to gather and relay facts in an objective way, to further the credibility of the outlet as a news source. Columnists/editorial writers, however, are there to weigh in with opinions and are free to say whatever they think on a given topic. Personal attacks are frowned upon, but are certainly no barrier to getting published. Mike Lupica has made a career based on snarky remarks and personal attacks, and has lasted in this town for decades. Joel Sherman wears two hats, as do so many of the other Yankee beat writers. As a columnist, if he wants to take last night’s blow up and write a blistering attack on the Yankee manager, as long as he does it in the Hardball Blog and not the news section I’d have no problem with it whatsoever. But an incident like this makes me question whether or not I as a reader can trust him as a reporter on any topic relating to the Yankee manager.
I’m a fan of Joel Sherman as a writer. While at times I feel his take is way off base I respect the thought he puts into his columns and have no doubt as to the process and credibility he brings as a writer. He’s incorporated more advanced stats into his columns than most in the old line media, and his sources (mostly Levine) are as good as it gets. When he reports news of Yankee trade rumblings or a soon to completed free agent signing, you can take it to the bank. He had the Yanks still in on Rafael Soriano despite the GMs frequent public statements to the contrary. Joel is must-read and must follow in Twitter if you’re a hard core fan of the team. I have no doubt that he will steer clear of any Girardi related commentary after an incident like this, knowing that whatever he says will be viewed as skewed or evidence of a personal vendetta. If anything, someone with Joel’s personal integrity as a journalist will be less likely to weigh in on matters relating to the Yankee manager for the foreseeable future.
But that’s not my issue. Again, reporters are there to gather facts, report them and let the public decide who’s right or wrong. When someone gets into a screaming match with the person he’s reporting on, an altercation that gets so heated that security has to enter the manager’s office to break things up, I can no longer take him seriously when discussing the manager. Fair or unfair, everything he writes gets viewed through the ‘this is the guy who hates Girardi’ prism. His credibility as a beat reporter is completely shot. Some of the beat reporters from other outlets were referring to last night’s incident as a new edition of the Bronx Zoo from the late 70s. In my view, as a fan who really doesn’t care about the office politics of the media and just wants to obtain Yankee news, what would make this a zoo would be to have people with known animosities covering the team and then pretending to be objective when they set (pardon the outdated phrase) pen to paper. If his bosses at the NY Post have any interest in preserving their already low level of credibility as a news outlet, they have to take Joel off the Yankee beat. If not, they’re just the muckrakers their critics attack them for being. They put sensationalism ahead of good journalism, and then wonder why readers trust sites like this more than the MSM. It’s also grossly counterproductive. Its obvious that Girardi has no desire to give Sherman anything useful, which is likely very frustrating for Joel and is the genesis of the repeated incidents between the two men. If there are any grown ups at the NY Post they’ll put an end to this, but don’t hold your breath waiting for the folks who run that newspaper to act responsibly.
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