It's Mets For Me: Off-Beat, Tangentially Relevant Mets Ruminations

Off Base Since 2005! Mets commentary from the counter-intuitive to the unintuitive and all the intuitives in between. ** "Through the use of humor and gross inaccuracy...a certain truth can be gained." Rob Perri ** (pester me or follow me @itsmetsforme on twitter)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Amazin' Access? Further Notes from an Irrelevant Hollywood Novelty Sports Blogger
 Hey Metsfans, who would you rather show at your next Christmas party me (pictured on right) or that guy?

This might be in poor taste, coming as Mets bloggers excitedly celebrate their inclusion at the Mets Christmas party festivities (full disclosure: I was not invited, however I was invited by exclusive email to save 10% off my entire order), but I thought I would kill a few more internet trees by reacting to reactions to my modest proposal that it could happen here, a conversation wiped for the most part off the blargosphere map by the general Lee catastrophe. Andy Martino of the Daily News apparently independently posted around the same time a comment on the Mets and social media, though his take was aimed at illuminating his blogging friends as to the politics of access they were about to get schooled in, so you can see that beat writers and sports journalists will weight in on this as time goes on, or until their COBRA payments become to burdensome. Although I have been kicking some shit about the MLB's generally pathetic efforts to co-opt "blogging" for a while,  I won't pretend to have pioneered this particular debate or even added that much, but the systemic factors I am gesturing at won't just go away if we stick our heads in the orange and blue web mud.
I may not get to go to the Holiday raves, but have you ever been offered 25% off a combination comely Mets companion/couch?

Flare ups over the meaning of the Great SNY Metblogger FĂȘte of '08 were as heated and controversial as can be expected when personal integrity is perceived to be at stake.  But I don't want to stake out holier-than-thou territory with some of my favorite bloggers, most of whom I have nothing but respect for. Besides, I myself would squeeze into rhinestoned Mets cut-off top if it meant a night in Alyssa Milano's  Dodgers field box.
Go ahead, call me out. I will put my money where my mouth is or the opposite as is appropriate. I'm not too proud for Danza-related role play.

To wit, I'm not as interested in the free hotdog-stooges vs. jealous-left-out-periphery back and forth (since the continued existence of Cody Ross exhausts my efforts at personal destruction) as much as I am in the way our system, the Mets blargosphere, is changing and may transform in the future.  This is all very speculative and future-oriented and I admit, totally "unprovable." To be sure, the blogger hierarchies taking shape with the subtle influence of cash from the still impressive Wilpon empire may melt away or shift whenever Jimmy from Long Island shuts down his Met blog because the baby cries too much and hell its cutting into his porn time.  So for now, I will just provide some logic and a touch of scant evidence that we should pay attention to this trend with a skeptical eye.  For those of you with short attention spans, here is the shred of evidence: according to some reports, we may already have seen team owners in other sports retaliating against their bloggers.  Will the Wilpon's Wooing Work Wonders or Wound Wonks?

Of those that are paying me any mind, some are scoffing at my prevarications.  But most are treating my inflammatory insinuations with humor and class.  Joe Budd doesn't buy what I'm selling.   IMFM fanclub member and noted prize-fighter James K. brilliantly reworked the theme into some last-minute holiday Jeff Francoeur bashing.  Intelligent Met analysis impresario Eric Simon hasn't posted something this hilarious since he chose Rey Ordonez for his top 50 All time Mets listGreg Prince, the half of the esteemed Mets blogging and literacy advocacy duo who knows who I am, was not amused, but he probably thinks he has seen this before.

What might these top-shelf fan bloggers, all of whom do their taxes on time, have a way with words and by all accounts swell fellows, have in common? To put words in their keyboards, they seem to think my hypothesis can be infirmed by the up-standing actions of a few. To this I say: nah. Although I rarely traffic in the falsifiable in this space, if my comments can be taken seriously, I don't think it's unreasonable to say that my main point is being missed. The objectivity or judgment of any one blogger isn't the key to understanding how corporate influence will or will not "defang" manipulate or otherwise impact content and editorial choices in the newly empowered Mets blargosphere. All I am saying is: 1) the dynamic of the shift towards blogs from paid media will interact with 2) the corporation's efforts to sell their product in any way they can (short of producing a reliable, entertaining product--ZING!) in what are potentially damaging ways. Also, 3) I have no solutions to offer.

First, the "dynamic." The blurring of journalism/hobbyist boundaries is a fact, in my opinion.  It should suffice to point to the agreement of noted commentators as diverse as the violent Buzz Bissinger and anti-WAR Murray Chass. The "dynamic" simply put, is the replacement of paid reporters with unpaid enthusiasts. Now here is my related opinion: even while the bloggers celebrate their ascendancy, having replaced Old World newspapers and magazines as the go-to source of info and analysis, our communal, systemic ability to produce balanced, critical thought suffers because there is of yet no one carry out the functions of an editor, and no one to verify that those that do voluntarily take up such an editing, peer review function are not themselves compromised.  (Spare me the wisdom-of-crowds-anecdotal-internet-triumphalist line and Jayson Blairism for now.) For the time being, that is where we are.

For instance, my sources tell me that Eric Simon at Amazin' Access lounges around in Turk Wendell's old monogrammed smoking jacket, given to him by Charlie Samuels, but I would never publicize that since I don't want to jeopardize my access to, say,  one-on-one R.A. Dickey interviews or Oliver Perez updates. So I'm keeping my mouth shut, and I don't expect to see dirty secrets like this coming out anytime soon. On the other hand, I can say or not say whatever I want because there is nothing but an over-hyped hive mind to correct me if I make shit up. There is no editor, I am not responsible to anyone but a bunch of mostly anonymous teenage readers in adderall-fueled moments of non-distraction. I am not a role model. What should I do? But I digress.

Even if you don't agree with my last few leaps of logic, then riddle me this: will "I" (random Met blogger) get invited to the next Shake Shack shin-dig if the pimply faced Mets intern assigned to blogger relations Googles "My Blog Name" and and comes up with "Jeff Wilpon is entitled twerp who has for years run the NY Metropolitans into the ground"?? (This is the least controversial statement I could come up with, a consensus shared, I wager, by most Met bloggers/sentient carbon-based lifeforms, chosen as an example. There are others.)

So...if we residents of the Mets blargosphere are as important as we think we are, then this phenomenon--the interaction between "the dynamic" I have clumsily sketched here, and the creeping corporate appropriation of the blog space (for lack of a better turn of phrase)--bears following, if not by the multitude of Mets bloggers just happy to hawk Mets merchandise, regurgitate news feeds, and forward stadium amenity complaints to the front office, then certainly by the articulate and thoughtful few: our blogging leaders who have earned their status and our respect.  In other words, draw you own conclusions, but draw some at least.

Does the fact the Mets have Jason Bay, not pictured, answering the phones at Sterling enterprises mean he is healthy? Or are the Mets just trying to get value out of his contract?

In happy news, the Mets are making Jason Bay join their annual Holiday Ticket-Pushing-We-Also-Play-in-NY , having him dial the phone, and twitter with fans who never lack for burning questions about at-bat music. Bay was last seen being attacked by TARP field's heinous dimensions.  Excerpts:

RT @metsfanmx Hi Jason. What are your expectations for the 2011 season??? Just to play hard every night 

NewYorkMets RT @Ianrnolan what's your favorite ballpark to play in other than city field? Coors Field. Very majestic  

NewYorkMets RT @RockOnNdRollOn.... Can you wish me an early happy birthday ? Please pleaseeee ? Happy Birthday!!! 

Hell if Bay can retweet, that shows some serious recovery of motor skills. So watch out, Greatest Rotation of All Time, J-Bay can see straight!! And, I may be reading into this, but would the Rockies be up for a personnel swap with J-Bay as the centerpiece? I bet he can hit it out of their majestic confines.

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  • At 7:14 AM, Anonymous G-Fafif said…

    I might have been more effectively bought out had they put out a sandwich or at least a glass of water. But access was limited to interviews, not edibles.

    Hearing what you're saying, I.M., and it all bears watching. Nevertheless...

    The Mets could provide an opportunity to talk to Sandy Alderson and one could decline it citing the need to maintain a level of purity and distance -- but then you'd be missing a chance to talk to the individual who, arguably, has the most influence on the direction of the thing you're most interested in in this world. Or one could prove he's not in the tank by declaring Alderson's answers abysmal and manner manipulative whether one thought they were or not -- just so one's independence is clear...but then you'd be dishonest with anybody who reads what you write.

    Yes, of course we're being used. Same as the papers have always been used. It's more novel for us at the moment that we're part of the process. After a while, the novelty will wear off, and Alderson will be judged on more than a bit of access and his not being Omar (the latter is more why he's enjoying an extended honeymoon period, I believe...that and the Mets' record is 0-0 since he was named GM). And if the Mets decide they don't want this or that blog on the next call -- and by this or that I mean Faith and Fear -- fine. We had a blog before we were reached out to and, as far as I'm concerned, we'll have one regardless.

    But as a Mets fan who writes about a) the Mets and b) being a Mets fan, I can't envision not wanting to sample every aspect of Metsdom and tell about it. Every December I've read about the team holiday party. This year I was extended an invitation to attend it. I took it as an opportunity to write about what this annual ritual is like when you're actually there. I realize it's something most fans don't get to participate in, and I appreciate the chance to say, "You know what happens? This is what happens..." If I don't get that opportunity a year from now, so be it. I will have gotten to write about it once.

    Which I did, FYI:

  • At 4:17 PM, Anonymous cver said…

    Mixed feelings about the Mets reaching out to/sucking up to the Blargosphere. I'm more concerned with them putting a contending team on the field. Hopefully, the internet will stay fairly open and there is a battle going on, to some extent, over that right now with the Wikileaks situation. If the internet can remain an open environment, then if some of the bloggers that were independent sell out, there will always be some renegades to take their place. Great that folks like you, IMFM, keep bringing this issue up. As of now, I do think that Metsblog, FAFIF and IMFM, among others, are still doing an excellent independent job. For those that think Matthew has modified his views because of his partnership with SNY, I'm not concerned with that. He's always been a positive guy. Sometimes I don't agree with his rosy hopeful views, but that's just cynical me - and I have seen him get really fired up and super critical of the organization, so he definitely has my respect, as well as my kudos to the rest of you. See, I sound like a suck-ass - and I'm bought by nobody, so it's very easy to misinterpret the motivation of people's comments:)

  • At 1:15 AM, Blogger I.M. Forme said…

    Greg, if I'd known you'd be stopping by, I'd have put out the good snacks.

    If I read you right, bloggers face a new set of quandaries after recent developments in team outreach strategies. I think that is dead on. I deliberately took on the hard case--the questions to sandy (at least the ones I saw) from blogville were poised and incite/insightful--to try to put the focus on unforeseen systemic consequences. And since they are unforeseen, I don't know what they are, but I'd guess the establishment of hierarchies based on access, new strategies adopted by blogs that want "success" etc. I don't begrudge you your fun, but hope you'll watch out for such things and write about them.

    Cver--you should hold out for a better deal!


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