I usually don't like to criticize other writers. God knows I have my share of typos and other foibles. But at least I try to come up with something to say that shows some perspective and that, hopefully, gets fans talking.
There's a blog on every virtual corner these days. And it seems like knowing the slightest thing about the team you're covering doesn't seem to be a requirement.
For example, Bleacher Report currently has a post that ranks MLB managers. St. Louis skipper Mike Matheny is placed in the "it's too soon to tell" category, which seems to be something of a cop out. I thought we're ranking managers. it seems like we're stereotyping them into large, non-specific groups. And the first category is basically "I don't know?:
But the thing that really miffs me about this piece was the rationale behind the Matheny pronouncement:
"Mike Matheny ws very successful in his first year of calling the shots for the St. Louis Cardinals. His Cardinals finished 2012 with an 88-74 record, a second place finish within the NL Central and a postseason berth. St. Louis didn't make it very far in the playoffs, but it still was a good year considering it was Matheny's first year as a manager and the first year without Albert Pujols. Expect Matheny to be even better in his second year with the club.
Didn't make it very far in the playoffs? The Cardinals were one victory away from the World Series and the team that the Redbirds lost to by the narrowest of margins went on to win the Fall Classic in a sweep. They won the wild card match-up and then they went the full distance against the Washington Nationals in the Division Series, winning one of the most exciting games this side of Game 6 of the 2011 World Series.
The Cardinals made it the third farthest into the playoffs of any of the qualifiers and finished amongst 2012's baseball elite.
Besides, a lot of excellent managers don't make the playoffs every year. Whitey Herzog is in the Hall of Fame and he only made the post season three times in his decade in St. Louis. Tony La Russa will soon join Herzog in the Hall of Fame. But, despite a greatly expanded playoff format, he only made it about half the time while he was in St. Louis.
But it's not a lack of respect for the Redbirds 2012 performance that irritates me about this column. It's the way people who pose as experts when they don't have a clue about the teams they're covering. Generally speaking, I'm not a big fan of list stories. But it's even worse when the list clumps items together in generalized compartments. It's a waste of my time to read something that the writer spent so little time crafting.
It's not just the Cardinals that get the generic treatment. The author puts Pirates manager Clint Hurdle in the "Bottom of the Totem Pole" category, whatever that is supposed to mean.
He opines that Hurdle stinks because he has failed to get the Pirates into the playoffs during his two seasons there. Nevermind that last season the Bucs came the closest to reaching .500 that they have in the last two decades and that the team currently sits two games back of the Cardinals -- who have the best record in the major leagues.
I'd go on, but I refuse to read any more of that.