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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
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Talk to Floyd
2003-08-05 09:18
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Say President Bush makes a decision - bigtime taxcut or something - and the only analysis and quotes in the media regarding the decision came from the Bush Administration. Or even the Bush Administration and the Republican Party. No matter what side of the political fence your house sat on, I doubt you'd feel like you were getting the whole story.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are not the United States government - make of that what you will - but have you ever noticed how myopic it is that when the Dodgers make a move - be it a trade, a firing, or a call to the bullpen - the only commentary you usually get in a newspaper story is from members of the Dodger organization.

I've been mulling this over for a while, and the firing of Jack Clark is merely the latest opportunity for me to address this.

Clark is fired, and who do the papers turn to comment on this. Dodger players. Dodger management. Which is all well and good, but should that be all?

If something happened with George Bush, or Gray Davis, even a halfwit reporter would seek commentary by outsiders as well as insiders. You might go to one of them there think tanks, for example. Heck, if Sheriff Andy Taylor made an arrest, you wouldn't just talk to Andy and Barney Fife. Your story wouldn't be complete without a quote from Floyd the barber.

Now, newspapers do have columnists like Ross Newhan and Kevin Modesti, and television networks have commentators like Bobby Valentine and Kevin Kennedy. And that's good - whatever you think of these guys, they bring added perspective.

But I think it's high time for other people to be consulted for perspective. And that's where the places including but not limited to Baseball Prospectus and Baseball Primer come in.

Essentially, these websites cut out the middleman that is the mainstream media, performing a tremendous service by expanding the dialogue about a subject we care deeply about. None of us agree with everything they say, but their research-based commentary - the antihesis of the mind-numbing talk radio - makes us all better informed.

What I want to suggest today is that the middleman needs to get involved, get in the game. If the Dodgers fire Jack Clark, and I'm the beat writer for a major newspaper, I wouldn't just talk to Shawn Green about what a great guy Clark was. I'd also be trying to get ahold of Joe Sheehan at Baseball Prospectus and ask him if he can identify the tangible effects that hitting coaches have had. If Kazuhisa Ishii goes on the disabled list, I wouldn't only want to talk to Baseball Prospectus' health expert Will Carroll about the prognosis, but you can be sure he'd be high on my list.

Baseball has its own thinktanks, just like politics, and the people in them are not just drunken guys playing Rotisserie Baseball. (Well, they might be, but they're also much more.) They are scholars of the game, they have something to say, and the media needs to exploit them to stay relevant.

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