Thursday's Frosty Mug

MLB's blackout policy just about led to a broken TV last night. I was excited for a Brewers/Cubs game on ESPN and had planned my evening around it. Unfortunately, being in the Brewers "home market" apparently means I'm not allowed to watch them. Because I'm in the home market, the game on ESPN was blacked out. BUT, because I'm in NE Iowa, not Wisconsin, I also don't get FSN Wisconsin. As it turns out, it sounds like I didn't miss much.

Win Expectancy Graph
BR Box Score
BDD Recaps
BP Postseason Odds: 82.5 wins and a 14.6% chance of winning the Central.

(Normally scheduled Mug starts in approximately eight paragraphs. Feel free to skip ahead.)

I've been doing my best to stay out of the blogger v. mainstream media debate, because I feel like there's a lot of hyperbole on both sides and, in all honesty, I'm more interested in continuing to do this job and entertain readers than argue about my own morality for daring to step into the world of writing without credentials. (By the way, I do have a journalism degree, if anyone would like to see it.) I intentionally avoided the clips from the most recent "Costas Now" until this morning, when a couple popped up in my daily reads.

After seeing Pulitzer Prize winning author Buzz Bissinger say, "blogs are dedicated to cruelty, they’re dedicated to journalistic dishonesty," I was tempted to write a paragraph to open today's Mug that really was dedicated to cruelty and journalistic dishonesty, involving a bodily orifice, an umbrella and an accusation that Bissinger might enjoy it. Instead, I found this post from Sam Mellinger's blog that's a little more reasonable.

Of course, it was only a matter of time before all of this came home to roost. My dad called this morning to make sure I'd seen Anthony Witrado's mailbag on the JS website. I hadn't. Adam of Milwaukee sent in the question that sparked the following exchange:

Q: Adam of Milwaukee - Hey Anthony, There was a showdown on Costas' HBO show last night between the Deadspin creator and a national writer talking about blogs and the media. Where do you and Tom stand on that argument? There are so many great blogs about the Brewers (Brew Crew Ball, Chuckie Hacks) that in my mind serve as mainly a way for people to get excited about this Brewers season. I don't see anything wrong with that! Do you!

A: Anthony Witrado - Not so much, but those people are also not in the clubhouse gathering inside info like Tom and I. Blogs are all good as long as you know which ones are informed and which ones are just fans. I also hope people don't mistake the people who write the fan blogs for actual journalists. But to better answer you, no, I don't see anything wrong with it.

I'm glad Anthony doesn't think there's anything wrong with what we do. He certainly could've said worse, but he raises a point I've mentioned in conversation but never in this space before: I think the mainstream media is too close sometimes.

Certainly, Anthony, Tom H. Jim Powell, Brian Anderson and others have access to info we don't. Certainly, they'll always be useful as a source of information, and certainly their hard work is appreciated. I link to it multiple times daily. But they're also on the team plane. They're in the clubhouse. They're around the team more than their families sometimes. And that makes it really hard to be as honest as we can be on the web.

I don't want to question these guys' journalistic integrity, because I have no problem with any of them. But I will pose a question: Would it be harder for any of us to be honest in our criticism of Ned Yost, Doug Melvin or others if we had to ride on an airplane with them and work with them daily? I think it would. And I think honest criticism, the ability to speak our mind without having to think twice about who will object, and the ability to step back for perspective is what's occasionally missing from the mainstream media.

(Regularly scheduled Mug begins.)

Perhaps the most interesting storyline from last night's game was Derrick Turnbow's continued inability to get outs, even in a zero-pressure situation. This morning, Tom H. asks if Turnbow should be released. I think, if Bush cleared waivers to be sent down to Nashville, Turnbow would almost certainly clear too, especially after last night, and that may be the best thing for him.

Baseball Digest Daily notes some similarities in the substance suspensions and denials of Mike Cameron and Braves prospect Jordan Schafer, and wonders what it would mean if their denials were true.

Jim Powell, among others, notes a new Sports Illustrated survey ranking Miller Park second in all of baseball.

Over at The Hardball Times, Jeff takes a look at the Brewers brief run with a 14-man bullpen.

The Cub Reporter ranks J.J. Hardy as the second best shortstop in the Central, and wants your opinion on it as well.

On injuries:

Mike Hampton left his rehab start yesterday with pain in his pectoral muscle.
Yankees P Phil Hughes is on the DL with a mystery oblique strain.
Rangers P Jason Jennings left yesterday's start with an irritated nerve in his elbow and will be placed on the DL.
Troy Tulowitzki has been placed on the DL with a quad strain.

Also, umpire Jerry Crawford, who left Tuesday's game because he wasn't feeling well, has been released from the hospital. Apparently a bad reaction to medication was to blame.

On a former Brewer note: Just a few days removed from beating the Nashville Sounds on Sunday, Jorge de la Rosa is headed back to the big leagues with the Rockies.

Looking for work your nerdy friends will be jealous of? The Diamondbacks are hiring an Audio/Video Specialist. Yeah, it's a cheap joke, but I'm still pissed about the blogger v. mainstream media thing. I should've trusted my gut and stayed away from it.

Drink up.

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