JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Looking in the mirror

I had a revelation this afternoon, and it’s probably going to sound … well, I don’t know how it’ll sound. So I’ll just begin.

I started this blog because I like writing, and I thought it’d be entertaining to write my thoughts on music, sports, politics—especially politics. I never expected to gain much of a following, because there is nothing specific about this forum. When most bloggers write, they’re consistently writing about a specific something. You go to Deadspin for a specific reason; to andrewsullivan for a specific reason. Here, I’m just doodling around with my thoughts in between books. That’s all it’s meant to be. Nothing more.

But it has become more—and I don’t really like it. About a half hour ago I wrote a post about my latest SI.com column, and within the content I took some shots at an NBC Sports blogger named Craig Calcaterra. I don’t know Craig, I’ve never met Craig and, until a few days ago, I never even heard of Craig. But his recent criticisms irked me, so I fired back. Why? Because of an impulsive and immature need to defend. So childish. So stupid.

This is not who I want to be. I write because I love writing and I love reporting. I love digging into a subject, then digging into a subject about that subject, then digging even more. Books complete me in a way magazine stories or newspaper columns or (certainly) blog posts never have. They are what I love to do, and if you choose to judge me as a journalist, I can only hope those are the barometers.

I hate much of what’s going on out there—the 140-word top-of-the-brain spewage of Twitter; the blog-for-the-sake-of-saying-something blog post; the eagerness to point out the mistakes committed by others; the sheer loudness of it all. I don’t want to be loud, and—in many respects—the recent Jeff Bagwell posts I wrote (the ones that were slammed by so many) were stuffed with more screaming than intellectual discourse (I believe, strongly, in my takes. But the writing was shit). This stuff becomes addictive, however, and before you know it you’re insulting someone because he dared insult you. It’s second grade all over again.

So, first, I want to apologize to Craig.

And second, I want to dedicate myself to returning to the basics.

Writing. Reporting.

Not screaming.

PS: I don’t agree with many of Craig’s points, especially on PED. But his passion is clear in his work, and that’s invaluable.