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.

14 thoughts on “Looking in the mirror”

  1. Jeff,

    As I wrote previously on one of the other comment sections in your blog, the inability to engage in civil discourse is embarrassing, but a hideous sign of the times.

    I can imagine why someone would say, “screw it,” rather that try to spark or continue debate.

    However, I believe it is critical to continue to bring up important issues (though I am not sure anything sports-related truly qualifies as important, but you get the point) as we learn through disagreement.

    Plus, I believe the obsequious Bagwell lobby is thoroughly misguided.

    Wishing you the best,


  2. I was really disapointed with your post. I like some of your books but that article was a joke. I hope you learned something.

  3. It’s very decent of you to apologize to Calcaterra, but you are 100% correct.

    1) Re: sportswriters in the locker room: Last year, Murray Chass, the former Times writer, wrote a blog post about how the Times would never let him mention in print that Mike Piazza had a severe case of back acne, a sure sign of steroid use. (I’m a Mets fan, so I’m not grinding an axe here.) I’m sure many Mets fans who have heaped scorn on Barry Bonds would scoff, just as similar Yankee fans go into denial about A-Rod.

    2) Innocent until proven guilty only applies to a court of law, not the court of public opinion. Should we embrace OJ because he was never “proven guilty?”

    3) By denying Bagwell admission to the HoF, we are not denying him some civil right, like trying to suppress Larry Flynt’s right to free speech. We are deciding whether to bestow upon him an exceedingly rare honor, and if we feel there is something suspicious about his accomplishments, we are under no obligation to enshrine him.

  4. Jeff – you need to keep blogging. Those who read this site, know that the Bagwell stuff isn’t the meat and potatoes around here. I personally love to read your takes on music, politics and sports (closet jet-hater that you are). Please Please Please keep it up

  5. Jeff, you ignorant slut. 😉

    Don’t you know people like to badger each other. The anonymity of the internet allows quiet reserved folks to get things off their chest.

    Yours truly,

  6. i heard on other blogs that your book about the cowboys had great anecdotes about how out of control that team of brainless savages was and was thinking of getting it with this amazon gift card. but then i read your horrible blog posts about bagwell and now this crap with craig calceterra and there is no way i’m ever going to buy one of your books or read one if someone gave it to me. hey maybe someone should write a book about what a hack you are, maybe i’d buy that. pearls of jizz, out of the mouth of a true dickhead, they could call it.

  7. I like your sports posts better than your political posts. At least with sports, sometimes your opinions surprise me whereas your political posts are way to predictable…..republicans suck, let gays marry, ban all guns, raise taxes and lets all sing “kumbaya”
    Stick to sports, it’s what you do best!

  8. Basically according to Jeff and people that agree with him no one should go into the HOF.

    How is anyone supposed to know who took PEDS and who didn’t?

    When 180lb light hitting outfielders fail tests it means it is impossible to figure out who took and who didn’t.

    Who is to say Alomar and Blyleven didn’t take? Why would Nolan Ryan be clean? How did Ripken play so long everyday?

    The writers that think that PEDs and everyone associated shouldnt be in the HOF should do the right and moral thing and turn in their votes. It is much better than trying to blindly judge every player.

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