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Mets Hot Stove: The Calm Before the Storm

Mike SteffanosMonday, November 14, 2005
By Mike Steffanos

I looked around for something interesting to comment on this morning and there just wasn't anything out there. I'm not too worried -- that should change fairly quickly this week as guys start signing.

When things are slow like this, it calls to mind the famous statement that "bloggers are parasites on big media, relying on them for stories and raw material". A friend of mine likes to quote this to me incessantly since he heard that I'm doing a blog. My friend made the point to me that much of what I do here is to comment on the reporting of others, and that's certainly true.

There are some reporters that I respect more than others, in baseball knowledge in general and their knowledge of the Mets in particular. In one specific case, my friend called me to task for what he perceived as criticism of ESPN's Buster Olney. I didn't remember that piece as being all that critical of Olney, so I went back and reread it when I had the chance.

Although I stated that a lot of Mets fans feel that Olney is a Yankees apologist -- and they certainly do -- I said I didn't really feel that way, but that I often found myself "unimpressed" by things I've seen him write or say about the Mets. Towards the end of the post I said (more or less) that I had a problem with people that treat Buster's pronouncements on baseball as pearls of wisdom from the sacred oracle. My friend took these together as a midget (me) tossing pebbles at a giant (Buster).

So let me say this: Buster Olney is a great baseball reporter with great sources, true baseball knowledge and interesting opinions. The fact that what he wrote inspired me and others to comment is a testament to his success in doing what a columnist should do -- get others talking and thinking. Because of him, I had something interesting to write about that day.

But I do have a problem with people that hang on his every word as gospel. He has knowledge of the Mets, certainly, but he doesn't cover them on a day-to-day basis. His statement that Cliff Floyd "never has fit in Shea Stadium, where outfield defense is very much necessary" was the statement of someone that didn't pay enough attention last year to be aware of what truly went on. The injury-free Cliff played a fine left field for the Mets in 2005.

And that's my point -- when you read something that is opinion, whether you find it in the mainstream media 0r a blog like mine, you should be doing more than just mindlessly consuming information. Read with discrimination -- challenge what you read. One of my favorite things to do is listen to intelligent people that don't agree with me. I like it when someone that doesn't agree with what I say calls me on it, and makes me defend (and question) what I believe. Of course, I have received a couple of emails that just have some version of "you're an idiot," but that's okay, too. If I'm going to put my opinions out there, that's fair game.

One thing I always do is link to the original piece I'm commenting on. That's only fair. Also, if I found this information through another source I credit them. In the morning, I read the Daily News, Post, Newsday and the Times for whatever they might have on the Mets. Then I go to MetsBlog to see what other news is out there. If I find something at MetsBlog that makes it into my blog, I'll credit them (please fix my link, guys). If I read something at another blogger's site that inspires me to say something, I will credit them. Intellectual honesty demands all of this.

Anyway, that's my answer to the parasite thing. And trust me, I have a lot of respect for guys like Buster Olney and Newsday's John Heyman (although I really think most of what he writes about the Mets is crap); men who have risen to the top of an extremely competitive profession, and give people like me something to talk about.

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