Friday, August 3, 2007

More Expert Ignorance Brought to Light

Bloggers often catch heat for not being "legitimate" writers, and for being of questionable "reliability" because they are not beholden to legions of editors and fact-checkers. It's all nonsense, of course, since "professional" writers such as this guy, Matt Becker, can get away with such a blatant disregard for facts. The first line of his Nationals-Reds game preview was so out-of-step with reality it would have been laughable if it were not so insulting. This looks like a growing problem over at Yahoo!, since in the past week we have already exposed an example of shoddy journalistic research on their part.

Before we get into this latest slight on the Nats, let's bask in the 'tism-tinged light of a brilliant series sweep, one accompanied by the shut-down antics of Mike Bacsik (post-2nd-inning) and the thunder from the heart of the lineup. DCO attempted to attend the game, but was denied by the crushing and baffling onslaught of traffic near the 14th Street Bridge (traffic exiting town, in contrast, breezed by unfettered). Question: how long should it take to go from Pentagon City to the Pentagon? If you said "less than 45 minutes" you would be incorrect. Now, on to the horrid line:

"The Washington Nationals are stumbling through another disappointing season."

We know, we know. The awfulness, inaccuracy, and ignorance of this statement speak for themselves. Still, for the benefit of those who would believe such things are true, let's examine some key words from this ill-conceived sentence and analyze what they mean and why they are wrong.

-Stumbling. "to move unsteadily. falter." Mr. Becker would apparently have us believe that the team is moving aimlessly through the season, without purpose.
He obviously is unaware of the brilliance and long-term focus of The Plan, how it is blossoming, perhaps years ahead of schedule, and how key components are in place and developing at a staggeringly quick pace. This is not unsteady movement, and the team is far from faltering (see below). The Montreal/San Juan Expos were stumbling. Bud Selig’s handling of the moving/selling of the team could be described as stumbling (or, more accurately, “purposely incompetently executed”). This team is not stumbling.

-Disappointing. "failing to fulfill one's hopes or expectations." As bad as “stumbling” was, this is worse. They may be the first team in history to see 48-60 as not disappointing, but the fact is…48-60 is not disappointing. It is in fact cause for blissful celebration. By most “expert” accounts (presumably including some experts at Yahoo!), 48 wins was supposed to be far beyond attainable for this group, whose Major League credentials were constantly questioned. They were supposed to be the pushover joke of the NL East, yet they find themselves only 2.5 games behind the mighty Florida Marlins for 4th place in the division. They have a better record than teams not burdened with worst-ever predictions: the Giants, Astros, Pirates, Reds, Devil Rays (please let this list include the word “Orioles” by the end of this season. It’s possible, so very possible). Maybe Manny needs to sit down with this guy and give him a scolding, and explain to him how un-disappointing this season is, perhaps pointing out that winning July record as an indication of how far (how fast) this team has come from 9-25.

So, Mr. Becker, before you take a quick glance at the standings and write your previews based solely on cold, unforgiving win-loss counts, dig a little deeper. There could be a completely different story behind those numbers.

No comments: