For the last 14 years, I have traveled inside, outside and around the many worlds of journalism. Writing for the Associated Press for eight of them, working in terrestrial radio for three of them, and writing for magazines, the Internet as well. Successful forays into the groundbreaking world of internet radio have been equally rewarding..
During that time, I have constantly found myself, alternately defending traditional journalists, bloggers, and other media folks to each other. I love the freedom of the ‘Net, but also respect the discipline of traditional journalism. I have, more than once, been called to task by a member of the print media for criticizing other print media. I have also lectured bloggers and others who make their living on the ‘Net to find better ways to criticize MSM, so that the noise in their message (profanity, poor delivery) doesn’t get in the way.
On Monday ESPNNewYork.com’s Adam Rubin made some vague comments about Wally Backman’s candidacy during a live chat that, in my opinion, displayed extremely poor judgement.
If Rubin has something to report, then report it. If not, his commentary is not only unprofessional, but completely unacceptable for a journalist of his stature. Rubin has always been a meticulous writer, who has always had my respect for the perspective and thoroughness of reporting on the Mets as an organization, rather than just focus on the major league team. He has always been very accessible and polite.
On Keane’s show, he sort of repeated his original statements, with the caveat that something or somethings happened in Brooklyn” this past season and that he would be “shocked” of Backman was hired. “Just because things aren’t seminated to the public doesn’t mean everything is perfect.” Rubin stated on the show.
“There’s no sense in trying to disparage anybody, it’s not a match…”
By hinting at “problems” in Brooklyn and not making clear that Backman’s alleged transgressions in Brooklyn were on-the-field procedural issues, internal policy disagreements, or off-the-field problems, Rubin has opened speculation on all fronts. Whether he wants to agree with that sentiment or not, I really don’t care. What he did was completely out of line.
You don’t want to “disparage” anyone, but you throw out these comments a day or two right before Backman’s interview this week?
Any concidence that on the same day that a few scouts left the team, at least one with some bad feeling about the people that let them go. Rubin has “information that he can’t disclose” about incidents that happened in Brooklyn this year?
It’s no secret that ownership wants Backman to be the next skipper, and what better way to mess with ownership — who just let you go — than to disparage their guy in some vague way to one of the beat guys that has done such a great job in covering the minors for so many years?
If Sandy Alderson doesn’t hire him, it will not be because of some unnamed “incidents” that are not “widely known” by some unknown people in the scouting department, who are, or who will soon be looking for work elsewhere. It will be because Sandy wants to go in a different direction. If anything else were the case, Backman would have been quietly let go at the end of the Brooklyn Cyclones’ season. It’s in his contract. as Rubin wrote back in August.
People at the highest levels of the team have been talking to Backman nearly every day since the end of the season to keep him abreast of what’s going on and assuring him that he is a leading candidate for the job, i think it’s safe to say that he’s still a leading candidate.
Whatever Rubin’s motivation here, he has messed with a man’s reputation, A man who is doing everything he can to make a living the best way he knows how. Because if he doesn’t get the Mets job, where does he go from here? With an ESPN reporter citing whispers and innuendo about what Wally Backman may or may not have done in Brooklyn this past year, do you think any organization is going to give him the benefit of the doubt?
Again, report what you know, and keep your mouth shut about stuff you don’t. This isn’t some trade rumor, this is a man’s reputation and career. One you may have irreparable harm to. And for what?