Saturday, April 6, 2013

Danny Knobler is Bad At His Job ... AGAIN

Danny Knobler Is Bad At His Job… AGAIN

So Danny Knobler is at it again.  It wasn’t even a month ago, that I wrote an article (on my personal blog), criticizing an incredibly lazy, and incorrect article that Mr. Knobler wrote analyzing the way “blogs” were handling the Houston Astros.  That article was merely a lazy writer choosing an incorrect narrative. This one is worse.

Also for the record, I’m not going link to Mr. Knobler’s article, because he doesn’t deserve the extra clicks that even a small blog like this would direct his way. However, in order to not take any of his words out of context, I will quote his entire article

Wasn't it right around this time last year that Bobby Valentine was getting booed?

I don’t think it was 4 games into the season, but regardless, how that is relevant?  I have no idea, but I’m sure Mr. Knobler will illuminate me.

It was, wasn't it? 

No, pretty sure they waited a few weeks, but whatever, you’ve already driven the point home, get to the useless premise of this article please.

And it was a reminder of everything that was already wrong in a Red Sox season that wouldn't get any better.

More Red Sox talk.  Get to the point.

So now it's a different year, and a different Red Sox manager, and John Farrell got booed Friday night for a completely different reason. And yet, the way and his team reacted to it says everything about how this Red Sox team and this Red Sox season are off to a different start.

4 games into a season.  Totally not too early to make sweeping proclamations about how “everything is different”.

Sorry, Blue Jays fans, but you can't hurt John Farrell. You can hate him all you want, you can boo him all you want, but you can't hurt him.

I think Mr. Knobler might misunderstand the point of booing.  It isn’t to “hurt” the target that you’ve directing them at, but rather (in this case) its to show him that the way he treated the fans that paid his paycheque isn’t appreciated.

You can't even get him to admit he doesn't like it."It was electric in here," Farrell said, on a night when nearly all the electricity was directed at him, more than anyone else who was involved in the 6-4 Red Sox win over the Blue Jays. "It was a great crowd. It's a great atmosphere."

First of all, this sentence is horribly constructed.  This guy gets paid to write by one of the biggest media companies in the world and this is the tripe he comes up with?  Just terrible.

It was a different atmosphere, anyway, on a night when the promotion was basically, "Let's all boo our ex-manager."

Now we get to the point that really set me off about this terrible article.  I’d like Mr. Knobler to point out any pre-game promotion that mentioned anything about booing the former manager.  It wasn’t necessary.  The fans in the southern Ontario market aren’t sheep that need to be told when to boo.  Frankly, its one of the things they do better than just about any sports town outside of eastern Pennsylvania.

It wasn’t the team (or any other Rogers conglomerate partners) who came up with the clever hashtag of #FFF.  That was done by the fans.  In fact, the only pre-game mentions of Farrell I saw on any broadcast as just to point out that the “former manager was returning”.  These fans may not have the longest memories, but they certainly can remember back to late fall, when Farrell informed people that he was leaving for his “dream job”.  They can remember the disrespect that he showed to not only his players, but the fan base as a whole.

Seriously, have you ever heard fans boo the pregame meeting at home plate? Have you heard fans boo the visiting team's pitching changes? Have you heard fans mockingly chant the visiting manager's name, over and over, inning after inning? 
No, I personally cant recall any time this has happened at a baseball game.  Though I do recall Mike Keenan returning to coach in Vancouver, and being booed out of the building. 

Also, I cant recall any time that a manager has asked to leave, merely because he wanted a job that he viewed as a “better” one.  If you can think of a precedent where that has been the case, please, I’d like to hear it.

The crowd -- and the "Let's boo" promotion attracted a near sellout -- even booed when Farrell went to check on the health of rookie shortstop Jose Iglesias (who took a Josh Johnson pitch on the right forearm and eventually had to leave the game).

1 – Yet again, there was no “Let’s boo” promotion.  The sellout was attracted by John Farrell’s mere presence back in Toronto.

2 – This is a cheap shot.  This implies that the fans were booing him coming out to attend to his poor injure player.  They weren’t.  They were going to take every opportunity to boo the man who told these fans that they were second class citizens in the baseball world. 

It was different, but then it's different for a manager to ask to leave one team to take over another team in the same division. It's different for that manager to publicly admit that he had wanted to make the switch a year earlier, and then to make comments that could be read to suggest he viewed the first city as just a steppingstone to the job he really wanted.Farrell probably would have been better off not saying some of the things he did after leaving the Blue Jays for the Red Sox last fall, and he certainly wasn't going to make the same mistake now. He had nothing but compliments for this city and its baseball fans Friday.

Really, this is about as close as Knobler comes to criticizing anything that John Farrell did this past off-season. 
Though, don’t worry, he’s going to spend the next two paragraphs praising all the wonderful changes that Farrell has brought to the “new look” Boston Red Sox. 

"I think history shows Toronto is an outstanding baseball town," Farrell said.Perhaps it will be again, although the Blue Jays' 1-3 start isn't doing much to build on the momentum the Jays generated with their big offseason. It certainly can't help that on the nights with the two biggest crowds this week, the Blue Jays lost.

Great, now that he has his “dream job” Farrell can throw ridiculous platitudes at us.  I’d much rather he done what Josh Hamilton did today and stick to his guns.  We know that John Farrell doesn’t see an “outstanding baseball town” when he looks at Toronto, and frankly it probably isn’t. 
Fans in Toronto know that it’s a hockey town first and foremost, but they don’t want someone they are paying to try and change that, waving that fact in their face. 

Perhaps it will be again, although the Blue Jays' 1-3 start isn't doing much to build on the momentum the Jays generated with their big offseason. It certainly can't help that on the nights with the two biggest crowds this week, the Blue Jays lost. 
Its four games Danny, Four.  Though, I suppose if its not to early to make sweeping proclamations about the “dramatic turnaround” in Boston, its not too early to be raising the white flag above the dome. 

That's hardly Farrell's problem now, just as it's hardly Farrell's problem that he's not the most popular guy in this town, or in the clubhouse he once ran."We'd rather have him there [in Boston] than have him here and wishing he was there," Jose Bautista said Friday afternoon. "We have a manager who wants to be here."

Hmm, so now we have a comment by star Jose Bautista about the new manager who is in the Toronto dugout.  I’m sure the next few paragraphs will be about how John Gibbons seems to have this team a lot more happy and cohesive than John Farrell ever did. 

The Red Sox have one, too. They have a manager who seems to have showed up at the right time (following the unpopular Valentine), and with the right group of players (in a clubhouse that was rebuilt with team chemistry and "Boston fit" in mind).

Farrell mentioned Friday night that people who only watch on television don't realize how much fun the Red Sox are having in their dugout.His team does seem to enjoy being together. It also seems significantly more ready to win than the team Valentine took over a year ago. Once again Friday night, the Red Sox were able to show off young talent (Iglesias made a brilliant play at short, and Jackie Bradley Jr. was on base three times) and their outstanding bullpen (four innings, one run).

Lets ignore the fact that Jackie Bradley made two poor plays in the outfield, or that Junichi Tazawa was rather dreadful out of the pen.

Nope, its all about having fun in Boston.  Who wants things like facts to get in the way.

The Red Sox were even able to turn the booing into a positive. They looked to be joking about it at times, although afterwards they would only admit that they enjoyed seeing people in the stands and hearing them make some noise."I think our players fed off it a little," Farrell said.

Projecting body language so it fits my narrative.  I thought we’d hit as many lazy journalistic tendencies, but Mr. Knobler proves that I had underestimated him.

There's no doubt things would have been different if the Red Sox were still the mess that they were under Valentine. Things may well have been different if the Blue Jays were the ones off to a fast start.Maybe then the booing would have gotten to Farrell. Maybe then he wouldn't have so easily been able to say that he enjoyed it.
And maybe then it would have stung a little when the fans taunted him about that "dream job" remark.
Right now, this does look like Farrell's dream job. Right now, it's hard to think he made any kind of mistake by leaving, or that the Red Sox made any kind of mistake by going to get him.
Right now, the booing won't hurt John Farrell.
It only helps prove how much the Red Sox have changed.

I’m tired of ripping this line by line, but I promised I’d include the entire article, so there is the rest of the tripe that Mr. Knobler closed his article with.

In an semi-related note.  On Baseball Prospectus’ Effectively Wild podcast this week, they’ve been doing a segment on “confirmation bias week”.  Meaning that this is the week of the baseball season where all the hack journalists, take what they thought were going to be the narratives coming into the season, and look for ways to make the facts on the field confirm these pre-established biases that they already have.

This is exactly what Mr. Knobler has done here.  Pre-season he assumed that because Bobby Valentine was out of the Boston clubhouse, everything would now be hunky dory, and as a result, he’s taken this largely irrelevant 4 games worth of data points to prove his point.

These 4 games essentially prove nothing, unless you want to force them into a pre-existing narrative.  

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