Hey folks. Happy Saturday. I know Stoeten and Parkes are going to have plenty to say about this but I was thinking this week how I should try to get off my lazy ass and get to doing some weekend posts again. Only to start with this shitshow news that Mike Wilner has been suspended for the weekend following his altercation with Cito Gaston.
You guys have had plenty to say about it already in the comments from yesterday’s game and some of you are calling it a welcome dose of humility for him while others are crying absolute horseshit.
I gotta say, I probably side with the latter. And that’s not just a DJF-sucks-Wilner’s-cock deal. In fact, I’ve frequently called Wilner out on his comments (well, back when I used to write. Fuck, 2007? Who was this Josh Towers guy I kept mentioning in posts back then?) and I’ve found Jays Talk to become increasingly unlistenable as he does seem to pounce on the first opportunity to take a shot at a caller regarding the pettiest of details. That said, I’ve had the pleasure of talking with him on the podcast and via email and found he’s of the complete opposite demeanour. It’s not like he’s angrily taking calls at Jays Talk wishing for it to end. After he’s done, he’s fucking writing some epic post on his blog. The guy eats, drinks, shits and sleeps baseball. It’s his life and he loves it.
Now, we don’t know exactly what went down during that fateful media scrum on Wednesday. Was Wilner rabidly taunting Gaston about his bullpen strategy? Was Gaston unjustly acting as if he was being attacked in this situation? As some of you have noted, Wilner’s comments regarding Gaston’s management do seem to be getting increasingly personal (“There’s not one other manager in baseball that does that”) but at the same time, a baseball manager isn’t supposed to like the questions or comments made about him necessarily. Gaston, you’re a big boy, stick up for yourself. Answer the man’s questions. If Wilner now has a history of going after Gaston, Gaston most certainly has a history of abusing his status to make himself out to be a victim (“If you aren’t a racist I apologize. If you are, I don’t”).
I really think this goes beyond whether you like Wilner or not. Throughout our numerous Richard Griffin shitstorms, we’ve always said the one thing we could all admire is his courage to write what he does and then be right back in the clubhouse the next day to ask the questions other reporters don’t want to. It shouldn’t be surprising that Griffin is the one who’s been vocal about Wilner’s suspension. As chapter president of The Toronto Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America, Griffin sent Paul Beeston a letter yesterday stating:
“The baseball writers association would like to officially voice its support of the right of Mr. Wilner or any other reporter to ask challenging questions. … Similar lines of questioning in the wake of difficult losses are not uncommon in all pro sports. The concern of the BBWAA is that this amounts to an attempt to either censor or intimidate the media coverage that the Jays receive on a daily basis in all four newspapers and the wire services.”
And it’s hard not to support that. Without commenting on the matter, the Fan 590 is basically saying it doesn’t support reporting that goes contrary to the interests of Blue Jays management. And that kinda takes out a big component of what reporting is supposed to be. I mean, it might still be journalism, but more of the kind you find on The Shopping Channel. I don’t want to get into some overblown-false-Utopia-”1984″-”Brave New World”-type analogy here but I do think it’s pretty telling that Wilner’s only comment in response to this has been: “My only comment is that I have the weekend off.”
Now, if he’s too steamed to say anything, that’s one thing. I’m just more worried that he might not be allowed to say what he wants to. And, you know, that’s pretty fucking scary. Jays Talk could always be worse:
“Hey there Blue Jays fans. Well, despite the 17-0 loss, Cito sure did manage a heck of a game didn’t he?”
Game Threat to follow.