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A Lesson in Unprofessional Journalism

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If you got paid to watch and write about a game, would you enjoy it? Better yet, would you be grateful for the opportunity? These are questions I have been pondering ever since the dog days of August when the Cleveland Indians were mired in a terrible slump that effectively ruined their season.

During that fateful stretch of time one Tribe game went into extra innings after an already lengthy affair that lasted past 1a.m. When this occurred, several reporters were caught on twitter making jokes about the game continuing on much longer and how they could be subjected to anymore bad baseball. Others tweeted about how they could not wait until all the baseball talk on twitter would be silenced because football season had begun. Suffice to say, I and others I follow on the social media forum were not amused.

Lately on nights when I don’t have to get up early the next morning for work I find myself staying up late at night for different reasons. Sometimes I read news articles and other interesting stories I did not have time to during the day. Other times I watch random video clips for nostalgia purposes or catch up on my DVR recordings.

A relative once suggested I stay up so late because I am always afraid I will miss something if I turn off my computer and go to bed. I am extremely inclined to agree. Wednesday night was a perfect example of such a time where I would miss something big if I turned off my computer.

This is the big week of winter meetings in Major League Baseball. All eyes in Cleveland, well diehard baseball fans’ eyes anyway, are on the Indians, hoping they make some kind of trade or acquisition that would positively benefit the organization for at least the upcoming season. My twitter feed has been abuzz as many of my fellow diehard fans I follow and reporters in the business discuss rumors of these potential deals.

One such deal suggests the Indians trading two-time all-star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to the Arizona Diamondbacks and receiving two prospects from the Diamondbacks in return. Evidently this potential deal does not sit well with one particular Indians beat reporter.

According to this writer the rumored trade would be an epic failure because all the Indians would be receiving in return would be two high ranking prospects. Shortly after midnight Wednesday night, a young man I follow who covered the Indians farm system this past season and sees the value in young prospects stepped in to debate the writer, citing multiple examples in which a deal such as the proposed has benefited both sides. The latter failed to see the point, stating that the young journalist “loves him some prospects” while he loves “real players.”

The debate snowballed and turned into an ugly situation. The writer in question got into another argument with another person who I do not follow. He launched a tirade of unprovoked offensive tweets, using vulgar language and name calling.

While I have seen this happen many times on my twitter timeline, this was completely different than anything I had witnessed before. Here a writer of 15 years, known by any diehard Cleveland Indians fan with a twitter account, resorted to mudslinging on a public forum when someone stepped in and disagreed with what he had to say.

These young men did nothing to deserve the treatment they received. All they did was attempt to show the writer a different side to a story that he immediately dismissed. His behavior was extremely unprofessional for a man of his status. Furthermore, the man’s job title and the name of the organization he writes for is clearly stated in his twitter bio. Anyone who witnessed his outrageous tweets could report him to his employer as well as spread the news like wildfire throughout the community and make the organization look bad.

Finally, this outburst, coupled with the reactions I mentioned at the beginning of this writing of other Cleveland reporters, sparked a discussion among me and other amateur writers. We see this type of behavior and are appalled. These people are being paid to watch and report on a game that we all love and respect. We would do their job for nothing. Yet they sit back and criticize and complain when they are “forced” to watch a game go into extra innings.

These people are living the dream young sports writers aspire to have. They know that and they take it for granted. Their egos become inflated when uneducated fans assume the truth from their reports and heap unwarranted praise. What the uneducated fans fail to realize is there is another perspective when it is not presented by reporters such as the one in question.

I understand the Cleveland Indians are a poorly run franchise and have been for several years now. No, they have not made any significant moves that would impact the team during the winter meetings despite being involved in many rumors. But that is no reason to assume the worst or completely dismiss any potential moves based on history. Rather, look at them from all sides and do some homework. Do your job.

That is what a true professional reporter does. He or she does the necessary research. If you want to complain, step away and let someone with a true passion for the game have an opportunity.

Written by apokorny

December 7, 2012 at 3:23 pm