Because most of today’s professional athletes are successful at what they do and are among the highest paid group of people in the United States, you would assume they are driven and don’t require extra motivation.
Apparently, that doesn’t apply to certain members of the Cleveland Indians. After pitcher Carlos Carrasco broke his right hand on the second pitch of a recent game against the Detroit Tigers to join pitcher Danny Salazar on the disabled list, The Plain Dealer beat writer Paul Hoynes wrote that, basically, the 2016 season was over for the Tribe.
And this was before ace Corey Kubler suffered a strained quad. Hoynes is a highly respected baseball writer, having covered the Indians since 1983. In 2006, he was the president of the Baseball Writers Association of America, which decides who gets enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Apparently, this rankled pitcher Trevor Bauer, who was pushed to the second spot in the rotation following the injuries. Second baseman Jason Kipnis, the ultimate team player, backed Bauer after he suggested Hoynes would not be welcome in the clubhouse. Bauer called Hoynes a coward because the writer did not show up in the clubhouse the day after the opinion piece was published on Cleveland.com.
Hoynes always uses Sunday as an off day, and Bauer should have known that. He also should know that Hoynes is nothing near coward, having been a rugby player in college, and someone who has stood up to former Indians Mel Hall and Albert Belle.
The response from the public has been interesting. The majority of responses I have heard indicate that a beat writer should not write opinion columns, and like Jack Webb (Sgt. Friday on “Dragnet”) would have said, “just the facts.”
I don’t believe that for one minute. If Hoynes had written along the lines of, “well, those are devastating injuries, but this team has been resilient all year long and still has a good chance, led by manager Terry Francona, ” then those people would have applauded the beat writer.
Like in my other business of broadcasting, the newspaper business has changed quite a bit. There was a time when the beat writer stuck to the facts and to the story of the games, but that is old news. In the era of the Internet and social media, the job is 24/7 and writers are expected to tweet, use Facebook and be on the lookout for breaking news, instead of working around an 11 p.m. deadline.
Opinions, which bring “hits” to the website, are more than welcome. People who know Hoynes know that he remains one of the hardest working guys in the media. Having grown up in Cleveland Heights, he would love to see the team he covers win it all. His columns and stories would be read by more people and his employer would sell more newspapers. But, while on the job, he is totally impartial, which is as it should be.
After the Cavaliers beat Golden State for the NBA title, PD columnist Terry Pluto told me that while on deadline he went from not knowing who would win in the closing minutes of Game 7 to having to capture the moment – and then quickly write the story, fully knowing thousands upon thousands of people would purchase the paper to keep forever.
You would think Bauer would be motivated by a World Series appearance instead of a vendetta against a sportswriter. And you would think Francona, who managed in Philadelphia and Boston, which are two tough media cities, would point that out to him.
Read Les Levine online at cjn.org/Levine.
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