When Words Lose Meaning

By | January 23, 2007

I remember back when people complained about sports writers’ “east coast bias” because they felt that the writers were biased towards teams on the east coast. Apparently, the term now refers to a writer writing something the reader disagreed with. Witness these letters to Buster Olney in response to an article he wrote about some intriguing young players to watch in 2007:

You think Bobby Crosby is a player on the rise? He’d be one if he played. I noticed no Cubs on there. What about Rich Hill? Your Yankees wish they had him. It’s funny you ESPN writers are so quick to dismiss Kerry Wood and Mark Prior but you’ll put an oft-injured guy on a list of “rising young stars” instead of Rich Hill. Your east coast bias goes on and on and on.

— James, Munster, Ind.

How you can look at young players (Rafael Furcal has been in the league for 7 years and is almost 30!) and not even cast an eye at Milwaukee, where Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, J.J. Hardy, and Chris Capuano play? All are on the verge of big years, and major steps forward… the majority of ESPN baseball writers appear to have an east coast bias, anyway, and it would be nice to spread a little long-due respect to Milwaukee …

— Brett Smith, Los Angeles

Hmmm…no interest in what is going to happen to Chris Duncan (22 HR in 280 ABs). Talk about Bobby Crosby and his 22 HR in 545 ABs? Duncan, like the entire Cardinal team (save Pujols and Carpenter) is completely overlooked to the point where it is ridiculous. Can he learn to hit left-handed or will he only be a platoon player? The corner outfield was a weakness for the team and Duncan is a key for the success of the team. But we’ll just ignore the World Champs and talk Yankees and Red Sox.

— Robert, Ann Arbor, Mich.

So one guy is upset that Olney mentioned Bobby Crosby (Oakland) instead of Rich Hill (Chicago). Another guy complains that he mentioned Rafael Furcal (Los Angeles) instead of a bunch of Brewers (Milwaukee). And then the third guy is ticked that Crosby got mentioned over Chris Duncan (St. Louis). And yet all three complain of “east coast bias,” either explicitly or implicitly. Wow.

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