Mad Lib Sportswriting

by on March 23, 2011 · 2 comments

It cannot be that difficult to write stories for some web sports outlets.  After the journalistic fodder that rolled off the “presses” yesterday with Morosi’s face at the top, I’m utterly convinced that you simply need an advanced Mad Lib pad specifically designed for baseball to be a scribe with troll-like status.  Go ahead and give this one a try.

Upon speaking with several of his contemporaries, I’m convinced that <choice #1> may not be the best all-around player in the game.  After speaking with lots of sources, I <choice #2> Johnny Damon and Kelly Shoppach, and they mentioned guys like Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira, Evan Longoria, and Josh Hamilton.  Of course, by some measures (like WAR) he’s been the best player of the last decade.  Nobody except <choice #3> understand these measures, but we’ll just assume that they are correct.  Regardless, that doesn’t mean that he deserves the massive, megadeal contract he has most certainly already demanded of the Cardinals.  No, I have no confirmation of the actual numbers, but <choice #4>.  To give my story more gravitas and to cross-pollinate by maximizing in-story linking within the massive corporate site that employs me, I’ve taken the liberty of including links to other stories for your reading entertainment.  Please, enjoy the gripping tale about how Albert Pujols could still be traded in spite of the fact that he’s a 10-5 player with a no-trade clause.  Admittedly, the story <choice #5>. 

The point of this piece is that anybody can put together a mound of drivel with their smugshot at the top, and rubber-stamp it for publication.  If you place the story on SI.com or FoxSports.com, people will read it, even if it really has zero value in terms of content.  Just give it some crappy label, and it becomes the baseball equivalent of a National Inquirer tag line.  It’s the sports equivalent of “Angelina Has Alien Twins“, and it’s drivel.  Drivel sells, even though it’s a complete non-story. 

<choice #1>

  1. Albert Pujols
  2. Albert Pujols
  3. Albert Pujols
  4. Albert Pujols

<choice #2>

  1. hand-picked
  2. selected the ever-reliable opinions of
  3. ignored all the sensible people in favor of
  4. made up some names and handed them to

<choice #3>

  1. stats geeks
  2. literate people who can read and understand WAR charts
  3. fans who actually watch baseball
  4. 70% of the inhabitants of North America

<choice #4>

  1. I’m a journalist, so I don’t need an actual source. (and you can’t make me – nah nah nah nah)
  2. I heard it from my neighbor’s dog sitter’s cousin who is the chiropractor for a woman who dates a guy who frequents a deli next to the place where Mozeliak and Lozano walk by on the way to their actual meeting spot.
  3. I’ll disavow all knowledge of everything and fire an intern.
  4. the aliens from Qwarg told me last night, and that’s good enough for me.
  5. I got a text from one journalist who received a text from another journalist, so it must be true.  It’s the 3rd law of trolling.

<choice #5>

  1. was solely written to generate pageviews from angry Cardinals fans
  2. was written for the singular purpose of showing our ignorance of common sense
  3. is a complete piece of fluff that was ghost-written by a chimpanzee grad student in order to meet a deadline
  4. represents one of the better pieces of work turned in within the last 6 months by the author
  5. may actually be about Justin Bieber playing basketball

Here is the link to the Morosi piece.  Of course, that’s a lot more than he did when he referenced the “Daily Pujols” a while back.  He mentioned “Pitchers Hit Eighth” in an article, but he couldn’t be bothered to actually link to us.  It’s not like we received an explanation or anything, though.  We’re JUST bloggers, so he couldn’t be bothered with the professional courtesy, because we’re beneath that level.  That’s fine.  I’ve linked to his article, if only because the work we do in our spare time surpasses what he does as a career.  <insert BOOOOM here>

TIDBIT:  Don’t even get me started on the “best all-around player” discussion.  Anybody who mentions Teixeira should be disqualified from speaking.  Tex doesn’t even begin the season until somewhere around June, and he’s never posted a WAR above 6.0.  Cano has topped 6.0 (6.1).  Josh Hamilton?  His MVP season of 2010 is just slightly better than Albert’s worst season ever, and his team did fine without him for about a month down the stretch.  Longo may have a legit argument as soon as his postseason batting average goes above the Mendoza line.  Until then, he’s just another superstar who has had a couple of great seasons.  Then again, it’s all relative, and AP did appear to have an off-year……with a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, and a 2nd place finish in the NL MVP voting. 

MORE BITS OF TID:  Ultimately, there’s nothing original, insightful, or even mildly entertaining about what Morosi wrote.  He began by asking a question that can only be answered with an opinion which is a great way to get a debate going in a bar.  With his access to several major league players, he wasted some golden opportunities to ask much better questions.  Why not ask J.A. Happ about whether or not he knows about Baseball-Reference.com?  Why not inquire about whether or not Johnny Damon can even spell FanGraphs?  Morosi had several chances to ask current players about their thoughts on advanced statistics, and he whiffed mightily.  Instead, he was perfectly satisfied to dip his foot in the shallow end of the advanced statistics pool without inviting anybody else for a swim.  Such a shame. 

Like it?  Want to make your own multiple choice Mad Lib?  Follow gr33nazn on Twitter and maybe we can make another one!

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Cardinals fan since I could hold a fishing pole steady. Accidental blogger. Opinionated. I could care less about what you think of me. Constantly confounded, bemused, and confuzzled (ie I'm a pc and a mac). I'm an IT infrastructure analyst with a penchant for breaking tech toys. I ate a sabermetric primer for breakfast. I love playing "All-powerful GM of MLB". The 2010 Cardinals represented a good, practical definition "cognitive dissonance". The 2011 version got by on duct tape and a prayer, and I'm fine with that. They just need new tape for #12 in 12.
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{ 2 comments }

Ann March 23, 2011

You know what cracks me up? You said “don’t get me started…” THEN STARTED IN ON IT. Ha.

I think it’s also hilarious that his article didn’t link to either Fan Graphs or Baseball-Reference, when a link takes about 13 seconds to create.

Aaaand, I wonder if he knows that WAR isn’t the only stat worth paying attention to. I mean, let’s ignore his gold gloves and silver sluggers. Let’s ignore his ridiculous BA whenever the bases are loaded (Yay clutch hits!). Let’s ignore just about anything else that shows him as one of the best players. Ever.

I won’t argue that there are others worth mentioning in the “one of the best” category, but none are like Pujols. Not right now they’re not.

Either way, stop reading that nonsense. It is going to give you an Ulcer (Coach Q style).

Dennis March 23, 2011

Yeah, I knew as soon as I mentioned “don’t even get me started” that I was already going to get started. I think it’s an interesting debate to have, but participants should bring some useful information to the table.

I usually ignore the nonsense, but it was pushed into my face about 6 or 7 times via retweets in my timeline. THAT was enough to get my attention. At least the Mad Lib is fun, though.

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