Friday, October 21, 2011

Certified Public Accountancy

By The Common Man

Last night, as Jason Wojciechowski pointed out, Albert Pujols made an incredibly poor defensive play that wound up costing the Cardinals what turned out to be the winning run. Misjudging a poor throw from John Jay, Pujols reacted late and allowed the ball to bounce off his glove rather than cutting the ball off cleanly and holding Elvis Andrus at first base.

After the game, as we learned this morning, Pujols was nowhere to be found in the locker room. Similarly, Yadier Molina, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman were absent as well. Jeff Passan complained that Pujols’ decision to leave early showed “zero leadership” (which seems unfair, he could have led the other veterans out). Jon Paul Morosi similarly wrote, “The lack of accountability was inexcusable from a man who is frequently described as a good teammate — and will soon want to be paid like the greatest player in the game.”

Certainly, Morosi and Passan come off as more than a little whiny, and The Common Man really doesn’t care at all whether Pujols talks to reporters after the game. As Craig Calcaterra DJ Short points out this morning, “the media needs to understand that this is something they care about more than the fans do.” Indeed, hearing reporters complain makes them seem petty (probably because they are) and tries to replace TCM’s great memories of an exciting Game 2 with acid, bile, and bitterness.

But just because The Common Man doesn’t really want to hear about this manufactured controversy, doesn’t mean that it’s not important in the grand scheme. Albert Pujols and the teammates who skipped out should have been more responsible. They absolutely shouldn’t have let their younger teammates bear the consequences for their absence. And, actually, Pujols and his pals do have an obligation to speak to the media after the game.

Baseball, as an institution, was flourished in large part because of how easy it was to translate the game into the printed word. Sportswriters and newspapers were integral to growing baseball’s popularity around the country and in helping to establish it as the National Pastime. Without the free publicity offered by the news media, particularly the print media, Pujols and his teammates would not get millions of dollars to play the game. While players today may not owe anything to Jeff Passan and Jon Paul Morosi in particular, they owe it to the players and media members who came before them to respect that legacy.

But their decision to avoid that responsibility just isn’t interesting to the fan. It’s entirely possible to write a game recap without quotes from a single player or coach. Indeed, that might actually improve the majority of game recaps. Ultimately, this is an issue for Pujols and his cronies to work out with their teammates and their manager. It’s an issue for them to work out with Passan and Morosi. Keep it in house, and let The Common Man enjoy his baseball.


William Tasker - Caribou, ME said...

Here, here! Well said.

Vidor said...

Three home runs and fourteen total bases later, Jeff Passan looks like a fool. I guess leadership is being the best hitter in baseball, not giving some Yahoo scribbler a quote.

Anonymous said...

I don't think baseball players should feel obligated to talk to the media -- and I say this as a member of the media – but in this instance it stacks up as a character issue. No reason to get real excited if you're writing a column, but worth a mention that they bailed.