Monday, January 9, 2012

Goodbye SweetSpot Network, Hello Big Scary World

By The Common Man and Bill

The eagle-eyed  reader may have noticed that the ESPN banner no longer appears above, or that The Platoon Advantage is no longer found on the ESPN’s roster of SweetSpot Network blogs. Indeed, TPA’s affiliation with the WWL has come to an end. ESPN has always been particularly sensitive to media criticism, and our ongoing series of posts regarding Jeff Bagwell and the Hall of Fame were sort of the last straw for the editors, who pulled the plug on us.

Eh, these things happen. We had a very nice almost-18 month run at the Network, during which time we accomplished a lot as a blog, posting daily recaps of new material from around the network, organizing a network-wide Expansion Draft, and providing content for the ESPN SweetSpot Blog (which we did for free, by the way).  We also added two terrific writers to our staff, in Mark Smith and Jason Wojciechowski.  We are incredibly proud of the high quality work that we’ve put out in that time, and marginally proud of the ‘meh’ quality work we did.  But still and all, for the most part, it was a positive experience.


That’s not to say there were not bumps, so when TCM debuted his "plagiarism" series (and specifically when one particularly thin-skinned and astoundingly ignorant mainstream writer mentioned in the piece -- who shall, for now, remain nameless -- decided he needed to take his complaints and threats of a legal action up the ladder at ESPN), it’s clear that some individuals felt we weren’t worth the trouble of keeping around.  Even though the idea that such an obvious piece of satire was actionable is laughable (to us, to ESPN, and to anyone with even the most basic understanding of what libel actually is).  So really, most of this seems to be The Common Man’s fault;  but Bill is definitely an enabler.

And, frankly, we can kind of see ESPN's point.  We probably weren’t a great fit for ESPN’s lack of enthusiasm for media criticism and toned down rhetoric.  So no hard feelings.  Frankly, while we like the writers (both ESPN employees and bloggers) associated with the network, several other aspects of it have had us close to leaving on several occasions over the last year or so, and ultimately, it’s almost certainly a good thing, overall.

What does this mean for The Platoon Advantage?  Well, not much at all, most likely. We’ll still be here.  We’re definitely open to other opportunities that will allow TPA to grow and thrive, and perhaps lead to actual monetary compensation this time. We’ve already turned up some intriguing possibilities, both for us as writers and for the blog, Watch for at least one big announcement, and possibly more than one, sometime over the next few days.


And one thing we can say for certain is that we will enjoy not having to bite our tongues every time Jim Bowden says something stupid, Steve Berthiaume wants to talk about the value of pitcher wins, or some other talking head wants to tell us why we need to respect the feelings of Luke Scott or David Tyree.  That should be liberating.

19 comments:

Jason @ IIATMS said...

Join me, again, won't you!?

Jason @ IIATMS said...

(snort!)

William Tasker - Caribou, ME said...

Like Jason's site, I don't come here via ESPN but directly. The quality is usually top notch with all four contributors. This has become a daily must stop and that won't change no matter who you are affiliated with. Good luck moving forward. ESPN's loss.

Ralph S. said...

TPA is still TPA without SweetSpot, but SweetSpot took another hit without TPA.
Don't bow down to "the man"!

But seriously though, hope to see TPA keep on being the TPA that makes it unique! (Some je ne sais pas factors in this blog that makes it really interesting to read)

JimCrikket said...

For many of us, the lack of association with ESPN probably adds to your credibility.

Dwade said...

Friends, Baseball fans, basement dwellers, lend me your ears;
I come to bury TPA, not to praise it.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their blog;
So let it be with Sweetspot. The noble ESPN
Hath told you TPA was libelous:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault;
And grievously hath TPA answer'd it.
Here, under leave of ESPN and the rest, —
For ESPN is an honorable company;
So are they all, all honorable companies, —
Come I to speak in TPA's funeral.
They were my friends, faithful and just to me:
But ESPN says they were libelous;
And ESPN is an honorable company.

rgreer2929 said...

"And one thing we can say for certain is that we will enjoy not having to bite our tongues every time Jim Bowden says something stupid, Steve Berthiaume wants to talk about the value of pitcher wins, or some other talking head wants to tell us why we need to respect the feelings of Luke Scott or David Tyree. That should be liberating."

Nice. I was actually surprised that thin-skinned ESPN kept you guys on for as long as they did as pandering has long since been of greater interest to them than quality writing and reporting. While I certainly hope for nothing but the best going forward, I do appreciate the sort of niche audience that the blog attracts. As with Posnanski's blog pre-SI.com, it's refreshing to be able to read intelligent articles and responses without having to sift through 40 comments from people claiming that WAR is stupid because it's not in their newspaper's boxscore or on baseball cards, et al. Keep up the good work.

Avenger-in-Chief said...

I am fine with this. Keep doing your things.

hk said...

Between losing you guys and Jason, I am thisclose to saving the $3 or $5 that ESPN bills on my credit card each month and using it on something really useful like a monthly supply of Good and Plenty candy. Right now, Keith Law's articles and chats > Good and Plenty, but if Law goes, so do I. Good luck pursuing other avenues.

Clave said...

Way to take it on the chin. You guys keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your irrelevance.

BensBias said...

You were one of the blogs that got me to start blogging and whether or not that's a good or bad thing for the world I don't know but I will still continue to follow you guys!

Thanks again!

Best,
Ben

JD said...

Funny, the only two blogs I read from SweetSpot both left within the last week or so.

iftheshoefits2 said...

Congrats, sometimes things just run their course.

I come for the snark, and stay for the insightful analysis, logical arguements and Bill's occasional wit. Although I'm glad the sweetspot community expanded awareness of your writing, the network that shall no longer be named didn't add any value from a readers perspective - you all did.

So congratulations on turning the page. Can't wait to see what's next for you all.

iftheshoefits2 said...

Congrats, sometimes things just run their course.

I come for the snark, and stay for the insightful analysis, logical arguements and Bill's occasional wit. Although I'm glad the sweetspot community expanded awareness of your writing, the network that shall no longer be named didn't add any value from a readers perspective - you all did.

So congratulations on turning the page. Can't wait to see what's next for you all.

Graham Womack said...

Excellent, excellent blog. I'll absolutely keep reading.

ESPN is foolish for letting you guys go.

mattymatty said...

I'm sorry if you guys are, but unless you guys are leaving (i.e. not writing anymore) it doesn't matter much to me. ESPN's loss.

Bryan said...

Just wanted to chime in and agree with everyone here. I suspected ESPN wouldn't stand for the plagiarism stuff, but that's one of many things that makes this the best baseball blog on the interwebs.

Aaron Somers said...

Honestly, SweetSpot hasn't been the same since Neyer left (was fired?). You guys survived before ESPN and will survive without them. Best of luck to you.