Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Peter Abraham Is Not a Plagiarist, But He Is An Insufferable Douchebag

By The Common Man

One last navel-gazing post this week, before we get back to business here on The Platoon Advantage. Some of you have asked who the writer is who, through his threats and general complaints, got us removed from the SweetSpot Network, despite the fact that seemingly everyone (including several writers at ESPN) thought our Bagwell and “plagiarism” series was excellent.  As Bill said earlier, we don't want to personally attack writers for their baseball opinions.  But when a writer reveals himself to be a jackass through his words and actions, we feel somewhat differently about the whole thing.

So, at the urging of at least one national writer, who referred to our culprit as “a complete asshole” and revealed that “even people who work with him/by him…loathe him,” we’re happy to announce that, when you see us all driving shiny new Camaros over the next few months (our swift departure from ESPN has revealed a great deal of interest in our services and our blog, as it turns out), you have The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham to thank for it.

You’ll remember Peter Abraham as the writer who, in our initial Bagwell-related piece in December, we ultimately decided not to suspect of plagiarism, because (ironically) there was not enough evidence. Later, we learned that Abraham did not vote for Bagwell last year because he was influenced by the steroid suspicions for which there’s no evidence. This year, however, he publicly reconsidered that stance, and voted for Bagwell. We celebrated that decision. The Common Man even made the point of telling him so on Twitter, saying:

Abraham, understandably curious, wondered,

The Common Man continued on, saying:

and also...

At this point, Mr. Abraham switched to sending The Common Man Direct Messages through Twitter. Those direct messages have since disappeared, and The Common Man was too stupid to get a screen shot of them at the time. He did, however, record them all in an email he sent to David Schoenfield on December 28. Here’s the sum total of our conversation, along with The Common Man’s MST3K-esque commentary:

Peter: Are you insane? Throwing that word around is career threatening and I have never been accused of anything remotely like that.

(And he still hasn’t, as we didn’t accuse anyone of anything. Nor was he even considered suspect.)

Peter: for you even to associate me with that is irresponsible, unethical and reckless

(Reckless? Well, there were some ramifications that The Common Man didn’t consider. Like, for instance, that a crazed writer would get this bent out of shape and get us run off of ESPN. As for unethical, given TCM’s article was clearly satirical in nature, he’s confident he did nothing wrong here. And even if it were not satirical, it’s certainly no less ethical than publicly airing suspicions that someone used illegal substances without proof.)

Peter: and you don’t have the guts to put your name on it? What the hell is wrong with you?

(Doctors everywhere wonder that, actually. Lots, probably. But TCM is pretty clear about the reasons behind his decision to use his pseudonym, and it’s about to become clear why those reasons are valid.)

TCM: I’m sorry you feel that way. My intent was satirical, pointing out the unfair double standard to which some HOF voters were suspecting…

TCM: Bagwell. I think it’s clear, if anyone were to read the article, that there’s no actual intent to accuse anyone of anything.

(Nor does anyone actually ever get accused of anything, let alone Mr. Abraham, who was never even suspected.)

Peter: Really, tell that to my boss who just called me and asked me about this.

TCM: I would be happy to, if he or she would like to contact me. And I’m working right now to amend the post to reflect your change in stance.

(Nobody ever contacted The Common Man from The Boston Globe to discuss it. If they did, TCM would tell them that they would have had to be incredibly thick…as thick as Peter Abraham, in fact…not to see the satire inherent in the piece.)

TCM: But I stand by the position that writers who publicly air unfounded suspicions re: PED use have an equal responsibility to defend themselves.

Now Peter gets really mad:

Peter: I want your name and who you work for at ESPN. Thanks.

(We all want things, Peter.)

TCM: Feel free to contact David Schoenfield of the SweetSpot blog. I’m sure he can put you in contact with whomever is most appropriate…

Peter: I want his e-mail and I want your name. You’re so ethical, stand up for yourself.

(TCM has been standing up for himself. And for Jeff Bagwell. It’s not a particularly brave stance, mind you, to rant and rave against the injustice done to a baseball player. The Common Man isn’t this guy, for instance, who stood up for himself and was never identified. But the point is that it’s possible to be an ethical actor, and to critique power, without revealing your name.)

TCM: My apologies, I thought David’s email address was publicly available. Here it is [there’s no way I’m going to give you people David’s email address; nice try, though].

Peter: come on, give me your name and where you work, just to be clever I want to endanger your career. seems fair.

Look, say what you want about TCM’s series on Bagwell and “plagiarism,” but you can’t seriously believe at any time that anyone’s career was threatened over it. Peter Abraham was not disciplined. Bob Brookover wasn’t fired. Nobody is calling for Danny Knobler’s head. And yet, here is a mainstream writer literally threatening the career of someone who doesn’t write about baseball for a living. He’s probably being sarcastic, and The Common Man was never really worried. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a dick move.

Anyway, Peter did contact David, who put him in contact with the editors and ESPN’s legal department. As you would expect, no one thought this passed the litigation smell test. They also, and TCM is grateful for this, refused to release The Common Man’s name. Good on them for respecting intellectual freedom. The bad news, of course, is that ESPN’s editorial leadership decided that The Platoon Advantage wasn’t worth the trouble of keeping around. Indeed, TCM wants to be clear: aside from the ultimate decision to let us go, ESPN was terrific throughout this entire situation.  And, frankly, we can see, from their perspective, why letting us go was a valid decision.  We wish they had made a different one, but we respect the decision they made.  And hey, it's going to work out fine anyway.  So if you want to bash ESPN, do it for some other reason.  Not for this one.

The bad actor in all of this, for The Common Man’s money, is Abraham. As was only fair, The Common Man updated his original post to reflect Abraham’s change in position and even wrote a separate post regarding his change of heart titled In Which We Joyously Celebrate Peter Abraham, Who Is NOT a Plagiarist. Again, that seemed fair. Abraham was not a plagiarist (so far as we know), so it seemed only fair to shout that from the rooftops. The Common Man did not apologize for the original post then, nor does he now. In fact, we all stand behind it here at TPA. Apparently, that wasn’t enough for Peter. C’est la vie.

So, since there’s little else to say, the story is told, and we are no longer under any obligation to censor our thoughts as regards to other writers or profanity, we all just want to say that this bitter, angry, thin-skinned, bullying, insecure bag of dicks can take a flying fuck at a rolling donut. No wonder everyone thinks he’s an asshole.


Josiah said...

Wow. Just wow. I can't believe that people are so dumb.

Bill said...

Less germane to the immediate subject, so it didn't fit in the piece above, but I did want to tell my own "Pete Abe is an ass" story:

So last year, Abraham wrote a column explaining his Hall ballot, which omitted Bagwell. The links to it appear broken now, but he basically said "I want to wait for more research on the stats from that era." I noted in a few places here's one) that that didn't seem plausible to me--Abraham's smart enough to know Bags' numbers made him a slam dunk. Well, Pete saw one or more of those comments and DMed me: "I meant what develops in terms of research into the stats of that era, not steroids. I'm always avail. to ask rather than assume." That didn't make any more sense to me, so I asked again. "Research into how best to evaluate stats of that era. weighing them against previous eras etc."

So the same vague response over and over, basically. I emailed about it, and he gave me a larger version of the same thing (which I won't quote here--probably going to run out of space as it is). I dropped it.

Then later, someone else on Twitter mentioned something about it, and I responded with something like "careful, he got angry when I suggested that earlier." His response, again by DM:

"please stop making assumptions and spreading lies. not angry w/ you. just corrected you. people like u make interaction self-defeating."

Then there was an email exchange, wherein I tried to figure out why he was so sensitive on the subject. Some highlights:

"So far you've taken it upon yourself to mischaracterize my points twice in public forums. Why I have no idea. But it's experiences like this that cause 95 percent of journalists not to communicate with readers. I'm starting to see why they think that, unfortunately."

I hadn't mischaracterized anything; I acknowledged his explanation, and simply pointed out that I didn't find it plausible. When I responded with that and the following comment: "Wondering why someone with apparently translucent skin is publishing his opinions on the internet to begin with. If you can't handle a respectful and coherently expressed opposing viewpoint, every dissenting comment you get from some barely literate blog reader must just push you to the edge."

Then from Pete: "And now you're rude. Excellent.

Happy holidays,"

To which of course I responded that he was the one who was accusing me of "lying" and "mischaracterizing" things and making assumptions when I most certainly was not, and that one might call that rude...but that was the end of it.

And the kicker, of course, is that with his column this year, he admitted doing the exact same thing I suspected he was doing, which got me accused of all those things.

So nowhere near the same level as this, but essentially, he's an incredibly thin-skinned, intellectually dishonest, uncomprehending buffoon.

Josh said...

As someone from the Boston area who has tried very sparingly to interact with him online, I can't even put it wittily: I can't stand him, encourage others not to read him, and am not surprised by this at all.

Geoff said...

His "insult + retweet" pattern finally convinced me to stop following him - not surprised to hear that pettiness extends further into his professional life, although I now feel morbidly compelled to re-follow him just to see his response.

Anonymous said...

Back when he was working for LoHud and doing their blog, he made some stupid comment during an All Star game thread. I called him out on it, and told him to "die in a fire".

He emailed me (which he got via my IP address from a post months before -- lots of digging by him) and said both my ISP and my local police department had been alerted of my "threats to (his) life", and I was in big, big trouble. Yeah, just like his "boss just called (him)".

Dude's been accused of plagiarizing message board posts, and has been called out more than once by a nationally-respected baseball scribe for stealing people's tweets and saying "a major league source reports...", when all he did was steal someone else's scoop.

Did I mention he's incredibly thin-skinned for a fat guy?

Stan The Man said...

You know whats funny? He is a plagiarist and a liar. He's an embarrassment to journalists everywhere.

My most recent favorite was when a fantastic sports writer--Gordon Edes--sends out a tweet saying "Ortiz has officiallly accepted arbitration".

4 minutes later, here comes Peter Flabraham. "Via the #RedSox, Ortiz has officially accepted arbitration."

This type of stuff happens all the time. But what's so ironic about it? Gordo responds "Per Red Sox? That's a good one. Sox have not said anything re Ortiz."

Abraham hacks other journalists, is known for having "sources" that are simply his own convoluted ideas or what he hears other reporters discussing...hell, he's been known to rip off Red Sox message boards (you know the one).

The guys a douche. The sooner he loses his job, the better off Boston is.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't there some prattling about him lifting stuff from Sons of Sam Horn as well? I seem to remember a lot of eye rolling there...

Ben Lindbergh said...

For what it's worth, I found Pete Abe to be friendly and accommodating in my lone interaction with him. He answered a question I sent him, recommended some other writers to talk to, and went so far as to get me a quote from a player for a story I was working on. He also lamented "the disconnect between mainstream media and independent sites" and told me that in his opinion, we're all working toward the same goal (to provide information).

Obviously, his interaction with me shouldn't have any bearing on how anyone views his interactions with TCM or Bill, which I won't comment on either way. Maybe he responds much differently to one type of questioning than he does to another. Still, since (rightly or wrongly) we're making judgments based on small samples of behavior here, I thought I'd chime in with one internet writer's positive Pete Abe experience, just to even the scales.

The Common Man said...

Thanks Ben,

Always good to have more perspectives on this than just ours.

Jason said...

I want to personally thank Peter Abraham for giving this dude another reason to feel self-righteous. Congrats, you're a full-fledged interwebs martyr!

Anonymous said...

Pete Abe doesn't plagiarize? Hmmm, obviously you've never visited SonsOfSamHorn.

Geoff said...

And, lest we forget, he was listed as a contributor to the hatchet-job on Tito this fall - the painkiller, etc. article that got just about everyone (especially Gammons) riled up.

Ian said...

Back when I followed Pete on twitter, he made a comment about how he was glad that a particular game was finishing in a tidy three hours. Now, the Red Sox do play a lot of long games, but this is the guy's job and I thought him complaining about it was kind of gauche. So I responded and said something like "I'll gladly take your position if it's too tiring to watch baseball." He responded with something snarky and I ignored it, since I already knew he was kind of a jerk and I figured avoiding a flame war was wise.

A couple days later, he sent me a DM that said "I'm still waiting. When did I say it's too tiring to watch baseball games?" As if I had a responsibility to continue the conversation over an offhand comment I made (if perhaps a little jerky on my part). Not to mention I couldn't direct message him back since he wasn't following me.

Just the persistence over something so petty, with me who isn't anyone important, was pretty amazing.

AvengingJM said...

Missing the satire component is pretty inexcusable for someone who calls himself a writer. But the blatant overreaction seems to speak more to the fact that he knows that he regularly "lifts" work from others. I. DIDN'T. USE. THE. "P". WORD.


Unknown said...

You are entitled to you opinion and I, for the most part, enjoy reading them. However satirical in nature you felt your "plagiarist" concept was, to CONSTANTLY accuse writers of this is wrong. Now, as far as Bagwell goes, I harbor NO malice at any writer who wants more evidence before putting someone in the Hall of Fame. Bagwell has 13 more years on the ballot and I suspect within the next 3 he will be in-good for him.
Yes, you are allowed to criticize me for being critical of you and I will be willing to take if you are decent about it. Just remember, we like your wit, your insight and for the most part your logical observations.

William Tasker - Caribou, ME said...

This comment, is of course, no knock on Mr. Abraham's character...don't know the man...but doesn't his picture sort of look like Bluto on the old Popeye cartoons or the big wrestler on the Bugs Bunny cartoon?

Anonymous said...

Check out the thread on SoSH about this, there are hundreds of posts about this very thing

The Common Man said...

To be clear, if you're telling someone to "die in a fire," we don't have much sympathy for anything, within reason, that gets said back to you. You're clearly an idiot and that's not cool.

Anonymous said...

The Common Man -- please die in a fire.

The Common Man said...

The Common Man bows to your clear comedic genius, circa 1983 Eddie Murphy. Meanwhile, both your ISP and your local police department have been alerted to the threats to The Common Man's life, and you are in big, big trouble.

Rob said...

To Unknown:

You are right, to constantly accuse writers of being a plagiarist is wrong. Just as wrong as accusing, or "waiting for more evidence" of a baseball player NOT using PEDs. Tell me, how is the person accused supposed to prove this negative? How did TCM using the same convoluted logic as these "suspected plagiarists" not make you guffaw and chuckle?

Pat Adair said...

It's interesting that a journalist would be so concerned with seeing their name and the word "plagiarism" in the same sentence yet so many of them have no problem publishing the word "steroids" next to the name of a professional athlete. You could argue that both are equally damning to careers.

Keep fighting the good fight, guys!

Anonymous said...

Peter Abraham = Biggest Douchebag On The Internet

Here Abraham completely trashes Jim Rice for grouping Derek Jeter with ARod and Manny.

Here Abraham is accused of attacking a rival website anonymously

This next one is just plain creepy, saying something like this about a former coworker.

Notice the timeline with these next two links, just another "coincidence" I'm sure

Here Abraham claims Aceves was told he would be starting in place of Lester against the Orioles, and then a day later Abraham claims Francona confirmed Aceves would start in place of Lester against the Orioles. Neither claim was reported by anyone else, and both claims were proven false.

hk said...

The title of this article is misleading. How you can prove the that Peter Abraham has never committed plagiarism? Until you provide further proof that he is not one, I am going to use what I call the Bagwell Assumption - that one is guilty until proven innocent - and assume that Abraham committed plagiarism at one point in his life.

Zach Sanders said...

I've never had any personal interactions with PeteAbe (that I can remember, at least), but he's always come off as an asshole on Twitter.

Engaging readers is a good thing, but not if you're going to be absolutely closed off and stubborn about every single thing. He seems to believe communication is a one-way street.

- -

On a related note, my CAPTCHA word was "boner."

ESPN would have never allowed such madness.

Anonymous said...

Spot on. I made a comment on his Extra Bases blog last year how the Yankees didn't win a World Series until PeteAbe left as one of their beat writers. I said something along the lines of "Curse of PeteAbe"

He then emailed me about 5 times talking about all the championship teams he covered and how the next time i see him i should wash the windows of his car and he'll give me a dollar.

$20 says he was writing those emails from his moms basement