Startribune.com digital sports editor Howard Sinker used to cover the Twins and now shares season tickets with friends in Section 219 of Target Field. He blogs about baseball from the perspective of a long-time fan who loves the game, doesn’t always believe the hype and likes hearing what others think. Howard sometimes talks about sports with Cathy Wurzer on MPR's Morning Edition.
"The offense is terrible, our bullpen can't hold leads, and our manager is a moron."
The blogger who typed those words -- and who is prone to similar graceful outbursts -- hasn't posted anything since the Twins started their five-game winning streak. Anyone can look at statistics, starting with the fact that the Twins have a 4 1/2 game lead in their division and are tied for the second best record in the majors, and taste the bile oozing from those words.
The Twins have issues -- and the sun will rise in the East tomorrow.
Jon Rauch may not be the October answer ... Good argument can be made for a no-doubt No. 1 starter... A reserve outfielder with an excellent glove would be more useful than Brendan Harris... What's the deal with Anthony Slama?
I'm all about swapping opinions -- passionate ones from multiple points of view. Sometimes we don't have all of the facts, which was the case Monday night, when we wondered why Michael Cuddyer was at second base instead of Alexi Casilla as Orlando Hudson's injury replacement. (Frankly, if Casilla was healthy and Gardy started Cuddyer to see what would happen, I would have been fine with it. But that's a moot point now.)
This is sports, not science, which means its OK to argue with a handful of facts instead of a truckload.
But here's the problem.
The name calling, hyperbole and level of ignorant, attention-seeking screeching that comes from a small handful of places on the web makes it that much more difficult for the thoughtful, opinionated, controversial, insightful, funny, wise, research-generated, experienced-backed voices to do an even better job of providing for people who read and follow their work.
It also makes it easier for those who control access to lump all bloggers together.
If you have any doubt about that, ask some of those who have sought more access from the Twins. One told of getting credentialed to represent a media outlet this season with the caveat that none of the reporting he did could appear on his blog. Another blogger had an ugly run-in last season over something that appeared on the web after a press-box visit.
Here's the deal. Twins fans are fortunate to have a truckload of wise, informed and entertaining voices with which to follow their team. Some are in the links that accompany my blog. These are people who turn research into wise commentary and follow the organization from the lowest minors to the ninth inning of a weeknight West Coast game.
They would only do a better job with increased access.
At any home game, the Twins could give a half-dozen bloggers more access and still have a media following smaller than most of the marquee teams in MLB.
Unfortunately, when discussion is started by bomb throwers and fueled -- through all of the web's weapons -- by name calling, attention-seeking and disregard for substance, it becomes way too easy for baseball to keep the doors and windows shut to those who deserve better.
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