Tuesday, April 15, 2008
More boring than church
Do you like your baseball news more heavily censored than the average Red Army grunt's letter home from Stalingrad during the winter of 1942? And bland, too? Yes? Try Gregg Zaun's blog over at Sportsnet. (P.S. it's probably not his fault...)
I really don't relish the prospect of skewering Zaunnie, who was pretty solid with the fans when I met him a year and a half ago. He's also much maligned by a pretty broad swath of Jays fandom for absolutely no logical reason, which makes me reflexively want to jump to his defense at every possible opportunity. And yes, I did find his Mitchel Report excuse to be kind of sort of plausible.
I suspect that Zaunner volunteered to blog for the illuminati over at Sportsnet to reestablish his broadcasting "credentials" (in the Brad Goodman sense of the word) with some uncertainty for him at the end of this year. His 2009 option will not vest because the bar for games played was set at the unattainably high number of 270 over 2007-2008 and he lost significant time due to injury last season.
By the end of his current contract, Gregger will have made roughly $13 million from baseball, which is more than pretty good for a journeyman catcher and certainly more than enough for you or I to retire on. I would actually be pretty surprised if he didn't find work next year, maybe even in T.O., if he wanted it, but it looks like he's hedging bets and laying the foundation for a post-playing days career in the media broadly defined. (His weirdly-enthralling website definitely hints that he's plotting something...)
There's really nothing wrong with him blogging, which is a pretty cool idea for working class players looking to contact with fans. The problem is is that every player blog that's affiliated to mlb.com or some other official, corporate entity is painfully boring and over-edited by someone other than the player. I challenge you to read through some of the deep thoughts from Jesse Barfield at CBC and report back on your findings...
Rangers closer, free spirit and left-hander CJ Wilson stirred the pot in one of his early blog posts this spring with a throw away line about how he hoped anyone but Hillary Clinton won the presidency this fall. How scandalous! It's not like he said that she eats babies or is a secret Moslem... Still, he was ordered by MLB grandees to turn the up the suck a few notches, totally defeating the purpose of having an entertaining weirdo athlete throw out his random, disjointed thoughts on the interweb.
Weird in their own respective ways, Curt Schilling and Pat Neshek (seriously, the guy's trading baseball cards online) both do a wonderful job of connecting with fans independently and on their own terms. Todd Jones, the Tigres moustache-balling top-stepper closer, is actually a really solid and semi-controversial writer who doesn't pull punches even though he works at a major publication, the Sporting News.
I don't see any reason why Zaunnie couldn't have followed suit other than the aformentioned future job considerations. I think quite a few of us would enjoy some raw, uncut commentary from the man. It's just plain said that Zaun, a recovered alcoholic metalhead who's been through an emotional roller coaster of a life before carving out a nice little niche for himself with the Jays, is allowing the Confederacy of Dunces that is Sportsnet filter his thoughts.
You, Zaunnie, and those of us who are your fans, deserve better.
Sorry, pal. Still like you, anyway!
-- Johnny Was