September 16, 2015

The decline, fall and hypocrisy of FKAHBT and Craig Calcaterra, part 2

Last week, I did an extended blog post about the fuglyness of the changes to the NBC baseball blog formerly known as Hardball Talk. I riffed a bit on head blogger there, Craig Calcaterra (I'd call Aaron Gleeman 1A, I guess, Bill Baer and others the second team).

I talked a bit about Craig as a "brand" in today's "branded journalism" world, as well as the background of how he got to where he's at now, while tidying up some of the history I originally had wrong, or incomplete, because I'd forgotten a couple of things I knew, had a couple of things wrong, and had a couple of things unclear. (See how easy it is to admit you're wrong in public, you numbnuts called Reflex who was a prime mover for this piece about bad commenters at sports blogs? :) ) Thanks to a personal friend and a new Twitter friend for help.

OK, I'm picking up the thread here, from that first blog, from comments responding to me suggesting Craigie could move on, especially if he's gone beyond snarky to condescending (or worse) on Twitter, and other things.

And, beyond snarky or condescending, ultimately, he's gone hypocritical, and that's the big theme here.

First, Reflex, I'm far from the only one saying Craig's a hypocrite on saying these things are good in the long run, not just for NBC's wallet, but for commenters/viewers, despite all the feedback to the contrary. Craig's flat-on-his-face snark about the Cubs doing a fan loyalty ballot to get playoff tickets may have been intended as a lighthearted poke, but per an old Hawkeye Pierce comment, it had the same light touch as a German jazz band.

(NBC's also a hypocrite for refusing to put up a poll itself. Craig's a double hypocrite because, typos and all, he could easily Google for "free polls," find a website like Pollhost, create a link and drop it in a blog post. I used Pollhost often, for years, before Blogger created a polling widget. That said, I get the feeling that, beyond NBC controlling all formatting issues for years, Craig isn't even a mild version of an Internet-formatting techie.)

Second, commenters have a right to bitch about Craig, and make suggestions.

Specifically, Craig likes to bitch about how wrong, how often, is ESPN's lawyer-commenter, Lester Munson. Well, Craig's not an idiot about sports besides baseball, and he used to be a practicing lawyer. A lot of it was government work, but I assume not too far away from contract tort law and similar stuff.

If Munson's that bad, Craig could start pitching himself to Yahoo, Fox, CBS Sports, Grantland 2.0 or whomever as the newer, better Munson.

Maybe, per the Twitter friend, Craig's burned out. Maybe all he wants to do is blog and take his NBC paycheck.

If so, then at least be honest about it, Craig, when you're talking about how the changes help NBC's wallet, even if that honesty leads yet a few more people to start using AdBlock, and a lot more people to start using Ghostery to block NBC and ad partners from tracking them.

Third, accept that, as part of further criticism, the next time you bitch about Munson, I'll bitch back about you not doing something about it, per what I just said.

Fourth, per item No. 1, know it alls who also act bullying at times? I have no problem being a PITA, or more of a PITA than already. That's especially true if you think you can single me out, among the commenters you disagree with.

(Unfortunately, said PITA has migrated to the new site I am now following. Fortunately, he doesn't know my real world name; else, his shipping company might lose a package I want.)

Fifth, and, back to Craig. Hey, it's the real world. I understand blogging for NBC. But, given it's a giant capitalistic hell, beyond wondering if you're bit hypocritical when you make economic liberalism comments (guess they don't have a sharp enough stick to bother Jeff Immelt), I can wonder again about the hypocrisy angle. I don't have kids, so I can "roll my own" more on choices ...

To the degree any of us have choices in the hypercapitalist hell of America, except when we get lucky. I mean, you talked about Labor Day without mentioning General Electric as one of the country's biggest outsourcers of jobs.

No, I'm not perfect on this. But, two weeks after 9/11, I wrote in op-ed — not in New York City or the Bay Area, but suburban Dallas — pre-emptively, in advance, calling for President Bush to NOT go to war beyond Afghanistan. A year after 9/11, as commemorative events first rolled around, I did a column noting that smoking, every two and a half days, without ceasing, killed as many Americans as were killed on 9/11.

And, as a journalist, I can call out PR-ish blogging for one corner of a giant hypercapitalistic hell company (still the only continuous member of the Dow Jones 30 industrials) as what it is. And, tell others to use AdBlock, and Ghostery, just to kick NBC in the nads a bit more. To the degree you're collateral fire at all, especially if the design changes lead enough people to leave to drive down page views, etc., that's your bread; you buttered it. Or, at least, you're buttering it now if you're not looking elsewhere.)

And, yes, I can't wait to become even more of a Neo-Cynic as I get older. And, with that, as I have pretty much totally moved beyond FKAHBT, I'm done on this subject.


But, let's go to the positive side.

The new blog, Hardball Conversations, a team effort by several commenters formerly of FKHBT, is a good one. Creater "Scout" has developed 3-4 regular posts a day, with multiple posters making it a group project, and already has one regular theme, "Midnight Snack." I believe I'll be dropping in there more regularly. I also, after not going there for a long time, may drop in more on MLB Trade Rumors. Hell, I may even go back to Yahoo more.

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