08.18.08

(Mets) Blogger Autonomy Vs. The Lure Of A Shea Luxury Box

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 4:27 pm by

Following the Mets’ 5-2 loss to the Pirates this afternoon, SNY’s “Mets Weekly” — of which MetsBlog‘s Matthew Cerrone is a competent fixture — featured a segment in which a succession of notable Mets bloggers were shown enjoying the hospitality of a Shea Stadium luxury suite during last Sunday’s defeat to Florida. “Any good Mets fan stays current with the latest blogs” gushed hostess Joceyln Pierce, prior to SNY’s Ted Berg asking not one, but two bloggers, “why aren’t you in your parents’ basement?”

It was all light-hearted stuff, not quite Bissinger vs. Leitch.  Several of the persons who made themselves available to be stooges for this segment do very good work…which only makes it all the more curious why they participated. Whether or not SNY has successfully co-opted Cerrone’s blog is a matter of opinion, but if Ted DiBiase was correct in claiming everyone has their price, the price for many of Cerrone’s less celebrated colleagues is exceedingly low.  Whether or not the Wilpons consciously seek to limit criticism through the largesse of hot dogs and bottled water is of little consequence. That anyone went along with it is pretty weak.

17 Responses to “(Mets) Blogger Autonomy Vs. The Lure Of A Shea Luxury Box”

  1. Mike S. says:

    I thought this was unfair, GC. I’ve written stuff criticizing SNY and the Mets and will continue to do so when it is warranted.

    See this one and
    this one
    as examples.

    I was glad for a chance to hang around with some fellow Mets bloggers for a couple of hours, and SNY was a decent host for the event. If they do anything that I think they need to be called on, though, I will call them on it as I did last year. I’m 49 years old, and my personal integrity is important to me. It’s not tied to free hot dogs or a chance to see my old, ugly face on tv for 30 seconds. I have a lot of respect for you and what you do here. I wish you had more for me than to insinuate that there would be even a question of trading my integrity for anything.

    I don’t make more than pocket change on my blog, and never expect to. Every once in a while there is a cool perk that comes along with doing it, and I’m grateful for that. If that’s “pretty weak” in your eyes for a “less celebrated” blogger like myself to make myself a “stooge” in this manner, I guess I can live with that. I hope you can live up to the responsibility of being a self-appointed conscience for others who just hoped to have a fun afternoon.

  2. David Roth says:

    Weird that you picked the faith and fear guys for the pic: Greg actually writes for SNY, or at least did in the past, and I think it hasn’t much dulled his ability to write passionately negative (or positive) (and always long) pieces about the Mets.

    That said, I’ve been in a luxury box before. I even met Tim Teufel on the elevator up there. I don’t need to go again. Weirdly, though, despite my status as CSTB New York Bureau Chief, I wasn’t asked. The Wilps must have my old email address.

  3. Dana Brand says:

    Anyone who reads Faith and Fear in Flushing knows that Greg and Jason can’t be co-opted. I think it’s a good thing for SNY to put the spotlight on the Mets blogosphere, the best of which contains writing and analysis of higher quality than the newspapers and much higher than what you find on SNY. If everybody suddenly turns into zombies after this, then they’ll deserve criticism. But that isn’t going to happen.

  4. G-Fafif says:

    The face of sellout, that’s us!

    As David points out, I’ve occasionally written for Mets Weekly and have appeared, on my own and with my partner, as a talking head. Our presence that day, however, really had nothing to do with SNY or Mets Weekly, in terms of attending, and had everything to do with Matt Cerrone — somebody who, by achieving the level of awareness he has, flies the flag for all of us who blog the Mets — being gracious enough to invite his fellow bloggers to get together for a day in unusual surroundings. Some I’d met before, some I hadn’t. They, more than the food and beverages, were the attraction (though I’ll confess I liked that the suite came equipped with its own bathroom). A camera rolled at some point, we said our piece when asked (nobody demanded our participation) and we went about our business, the business of watching the Mets lose in dispiriting fashion.

    You’re welcome to see shades of gray in this, but it was a pretty clearcut day for us: go to game, meet people, have fun (save for 8-2) and go home. I hope you’ll continue to see Faith and Fear and the other blogs that were represented for what they are, running accounts of the Mets fan experience by those who take their team very seriously. If you want to see us as stooges because of one afternoon’s amenities and a few seconds of TV time, that’s fine, too.

  5. GC says:

    Mike,

    the phrase “less celebrated” is somewhat tongue in cheek — ’tis no knock on the quality of your work that Metsblog is part of the SNY blog network as opposed to Mike’s Mets. I don’t think there’s enough hot dogs in the Harry M. Stevens arsenal to buy your silence when the organization messes up, but the SNY piece did have the appearance of “hey, we’ve got these blog kids under wraps”. I’ve got ample respect for your contributions to the continued dialogue-of-all-things-Mets and that’s why I’ve regularly linked to your blog. But if the Mets want to take blogs seriously, there’s other ways of doing so besides a glorified fanclub outing in a luxury box. Would they ask Adam Rubin or John Delcos what they’re doing outside of their parents’ basements? Would David Lennon be expected to wave a Mets pennant and recall his first trip to Shea? Hey, maybe that would make for fun TV, too, it’s all a matter of opinion.

  6. GC says:

    Dana,

    I’ve not actually said that F&F has been co-opted, and as as regular reader, I’ve seen no evidence of such. If Greg and Jason don’t mind appearing in such a setting, that’s entirely up to them.

    Greg,

    I am grateful you’ve written, and I now have learned that when and if I ever become the owner of a professional sports franchise (I’m thinking indoor lacrosse-on-roller-blades), a private bathroom is the best way to win the hearts and minds of the independent media. But whether or not you personally were transformed into a Mets shill for the price of one hot dog isn’t really the point. That you and your colleagues gleefully served yourselves up to even be considered as such, is to my mind, kind of a bummer. Even the slightest appearance of one-hand-washing-the-other is disheartening, and had this been my first exposure to any of you folks (and I’m including everyone in the piece), I doubt I’ve would’ve investigated much further.

    I’ve said favorable things about Mr. Cerrone in the past and I have no need to take any of them back. However, I do not personally believe he “flies the flag for everyone who blogs the Mets”. There’s nothing necessarily sinister about Cerrone calling attention to other Mets blogs, but I don’t think anyone ought to just buy into the notion Sunday’s gathering was a full representation of Mets bloggers. Metstradaumus, for instance, is a consistently funny, idiosyncratic voice — if a tad contrarian. That his blog wasn’t the beneficiary of TV exposure from a Mets-owned channel doesn’t mean there’s a conspiracy afoot, but there’s also more to this incident than a mere day out at the ballpark.

    In short, I’ll not be satisfied until Chris Cotter is serving pina coladas to Steve Keane. Not in a “Mets Weekly” segment, either. I mean at a bar.

  7. Dana Brand says:

    I hope to live to see the day when Chris Cotter is serving pina coladas to Steve Keane. Then I will know that, finally, everything is right side up.

  8. G-Fafif says:

    *a private bathroom is the best way to win the hearts and minds of the independent media*

    Yeah, that’s pretty much what I said. Thanks for providing context.

  9. Mike S. says:

    GC — Again I’ll point out to you that I have been extremely critical of SNY at times, including links already provided. To insinuate, as you did later on in a reply to Greg that somehow my blog and his was more acceptable to SNY than Metsra’s is asinine. I actually chuckled at a lot of what you originally wrote, but your further comments seem to break from reality. I suggest not writing while huffing aerosol fumes — it’s worked wonders for me.

    As far as SNY having us under wraps, the only people connected with SNY that were there were Cerrone, Ted Berg (who is often critical of moves the Mets make in his own column on SNY.tv) and the cameraman. The stuff about my parents’ basement was reflective of a lot joking around before the interview regarding Bob Costas’ pompous attacks on bloggers and his later defense of himself.

    Other than that, I can care less whether SNY takes what I do seriously. Their approval isn’t important to me. I had a great afternoon with my fellow blogger, but I still think Beer Money and Loudmouths are terrible shows.

    I don’t know why you felt the need to be such a douchebag here, but that’s your right, I guess. If you ever come to your senses and realize you owe something to all of the bloggers you felt the need to libel here, I suggest an outing in the CSTB luxury suite. SNY’s spread was pretty crappy, actually, so if you supply some classy stuff like Macadamia nuts and those little sandwiches with the crust cut off we may even forgive you and whore ourselves for you.

  10. GC says:

    Dear Mike,

    I’m well aware that you’re an ardent and articulate critic of SNY, when called for. I’ve not claimed, however, that your blog is “more acceptable” to SNY, but instead pointed out that some folks were represented and Metsradamus wasn’t. I don’t believe that in and of itself is a critique of you or your blog, but I was challenging Greg’s statement that Matt Cerrone “flies the flag for everyone who blogs about the Mets”. He’s free to support who he likes and is in no way obliged to lend exposure to anyone else, naturally, but I don’t think said flag is nearly as big as Greg makes it out to be.

    I’m sure Ted was just kidding around with the parent’s basement stuff. That doesn’t mean it was very funny (the first or the second time), but I didn’t think there was anything malicious about it.

    “I don’t know why you felt the need to be such a douchebag here, but that’s your right, I guess.”

    I kinda have this romantic notion that persons as talented as yourself and some of the other folks mugging for the SNY cameras would see the value of maintaining autonomy from club ownership and their televised house organ. Sorry if that seems a little pretentious.

    “If you ever come to your senses and realize you owe something to all of the bloggers you felt the need to libel here, I suggest an outing in the CSTB luxury suite.”

    Ahem, aside from the stooges remark, what have I written about Bloggers’ Day Out that could even loosely be considered libelous? In my opinion, the segment was a dud and didn’t reflect well on the organizers or participants. If that’s what passes for libel, I’d better increase the ad rates as I don’t think my legal budget is nearly high enough. And what exactly do I owe the bloggers in question? I’m a fan and a reader of many of ‘em, and when called for, link to ‘em and recommend their work. But beyond that, I think the slate’s pretty clean. In the unfortunate and unlikely event you, Greg, Jason and Matt were to perish this weekend during an unfortunate incident aboard the yacht of Jeff Wilpon & His Lovely Wife, I’d be very, very sad. I’d miss you all, dearly. But I’d somehow find a way to blog Monday morning.

    re : the menu in the CSTB luxury box. Actually, I was thinking of dim sum. Your invite for 2009′s opening day is already in the mail.

  11. G-Fafif says:

    **In the unfortunate and unlikely event you, Greg, Jason and Matt were to perish this weekend during an unfortunate incident aboard the yacht of Jeff Wilpon & His Lovely Wife, I’d be very, very sad. I’d miss you all, dearly. But I’d somehow find a way to blog Monday morning.**

    Surely you’re joking. Everyone knows the fourth weekend in August is reserved for cotillion at the club.

  12. Mike S. says:

    I’ve used humor in my comments here because I try not to take things that are relatively unimportant too seriously. If I can be serious for a moment, though, I’ll tell you why I’m so disappointed in what you chose to present here and how you chose to do it.

    First of all, I’m disappointed because you’re someone I respect and enjoy reading. You can be pretty tough here, but I’ve generally found you to be fair. Not this time, though.

    Accusing you of libel was a joke. Saying you were a douchebag wasn’t. Whatever you think we did, we were not stooges and we did not sell out. That was some serious overstatement bordering on unwarranted character assassination. If you have lost some respect for me, understand the feeling is mutual. I still like you and respect your work here, but you crossed a line and weren’t man enough to apologize for it. That’s the very definition of douchebaggery.

    Of course we were silly, and I thought I was laughably bad in my 15 seconds of fame. If you called me on that I wouldn’t have a problem with you. Insinuating that I sold my autonomy and credibility for this experience was so far out of line it is incredulous to me that you continue to defend it.

    By the way, no blogger was forced to do the on air bit, we were asked. I admitted to Berg and the cameraman that I had a problem with stuttering that gets really bad when someone sticks a mike in my face and records it. But that’s why I really wanted to do it, because I used to be a person that didn’t do things he wasn’t good at. As silly as my few seconds were, it feels really cool that I was actually coherent, even if my voice was a couple octaves higher than normal. If someone really thinks I’m blogging in my parents’ basement big freaking deal.

    With that we can let this drop. If you really feel like you served something positive calling us sellouts and stooges more power to you. SNY treated us better than you did, my friend.

    If you ever want to get to know the person you felt the need to insult, join me in a Mets game some time when you are in NYC. We’ll pay our own way, sit with all the regular fans and debate the relative merits of Luis Castillo. It would be more fun than this.

  13. Mike S. says:

    BTW, if nothing else you have to be impressed that Greg knows what a cotillion is.

  14. GC says:

    Mike,

    it would be the height of overstatement to say I’ve lost respect for you. I’ve not even lost my patience. I don’t feel the need to elaborate (much) further on my thoughts about the “Mets Weekly” segment except to say I don’t feel I crossed any sort of line and I’m not going to apologize for the post in question, with the exception of the use of the word “stooge”. Had any daily newspaper reporter or WWL fixture gleefully participated in such a taping, not only would I have pulled the same alarm, but I’m willing to bet a number of other blogs would’ve as well. In this instance, there seems to be some sentiment (and I’m not trying to words in your mouth) that bloggers’ a) unpaid status or b) shared love-o’-blogging precludes anyone being called out.

    anyhow, Mike, you’re not the only one who trades in humor. I do not honestly believe in my heart of hearts that you swapped your integrity for 15 seconds of TV time and a stale Nathan’s weiner. But i did carefully consider the headline for this post and three days later, I’m still satisfied with “(Mets) Blogger Autonomy Vs. The Lure Of A Shea Luxury Box”, because I think that’s a schism worth considering. I’ve brought this kind of thing up previously (ie. the Washington Capitals rolling out the desert tray for Caps bloggers, the Islanders’ dubious ‘blogger box’, the Dodgers’ recent attempt to grant an audience with Ned Colletti to bloggers —- in a luxury box, natch) and I’ve raised similar questions each time. To have ignored this particular occasion merely because I’m an avid reader of some of the participants’ blogs might have avoided hurting someone’s feelings, but it would’ve been wildly inconsistent on my part.

    There’s a reason we don’t see Joel Sherman or Bob Klapisch decked out in Mets swag and being nudge-nudge wink-winked by Ted Berg (even in a friendly manner). I realize Oscar Madison often wore a Mets cap in the press box, but that was a slightly different (imaginary) era. I’ve already been through a somewhat tiresome “journalist” vs. “fan” exchange with Anthony at Hot Foot, and I see no shame in being a fan. But I also believe maintaining as much healthy separation between the club and the blogs-that-aren’t-mets-biz-partners is a good thing.

    Nearly a half billion dollars of public loot is going to be spent building the Wilpon family’s monument to avarice and greed — a venue where a large segment of the Mets fanbase is going to be priced out of attending. I’m not accusing you of having a cavalier attitude about this, but the casual SNY viewer might well surmise from such a segment that it’s all very much good-vibes-in-flushing, esp. where the indie bloggers are concerned.

    I mean, there’s a reason why they call it a luxury box and not an econo box. the former is a deliberate attempt to separate one class of customers from another. At the risk of coming off like the delivery dude in the Miller High Life commercial, the mere setting was enough to give me pause.

    Finally, at no point in my above post did I single you out or have anything specific to say about your on-camera performance. Though I found the entire segment to be a drag, at no point did I have cause to mock you individually, nor was I looking for an excuse to do so. Though I’m grateful for the textbook definition of douchebaggery (until now, I’ve had to suffice with illustrations), I do not think you are anyone’s stooge. The “Mets Weekly” segment is not something I would’ve chosen to participate in, but I’m hardly about to stop reading your blog merely because we have a different sensibility about any number of things.

    OK, I take it back. It looks like I did elaborate much further after all.

    I’ll most certainly take you up on the open invite — you’d have been very welcome in sec. 799 last night, in fact — but I’m now very certain you must be much older than I. Was this “Luis Castillo” an active baseball player within the past decade?

  15. Mike S. says:

    GC, I am as tired of this as you are, so I will be brief. Your elaboration on the perception of someone watching the segment was interesting. If you read what you actually wrote, you have to realize that the perception of someone reading this that doesn’t know me or the other bloggers were that we were indeed stooges who sold low on our integrity to sit in a luxury box. That perception was what prompted all of the responses you were forced to read from us. I appreciate, at least, the apology for being refered to as a stooge, which deeply offended me.

  16. itsmetsforme says:

    There are a few interesting issues lost in the way this debate quickly became personal, such as, in the coming post-cerrone-SNY age, how will serious bloggers handle network efforts to co-opt them? How are the more ambitious of said bloggers going to expand their scope beyond meta-commentary, without resources or access, once the newspaper industry dries up and blows away? Because the jackbooted suits will be trying, it’s just in their corporate blood.

    I can’t blame one for wondering about this stuff. And, if you’ll pardon my casual sexism, nor can I blame a fella for withering in the presence of Joceyln Pierce’s bright teeth and creamy thighs, if they were indeed involved.

    With all the respect i have for each of the participants in this hopefully minor feud, I’m scandalized that not one of you raised the most pressing current issue of blog-network relations: getting SNY to yank those offensive “Jeter’s got an edge” commercials.

  17. GC says:

    I suspect the edgy Jeter ads are typical Bomber blowback over the Jose Reyes – Wise Potato Chip posters outside of Yankee Stadium.

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