Should sportswriters write about politics?

June 20, 2016

Last winter when I got fired didn’t have my contract renewed, Bill was kind enough to throw some work my way. I’ll spare you most of the details, but he basically said he had three ideas and I could pick one or two or three of them and he would pay me something that seemed fair to both of us.

So far, so good.

Except all three of Bill’s suggested topics are really, really tricky. Tricky as in, I don’t know if I’m actually smart enough to pull this off. Tricky as in, If I do this one, some people I like might stop liking me back. Tricky as in, Maybe I could that one, given a month of research and a quiet cabin in the woods. The deep woods.

Still ... you know: I’m sorta outta work, plus Bill’s Bill. So I chose "the easy one." Which I then spent a couple of months noodling over – trust me, the others were even trickier – and writing nothing at all.

I actually hung out with Bill on Cape Cod a few weeks ago, and it would have been GREAT if I’d presented him with a print-out of my brilliant essay. It would have been good if I’d shared just a few thoughts during our drive from Provincetown to Boston. But I had no essay, or any thoughts worth sharing. I did have a few half-baked thoughts (or one, anyway) but worried that if we got to talking, he might actually write something out loud, thus hijacking anything I might eventually write.

With all that in the historical register, here’s the assigned question: "Should sportswriters write about politics?"

And here, finally, some thoughts...

In one word? Hellno.

Or in one more: Maybe?

See. I told you it’s tricky.

But one way to un-tricky stuff is (as Voltaire advised) to first define our terms. Which I think might get me out of this little conundrum.

When we talk about "politics" we might actually be talking about any one of (at least) three things.

We might be analyzing the history of political campaigns or legislation. American Maelstrom, Michael Cohen’s fine new book about the 1968 presidential campaigns, is a fine example of political history. But when we talk about sportswriters and politics, that’s not what we’re talking about. If Jayson Stark or Jeff Passan wants to write an essay about the impact of Alben W. Barkley’s presence on the ticket in 1948, is anyone really going to hold it against them? Probably not. Especially if Jayson and Jeff (co-authors!) actually know what they’re talking about.

So, go ahead everybody: Barkley away.

We might also, when "writing about politics," be speculating about something that might happen in an election. Because, you know, everybody is interested in elections and elections are politics at their core. But do you want to know what I think about the politics of Donald vs. Hillary? Maybe you do. You shouldn’t trust me, though. I don’t have the data. Pretty much everybody except Nate Silver is just guessing at this point. If NPR can’t find anything interesting to say about what’s going to happen between now and November, how would I? Or Jayson or Jeff or Keith or Rany?

But you know that already, and anyway no sportswriters are actually doing that. Nor will they be asked to.

Wh​en you see the word "politics," what you’re probably thinking is "advocacy." If Rob – or Bill or Jayson or Rany – is writing about politics, they’re really advocating that you vote for this candidate or that one.

And that, I will say once more: Hellno.

For this reason: There is an excellent chance that your Dear Reader has already chosen her favorite candidate. If you are stumping for the same one, you’re merely preaching to the choir and we get more than enough of that on Facebook. If you’re recommending the other, you probably will wind up insulting the intelligence, or maybe the fundamental values, of Dear Reader. More to the point, the bottom line is that the minute your reader realizes your intentions, his or her brain will shut down. Once somebody knows who you like, you’ve lost ‘em. 

So why bother? How can I recommend that any writer – let alone one of my sportswriting brethren or sistren – do something so crass and unproductive as campaigning for some politician?

I need to stop right here and say something: If Jayson Stark wants to write an impassioned defense of a certain real-estate developer with orange skin and weird hair ... well, I’d read that. Wouldn’t you? Plus, who the hell am I to tell anyone what to write?

Consider, then, all this as merely advice to my future self. I’m not saying I won’t slip up on Twitter a few times between now and Election Day. But if you find me writing actual essays about one candidate or another, please ignore me or (better!) remind me of this essay.

I will, however, give myself license to write about something people think of as politics, but really is not...

Principles.

Defining terms again. "Principles" is tricky, too. But let me ask you something. If you were writing about baseball in the 1940s, and you were not open-throatedly supportive of Jackie Robinson and Organized Baseball’s other black players, how would you feel about yourself today? The principle, of course, being that the color of a man’s skin should have no bearing on his opportunities.

But that’s an easy one. It wasn’t actually so easy for those guys, then. Just seems easy to us, now. What’s not easy? The First Amendment and related principles. Do you believe, I mean really believe, in free expression? Do you believe that people who say things you find reprehensible or hurtful  or just plain stupid should still be allowed, and perhaps even encouraged, to speak their minds?

Many of you do not. And in case you didn’t know, the right wing in America hardly has a monopoly on hysterics and vitriol when it comes to speech. Not close to a monopoly. When Nat Hentoff wrote his forever-relevant book Free Speech for Me – But Not for Thee back in the early ‘90s, he had exactly zero problems finding stunning examples of suppression from both sides of the political divide (and yes, there was polarization even before social media). In fact, if there’s one thing about which hoi polloi on both the left and the right can agree, it’s that they shouldn’t have to hear anything disagreeable. Unless it’s on TV and the "news" is delivered with a sneer.

But writers, man – This is your fight! And you’re not even in the ring, taking your punches. Most writers are lefties, and most of them also can’t wait to shout down anyone who offends their sensibilities. Especially the young, angry ones who consider Twitter a birthright.

You want a principle, though? The freedom of expression, however distasteful, is low-hanging fruit. Twenty years from now you’ll be damn proud of yourself.

Here’s another one. In the promos for his new HBO show, Bill Simmons finishes by saying, "I believe that billionaires should pay for their own fucking football stadiums."

That’s an opinion, and I share it. But it’s not a principle.

A principle is that when the billionaire is trying to get that stadium built, he shouldn’t concoct a bunch of bullshit studies about all the wonderful economic impact for the local citizenry. A principle is that the billionaire shouldn’t bribe the local burghers, and another is that the burghers shouldn’t take any bribes.

Among all the sportswriters in the last 25 years who have covered the machinations of stadium construction, how many have addressed the underlying principles involved? Fewer than half, I’ll bet. Way fewer than half.

You wanna write about Hillary and Donald? Go ahead, friend. I wouldn’t recommend it, though. I might instead recommend that you think about the near-surety that right now, at this exact second, there is a Muslim child who dreams about crossing an ocean and playing professional baseball in the United States of America.

Find a principle in there, and the politics will take care of themselves.

 
 

COMMENTS (36 Comments, most recent shown first)

LesLein
Sportswriters should have a right to write about politics. The question is whether it is a good idea. After all, the rest of us have the right to criticize the sportswriter, or stop heading him or her. John Feinstein put me off in his book about the 1992 baseball season when he kept making irrelevant criticisms of George H.W. Bush. Though not a writer, Curt Schilling irritated me in the 2004 postseason when he made gratuitous insults about John Kerry.

So legally, they have a right. But the readers, editors, and publishers will decide the outcome. Personally, I like sports in part because it is a "safe zone" from politics and other irritants.
3:09 PM Jul 3rd
 
sprox
Thanks, Rob - nice to hear from you again

I actually googled "who does Rob Neyer write for?" and got nothing so its good to see you're still kicking it

my opinion - writer's write - and that's it

the simplest thing in the world is to actually not read something that's written somewhere. it's easier than not watching a television show that your wife is watching and will give you 'the look' if you try to sneak downstairs to turn on baseball tonight

if a newspaper or magazine or website drifts too far from it's stated mission and starts to lose readers that's a different matter entirely

as for me I want to hear Joe Posnanki's take on Brexit, George Will's take on the rise in strikeout rates, Kurt Vonnegut's take on Twitter, and maybe even Janet Yellen's take on folk music

good writing is good writing - and you don't necessarily have to agree with it to enjoy it




I
7:38 PM Jun 28th
 
mauimike
It doesn't matter who writes what. What matter's is if it is true or not. And we each get to decide. Imagine that.
2:55 AM Jun 26th
 
Fireball Wenz
I think the answer is pretty simple: if they know enough about politics and have something to say, yes. Same as any other would-be political writer.
2:06 PM Jun 25th
 
OldBackstop
HeyRob,

It strikes me that my previous comment may not have been uplifting :-) You have a great name, quasi franchise. I greatly enjoyed "Blunders" and "Legends." In looking at people in your field, many publish at a faster pace by teaming up, and your name a a co-author would have great value. I'd like to see a Blunders or Legends 2, I'd think there is fodder there, as well as an update to Dynasties and Lineups.

Anyway....I'd buy 'em. :-)
6:18 PM Jun 23rd
 
robneyer
Hi. My apologies for not jumping into the fray earlier (which is the sort of thing I enjoy); I was vacationing with my wife when the piece was published, and I didn't really begin to engage with things again until 48 hours later. But I will say I've enjoyed the comments, except for wpcorbett's because it seems like a) he didn't read the piece, and b) I really, really, really don't like being told what to do. Thanks!
5:01 PM Jun 22nd
 
Marc Schneider
"Should people be allowed to do what they want to do as long as it doesn't hurt other people? "

That's a rather silly formulation. Obviously, they are allowed to do what they want. The question is whether it's a good idea. Should people be allowed to beat themselves senseless with a hammer? I say yes. That doesn't mean they should.

1:14 PM Jun 22nd
 
hermitfool
You're a smart guy and one-on-one I'd probably find your political thoughts of interest. However, for me all things baseball provide a sanctuary from the soul-sucking world of politics. Yeah, billionaires building stadiums with public money is a gray area. But in general, why not leave politics to the hot gasbag machines who get paid to produce bilge?


PS

Bautista was a Boy Scout compared to the Castro Boys.
11:20 AM Jun 22nd
 
gejerz
Rob, Thank you for your piece on writing, sportswriting and thoughtfulness. I enjoyed reading the skilfull way you presented the topics in the context of our current culture without a bludgeon. Done in the manner of successful smallball in baseball.

look forward to your next piece.


10:24 AM Jun 22nd
 
flyingfish
Actually, now that I think about it, Bill DID write a book about politics and I bought it and read it: it's "The Politics of Glory." It's even got the word "politics" right there in the title. This of course bears on the question about whether sportswriters should write about politics. Bill knows more about the politics of baseball and the Baseball Hall of Fame than I do and he writes well and so I enjoyed and learned from the book. I'll stop here and you can fill in the blanks.
3:37 PM Jun 21st
 
JohnPontoon
"Should sportswriters write about politics?" I'll answer a question with a question: Should people be allowed to do what they want to do as long as it doesn't hurt other people?

I say yes.​
1:39 PM Jun 21st
 
hotstatrat
Well done, Rob - evidence that anybody can and should write about anything as long as it is done so deftly.

Anybody can and should do anything they want as long as it is done so deftly.

If politics inspires a songwriter to write a great song - why not? - although, as pointed out here, it is probably in their economic interest to do it so subtlely that readers who would be turned off by it don't even notice their political views are being challenged. They have their views affected without noticing.

As for Russell Crowe, plenty of folks who became famous first as musician/singers have gone on to have very respectable careers as actors (Cher, Middler, Kristofferson, Helm, Sinatra, Bing Crosby, etc.) For a long time, going the other way had fewer examples, perhaps, because we have a natural resistence to pop star wannabes. Then Will Smith had some big hits and now Drake is some sort of superstar.

Have any of you listened to Robert Downey, Jr.'s CD The Futurist? I am even more of a music nut as a baseball nut and I love it. The record does not have the song that pulled my attention towards the CD in the first place: his version of Joni Mitchell's "River".
1:15 PM Jun 21st
 
billsizer
You are right, Rob. Thanks for making a worthwhile column out of a tricky idea.
10:41 AM Jun 21st
 
Gfletch
flying fish: the New Mexico thing was just a semi-inside joke meant for taosjohn or anyone who had read the little exchange I had with him on some recent thread. It means nothing about New Mexico; it's more about word association.
9:34 AM Jun 21st
 
mskarpelos
Back when you were writing for SBNation, a brouhaha erupted in Miami over some comments Ozzie Guillen made in support of Fidel Castro. You wrote a column which began, "Who speaks for the victims of Fulgencio Batista?" You've written some fine columns, but I think that was my favorite. It was a baseball themed article reflecting on whether Guillen deserved a suspension for his remarks, but in reality it was a column about politics and political speech. I'm glad you wrote it.
2:11 AM Jun 21st
 
TheComplication
Following up on what Evancurb wrote, if Bill James wrote a book about opera (I know nothing about opera) I would surely buy it because it would be awesomely fun to read and I would learn something. If Rob Neyer wrote a book about politics I would almost certainly buy it for the same reason. It depends on the author. Some guys can make ANY subject stand up and breathe with their pens (or e-strokes, whatever).
1:46 AM Jun 21st
 
ScottHam
For so long it seemed like there were so many sports writers who became sports writers because that was the job they got. Most couldn't be bothered with learning much about the sport in depth and instead focused on the superficialities and personalities. That stuff is easy to write about because there's no right or wrong when what you're presenting is your perception of a person. Fans can't argue the supposed insider knowledge when they don't have access to the inside.

Sports writing has obviously shifted in the Internet age and one would assume that a sports writer from the analytical aisle might attempt to provide an opinion was that objectively fact based, as much as one can do that in politics.

But here again, we have writing that lends itself to hyperbole since the facts are so often not treated as facts but mere talking points and diversion. Most mainstream political reporters probably won't give you the objective point of view. They can provide the deeper backstory but can they promise objectivity and truth in what they are saying?

If you're looking for someone to "report," sure, let the sports writer of today crunch the numbers, dig out the facts and shed some light on what's really happening compared to what's said. If you're looking for someone to just write about politics, take a numbers. Opinions are like something else everyone has and as you mentioned, you're never going to convince me that my opinion is wrong. The travesty of social media proves that unfortunate fact every single day.
11:04 PM Jun 20th
 
evanecurb
Charles Einstein once wrote an analysis (actually, more of a translation) of Casey Stengel's testimony before the Congressional Antitrust hearings. That was great political commentary. Well maybe not, but it brought a smile to my face.

Sports Illustrated published a cover story about acid rain in the 1980s. It was good journalism.

Someone said below that you need to add value to the discussion if you're going to write about a subject. I think this is true, and I think writing skills are transferable. If a sportswriter is talented at finding nuances in the games he covers, or is good at interviewing people in the sports world and analyzing what they say, then he can use this skill to add value in the political arena. But don't expect the readers of a sports publication to read past the first paragraph. They probably didn't pick up the magazine or click on the blog to read about politics.
10:23 PM Jun 20th
 
Gfletch
BarryBondsFan25, I'm somewhat in agreement with you, but...

I find that sportswriters generally seem to know more about sports than political writers know about politics. Thing is, there are clear objectives in sports and therefore there are logical ways to judge and report on what we see. On top of that we have the results of contests to examine, contests in many sports that take place many times every day.

Not so in politics. I mean, look at the statistical records on BBRef vs the statistical records on elections. Much easier to fake expertise in politics than in baseball (baseball, certainly).

I'm okay with anybody writing anything on anything...if I find their writing interesting, entertaining, intelligent then I will read more of what they write. Gotta give them a chance to impress one way or another at the start, anyway.
10:07 PM Jun 20th
 
KaiserD2
I don't really know the answer to the question, but what occurs to me is, back when athletes involved themselves in politics seriously (1950s-70s) sportswriters made their feelings on particular issues very clear. Dick Young was very critical of Jackie Robinson's political activism--but wrote a very moving column in 1962 explaining why he was voting for Jackie for the Hall of Fame. Young was violently critical of Muhammad Ali and the whole anti-war movement, too. Red Smith and Bud Collins of the Boston Globe began to let their own liberalism show on many issues. Bill James himself has never hesitated to let his own political views show. Was this good for sportswriting? Probably not, particularly, although I certainly enjoyed seeing my own liberal views reflected from time to time.

I personally think that sports and politics today are dominated by the same thing: money. I think it's unhealthy in both cases. That might be a fruitful avenue to explore.

I'm very sorry to hear your news, Rob, and I hope to see you in Miami.

David Kaiser


9:23 PM Jun 20th
 
wpcorbett
Way back before the (last several) wars, Bill wrote, approximately: Somebody should compile a list of things written by brilliant people on subjects that they knew absolutely nothing about. I believe one of his examples was "The Political Vaporings of Albert Einstein." (That's in the first Historical Abstract, I think.)
It's funny how many baseball writers long to escape the toy department and write political thumbsuckers, going back to Westbrook Pegler and James Reston. Pegler turned into a hate-filled hack and Reston into a pompous ass.
Glad to see you here, Rob. Stick to baseball.

8:50 PM Jun 20th
 
BarryBondsFan25
I'm not sure why a sportswriter would even think about writing about politics. Most of them know very little about the subject. For some reason though, they believe they have something intelligent or profound to say on the subject. They don't.

However, if they insist on writing about politics that is fine; I'll just avoid the article.

I go by a simple rule- I do not read a person's work or listen/watch a person opine on something who knows less about the subject than I do.

8:24 PM Jun 20th
 
OldBackstop
+1 to packbringley, very interesting comments.
5:19 PM Jun 20th
 
flyingfish
Packbringley: really good and interesting comment; I would like to hear more from you. Gfletch: Why New Mexico? I live there half the year.
5:02 PM Jun 20th
 
OldBackstop
Hi Rob,

I think your piece more addressed the question of should “writers” write about social issues, not should sportswriters write about politics. I’d be interested in why Bill phrased the question that way to you….as a friend or as publisher or as something he is wrestling about in his own world.

Writers, as all our freshman lit professors told us, should write about what moves them. Sportswriters, on the other hand, have bosses who get circulation and ratings and angry letters and balance sheets. But you know that (and my daughters know more about this year’s Mets than you do ?)

To answer Bill’s question from a generic sportswriter’s angle, my first thought is: Bruce Springsteen, Jon Stewart, and Dennis Miller. Entertainers who I enjoyed immensely until they began to sprinkle political comments over the entertainment. I don't want to get off on a rant here, but you are just a show that follows two puppets making prank phone calls, so shut up and play Rosalita, and not some goddam Woody Guthrie version. That's entertainers, where people go to forget about life for a while. Today’s specialized world rejects the idea of the polymath….I’ll bet Russell Crowe’s band sucks without a listen, which he’ll never get. The First Amendment also protects my right not to watch.

Or is the question more about sports authors? I believe you have at least five books out, I can see “Blunders” and “Legends” from where I sit. If you were Bob Costas and had offended someone with his Sunday Night Football opinions about gun control, would they still buy your book about Hank Aaron? Of course. Probably. Maybe not. Would a potential publisher or employer google your name while considering your book proposal? Yes. Will it google up in ten years? Yes.

Marketing authors today, which I have done a bit, is an exercise in platform building, and you can’t have an offended customer walking out the back door for every one you wrestle in the front door. Get into political opining on anything of interest (by definition, fractured viewpoints) and be ready to have 40-60 percent of your audience (market/customers) offended, possibly to the point of taking their disposable shekels elsewhere.

That's the non-Bill part of the answer, and it was Bill’s question. If he was asking to gather opinions on his own career direction, well…. he has a unique and scattered hand of career cards in terms of employment responsibilities and opportunities…he is a bit of a polymath, and I would go see his stupid Dylan tribute band. I suspect if Bill had his druthers he might tire of the “gotcha” target game playing top sabermetrics gunslinger and focus on politics or social issues for a few years. But, in the blogosphere, post-publishing world, everyone with a keyboard muddles that market, so you have to find your audience, and the market doesn’t reward sensible centrists.

In the two forays into “politics” I have seen from Bill this year, he has employed a deft hand – the piece on Trump, and the piece on political fringes. They are based on observations, not judgements….or perhaps they are a series of even-handed judgements, but they manage to enlighten and offend both sides equally for some journalistic balance.

To summarize, political opinions today are thick on the ground….there has to be a value-add. Because someone is good at sports analysis doesn’t mean they have a social obligation to point out that Trump is a bucket o’ personality disorders.…..we know.

Maybe this is illustrative. When Nate Silver made the Time 100 in 2009, Bill was chosen to do his little profile. He chose to comment on how Nate handled the issue of gay marriage -- by gathering data on opinions, not offering his own. Nate basically trended that gay marriage support was rising 2 percent a year and would be in the majority by xxx year. Bill wrote: “In a world choking on retreaded arguments long worn bald of the facts, this type of analysis has proved to be stunningly — and reassuringly — popular.”

That was written in 2009 when Silver was under the NY Times umbrella. Once his career tent was pitched, Silver (who is openly gay, not that that matters) began to write about gay marriage a LOT, but usually or always from a commentary on polls, elections and trends. He had a viewpoint, of course, but he played the game, and surely had much more impact on savvy politicians’ positions than if he had been simply writing opinion rants.

Sez Bill.

3:47 PM Jun 20th
 
Marc Schneider
I think sportswriters should weigh in on political issues that relate to sports, but the problem is confusing actual analysis with stuff like "billionaires should build their own fucking stadiums." That's not analysis; I don't need to hear that. If you are going to address an issue, I think the sportswriter should do some research and actually understand both sides and write intelligently. There is one sportswriter, Norman Chad, who frequently spews out snarky half-assed political opinions, which I'm sure he thinks is insightful. Obviously, some people like that; I don't even if I agree with what he is saying. So, to me, writing about politics (in the context of sports) means doing more than just throwing out some snarky line and assuming that all right-thinking people will agree. It means, to me, writing something that has substance. And, in most cases, sportswriters can't do that or, if they can, they are unable to recognize that others may have legitimate disagreements. Frankly, unless they can add something worthwhile to the debate, I don't want to hear it.
3:47 PM Jun 20th
 
llozada
Hello Rob, very nice to see you here, and really like this "twist" you guys are trying; there is so much sport one can read.

And to royals77, do you really think that the site writers and administrators haven't considered the possibility of losing subscribers? Plus, if an article doesn't seem interesting to you, then just don't click on it.

The thing I enjoy the most on this site, BY FAR, is the Hey Bill. I'm fascinated with the mix of topics and Bill's take on them. I wish there was more of it!
3:35 PM Jun 20th
 
Gfletch
About Scully and Socialism...I imagine our brains as machines with interlocking cog wheels...as time goes on the cogs wear out a bit...and so occasionally they slip, get out of sync, send things on the wrong track, and if the wear and tear is relatively insignificant things might stay on that track for quite a while without intervention. But if the wear and tear is significant (a cog or two actually broken right off, say), you might just get occasional slippage (Scully's remark) before the wheel gets back in line on the next revolution. Get enough broken cogs, though, and you might have full blown dementia. That's when I start thinking about New Mexico.
2:27 PM Jun 20th
 
evanecurb
Voice
2:20 PM Jun 20th
 
evanecurb
Vin Scully talked about socialism during the Dodgers broadcast the other day. He was against it. I am not sure why he brought it up but he still has a great coice
2:20 PM Jun 20th
 
packbringley
I work as a museum security guard, and a lot of random strangers come up and talk to me. One thing I notice is they usually assume I'll agree with whatever they're saying. If they love the art, they think I will to. If they think it's fraudulent charlatanism, they'll think that I think that. Is it something about the uniform? I don't know. But I'm treated as an assumed conspirator in whatever opinion they happen to have. I've learned how to hold my own over the years, but as a general phenomenon, it's irritating.

What I like about the way Bill writes about politics is that he never seems to assume you agree with him. He seems to realize that his opinions are so idiosyncratic, you probably don't. Nor does he try to argue you into seeing things his way, because how could you; it's his way. Generally, he just reveals how his mind works, and because his mind works in interesting ways, it's interesting. Infuriating when you think he's dead wrong, but interesting.
1:26 PM Jun 20th
 
wilbur
I would suggest that sportswriters get into writing about politics because of their own inflated egos - "Why, there's no way my audience doesn't want to slurp up my opinions about politics. Look at how much they like my sports columns!" Lupica is a prime example, yet only one of many.

I generally don't read the political stuff on this site, because a) I really have no interest in the political opinions of the readers here and b) I get a bellyful of politics elsewhere. That's not why I come here.

Rob, any chance you'll write another of your great baseball books?


11:14 AM Jun 20th
 
Gfletch
Totally agree with flyingfish, your examples of what would or would not be a principle...don't get it.

About stadium building...if a private business wants the taxpayers to pay for his building, then as far as I'm concerned the taxpayers (local government) should insist on owning a big chunk of the business.
10:14 AM Jun 20th
 
Davidg32
Interesting, Rob.

I think the thing that bothers me most in the "free speech" argument is that there are people who insist: "If you disagree with ME, then it's HATE SPEECH. And that doesn't count as FREE SPEECH, so we can shut you up! Let's have some muscle over here..."

I've always believed that...if the taxpayers are going to pay to build a stadium...then half the seats (including the skyboxes) should be reserved for the taxpayers. And every person in that tax base...city, county, state, etc....should be allowed to enter a big drawing that takes place a few days before each game, and the winners get free tickets. You could limit it to one win per person for each ticket type...everyone gets to win one general admission ticket, one club level ticket, one field level ticket...all the way up to one skybox ticket. And then your name goes OFF the list until everyone else has won. The day before the game...if there are tickets left for any reason (winners don't claim them, etc.)...then the tickets are available for purchase, just like the other half of the tickets.

A friend tells me I'm crazy as a shit-house rat, and that my scheme is too complicated...and he may be right. Maybe the best scheme is just to sell the tickets in the ordinary ways, while requiring half the proceeds to go to the city or county or state...whatever entity paid for the stadium in the first place.
8:38 AM Jun 20th
 
flyingfish
Hi, Rob. Welcome back. I appreciate your attempt at rigor here, but although you have totally NOT offended me in any way, you haven't convinced me, either. And the problem lies in your failure to define what a principle is. Why, for example, is it not a principle that "billionaires should pay for their own fucking stadiums"? Why is that less a principle than that said billionaire should not advocate--or as you put it, "concoct a bunch of bullshit studies..."? And when it comes to freedom of speech, the US Constitution is very specific. It says THE GOVERNMENT shall not infringe. It doesn't say that web sites or news outlets or business or baseball clubs shall not infringe.

So that brings me back to your opinion of the idea that billionaires should pay for their own fucking stadiums. You say it's an opinion, not a principle. And I still don't know how to distinguish between them.
8:24 AM Jun 20th
 
77royals
If it's a baseball site, and you're readers are coming for baseball (especially if they pay for it), then the subject should be baseball.

The occasional foray into politics, particularly as it applies to baseball, shouldn't bother anyone and discussion is always good.

But if the site loses sight of the baseball and then becomes a political blog, that's up to the writer, but he should be wary of the fact that his readers will change, and it won't be about the baseball anymore.

If it's not strictly a baseball site and writer has let everyone know he will have a broad range of subjects, the the reader has to choose.

But a sports site should be about the sport, first and foremost. I don't ask my barber for financial advice. I don't want my sports writer telling me why I should vote for one person over the other. I'd rather listen to the experts
It its a
7:21 AM Jun 20th
 
 
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