Sunday, April 3, 2011

And We Thought Murray Chass Was Bad: Brian Cashman Calls Bloggers "Psychotics"

Last month, Brian Cashman explained to the Wall Street Journal why the Yankees have such an extensive media training program for their players. "We are the largest media market in the world. We will control the back pages on a yearly basis, without a doubt, whether we want to or not, and we'd rather limit the damage and get ourselves on the back pages for the right reasons, not the wrong reasons," he said.

Hmmmmm. Maybe Cash ought to sign up for a refresher course for himself. Because he managed to stir up not one but two controversies this weekend. It wasn't just him complaining and whining about Pedro Feliciano being abused as a Met. It was him calling bloggers "psychotics" and comparing them to dangerous criminals. Makes that whole Murray Chass-esque "bloggers live in their mother's basement" cliche look downright tame, don't you think?

The thing is, I can't figure out who, specifically, Cashman is calling psychotic, unless he means TV personality/diehard baseball fan Keith Olbermann. It was Olbermann who posted photos  -- first on Twitter during Opening Day, and then on his blog -- of a man in the stands who looks like Vince the Slap Chop Guy making hand signals to the players.

Turns out the Slap Chop Guy lookalike wasn't making references to fettucine, martini, linguini, or bikini -- he was Brett Weber, a Yankee coaching assistant who appeared to be letting the team's hitters know the type and location of the previous pitches thrown. Yankee season ticket holder Olbermann, who wrote he had seen this happen a number of times over the last year, wrote he thought it was "something less than cheating and I wasn’t looking to portray it as such."  It's not like Keith picked the coaching assistant as one of his Worst Person of the World candidates. In fact, he seemed more bemused than anything, writing that:

..."two other things surprise me more than anything else about this tempest-in-a-teapot. First, it went on all last year and nobody noticed? Based on relative seat location, the signals should be visible on television, although the players looking into the crowd would not necessarily have attracted any attention.
More importantly: At Yankee Stadium, it’s a shock to consider that the club surrendered the income from the seat. That, friends, costs at least $500 a game."

Anyhow, after Olbermann posted the pix, MLB investigated and contacted the Yankees front office to find out what was happening Turns out that the Yanks apparently violated Rule C-4, where staff are prohibited from using hand signals to communicate pitch information to players. Given that the very same information is supposed to be shown on the scoreboard, it doesn't exactly seem like the crime of the century to me.

But Cashman acted very strangely when asked about the issue Saturday. He said that:
"Anybody who obsessed about it yesterday, I kind of feel the psychotics who obsessed about it yesterday, I think we all did them a favor by keeping them off the street and preventing them from hurting others,” Cashman said.

Cashman then clarified that the “psychotics” were members of the blogosphere — not members of the media or members of Major League Baseball.

While Olbermann was speaking with reporters this afternoon, Cashman walked over and joked that Weber was merely ordering “four beers” and not signaling anything illegal.
Update: In response to a question I received about what Cashman said about bloggers, I found an even more direct quote on "I was calling the blogosphere psychotics that really focused on it because it’s silly."

You know, the Mets front office invites baseball bloggers to conference calls and press conferences, gives them tours of Citi Field, and treats them like people worthy of respect. The Yankee GM calls baseball bloggers "psychotics" who need to be kept off the street.

And how about Cashman making jokes with the person who inadvertently started the whole story in the first place?

The funny thing is that I still can't figure out who in the heck Cashman is referring to here regarding his cheap shots at bloggers. On Friday, I saw some silly April Fool's Day Yankee articles around the baseball blogosphere, but I don't remember seeing anybody discuss this story. Nor did I get any grief on the issue from Yankee-hating friends, the way I usually do whenever the team gets in the news for something controversial.

In fact, the first time I heard about the story was when I read Anthony McCarron's article on it in Saturday's Daily News. I even went back to review the Yankee-related articles in Google and on SportsSpyder, and the first references I could find were on Saturday morning in the mainstream media, not the hated blogosphere. If there is some secret blog that was pushing this, please let me know, because I sure didn't see it!

What do you think? Tell us about it!


Anonymous said...

I think Brian Cashman should stop talking before everybody thinks he's a spoiled crybaby.


The Reviewer said...

Maybe Cashman is trying to get himself fired. I mean these are bizarre comments.

David said...

Many of the bloggers are a bit is Cash really wrong there?

Lisa Swan said...

The thing is, there is zero evidence that any bloggers had anything to do with MLB investigating this, unless you consider Keith Olbermann a blogger. Cashman is just using bloggers as a straw man here to vent against.

Uncle Mike said...

Well, Cashman's comments can only mean one thing.

He reads MY blog! Bwa ha ha ha ha!

Anonymous said...

This is just another in a L-O-N-G list of things the Yankers do to cheat. The current count is around 206 million, make that 206 million and one! Disgusting bunch of cheaters.

TyrannyofTradition said...

I'm honored to be referred to as a psychotic by a narcissist like Cashman.

Kiko Jones said...

A few thoughts: Cashman's Feliciano comments are ridiculous; I don't understand how info that is shown on the scoreboard can be construed as cheating or, for that matter, having a payroll amount approved by MLB; perhaps the Mets accommodate bloggers because the team needs all the good press they can get these days; Olbermann is upset over the Jeter deal--so am I and at least 70% of Yankee fans--but he's decided to vent his frustration by writing all sorts of nonsense about the team, including their purported 4th place AL East finish...whatever, dude.

Uncle Mike said...

"Yankers"..."Disgusting bunch of cheaters"... Well, I think we know who the "psychotic" is.

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