Last week, Jrod from Mid West Sports Fan debated whether Raul Ibanez’s outstanding first half numbers are the result of steroid use. While the story goes on to analyze all sorts of factors to explain his numbers, such as hitting in the NL, Pitcher ERA, hitter friendly ball parks, etc., the article goes back to mention the possibility of steroid use.
Raul Ibanez vs. Sports Blogger
Raul Ibanez lashed out last Wednesday, saying the MLB can test him however many times they want, but they will not get a positive test for any banned substance. He calls into question the writer’s credibility, saying:
Make them accountable. There should be more credibility than some 42-year-old blogger typing in his mother's basement. It demeans everything you've done with one stroke of the pen.
He also warns any future detractors by saying “I'll come after people who defame or slander me."
While Ibanez has had a great first half so far, his response to this story was out of line. The story started as a hypothetical question presented to the writer, JRod, by a member of his fantasy baseball league. If anything, JRod actually defends Ibanez in this article more than he attacks him.
Ibanez is a professional baseball player who gets paid millions of dollars to not only play the game of baseball, but also to deal with everything outside of the game. This includes pre and post game interviews, community service, and most importantly, knowing how to handle fans and hecklers of all sorts. As a matter of fact, we debated David Ortiz’s first half slump and whether it’s related to steroid use right here. Do you see David Ortiz publicly bashing our site and Mr. Joshua Gans?
The Rise of Sports Blogging
The other important issue raised by Ibanez’s response is the rise of blogging and the continuing freefall of professional printed journalism. With the prevalence of blogs, anyone can publish their opinions online for the whole world to read.
While there are many well-written, intelligent, and reputable blogs on the web, this rising trend can create a mountain of lies and disinformation. There is little journalistic integrity because there is no one to edit and police it. With Mid West Sports Fan, their Ibanez article has now been viewed over 21,000 times, up exponentially from their average of about 300-400 views per article.
It would be one thing if Ibanez criticized a beat writer who covers a certain team every day. Even if the article was speculatory and accusatory in nature, it would be coming from someone who has insight into the day-in, day-out happenings of the locker room. Ibanez and the writer face to face to state his case and resolve their difference of opinion.
Boston sports fans are very familiar with sports journalists like Dan Shaughnessy, who can be inflammatory at times, but holds weight with readers because of how long he has covered Boston sports teams and his insider access. However, in criticizing a blog post, Ibanez has shined a spot light on this growing trend of anonymous fan’s voicing their opinion for a mass audience, with almost no possibility of a face to face interview or rebuttal.
If athletes like Ibanez continue to call out bloggers, it could possibly create a glut of hateful, hurtful, and outrageous articles flooding the web in an attempt to get on a major web site such as ESPN. Even though I feel JRod’s article was very well written, some copycat bloggers could get the wrong message and write inflammatory articles.
Thanks to tinatinatinatinatina for the photo of Raul Ibanez.