Slanted Orange and Black

During last night’s game I made an observation on Twitter that initiated a robust debate.

That begat the following responses from BANG’s Tim Kawakami:


and a bewildered response from the Chronicle’s Susan Slusser:

Clearly, I wasn’t referring to Slusser, who has been the best in the business for years, and her beat colleagues Joe Stiglich and Jane Lee. I was referring to columnists like Kawakami, or the Scott Ostler column from yesterday. To his credit, Kawakami’s interview with Billy Beane was very illuminating and should answer a lot of questions about the organization’s postseason intentions. That said, such columns are few and far between. What’s more common is the standard tripe proffered by Lowell Cohn or Ostler, who may have confused the column space for a long tweet.

I’ve been following the A’s for more than 30 years, well before the popularity of Sports Talk Radio and the Internet. I was aware as a kid of the coverage inequity between the two teams. It was something I simply accepted as part of the sports media landscape. Fortunately for A’s fans, the expansion of information sources and real-time availability has not only lessened the impact of the gruff, eternally cynical, cigar-chomping (or free-food chomping) columnist, it has made that character a dinosaur. The A’s get better coverage now thanks to the tireless work of the local beats and the added perspective of national writers who, frankly, love Billy Beane (which helps). I’m perfectly fine with that. I no longer worry much about the lazy, often provocative style of the local sports columnist. Well, enough to get it off my chest for two posts, but anyway…

FWIW – Kawakami’s best work was when he was covering the Lakers for the LA Times.

P.S. – If you want to see a lazy, provocative media type get thoroughly destroyed, check out former Merc columnist Skip Bayless shrink in the face of Mavs owner Mark Cuban’s withering commentary.

40 thoughts on “Slanted Orange and Black

  1. That video is why I hate mainstream sports media, and don’t bother watching ESPN.

  2. These tools have only gotten worse with their grandstanding on Chronicle Live and now Twitter. There is a dimension of pig-headed smugness that doesn’t always translate through the paper. Sports writers are more akin to gossip columnists than journalists.

  3. Yes, Bayless got owned for the 3 minutes that I watched of that video. So, how seriously do we think MLB takes East Bay and Frisco columnists who follow these formulas: If the A’s lose, it’s because Wolff is destroying the team in his evil quest to go to San Jose; if the A’s win, it proves the A’s CAN succeed in Oakland and Wolff needs to abandon his evil quest to go to San Jose? Not very, I suppose. Tails, Wolff does not win, heads, Wolff loses. These writers have it down pat.

  4. Tk has written in support of the gints “owning Santa Clara county”- of course no other 2 team market has defined territories like this- he is a gints homer- not an unbiased reporter

  5. One of the funniest things I ever saw was Kawakami trying to pass himself off as a Sharks “expert” on TV. He clearly is clueless about the game of hockey and should never be put in a position of having to comment on it.

  6. Wow, Bayless got owned. It’s a shame Cuban can’t get an MLB team.

  7. For all the crap that TK gives about the A’s (and deservedly so), you can tell through his columns and blog that he does have a huge man crush on BB (and has hugely adopted his data driven analysis for all things sports performance related). And pro-Oaklanders will curse this but without Beane the past decade, the A’s would basically bore everyone into irrelevancy…

  8. If you’ve lived in the Bay Area for any length of time, the disparity in coverage between Oakland and SF is glaringly obvious. Essentially every aspect of Oakland is portrayed as negative, while nearly everything about SF is potrayed as positive. Please don’t play coy, Mr. Kawakami, as if you don’t realize this disparity exists. It is part of the culture in the Bay Area. Of course you don’t participate in such lazy journalism.

    The A’s are a crappy, small-market team (though only a scant 15 minutes away from mighty SF) in a small podunk, do-nothing town. The Raiders and their fans are criminals. Oakland sucks. The arenas sucks. Everything about it sucks. The Giants are the pretty boys of Bay Area sports. The 49ers are High School Prom Kings. San Francisco has no crime. See, Mr. Kawakami? You’re agreeing with me right now.

    No, we A’s fans/Oakland/East Bay people are not angry, Mr. K. We are used to getting dissed. That’s what gives us that indefeatable, foolishly over-confident pride. We don’t care that the world hates us. Actually, it’s quite liberating. We don’t have to keep up appearances like SF. We’re all real over here.

    You said it, ML: ” Write about #SFGiants year round, more if they suck. Ignore #Athletics unless they’re good.” This is almost accurate. I would modify your statement to read: “Write about San Francisco year round. Ignore Oakland until something bad happens, then broadcast it to the entire world. Try to mention something about Oakland if it’s good but don’t worry if you don’t get to it.”

    Lakeshore, Oakland. I wear it with pride.

    • If you’ve lived in the Bay Area for any length of time, the disparity in coverage between Oakland and SF is glaringly obvious.Essentially every aspect of Oakland is portrayed as negative, while nearly everything about SF is potrayed as positive.Please don’t play coy, Mr. Kawakami, as if you don’t realize this disparity exists.It is part of the culture in the Bay Area.Of course you don’t participate in such lazy journalism.

      Without trying to make this some sort of Oak vs. SF vs. SJ debate, but as someone said before, most SJ folks don’t have this kind of mentality, probably because we live far away in the ‘burbs of orchard trees and silicon ingots miles away from this “friendly rivalry” between the 2 bay cities. This is why it’s laughable when folks say SJ is trying to mimic SF or anything of the like. We don’t have this mentality and could care less. You don’t see the South Bay making a big stink about “stealing” away the crown jewel (Niners) of the Bay Area sporting scene do you? :X

  9. @Anon – “And pro-Oaklanders will curse this but without Beane the past decade, the A’s would basically bore everyone into irrelevancy”

    I’m 100% pro-Oakland and you are totally correct. Not cursing at all.

  10. I don’t post much, but I have been a an A’s fan since 1968. I have no problems with Mr K or Susan. Susan is fantastic and I find her reporting and writing very high quality. But, she is the exception to the norm.

    I do have a problem with the local radio and tv reporting. It has gotten better with this win streak, but just check out the coverage we had before 95.7 and any night time new broadcasts. The A’s always play second fiddle to the G’s in time and content every night. I watch quite a bit of local news and it is very obvious. I don’t have a problem with fair reporting, especially when the A’s are going bad, but coverage is no where the same as the G’s..

  11. When the new Giants owners took over in 92 they included PR in their business plan. Larry Baer was there from the start, and he’s fully in charge of day to day ops now. He learned how NOT to publicize a team when he was an undergrad at Berkeley. Charlie Finley hired him to broadcast A’s games on the student station KALX. No such bs for him when he hit it big. He has been all about top flight PR. The Giants have an army of people in the front office working on revenue and ticket sales and publicity. Check the official sites of the Giants and A’s under “roster — front office.” The difference is stunning. Personally, I dislike Baer, and his priorities. But clearly the media hacks aren’t 100% to blame for the disparities in publicity and coverage.
    Wasn’t always this way. When I became a Giants fan in the late 70s the team sure wasn’t covered the way it is now. I remember Bob Lurie going on post-game radio shows to beg fans to come to the park. That guy was always just ineffectual. At least Wolff et al are making money off their approach.

  12. Holy crap, there is a huge difference in the amount of front office personnel. When will the A’s get that PR is incredibly important, especially with all of the various formats for communication? If the local media is wrong about the franchises motivations and moves, make it abundantly clear as to why they’re wrong. If the local media is ignoring the A’s, the front office should get on their asses about that. I know Sandy Alderson used to personally go into the Chronicle office and chew out people for favoring the Giants. Is anyone in the A’s front office doing that now?

  13. @Anon – to be perfectly frank, I never knew about the whole SF vs Oak thing until I got old enough to really start hanging out in SF consistently. I never had a problem with SF – SF has a problem with Oakland. I (used to) enjoy going to the city. I work in SF. Beautiful place. But I swear on everything holy that I never held up any ridiculous stereotypes of SF. I mean, if Oakland is 100% criminal, then SF is 100% gay, right? So dumb. That people are so unwilling to drive across the bridge and see for themselves that Oakland isn’t quite as bad as its made out to be is utterly REE-diculous. The SF superiority thing is way out of control. They act like they’re all grass-roots and whatnot, but SF is just LA with more hills and fewer plastic tits. Pretentious as all hell.

    As far as San Jose, I never spent much time there but I have nothing against it. Well, except the heat (it’s damn hot down there). In fact, everywhere I go, I rep the entire Bay Area. Granted Oakland and SJ are a little too far from each other to be civic bff’s, why would I have a problem with SJ? It’s just that if the A’s move there, I would likely not go very much if ever. I’m pretty sure most of the Oakland fans from years past would agree with me. Lew is seeking an entirely new fan base. THAT’s why I have a problem with the move. It’s nothing against SJ specifically. He makes us out to be lousy fans in a lousy town. That’s jut about the most efficient way to piss off Oakland – there aren’t many things Oakland/East Bay people won’t suffer through.

    I just look at it this way: my Bay Area is way bigger than anybody else’s. I have and do travel everywhere in the Bay without consideration of image or fear, but few people outside of Oakland are willing to give it a chance.

  14. ^^^^^^^ one of the most fair and honest posts I’ve ever read on here courtesy of LakeShore Oak.. Dont agree with everything, but certainly respect your honesty.Good stuff man

  15. re: I know Sandy Alderson used to personally go into the Chronicle office and chew out people for favoring the Giants. Is anyone in the A’s front office doing that now?
    …the Chronicle is a shadow of its former self. Massive staff reductions in recent years. The A’s already know the Frisco and East Bay media will never accept a San Jose move under any circumstances, for example, and their favoritism of the Giants is set in stone. Even the Mercury News favors the Giants in its coverage. So what would be the point of the A’s arguing with newspapers, etc?. Probably won’t change anything….

  16. @ Lakeshore – fantastic post above. Thanks for sharing and saying what most EBs are unwillingly to say/admit.

  17. @Anon – Likewise. I appreciate the civility.

    Thanks, Larry.

    By the way, I just watched that video. Cuban thoroughly pwned Bayless.

  18. @pjk — The Merc’s Giants slant is particularly troubling. You would think that theirs would be the objective middle ground, but growing up reading the Merc, it’s definitely been Giants-centered for years.

  19. Big story in the Merc today telling us nothing new: Wolff can’t get San Jose, Oakland city councilwoman says A’s have no place to go. It’s coming close to the time for San Jose’s business community to challenge MLB’s anti trust exemption. If no movement is made at the August owner’s meetings, the lawsuit should be drawn up.

  20. Kawakami is reasonably fair and pretty good, but it is a pretty damned defensive regarding a fairly true, yet innocuous tweet by ML. I would think that you would want to distinguish yourself as different than what Cohn or Ostler or Poole put out there. I think Ratto is similar, I think he is real, generally a more fact base, but sometimes goes off on a tangent because of his own instincts, like say the A’s Ballpark doesn’t equal wins. I think Beane and Wolff would be the first to say there is no guarantee that you win in SJ, you have to make the right personnel moves.

    But seriously, its plainly obvious that there are some who report, there are some that opine blindly, and there are some who opine informatively. Those that opine blindly do take much of the oxygen out of the air and do represent a greater amount of air time on KNBR, The Game, and a lot of column space. That doesn’t take away from the fact that we have perhaps one of the best beat teams in baseball, but it doesn’t stop most coverage on media platforms to go to the Giants.

  21. Nicosan – Ostler and Bruce Jenkins (even KNBR) can be expected to be gnat homers though – the Chron is an SF newspaper and its writers are expected to be pro giants. Kawakami (of the Merc News) is the worst giant homer in the media and actually should be the neutral one – since Kawakami represents San Jose. Kawakami’s type is responsible for the giant bandwagon hype(after AT&T Park opened) Before that , A’s and giant fans in the south bay were equally split – despite all the propaganda spewed by Kawakami and his types which claim otherwise. Kawakami is a very slanted, pro giants hack.

  22. I’m not saying Kawakami is not guilty, but atleast in reading him, he hasn’t been as overt as Ostler. And Cohn and Poole, well they have hated Wolff and Fisher from the start, so I worry none. We may disagree on degrees, but not on the substance of MLs point I think is very accurate.

  23. Kawakami’s stories may be the most annoying – he actually claimed recently that the A’s were receiving excessive media hype! (this coming from the worst giant homer – possibibly even worse than Barbieri)

  24. is kawakami a homer? i remember he being “kicked off” chron live for maybe a year becuase he was too critical of the midgets per 2010. but agreed the bias here locally is astounding. almost as bad as the bias espn has for teams based in the northeast. have you ever seen their sportscenters in the morning where they have to show every nyy/nym/bos/phi highlight from the previous night and maybe you get a couple of other game’s highlights. remember a time when sportscenter actually showed all the highlights of every game. again thank god for mlb network.

    did see marinelayer on his twitter post say that the local nbc affiliate spent most of their sports telecast on the dodgers-midgets game fri night and barely even mentioned the a’s game which might’ve been one of the most exciting games not only for the a’s this season but in all of mlb baseball with four lead changes in four of the last five innings of play.

  25. Andrew Baggrely apologizes for asking Melky Cabrera about PED rumors? Andrew, don’t apologize for doing your job.

  26. Lakeshore: don’t totally agree with your assertion that most East Bay fans would skip the A’s if they went south (maybe San Leandro and points north would but not others) … I think people would rather keep them in SJ rather than lose them to out of the state or region. Still, I like your view of the bay area. I’ve lived in most parts and there’s something here that transcends mere towns and cities

  27. All in all, this is a depressing situation. San Jose is being held hostage by a team 40 miles to the north who play in a city smaller than them and if Oakland winds up with the team in the end it won’t be because they were desired but because all the more desirable options fell through. Who knows? Given Bud Selig’s history maybe he really will just decide to contract the league and “solve” the problem that way.

  28. Jeffrey, Baggarly perpetuated a rumor he read on Twitter, that is hack new media garbage “jopurnalism” at its worst. A Twitter rumor at best merits a little investigation. I hope the Giants ice him out.

  29. LOL Ted – Andrew Baggerly is one of the leading Gnats homers and a long time beatwriter for the Merc. Funny that you would try to “ice him out” since he’s dissing your Gnats. Why haven’t the Gnats signed Melky to a long term deal yet?! :X

  30. It isn’t about dissing. He retweeted an unfounded rumor which deserves a month or two of no access. Why would the Giants extend Cabrera in the middle of the season and what does it have to do with what Baggarly Tweeted?

    • @Ted – Exactly. My reaction last night was disappointment that Baggarly ran with it with no sourcing at all other than his Twitter followers. That is beyond irresponsible reporting. Not only is he bringing negative attention on Cabrera for no valid reason, he could be taking money out of the man’s pockets. Perhaps Baggs should stick to game shows. He can’t hurt anyone’s careers – including his own – that way. A’s fans – what if one of our beat writers made that kind of accusation of Cespedes or Reddick? (I realize that the A’s beat writers are far more professional than the Giants, making it something of a straw man.)

  31. @ Ted – There’s a profound number of rumors circulating about (see latest Zuke’trade rumors). Why would the Gnats extend Cabrera in the middle of an MVP season when he could be a FA at the end?! Follow me now Ted, because it links back to the original tweet: PED? But hey, you tell me…..

    @ ML – Again looking at the recent Zuk’ to BJs tweets, i think it’s fair game when you’re in the public light. If there’s nothing to the story, it will die on its own.

  32. Anon, you think perpetuating a Twitter rumor is akin to reporting a trade rumor? You really don’t see the difference? And let me get this straight…You think that the Giants haven’t extended Melky Cabrera because someone Tweeted that he failed a drug test last week? Wow

  33. @ Ted – Ur slower than i thought. I never said the Gnats didn’t extend his contract because of a tweet (you did). The question is whether the Gnats believe if he is in a contract year, thus waiting with the tweet reflecting that mindset. Get it or do we have to explain/link everything for you, again. Even my STH Gnat friends have implied as such.

  34. To be honest, as I understood it yesterday there was more than Baggarly involved in the rumor but I wasn’t following all that closely. Here’s the thing, we can’t have it both ways. I personally hold beat writers partially responsible for turning a blind eye to PED’s in the late 90’s. Buster Olney admitted that he heard talk of PED’s but wrote nothing. Flash forward a decade and you have a guy who is average at best suddenly busting out in his 7th big league season… You hear about PED’s and this player linked… You HAVE to ask. That’s your job. Of course, if it really was nothing but some unsubstantiated crap on twitter, and he wasn’t asking privately the it’s unprofessional and I get that. Is that all it was really?

  35. @Jeffrey – i used to be openly critical of Baggerly and his Gnats homerism as often times he was a direct sounding board for Gnats management. So it wouldn’t surprise me if someone “leaked” this to him. It’s really uncharacteristic of him to call out anything negative on the Gnats. But To be honest though, after the while debacle with McGwire (who was my childhood idle) and PEDs, I started to be immune to these types if rumors. Then upon learning of Giambi, then later Tejada, nothing surprises me anymore.

  36. Anon, I said no such thing. What does the tweet indicate about the Giants mindset? are you saying that the Giants think Melky is on PEDs and if so, why?
    Jeffrey, all of us hardcore baseball fans knew about the steroid speculation with the 1989 A’s, the 1993 Phillies, Brady Anderson…We just didn’t care therefore the media didn’t care. No one gave a crap so it didn’t matter. The bogus outrage by fans and the media about PEDs was a reaction to the steroid hysteria which was mostly media hype. Blind speculation based on improvement is lame and FWIW, Melky is 27 which is a year younger than what is considered the age that usually signifies the beginning of a player’s peak and he is on pace to have less HR than he had last year.
    I don’t mind message board posters ignorantly speculating on PED use but I expect more from those that sell themselves as journalists.

    Someone just tweeted something about Baggarly getting arrested today fin Kiddie Porn charges, Baggarly reportedly denies itt.

  37. @ Ted – you’re such a Gnats homer, it’s really pointless debating, much less trying to explain it to you. Let’s just see how it all plays out by yeras end and if he gets extended or not and what the Gnats brass has to say about it.

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