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DRaysBay and the Ivory Tower


(UPDATE: I received an email from both RJ Anderson and Tommy Rancel. I had a very positive correspondence with both gentlemen. I want to thank them for taking the time to respond and I hope to meet both soon.)

I’ve written about DRaysBay before. For those that don’t know, they are the premier statistical analysis blog on the Tampa Bay Rays. Although I love their analysis and their work, I think they are the most condescending bunch of bloggers in the Tampa Bay blogosphere.

Back in December of 2008, I wrote about their inability to see baseball from the perspective of the common fan. I wrote that they had a “‘holier than thou’ attitude towards the casual fan”. I hoped maybe they would grow up and wake up to the fact that not every fan wants to be burdened with understanding advanced statistics. For some fans, if the team loses – no matter how great the players performed – it was a disappointing day at the ballpark.

I was highly encouraged and thought they were turning over a new leaf when I read this post about a game one of the writers attended with his little daughter. The writer even said he “rediscovered” the game.

Alas, my optimism was short lived. Not two months later, the DRaysBay writers retreated to their Ivory Tower, where “average” fans are not acknowledged.

(I know I am lumping them all together. FreeZorilla wrote the piece on the game with his daughter. The site has four or five other writers.)

My ire was once again provoked earlier this week, by this exclusionary comment by friend of the site, Jonah Keri. While writing about much maligned Rays outfielder BJ Upton, Keri told DRaysBay readers:

The big “news” tomorrow on mainstream sites will be about B.J. Upton being lazy or combative or a bad teammate or whatever other euphemism writers want to use. Don’t listen to any of it.

Doesn’t that sound condescending? Like Keri is some preacher telling his followers not to acknowledge the mindless ramblings of other sites. Keri and his truth will lead the way.

Then, only a few days later, R.J. Anderson commented about another post on the SBNation site written by fellow Tampa Bay blogger Clark Brooks.

I don’t really know who Clark Brooks is, but he says here he’s done defending B.J. Upton. I’m not. It’s easier to defend people when their performance is measured in every imaginable way and it’s not about page hits or links.

Well, RJ, I have met Clark. He seemed like a pretty normal guy. He is also quite funny, if you have ever read his work. Unfortunately, it’s easy to not know your fellow writers when you don’t show up to networking events

Do you know where I met Clark?

At a recent SBNation meet-up, where writers of the Tampa Bay sports sites were at the Tampa Bay Brewing Company to meet with each other and some of their readers. According to the post on the meet-up, writers from the Bucs site were there as well as writers from the Lightning site.

Where were the DRaysBay guys? Not there. Not one. I know some of them don’t live in the Tampa Bay area, and that’s understandable. But am I to believe one of the most popular Rays sites on the web has zero writers living in the Tampa Bay area? They even posted an invite on their site, although they failed to say they would be represented.

That’s poor. Or as the kids say, that’s a “FAIL”.

Maybe they have a collective problem with meeting the people who enjoy their work. Are they scared their readers will be obsessive groupies like the bloggers mentioned in this article about a recent sports blog convention?

As anyone who has met me before can attest, I am far from a writer groupie. If I like your work, I’ll tell you. If you like mine, I hope you’ll tell me as well. Maybe we can even take in a beer or two and talk shop. As most people who work in social media will attest, person-to-person relationships mean much more than any blog post or twitter conversation.

Therefore, in conclusion, Erik Hahmann, Tommy Rancel, RJ Anderson, and the rest of the DRaysBay crew, I am calling you out. I dare you to get out of your ivory tower, back away from the spreadsheets, and join me for a beer at the Trop sometime.


7 comments on DRaysBay and the Ivory Tower

  1. Right on Jordi, you nailed it on the head. It’s too funny that you mentioned this, as there is always lots of talk about their short sighted thoughts about process, instead of process not always obtaining results. They all act condescending, yet how many of them actually attend games and understand the “feel” of the game, the common sense, the hustle, etc. Using stats and spreadsheets are great to analyze some data, but those same sheets can be used to twist the reality of the game and the game results. Niemann/Shields argument is one of the perfect examples of why the process doesn’t always get results. Thanks for writing it like it is. I’d have a beer with you at a game and talk baseball the whole time, as that is half the fun of the game. I’m there at all of them, never miss a game

  2. I think we talked about this long ago when we met up at Doak, Jordi. You’re dead on with some bloggers and writers elitist attitudes. Obviously, it’s not just limited to SB Nation bloggers, but I have seen it as a trend there for some odd reason.

    Case-in-point, Amazin’ Avenue, SB Nation Mets blog. They have an unhealthy hatred of Matthew Cerrone and that I don’t understand. On top of that they throw up the same graph centric post about pitchers after every game. It’s repetitive crap.

    I love stats and I understand the value of them, but it doesn’t explain everything about the game (as you well know) and more often than not they expose the biases of the writer / blogger against any outcome they wish to avoid.

  3. Or you know, maybe it’s because we hate SBN.

    There is little desire to participate in an SBN event when SBN_Tampa Bay picks and chooses its “Editors Picks”, most of which belong to Rays Index. A non-SBN site. Take a look at SBN_Tampa Bay, there is maybe 2 or 3 Draysbay links provided and all of them aren’t from our head writers.

    This whole article is short-sighted and elitist. Pot meet kettle.

    And no, Jonah’s excerpt doesn’t sound elitist to me.

  4. I don’t know about the DRB guys but there was no chance in hell I was going to attend that SB Nation Meetup as it was scheduled at the same time as a Rays home game. I went to the home game.

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