Thursday, August 10, 2006


I never make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinions I have no respect.

Edward Gibbon

I, on the other hand, only wish I was that smart.

I've been away from 'teh intraweb' for a while, and the process of becoming familiar with it again, as with just about anything in life that you've been away from for a while and have to get re-acquainted with, sometimes feels like putting on old clothes and feeling the odd places where your current body isn't shaped the same as your old one.

As I noted in the previous entry, Contrarian Bias used to be a baseball blog, specifically a Twins blog. As such, I used to read a lot of the other Twins blogs out there, and 'contribute' to their differing communities by responding. There has to be a time when I enjoyed this give-and-take, the exchange of ideas, the contest of competing worldviews.

Because looking at it now, it just seems to me that people have just gotten a lot dumber and a lot more intellectually dishonest since I've come back. Or maybe they've always been that way, but I simply didn't notice before.

Cases in point:

On Twinkie Town, the spiritual successor to, I made the following observation regarding Francisco Liriano and his injury history, throwing in some additional tidbits as well:

That would be my worry as well. And don't take Gardy's energetic assertion that it's just a 'muscle problem' as any consolation: as pointed out in the original Crystal Ball thread on Liriano on John Sickels's site (, Liriano had a strained latissimus dorsi in 2003 that limited him to nine innings of work in the Giants' organization that season.

The good news is that the injury in and of itself doesn't end his career; other pitchers have dealt with chronic lat issues and still managed to pitch effectively. (Tim Hudson and Rich Harden are examples pointed out in that thread on Sickels's site.) The bad news is that, like plantar fasciitis for a fielder/hitter, muscle issues for a pitcher tend to be chronic, never really go away, and can flare up without a lot of warning. Two hundred innings a year and a Hall of Fame career seem pretty unlikely for Liriano right now, though admittely anything is still possible.

Some lambent wit calling himself 'AdamOnFirst' responded thus:


The latissimus dorsi isn;'t anywhere near the elbow...

And taking away his hall of fame career and 200 IP a year seems a bit ahead at this point.

Are they really not teaching reading comprehension in schools anymore, or is it all evolution, intelligent design, and 'teaching the controversy'? I'll admit that my use of 'the injury' in my second paragraph is somewhat vague, and that following it up with a discussion of various successful pitchers with latissimus dorsi injuries might lead one to believe I was suggesting that Liriano's current injury is a 'lat' injury. Sure, I could have made it clearer that, while pointing out that Liriano missed nearly an entire season with a specific muscle injury, I was referring to the problems Liriano would likely face even if Gardenhire's energetic assertion that Liriano's injury was a muscle injury rather than an elbow injury was true. But is it really that hard to just read what I wrote, as opposed to responding to something imaginary?

Even more frustrating, no pitcher is assured a Hall of Fame career, and certainly not one who has now suffered three serious pitching-related injuries in five years. The idea that Francisco Liriano was assured a place in the Hall of Fame after his first nineteen starts of his big-league career, or after his first four big-league starts last year, or even more ridiculously, before he even pitched in the major leagues but had one brilliant season between AA and AAA...well, I'd be laughing if the idea wasn't so widespread.

But this is the internet we're talking about, where ignorance can be found more easily than porn. No, the thing that really got me steamed was a deliberate piece of intellectual dishonesty from someone who should have known better.

In the comments for this piece on, I noted this:

I've been seeing a lot of comments (at least two in this thread, for example) about how Terry Ryan needs to go out and acquire 'a quality third baseman' for the 2007 season.

The comment sounds reasonable, but my problem with it is that TR can't go out and acquire some amorphous 'quality third baseman'; he's got to acquire an actual player.

So my question for the 'quality third baseman' guys is this: who, precisely, are you recommending as that player?

Interestingly enough, a few of the regulars took up the gauntlet and suggested the Cubs' Aramis Ramirez or the Marlins' Miguel Cabrera, both of which I'd consider good responses to my original query. Aaron, however, responded with this:

Here's an incomplete list of potential free agent third basemen (or other infielders who could play third base): Aubrey Huff, Joe Randa, Ronnie Belliard, Todd Walker, Mark DeRosa, Rich Aurilia, Ray Durham, Mark Loretta, David Bell, Aaron Boone, Pedro Feliz, Wes Helms, Tony Graffanino.

I'm sure I'm missing quite a few guys, and of course the Twins could also go after someone via trade. (Or they could keep Punto at third base, but that's not what you were asking.)

Now, trying to give Aaron the maximum benefit of the doubt, guys like Rich Aurilia and Ray Durham would make interesting acquisitions, and it would make for an interesting discussion as to whether these guys would fit the definition of 'quality third baseman' that I, admittedly didn't provide (though since I hadn't invented the phrase, either, I was assuming that the others using that phrase understood better what it meant than I did).

But note that's not what Aaron did here - instead of saying "in addition to the guys previously mentioned, I'd add Rich Aurilia and Ray Durham, and I'm sure there are other guys who might become free agents who we don't know about yet," Aaron basically produced a laundry-list of players, the only commonality being that each could conceivably play third base and each of whom would be available as a free agent after the 2006 season, and most of whom couldn't in any circumstance be described as 'quality third basemen'. (Mouth's friend L is a Royals fan - hey L, you remember Tony Graffanino, right? Would you consider him a 'quality third baseman'?)

Basically, this is the equivalent of sitting around with a bunch of friends talking about going out to get 'good pizza', asking 'hey, guys, we can't just get some amorphous 'good pizza' - where are we going to order from?' and having one friend start listing Dominos, Pizza Hut, Little Caesar's, etc. Except that if this actually happened, you'd have to take it as a joke, wouldn't you?

Whatever Aaron may be, ignorant isn't among them. Heck, the man even attended journalism school for a while. So taking this content-free response, plus the topper of the 'not what you were asking' comment when Aaron basically made no effort to answer the question I was actually asking, the only conclusion I can reach is that Aaron is being deliberately intellectually dishonest, for no better reason than to score points on his own blog.

Nice. Real nice.

Leaving comments on baseball blogs doesn't fit me all that well anymore, and it's itchy to boot. I really have to consider throwing it out.

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