As the news of the Schuerholz interview filters out over the Internet, I can't help but read the comments some "readers" make.
First of all, let me preface my remarks by saying that 99% of the people who read and comment on an interview are very appreciative, and if they offer criticism, it's constructive. However, that other 1%...
I am not a professional journalist nor do I pretend to be one. I write for TalkingChop and run Baseball Digest Daily because I love the game, am a huge fan, and enjoy interacting with professional baseball players and administrators. My goal is to provide other fans a little insight into what goes on behind the scenes and what others are thinking...perhaps a little something we don't already know.
I often hear the same comments or questions from the critics. Why didn't you ask the hard questions? How come you were so easy on him? Or, how come you can get an interview with a Major League GM and I can't? You misspelled one word or left out a comma...what is wrong with you?
I hesitated about writing this piece because I've become numb to these comments lately, and they don't bother me nearly as much as they used to. But I felt like it was time to get this off my chest.
I have been writing baseball articles and conducting interviews for a few years now. I didn't just wake up one day, call John Schuerholz, and tell him he needs to talk to me. No, instead, I built an attractive web site focusing on baseball news and statistics. I started with the minor leagues just like most people. I called teams and wrote to their PR people. If I was ignored, I tried again, and again, and again. I formed alliances with people like John Sickels and Kevin Goldstein (of Baseball America) who gave me some tips and pointers. Of course, I also got lucky on a few occasions and landed some prominent interviews. But the bottom line is I worked hard to get to this point. It didn't happen overnight.
Now...for those of you who criticize me for not asking the tough questions, let me address you. What exactly is a tough question? A controversial one? If that's what you're after, then you're reading the wrong material. I'm not interested in creating controversy or trying to uncover whether or not there are aliens in the Atlanta Braves locker room. If I can get even one smidge of information from an interview that people have yet to hear, then I have done my job. And in most cases, I get a lot more than one.
Besides, if you just landed your first interview with Bill James, John Schuerholz, or Billy Beane, and they really don't know you at all, would you start drilling them with "tough" questions? Do you think they'd be interested in talking to you again? You have to play the game. You gradually work up a trust with these guys. As they become more comfortable with you, then you start to dig deeper.
Arranging interviews takes a lot of work and extreme sensitivity. It took nearly four months and dozens of phone calls and emails to nail down the interview with John Schuerholz. These guys don't have to give us their time. They do it because they are being gracious.
All I ask is that you take the content for what it is...more information. If I misspelled a word or left out a comma, I apologize, but unfortunately I don't have an editor. Most of the time I find myself writing at 1:00 AM after working a 14 hour day at my "real" job. There are times when my grammar may not be 100% correct. But, it's darn near close most of the time.
I guess there will always be critics, and that's fine. Nobody is forcing anyone to read my articles. If that 1% wants to continue to post negative comments that add nothing to the discussion, that's their prerogative. I know I have done my part in trying to enhance our understanding of this game and the people who play it.