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westofyou
01-23-2009, 12:41 AM
http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/sports/columnists.nsf/berniemiklasz/story/BCB2AFE4D47A8C23862575460015C0FB?OpenDocument


Cardinals' GM Mozeliak fires back at flippant fan online
By Bernie Miklasz
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Thursday, Jan. 22 2009
What happens when a baseball general manager enters the Internet jungle?

Debating topics on the online chats and forums can be a full-contact sport.

I should know; I've been hosting "Bernie's Press Box" on STLtoday.com for
nearly 10 years. And it can get rough. We keep it civil on my forum, and I
appreciate exchanging comments with about 90 percent of the regulars who visit.
And they regularly educate and enlighten me. We've developed a good online
community. But the hack-a-Shaq strategy does come into play at times. If I'm
fouled, I'll take the free throws and keep hanging in there. But on the other
end, I also contest layups. No freebies. I'll do what I have to do. Which
usually means zinging an insult right back.

Hard fouls? Sure. This ain't supposed to be something out of Miss Manners. If
you're going to set up shop on the Internet to truly interact with readers,
then you should try to keep it real, and spontaneous. And sports fans like to
bust on each other. It's no worse than the discourse we have in our culture
over politics and religion.

Besides, what's the point of offering vanilla, homogenized answers? If that's
the plan, just stay up in the ivory tower where it's safe, where you can look
down on everyone, where you can avoid being held accountable.

But I'm just a lowly sportswriter.

I never claimed to have any class.

In the Internet jungle, my No. 1 law is to treat others as they treat you. If
you want to be friendly, I can do that. If you want to be rough, then let's go.

But what happens if a GM comes onto the website and is dissed by a critic?

In John Mozeliak's case, he cracked back.

Wednesday, the Cardinals GM hosted an online chat at STLtoday.com. He does this
several times a year, and I admire that. You don't see many GMs in the four
major sports leagues step up to give fans unrestricted access on the Internet,
where the questions come from anonymous individuals. It's easy to take free
shots at the GM of the Cardinals when you're hiding behind the cover of
anonymity.

Mozeliak doesn't shield himself; he insists that tough questions be included.
If they're asked in a reasonably civil way, he'll answer in the same manner.
But from where I sit, if someone is determined to be rude to Mozeliak just for
the sake of being boorish, then Mozeliak has no obligation to accept that.

When this happened Wednesday, Mozeliak went with the old-fashioned knockdown
pitch.

A questioner the intelligently named I Hate Bill DeWitt!! crowded
Mozeliak's plate with this one:

"Please describe what it's like living in your little land of make believe
where you honestly believe that Cardinal fans should be excited about this
team. If you wouldn't mind, go into details, about how in Mo's world people are
celebrating three horrible new lefty relievers, and the signing of our awesome
new .213 hitting shortstop."

OK, so if you're Mozeliak, how do you handle this?

He could have been a phony, giving a saccharine answer straight from Eddie
Haskell on the old "Leave It to Beaver" TV show.

Instead, Mozeliak reacted by throwing one high and tight.

Using some acceptable chat room shorthand, he wrote:

"First, I rather live in my world then yours ... it is sunny out today? No
you're right, it is 30 something degrees, my girl friend dumped me, and my car
won't start. First, it is not (that) we stink (unless you ask yourself these
questions in the mirror). We make decisions based on scouts, stats, and other
information. If we thought (shortstop Khalil) Greene was going to hit .213 we
would not, I repeat, not make the deal. Go back to your world, and I hope by
midsummer you're ready to come out for air."

I know some of you will disapprove of Mozeliak's tone.

The GM of the Cardinals should be a gentleman at all times, right?

Heck, no. I thought his response was hilarious and appropriate. It showed me
that he was a human being and not some politically correct automaton. Besides,
why should Mozeliak take gratuitous shots from someone hiding behind a fake
Internet name?

As custom, Mozeliak tries to answer to anyone who is hacked off at ownership's
policies on payroll and trades. You may not like the way Mozeliak does his job,
and you may not approve of his answers, but he does not hide. He answers
reporters' calls, he does these chats, he's frequently on radio or TV. He puts
up with a lot. It's his job.

That said, we must ask: When Mozeliak makes himself available, what are the
boundaries? It's easy to express dissent and ask challenging questions without
being rude. But the Internet because it ensures that protection of anonymity
emboldens the occasional bonehead to try to embarrass the GM instead of
asking a pointed, straight-up question.

This time, when a pretend tough guy got in Mozeliak's face, the GM rightfully
observed the laws of the Internet jungle: He put the chump in his place.

Tom Servo
01-23-2009, 12:51 AM
I saw this on Deadspin. There was also this exchange at the end from that same guy:

I Hate Bill Dewitt!!: Hey Johnny- After this are you going to go into the yahoo teen chat room, and talk about designer clothes, and playing spin the bottle. GO DO SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE LOSER!!!! Other G.M's are working on deals, don't you get it!!

John Mozeliak: Clever, and with that I will sign off big guy.

*BaseClogger*
01-23-2009, 12:54 AM
I don't know about you guys, but I'd rather be Mozeliak...

BCubb2003
01-23-2009, 12:55 AM
Wait, that can't be the Cardinals. I thought the Reds were the one with the hole at short and a GM who didn't make any offseason moves.

dougdirt
01-23-2009, 12:59 AM
Great response by the GM. That fan is a tool. Greene was a very good pick up for them.

RedsManRick
01-23-2009, 01:09 AM
:thumbup:

Mario-Rijo
01-23-2009, 04:56 AM
Oh man, priceless! :D

lollipopcurve
01-23-2009, 08:07 AM
I don't know about you guys, but I'd rather be Mozeliak...

I Hate Bill DeWitt probably would, too.

RFS62
01-23-2009, 08:26 AM
Alright. Which one of you guys is I Hate Bill DeWitt?

Ltlabner
01-23-2009, 08:43 AM
Alright. Which one of you guys is I Hate Bill DeWitt?

I'm going out a limb and saying it's not FCB.

Johnny Footstool
01-23-2009, 10:34 AM
Good response, but I don't get the "I know some of you will disapprove of Mozeliak's tone" bit in the article. The comment was clean, and barely insulting at all.

RedlegJake
01-23-2009, 10:47 AM
Good response, but I don't get the "I know some of you will disapprove of Mozeliak's tone" bit in the article. The comment was clean, and barely insulting at all.

It wasn't a canned remark. As innocuous as it was Mozeliak does something almost no GM in any sport does (as the writer pointed out). Can you imagine if Jocketty would come on Redszone chat? Just the fact he would do that is a major prop for Mo in reaching out to Cards country. The remark was surprising to some because anyone connected with a team is supposed to be all nice all the time when talking with fans. .

Roy Tucker
01-23-2009, 10:58 AM
Good response, but I don't get the "I know some of you will disapprove of Mozeliak's tone" bit in the article. The comment was clean, and barely insulting at all.


I agree. A little snark, but wholly deserved. I thought it was going to be like Phil Savage's email.

If I ask a question to a MLB GM or other exec, I might make the question pointed, but I'll keep the tone at least respectful.

So when are we getting Walt Jocketty on here? ;)

Heath
01-23-2009, 11:06 AM
When did Raisor become the Card GM?

Johnny Footstool
01-23-2009, 11:13 AM
It wasn't a canned remark. As innocuous as it was Mozeliak does something almost no GM in any sport does (as the writer pointed out). Can you imagine if Jocketty would come on Redszone chat? Just the fact he would do that is a major prop for Mo in reaching out to Cards country. The remark was surprising to some because anyone connected with a team is supposed to be all nice all the time when talking with fans. .

I agree that it is surprising and refreshing. I just don't think it's all that controversial. I guess I was expecting a profanity-laced tirade. Maybe I'm jaded...

flyer85
01-23-2009, 11:15 AM
I guess hoping for a substantive discussion of the merits(or lack thereof) of Khalil Greene is asking for too much.

TOBTTReds
01-23-2009, 11:18 AM
I was hoping for a little more "Phil Savage-esque" response, like "Go root for the Cubs." Though there was something else in their before he said "Go root for Buffalo."

http://deadspin.com/5093632/browns-gm-phil-savage-responds-to-email-hecklers-swiftly-but-not-very-politely

I(heart)Freel
01-23-2009, 11:56 AM
It wasn't a canned remark. As innocuous as it was Mozeliak does something almost no GM in any sport does (as the writer pointed out). Can you imagine if Jocketty would come on Redszone chat? Just the fact he would do that is a major prop for Mo in reaching out to Cards country. The remark was surprising to some because anyone connected with a team is supposed to be all nice all the time when talking with fans. .

It's been awhile... and I'm not sure Walt has done it yet... but Cincinnati.com has had chats with Reds GMs fairly recently. I know I was able to ask O'Brien a question or two. (The wrong ones, as it turned out.)

Falls City Beer
01-23-2009, 12:14 PM
Really, I kind of thought it was a BS response. And not all that articulate.

Chip R
01-23-2009, 12:19 PM
I guess hoping for a substantive discussion of the merits(or lack thereof) of Khalil Greene is asking for too much.


Perhaps if he'd have rephrased the question along those lines he'd have got a better answer.

Unassisted
01-23-2009, 12:27 PM
I'm not sure that I would prefer having Jim Rome as a GM to George Grande. When it comes time to sit across the table from a player and his agent and discuss a deal, I think I'd rather see my favorite team have an old-school positive guy to a smack artist.

NJReds
01-23-2009, 01:43 PM
I think it's a good idea for GMs, managers and players to open up for chats with fans.

It's unfortunate that things like this get ruined by immature dolts who hide behind the anonymity of the Internet to act tough and approach people in a way that they never would in a face-to-face situation.

NJReds
01-23-2009, 01:44 PM
I guess hoping for a substantive discussion of the merits(or lack thereof) of Khalil Greene is asking for too much.

He could have asked: "Why did the Cardinals acquire Green to play SS when he only hit .213 last year?"

I guess courtesy is too much to ask for.

Falls City Beer
01-23-2009, 01:54 PM
I think it's a good idea for GMs, managers and players to open up for chats with fans.

It's unfortunate that things like this get ruined by immature dolts who hide behind the anonymity of the Internet to act tough and approach people in a way that they never would in a face-to-face situation.

Yeah, it was a stupidly worded question, but I'm not sure it warranted an even stupider response.

Highlifeman21
01-23-2009, 06:38 PM
When did Raisor become the Card GM?

I didn't see him refer to any Nobel prizes, though...

... or creating the Pythagorian Record equation, for that matter...

Raisor
01-24-2009, 09:53 AM
When did Raisor become the Card GM?

I've been waiting for the right moment to tell everyone.

Raisor
01-24-2009, 09:53 AM
I didn't see him refer to any Nobel prizes, though...

... or creating the Pythagorian Record equation, for that matter...

It's not like I mention them EVERY day.

lollipopcurve
01-24-2009, 10:14 AM
It's unfortunate that things like this get ruined by immature dolts who hide behind the anonymity of the Internet to act tough and approach people in a way that they never would in a face-to-face situation.

100% agreed.
But he can go back to his neighborhood of masked Internet buddies and brag about it all summer.

remdog
01-25-2009, 04:21 AM
I find it intresting that many posters here come down against the internet guy yet complain that Fay, Cunningham, Doc, etc. lob softballs to Castallini, Jockettey, Baker, et al.

Honestly, there are some hard/awkward, penetrating questions that need to be asked of Reds management as we endure the 'Lost Decade'. And frankly, I don't care if they come across as 'rude' because Reds management has been treating their fans (collectively) as 'Rube' for a pretty long time now.

Enough of the 'spinning'. Time for some straight talk and if it takes being rude to get your attention and an honest answer then so be it.

Rem

Unassisted
01-25-2009, 11:53 AM
Enough of the 'spinning'. Time for some straight talk and if it takes being rude to get your attention and an honest answer then so be it.
Your point is a good one. The problem is that Mozeliak's answer was snarky, but it wasn't particularly candid, or "honest" as you put it. What we'd all like to see is more candor, but the main drawback to candor from a GM is its negative effect on what teams pay for players or give up in trades.

Candor also leads to hard feelings from players on the team's payroll when the GM publicly admits their shortcomings. That's probably the main reason that sportswriters aren't as candid as we'd like them to be. Beat writers who anger star players or clubhouse whisperers by being too critical of them in print can count on less juicy interview quotes from them.

Candor is the vein of gold in which unencumbered Internet places like RedsZone reside. :)

NJReds
01-25-2009, 04:36 PM
Enough of the 'spinning'. Time for some straight talk and if it takes being rude to get your attention and an honest answer then so be it.

Rem

If the guy was face-to-face with the guy, do you think he would've phrased his question like that. Probably not. There's a difference between asking a tough question and being a disrespectful, cowardly jerk.

remdog
01-25-2009, 05:54 PM
If the guy was face-to-face with the guy, do you think he would've phrased his question like that. Probably not. There's a difference between asking a tough question and being a disrespectful, cowardly jerk.

Mozeliak responded in kind so I think it was even. (famous shrug).

Frankly, I'm a little more thick-skinned than most of the people on this board. I can handle insults. Mo should know that if he opens himself to this channel of communication that he's very likely to get some messages like that. If ya' can't stand the grit, don't play in the sandbox.

Yes, boys and girls, it's not always a perfect world out there. Either you can deal with it or you can't. Personally, I thought Mozeliak was OK to respond in that manner and the whole thing should have been called a draw and let's go on our way. I just don't see the OP as being the 'bad guy' here.

Rem

remdog
01-25-2009, 07:14 PM
If the guy was face-to-face with the guy, do you think he would've phrased his question like that. Probably not. There's a difference between asking a tough question and being a disrespectful, cowardly jerk.

NJReds: I've been thinking about this comment, and not just from you but from others, about 'would someone phrase a question like that if he was face-to-face'. I have to answer YES!

I work for a fortune 500 company that deals with the public. We are the highest rated service company in our industry. My job is to go out into the community, all over the southwest, and invite people to come to our resort. I've been doing this for the last eight years and, while the number of incidents are low on a percentage basis, I sometimes do have people that have issues that get in my face and speak in a challenging manner that what the OP did in the Mozeliack situation. I, and the company, have trained myself to listen intently to these people. Try to understand exactly what their problem or issue is and then try to respond in a manner that will make them feel better about the company when they leave my pressence. In eight years I've never gotten a complaint about my reaction to them but I have gotten numerous thank you notes.

These are very stressful times; people are losing their jobs, their homes, their life. Baseball provides an escape for many of these people and, for that, basebal should be thankful. Mozeliak, IMO, needs to understand that, on an internet board, hes going to be challenged. I give him credit for doing it but if he can't handle the heat then he should walk away instead of dissing a fan.

Just my opinion, of course but, re your original question: yes, people in a face to face situation are just as abrupt as the web poster.

Rem

Sea Ray
01-25-2009, 10:24 PM
I think the the author of this article accurately described sports forums on the net.

My question is this: If this exchange happened on RZ do you think the Cardinals GM would have received a warning notice in his mailbox? My guess is yes.

remdog
01-25-2009, 10:31 PM
I think the the author of this article accurately described sports forums on the net.

My question is this: If this exchange happened on RZ do you think the Cardinals GM would have received a warning notice in his mailbox? My guess is yes.

I would second that opinion. :lol:

Rem

kpresidente
01-26-2009, 07:36 AM
If the guy was face-to-face with the guy, do you think he would've phrased his question like that. Probably not. There's a difference between asking a tough question and being a disrespectful, cowardly jerk.

The beauty of the internet is that people say what they actually think without so much fear of social reprimand. Every coin has two sides. What you call disrespectful and cowardly is also the fuel that feeds the herd mentality.