Friday, July 24, 2009

Dick Griffin should spare us his amateur theatrics

For most of this season, we'd totally shut Richard Griffin out of our mind and out of our life.

Sure, he's the baseball beat writer for the daily newspaper with the largest circulation in Toronto and, indeed, in all of Canada. But that doesn't make his petty ramblings informative, enlightening, or even the slightest bit entertaining.

Reading Dick Griff is a lot like listening to a drunk blowhard loutalker at the end of the bar who has lots of opinions and conspiracy theories to share. Mostly, though, they offer up a pathetic defense of their own shortcomings and a litany of excuses for why they've ended up at the end of the bar, a sodden mess.

Having said that, I really should not have been as shocked as I was to read Griffin's post on his "blog" yesterday, wherein he alleges that J.P. Ricciardi and the Blue Jays organization have begun a preemptive public relations campaign against Roy Halladay. The accusation stems from J.P.'s clarifications to reporters on a statement that he made on Wednesdays's edition of Jim Rome is Burning, where he stated that Doc has already indicated his intention to file for free agency.

"The first salvo has been fired in the battle to sully Halladay's image as a loyal soldier," Griff writes with wisened gravitas.

What a pathetic load of horseshit. What an absurd attempt to create tension and melodrama where none exisits. What a huckster.

Griffin would probably have you believe that the many years that he put in as the PR guy for the Expos (in case anyone forgot) makes him hip to J.P.'s jive. Griff would have you believe that his impecable qualifications as a one-time professional sophist has provided him with the insight into the cynical mindset of the man in the GM's seat, for whom he has never had a generous word.

It's Griffin's bile and inanities that have come screaming out of the radio through the voices of simple-minded JaysTalk callers for much of the past eight years, as the repeat verbatim the infinite fatuous judgements Griffin has cast out - all with the benefit of hindsight, mind you - on J.P.'s record. "Five year plans"...always, the talk of the "Five year plans."

But now this: To insinuate that the Jays are playing a game to win the hearts and minds of the fanbase by casting aspersions at the most beloved player. Really?

Could anybody even fathom that such a thing would work?And moreover, could anyone imagine that the Jays' braintrust would think that tarring their most morally upright citizen would be a reasonable PR strategy? It seems as though Griffin could read that scenario into this (and out of nothing), but mostly because his assumption is that J.P. and all who surround him are bumbling idiots who aren't smart enough to have mastered the flack's craft.

The thing about what J.P. said on Rome and reiterated to Mike Wilner on the Fan 590 was that it really wasn't particularly dramatic. If you were observant enough, you could see that Halladay's intention to leave sooner or later was something that went unsaid, laying just beneath the surface all along.

If J.P. is to be castigated for anything, it would be revealing that Halladay will likely be on the free agent market regardless in 18 months. Ricciardi's flaw has always been that he's not nearly guarded enough in what he says publicly and to the media, and revealing Halladay's intentions could serve to lessen his leverage in these crucial days.

Does that sound like the work of an evil genius PR practitioner to you?

More defending J.P. (Joanna, you should probably stop reading here.)
Griffin insists that Halladay may have stayed if the Jays had proven that they were serious about winning. What he forgets to mention is that some of the worst moves that J.P. has made in recent years were completely about creating that impression. The single worst move that J.P. has made (likely pushed by Paul Godfrey) was to sign Venon Wells to a spectacular contract that would demonstrate to the fans, the team and to other players that the Jays were committed to keeping their talent, competing with the Yanks and Sox and ultimately winning.

But here's the thing: In an ideal world, J.P. already has assembled the makings of a team that could compete. If the Jays' rotation had not been decimated to the extent that it has been over the past 12 months, we would ideally be looking at a rotation of Halladay, McGowan, Marcum, Litsch and possibly Romero, with plenty of depth from which Ricciardi could have dealt to bring in help for the bullpen or offense. Instead, a patchwork rotation has been assembled, made up of players who barely registered with most Jays fans last year at this time.

I know these all read like excuses. Maybe it's just that I feel sorry for the Jays' front office these days. It's a lot more difficult to piece together a winning baseball team than it is to sit back and pull it apart after the fact.


Anonymous said...

Really dug this post. A bit of metered cool-headedness in a sea of sensational reporting. Nice goin'.

furcifer said...

Good job.

I'm going to be there tonight, cheering on Doc as the loyal soldier.

Christopher said...

Except that Halladay was clearly upset when told about J.P's comments.

I don't think J.P is trying to tar and feather Roy but he is definitely trying to assuage the impending public relations backlash for when Roy is traded (and without a doubt Roy will be traded).

Christopher said...

BTW, not that his opinion counts for more then anyone else but Stoeten said that Griffin was bang on.

Anonymous said...

Extremely well said.

furcifer said...

I think I speak for a lot of people when I say Fuck Stoeten.

Joanna said...

Griffin is a blowhard, but he has some valid points in this.

And why exactly are you going after Griffin when JP is saying the shit he is saying?

And why do you feel sorry for the head office? Boo fucking hoo.

The Ack said...

Glad you went there, Tao, because I would have teed one up in a much less eloquent fashion if you hadn't over the weekend on the very same article.

So, let me get this straight....Ricciardi is a prick for looking at dealing Doc when it's generally agreed he should be signed to an extension.....but Ricciardi is a prick for informing us that signing Doc to an extension was never going to happen.

JP is telling the truth! What an asshole for not covering!

JP isn't telling the truth! What a lying asshole!

QJays said...

The first thing I thought when I read the JP comments was exactly what Griffin says he was doing -- I'm not saying JP necessarily meant it that way, but the optics are pretty much all there. It's fine to say that JP was just making a mistake - he does that too - but if he gave any thought whatsoever to what he was going to say (and the fact that he tried to make it sound like he'd said it before, which clearly he hadn't), then I have to say Dick's version is a credible one.

Tao of Stieb said...

I'm not sure if Halladay was upset because of J.P.'s comments, or if he was upset because he had a mob of media tattle tales running to pester him.

"Didja hear what J.P. said Doc? Didja hear? Huh? Didja? Whaddaya think, Doc? Huh? Whaddaya think about all that, eh?"

Haven't read Stoeten's post yet, but would enjoy seeing his rationale. He doesn't just blindly agree with Griffin, so I'm sure he'll have an interesting take on this.

Plus, I wrote this post in a bit of a blind rage, so I'm sure that I'll think differently on it once I've had some time to digest everything.

Side note: I know that for some weird reason, people think that there should be some sort of feud between myself and the DJF. But really, I'm a big fan of all three of them. They've changed my mind on a few things over the years, and they are still one of the first two or three sites that I read every morning. I got no beef with them.


I feel sorry for the front office because I think that people don't appreciate the complexity and the unpredictability of the work that they do.

And I really don't think that anyone in the front office is relishing the idea that they have to send the team's most valuable asset out the door.

Whatever. If people hate J.P., then hold tight because he is likely gone in a few months, and you can all give big sloppy kisses to the new guy for two days before you start ripping him a new one.

The Ack said...


I kid, I kid. Good dudes, good readin'.

Christopher said...

Tao, let me say I am very disappointed my Tao T-Shirt will not be ready for signage from the Man himself on the Back2Back celebration day...

Gotta agree with Joanna about not feeling sorry for the front office; especially J.P. It's a tough job but he makes millions doing it. Plus as JP has said continually, the job is not his be all end all; his family is, etc etc.

Plus the mixed messages coming out of the front office is ridiculous. It sounds like there is no communication between Beeston and Ricciardi. One day Ricciardi is saying they don't have the resources to sign Halladay and the next day Beeston says they can spend as much as Boston if they want and he is going to talk to Halladay about an extension. Then J.P says Doc has already told them he is going to test free agency.

I just want the truth damnit!!

eyebleaf said...

Christopher: Remember, public relations aren't Ricciardi's forte.

Thank you, Tao, for this. Spot fucking on.

Joanna said...

except it's not.

eyebleaf said...

Joanna: You don't think Griffin was waiting on that bullshit post he wrote? The man has hated J.P. for years. What he wrote was complete and utter bullshit. Everyone knew Halladay wasn't going to re-sign; that's why this whole process is happening. Finally J.P. says it, in those words, even though he said on July 8th in the New York Post that he didn't think they'd be able to keep Doc from free agency a third time, and shit hits the fan. It's absurd. The Jays have more important things to worry about, like the future of their franchise, than to start meaningless P.R. games about the one guy who has worn that jersey with the utmost class and honour. Ab-fucking-surd that anyone would think that anything Griffin wrote in that blog post was valid.

Again: you don't think Ricciardi wanted to re-sign Burnett? You don't think he wanted a free agent bat over the winter?

I'm with you on one thing: I too would wish he'd keep his mouth shut.

I also wish Griffin would stop writing nonsense, but it ain't going to happen.

Anonymous said...

Great post, almost made me feel a bit better about J.P. But then I saw this:

Joanna said...

Um, Paul Beeston didn't seem to think Halladay wasn't going to re-sign, since he talked about extension talk last week. it would be nice if the front office had one message, rather than 15.

I think he wanted to sign AJ cheaply, but was resigned to the fact that someone was going to outbid. Or he didn't trade AJ at the deadline because AJ was his little crown jewel that he had wanted for years and he wasn't ready to let him go. because JP's massive ego drives most of his decisions.

And McLeod and Blair haven't exactly jumped on the JP bandwagon. Probably because they smell the bullshit. So talk about Griffin's ax to grind, but he is hardly the only one.

SP said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SP said...

Beeston is just as full of shit as JP is accused of being. Beeston said he'd sit down with Doc to talk extension. JP says Doc isn't even considering it. Beeston says the Jays can spend up to Boston's level. JP says we don't have the resources to re-sign the best pitcher in baseball. Which one sounds more like reality?

SP said...

If they can spend up to Boston, then there would be Rogers Manny's Box (TM) signs everywhere in the Rogers Centre and we wouldn't even be talking about any of this Halladay shit. Blaming JP for any of this is simply irrational finger-pointing.

Burnett was not traded because Rogers wanted the illusion of a competitive team, not because he was JP's "crown jewel". Then he wasn't re-signed because Rogers didn't want to pay the money they themselves said was set aside to re-sign him. Same goes for basically everything that happened post-Delgado. Everything is done to maintain the illusion competitiveness. They'll fund the team just enough so that Rogers can make it's $1.28 BILLION in profits. Anything more than that, they have figured, would be a diminishing return. This ownership clearly is not interested in winning. Let's make sure we have it straight about who is to blame here.

Joanna said...

Sure Beeston is full of shit, but it would be nice if the front office at least spouted the same shit.

And the whole front office, from the owners, to the prez to the GM can all fuck themselves equally.

Anonymous said...

I blame Doc. If you try too hard to avoid bullshit, the oppsite will happen. Better to mix it up a bit yourself and roll with the punches. e.g. would this tiny nuance even become an issue if it was Manny we were talking about ?

lepos said...

do you still feel the same way?

Ian H. said...

You nailed it, Tao. Great post!

All this fighting makes me feel like a child caught in the middle in a torn marriage between Beeston/Ricciardi/Rogers and Roy Halladay.

Damn it, stay together for the kids!

Joanna said...

Lepos, all of my feelings come out of the shit JP has been saying, not the stuff Griffin wrote.

Ian Gray said...

A serious question, then, for the Ricciardi defenders: How many chances should he get?

To explain: I'm perfectly willing to concede that he and the rest of the front office have complicated and difficult jobs. I can't imagine that any of you are prepared to argue that he's succeeded at his as of yet. At what point, then, would it be fair to say that it just isn't going to happen, perhaps for reasons beyond his control entirely, and to reluctantly let him go?

I've commented before here that the mooted trade of Halladay really does seem like the natural place to say that he's clearly failed, but I'm curious to see what his last defenders think. When would you draw the line?

Colin said...

I find it very strange to see the Tao using I instead of we...

Anonymous said...

Beeston says: "That's enough, JP. The big kids are taking over now."

Anonymous said...

Why does Tao feel sympathy for JP ? After he gets fired the guy will be good produce manager for a grocery store

Anonymous said...

Tao, this reminds me of the sodden ramblings we used to have at the end of the bar before you got a life. oh, sweet statler and waldorf impressions every weekend.


gambler23 said...

A new low for Griffin, and that's saying something.

Why have non of his media breathren called him out for the clear vendetta he has?

Why does McCown continue to use this buffoon.

I'll tell you why, because McCown and all his cronies (save Brunt) are old, used up windbags who don't have it in them to do real research/analysis anymore. They're like Wells and McCabe. Just punching the clock and picking up the check.

Can anyone imagine just for a moment, what a real 3 hours of Prime Time sports could be like - I'll fucking tell you how good it could be - imagine leading with the boys from DJF and ToS debating this entire Halladay mess, then seguaying into Dave Cameron from FanGraphs running down the actual $ value of the trades proposed for Roy (as he did in just a stellar article some 2 weeks ago...not that the morons writing in our print media ever come close to such actual you know, quantitative analysis), then moving on to Down Goes Brown talking about his latest invitation to Spezza's wedding. 2nd hour, a guy from 82 games breaking down the Raps off season moves in terms of 5 man units and on-court/off-court numbers. Then perhaps a word from the boys at Pension Plan Puppets in hour 3 about the Leafs off season moves and get Mirtle on to mock the Blackhawks for keeping Tallon as long as they did (instead of the ridiculous defenses we get of his indefensible singings record from his buddies in the media). good would that show be???

Damnit to hell. I may have to start the new PTS myself, it sounds so good.

We are so ill served by the media in this city, it's not even funny. Time for us all to stop bending over and taking it.

Let the revolution begin!

Tao of Stieb said...

You'll have to talk to my booking agent.

Wish you were here. Zanzibar won't be the same without you.


We're as confused as you are about our use of I. I don't know what we were thinking.

I've already pulled on the powder blue jersey, and am getting ready to head 'er down to the Dome. Feel kinda like I'm going to a wake.

Joanna said...

Hi Tao...I'm thinking upgrading our feud to a blood feud will really boost readership. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

JP and Doc

Archimedies said...

Reading that whole thing all I could think was that I was reading an article about the Leafs. It's the same story, just change around 4 words. Change 'Maple Leafs' to 'Blue Jays' and 'Howard Berger' to 'Richard Griffin'.

I don't know what it is about this city, but I'm blown away that so many complete hacks are getting so much circulation.

'Toronto Media'. Yuck.