Covering Spring Training the right way

What Kyle said
Open source front offices

When I railed on the Daily News’ Spring Training coverage yesterday, most of you who chimed in agreed with my critique of the paper’s over-the-top attention to Spring Training details. Thursday’s game — highlighted by a horrendous pitching effort by Yankee ace Chien-Ming Wang — gives us another chance to evaluate how the New York sports media covers March.

Today’s story comes to us via Tyler Kepner of The Times. With a headline “Girardi Says Wang Has Work to Do,” Kepner’s piece explores Wang’s terrible start today in the context of Spring Training.

“His sinker was up, his slider was flat,” Manager Joe Girardi said. “He was in bad counts. They were aggressive, and they weren’t missing. You don’t ever like to get your butt kicked, but it’s a spring training game. We’re trying to get arm strength and we’re trying to get him ready for the season, and we’ve got work to do.”

Wang said he had to work on shortening his stride to the plate. He said his stride was too long because he was trying to throw too hard. “I will fix it quick,” he said…

The pitching coach, Dave Eiland, said: “It’s early, so he’s feeling strong. He was just under some pitches, so they were staying up and he wasn’t getting that late movement on his sinker. He did throw some good changeups. I try to take the positive out of everything. It was a rough day for him, but I think he’ll be O.K. He knows what he needs to do.”

That’s all there is to it. There’s no need to harp on Wang’s previous bad outings or his subpar ALDS appearances. A few quotes from the manager, one from the pitcher and one from the pitching coach all recognizing that Wang is working on getting his mechanics and arm angle where it should be for the season. That is how to cover Spring Training.

The world of New York media is a tough one. Some of the harshest and most popular blogs exist to dissect the media arena in this city. But for sports, be aware of what you read. Spring Training is a time for practice; it’s not a time to be concerned about how some bad outing in Florida stacks up against career experience. Worry in April; worry in May; enjoy it in March.

What Kyle said
Open source front offices
  • iYankees

    I totally agree with you guys about the Daily News coverage of the Joba game. From their coverage, you would not even know that IPK started that game, that’s how bad it was. This is how to sell papers, and although it digs deep into the media’s framework of Joba Chamberlain (the untouchable), this is what’s going to happen for Joba, and it’ll continue for a long time. The USA Today article that I wrote about in my blog pegged Joba as the “loser” and star (albeit a weak star) of that game, although he’s simply a rookie and it should be expected. Yankee fans are smarter than people think, however, we’re also very emotional people, so I expect Joba’s start and Wang’s start to throw a few people off. But, in terms of everyone, I don’t think anyone who understands ST is substantially worried.

  • Steve S

    I still dont see what the problem was with Feinsand’s article. And Im not a big fan of the News and I also think that media does get carried away with things. But in this case, I didnt think Feinsand’s piece was “wrong”. All he said was Joba had a rough outing, its happened before, and Joba usually embraces those outings as wake up calls (and thats straight from Joba). He also provided a great analysis of Kennedy’s use of his curveball and how he stepped it up to get Mauer and Morneau out even though its only Spring Training.

    Sometimes they have to write negative things, even if its March.

  • Rob

    Great job, Ben. It’s a perfect example of why Tyler writes for the Times and Feinsand writes for the Snews.

  • ChrisS

    it’s not a time to be concerned about how some bad outing in Florida stacks up against career experience.

    This is what Pete Abe doesn’t get apparently. He’s been slagging people who think that Mussina’s bad outing isn’t indicative of anything other than a guy trying to find his arm slot in a meaningless spring training game by pointing out that Wang, Joba, and Kennedy had poor outings as well.

    Sorry, Pete. Everything, including age, is trending towards Mussina being an ineffective pitcher while there’s nothing that indicates Wang and the kids are losing skill.

  • Mike_@_NYYU

    Though I totally agree with your point of the overblown NY media, I agree with their point over Wang’s performance.

    I understand that it’s only spring training, but he’s been throwing for almost 4 weeks. He should have had better command of his pitches by now.

    My concern is that there is something wrong with him.

    He looks more like the ALDS pitcher than the assumed opening day pitcher.

    Heck…Igawa bad day wasn’t this bad.

  • Joey

    Hey, just read Rob Neyer’s “Friday Filberts” over at ESPN, he has a short little section on IPK you guys should check out, albeit linking Kepner to it. But in Rob’s own words- “The scary thing — unless you don’t believe in pitching prospects at all (and there are days I don’t) — is that Kennedy is supposedly the Yankees’ third-best pitching prospect.” Basically says how IPK can become the next Maddux type pitcher

  • RobertGKramer

    No surprise that the Times beats the Daily News. And is the Post even still published?

    • Ben K.

      Well, you know how much we love George King around here.

  • Pingback: » Blog Archive » Pride of the Yankees - The Bloggers - 3/07/08

  • RobertGKramer

    RAB also = blogging the right way! Wish I knew who George King was.

  • CB

    Tyler Keppner is just a terrific sports writer. He’s just head and shoulders above the other yankee beat writers.

    HIs story the day before on Kennedy and his start was I think an even better article. Basically he touched on the longer narrative of Kennedy’s career and talent and placed that “rocky” start of kennedy’s in that larger context. The quotes Keppner got from P.J. Pilittere about the first time he caught Kennedy in AA are great and really give you a perspective on the supposed control problems Kennedy had in his first spring training outing against big leaguers.

  • RobertGKramer

    My only problem with the Times is waiting hours for comments to appear on their blog and their refusal to allow comments with self-compiled stats!