Friday, June 25, 2010

Why I hate Bob Smizik

When did Bob Smizik lose his journalistic integrity? Is it the result of 17 consecutive seasons eroding the rational part of the brain? Will nearly two decades spent documenting failure result in a kind of dull rage that overrides all of one's own standards of excellence?

I have neither the time nor inclination to read back through Bob Smizik's writings in an attempt to discover when he and reality shook hands and said bye-bye, but it really doesn't matter because the particulars don't change the fact that it has happened. Yet still he writes: a man blinded by anger who still has something of a stage to lend him a thin veneer of credibility.

Huntington Trading Report Card: F, Smizik's latest critique of the Pirates, is little more than a diatribe taking advantage of local Anti-Pirates sentiment in order to...what, exactly? Send out periodic hate beacons to the Pirates for 17 years of soul-sucking defeat that he had to cover? Or maybe he just writes what he knows people will read. No matter that any of them could have written the exact same thing; they don't write for the Post-Gazette.

I first grew to dislike this man when he bashed Extra Innings host Rocco DeMaro in 2008. I won't attempt to recap that particular incident because it makes me too angry to be concise and because Matt Bandi of Pittsburgh Lumber Co. already wrote a great article debunking Smizik's accusations back in 2008 ("Attacking Accurate Reporting With Inaccurate 'Facts'"). Suffice it to say: Smizik doesn't like DeMaro, and he won't let the intended focus of his article prevent him from implying it with the subtlety of a Fourth of July Carson Street bar crawl.

The Huntington article fails for similar reasons: Smizik has an agenda like Quasimoto has a hump.

Smizik Says:

Huntington took the job in late in the 2007 season and pretty much began shredding the roster.

I like to imagine the process by which Smizik decided on the use of the word 'shredding'. He could have said that Huntington traded almost the entire batting order and it would have been valid and credible in that whole "here's the facts, think for yourself' way.

But 'shredding'? Shredding is something bad guys do. Freddy Krueger shreds. Jason Vorhees shreds. When you were a little kid, the monster in your closet liked to shred. And apparently Huntington as well.

Smizik says:

All of them except Torres, who retired, and Chavez and Snell, who recently were sent to the minors, are still in the majors.

This is where Smizik loses the plot completely. Smizik is trying to argue that virtually all of the 2007 trades were mistakes, and that many of those players should have been retained or traded for better players.

Now there are ways of arguing this point, and if I were to write something critical of Huntington it would no doubt focus on several of these trades as well.

However, anyone who knows a thing about the concept of trade value and what has become of those 2007 players couldn't possibly take Smizik seriously after reading this. More amazingly, Smizik actually discusses the trades on a player-by-player basis. In many instances, he skews facts in ways that really kind of blow my mind.

Smizik says:

* Paulino is starting for Florida and batting .309 (all statistics through Wed.).

Jogging Ronny hated being in Pittsburgh. He wouldn't be batting .309 here because his laziness made starting him impossible. How does one discuss Paulino and not acknowledge this? No amount of skill will make management put up with a lazy player.

* LaRoche has 10 homers and 50 RBIs, tied for fifth in the National League, for Arizona.

LaRoche's average is conspicuously absent because it's around .259. I have always liked Adam LaRoche; he was unfairly criticized in this city. The fact is this: LaRoche is a fantastic impact player for a team with a solid batting order who needs a guy to get hot towards the end of the season. As one of the only power bats in an offensively-weak lineup, however, he is too streaky and struggles too much during the first half of the season. LaRoche is a good player, but he's just not what the Pirates need right now.

* Sanchez is batting .317 for San Francisco.

When he's not on the DL for a recurring shoulder injury.

* Bautista leads MLB with 20 home runs with Toronto.

Yes, trading Bautista for since-released Cruz was not a good move. However, I would argue that Bautista's bat has come as a surprise to just about everyone. Did the Twins expect Garrett Jones to hit 21 home runs at any point in his career ever?

* Bay and Morgan are having disappointing years but starting for the Mets and Washington, respectively.

As of now yes. Morgan is getting benched more and more frequently as a result of ever-decreasing productivity.

* Hinske is batting .314 in a part-time role with the Braves.

* Wilson and McLouth are having disappointing years with Seattle and Atlanta but were starting before going on the disabled list.

This is ridiculous. Wilson has recently stated that he is considering retirement due to a recurring hamstring injury, and Nate McLouth has been hitting under .200 this season. "Disappointing years" really doesn't cover it.

Let it be said that I don't hate Smizik for his hatred of the Pirates franchise. After 17 years, it is more than understandable. I also don't expect him to be non-biased; he is providing commentary, which is expected to be biased. However, I take offense to a deliberate manipulation of certain facts and complete omission of others in an attempt to prove a point.

Is there a way to validly argue that Pirates Management has been unsuccessful? Yes. I won't agree with most of it for my own fact-based reasons, but it can absolutely be done. However, this is classic spin city; an ode to ignorance and nothing more.


  1. I agree with you 100% on Smizik. Nice article, enjoyed it.

  2. i agree whole heartedly as well... i am a biased fan of huntington's, meaning i understood completely why he gutted the roster of our "all stars". unlike others, i see what NH is trying to do with the farm system and building from within. Good luck Neal, and I hope the fans/FO let you finish what you started.

  3. "Bay and Morgan are having disappointing years but starting for the Mets and Washington, respectively.


    Right fielder Lastings Milledge, who has no homers and a .270 average."

    I think those two sentences back to back say it all. Apparently, simply starting for the Nationals is a positive achievement, while starting for the Pirates is meaningless.

  4. Ever visit Smizik's blog? The guy acts like a 5 yr. old child and is constantly in delete mode. He's the last of the fish wrap clonies hanging on. I dislike him alot!!!

  5. I dared to counter Smizik's angry remarks on the PG website last month. He quickly deleted my remarks, as well as the remarks of another reader who criticized him. Here's how he explained it, "Note: I deleted the remarks of two readers who criticized me personally." If you can imagine. . . an angry columnist who attacks somebody PERSONALLY in every column, and attacks readers PERSONALLY who reply to him, is upset because he was attacked "personally" (as he sees it).