Joel Sherman’s Hackdom Reaches New Lows Even For Him

This is from the August 27th issue of The Weekly Standard and has to do with the plagiarism of Fareed Zakaria:

Plagiarism is not a crime in any legal code, but among people who make their living with words, there is no deeper offense. The plagiarist has not just stolen from the work of another writer; he has used it to disguise his own inadequacy. It is a symptom of laziness, to be sure; but above all, it’s a crime of arrogance.

If there are a series of words that appropriately describe New York Post baseball columnist Joel Sherman, “lazy,” “inadequate,” “arrogant,” and “plagiarist” come immediately to mind.

There’s no proving it beyond a shadow of a doubt, but the evidence is clear that in May of 2010, Sherman plagiarized me. You can decide for yourself by reading my posting from my old blogspot site here, dated May 22nd, 2010 and having to do with the Astros trying to trade Roy Oswalt; here’s Sherman’s posting on his NY Post Blog on May 25th.

What he wrote regarding then-Astros owner Drayton McLane, Scott Kazmir, Cliff Lee and the Phillies is nearly verbatim to what I wrote three days earlier. When I pointed it out in a subsequent posting here (scroll down to the section beginning with “Hmmmm,”) and challenged Sherman directly on Twitter, he responded by blocking me.

It’s typical.

The same Joel Sherman who writes with the tone of the tough Brooklyn street kid he portrays himself to be ran away when directly called on his transgressions. Sherman, who often writes of the “professionalism” exhibited by the New York Yankees—professionalism that he implied so “engaged” David Wright to the degree that Sherman suggested in this column from March of 2011 that Wright would do well to have a two-week “furlough” to see first-hand the professionalism of—are you ready?—the Yankees and Red Sox clubhouses. Yes. The Red Sox turned out to be so professional that they’ve come completely undone a year-and-a-half later amid infighting, blame, and entitlement. The Yankees’ myth of dignity and professionalism is part of the sale of the franchise as better than everyone else, bolstered by the constant harping on history and inherent self-importance from the YES Network, Michael Kay, Suzyn Waldman, Mike Francesa and anyone else who thinks they played an integral part in the Yankees’ success over the past two decades. George Steinbrenner is no longer the meddlesome buffoon he was in the 1980s, but a beloved patriarch whose attention to detail and conservative values laid the foundation for the juggernaut the Yankees have become.

Of course it’s nonsense.

I doubt Wright was “engaged” by anything. It’s more likely that he was just staring off into space and waiting for Sherman to slink off in another direction and leave him alone. The Yankees are the favored team of him and his newspaper, but in spite of all that professionalism oozing from the Yankees organization, it has yet to embed itself into Sherman. Either that or he doesn’t understand the concept well enough to indulge in it himself.

Or maybe he does and has accepted the fact that he hasn’t the capability to behave as a professional, so he chooses to adhere to the mandates of his editors and his own anti-Mets bias and write the sort of drivel that inevitably ends with anything and everything culminating in a clumsy indictment against the Mets regardless of what they do or don’t do. The latest was on Sunday when, as Craig Calcaterra summed it up here on Hardball Talk, the true losers in the massive blockbuster trade from last weekend between the Red Sox and Dodgers were…the Mets!!!

Obviously!!!!!

This is on the heels of Francesa’s deranged and scattershot ranting and raving session against the Mets days earlier.

The suggestion that the Mets would’ve been able to package Johan Santana and Jason Bay with Wright is so out-of-context and indicative of the media’s desire to torment the Mets that it’s not even worth discussing in a baseball sense. Josh Beckett, right now, is able to get on the mound and pitch and is making the same amount of money in 2013-2014 that Santana is due next year alone; Bay is a lost cause while Carl Crawford’s downfall hasn’t been a clear loss of skills as is the case with Bay, but because of injuries; I suppose Wright and Adrian Gonzalez are comparable, but the Mets are not going to trade Wright and alienate the remaining fans they have willing to come to games, buy merchandise and support the club for a collection of minor league prospects that may or may not make it. Aside from Sherman’s warped world, there’s no correlation between the trade the Red Sox and Dodgers made and the Mets.

This is not about the Mets in a direct criticism and blueprint for turning the ship around, but the Post’s gleeful use of the Mets as a perpetual target to accumulate webhits, spur discussion, and aggravate Mets’ fans. Sherman’s evangelical fervor and condescending hypocrisy is highlighted by his pure lack of ability to smoothly put into words an attack on the Mets that isn’t this transparent. Following the edicts of his editors in a “kill them all and let God sort them out” way, he’s unable to face the consequences and hides when called on his trash. Much like his conceited attempts to be the first to break the story of Cliff Lee’s trade to the Yankees (a trade that wasn’t completed and never came to pass) and his subsequent explanations of why he was wrong, he wasn’t really wrong because Mariners’ GM, Sherman’s “Truly Amazin’ Exec” Jack Zduriencik (dubbed as such in another attack on the Mets) had used shady practices to extract what he perceived to be a better deal for the Rangers and left the Yankees and their apologists angry and slighted.

Sherman knows shady techniques well because he partakes in them on an everyday basis. He’s an annoying pest—Howie Spira without the nerve.

Those poor Yankees were done wrong. And those hideous Mets are “losers” because they failed to make a blockbuster trade that wasn’t available to them and wasn’t going to happen because they’re not trading Wright. Strangely, there was less of this vitriol when the Mets were playing well; when they had young players contributing significantly to their surprising first half of the season; when the Bernie Madoff lawsuit that was going to bankrupt the Wilpons was settled out of court.

Does it matter that GM Sandy Alderson—who Sherman continually pushed the Mets to hire—isn’t going to acquiesce to the media pressure as his predecessor Omar Minaya did? That it’s quite likely that Alderson has told the Wilpons that they’re going to have to take these public floggings for the club to be financially stable and a contender in 2014?

The team is rebuilding. This is what a rebuild looks like. They have financial problems, but spending available money to sign players who won’t help much to get the press off their backs, or making stupid trades to get down to the bare bones with unrecognizable players who will “someday” be part of the renaissance, aren’t going to fix the team, nor will it be salable for 2013 when Wright and R.A. Dickey are at least reasons for fans to come to the park.

Sherman exemplifies clumsy opportunism from a low-level sleaze who followed orders from management well enough to garner himself a column while using “sources” that may or may not exist, bad writing, and self-aggrandizement to put forth his agenda. That agenda is to hammer the Mets and whether the hammer is held from the wrong end and swung awkwardly and ineptly doesn’t matter, nor does the fact that all he succeeded in doing was whack himself in his own nether regions that are, judging by his behavior, quite small or even nonexistent.

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  1. #1 by Jeff on August 29, 2012 - 4:00 pm

    Ahhhh snap! The Prince just went off! There are some pretty awesome sentences in this post, but this is my fav: Sherman exemplifies clumsy opportunism from a low-level sleaze who followed orders from management well enough to garner himself a column while using “sources” that may or may not exist, bad writing, and self-aggrandizement to put forth his agenda.

    • #2 by admin on August 29, 2012 - 6:32 pm

      He doesn’t wanna fight with me for some reason.

  2. #3 by Cynic in New York on August 29, 2012 - 4:05 pm

    People like Sherman are the reason why I turned off the sports MSM since the early 2000s. ESPN is only on for me if my team is playing on Sunday night baseball or Monday night football. Mainstream sports journalism isn’t about journalism but cheerleading and being an obnoxious hack.

    • #4 by admin on August 29, 2012 - 6:32 pm

      Then they wonder why their industry is dying. This only makes it worse.

  3. #5 by Carl on August 29, 2012 - 4:38 pm

    Bravo!!! While I generally don’t condone bashing like this, everyone needs critics, and Joel Sherman is one of the many in the NY media who need a slap in the face like this to let them know how bad their “writing” actually is.

    • #6 by admin on August 29, 2012 - 6:31 pm

      I don’t really consider it bashing if it’s dead on accurate and has a point. Sherman’s stuff regularly has neither.

  4. #7 by Andee on August 31, 2012 - 10:40 am

    This is the best, most thorough takedown of Sherman’s hackery that I’ve ever seen. Thank you.

    But actually, Sherman’s assumptions, if anything, are even more goofy than you state here. For starters, (h/t Ted Berg), he completely ignores the fact that David Wright’s contract option for 2013 is null and void if any other team acquires him in 2012, and Santana’s 2013 with buyout is the same amount of money as two entire years of Beckett. And Beckett isn’t coming off shoulder capsule surgery, either. Meanwhile, Jason Bay, three years older than Crawford, has stunk completely since 2009 and doesn’t figure to get any better, whereas Crawford’s ineffectiveness can be convincingly blamed on a series of injuries.

    Also, did Sherman not get that this was a waiver deal? The Dodgers put in a claim for Beckett and Gonzalez, otherwise this deal wasn’t happening. And even Ned Colletti isn’t enough of a fool to think that a six-week rental of Wright was worth taking on the hideous remainders of Santana’s and Bay’s deals.

    And if Sherman’s position is that the Mets should have been the ones to claim those three players…I don’t even. If they had, he would have been the first ones hooting at them.

    However, I have a feeling he actually secretly knows all this, just like Sean Hannity probably knows perfectly well what marginal tax rates are and that you can’t take home less money by being pushed into a higher tax bracket. But both of them know that their knuckle-dragging followers love to get riled up over nothing.

    • #8 by admin on August 31, 2012 - 3:15 pm

      You bring up one of my other issues with Sherman that I briefly mentioned: he has this agenda and pushes it poorly. There would be some grudging acknowledgment if he was able to put forth one of his hatchet jobs in a clever way, but it’s blunt and clumsy.
      As for trading Wright, I don’t know if he’s gotten through waivers yet, but I’d be shocked if the Mets put him out there and no one claimed him before getting to the Dodgers. Then what? Would a team give up the house for Wright and have taken Bay and/or Santana? Were the Mets supposed to do this on July 31st when they were still kindasorta in contention and then, if they traded him, relegate themselves to having 8,000 people in the park every night?
      The attendance is dwindling, but there are still enough people coming to the park, buying beer and food and paying for parking to justify trying to put a competitive team on the field. And the Mets tried the dealing for the future stuff before with the likes of Juan Acevedo and Alex Ochoa and neither did much of anything anywhere.
      Sherman’s an inept front man. Nothing more.

  5. #9 by Andee on August 31, 2012 - 10:52 am

    …aaaaand I just realized you made the same points about Beckett and Crawford that I repeated above. Ahem. Guess I need a nap.

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