Commenting etiquette

I’ve been trying to decide what, if anything, I wanted to say on this topic. In general, when people leave comments at the bottom of my stories on MLB.com, I usually ignore them. Not that I don’t care what people say/think, it’s just healthier for me overall not to get caught up in it.

But with the Top 50 list, I wanted to see the reaction, so I’ve been reading the comments that have been left with the story on the breakdown of the list. Now, let me say right off the bat that I’m not overly sensitive when it comes to these things. I can take most criticisms and even laugh about some of the cruder responses. (Feel free to send in your own Top 10  list for a fan’s top prospect ranking later on)

I’m all for freedom of speech, so I’m not going to tell people what they can/cannot or should/shouldn’t write. I love people who care about their team or a specific prospect so much that they want to voice their disappointment that he didn’t make the list or that their team is underrepresented. For instance, a guy commented about how Dan Runzler should be in the Top 10 based on his amazing 2009 season. Now, I respectfully disagree — Runzler had an amazing run and will be a very good big leaguer, but he’s not really a Top 50 prospect in my book. Ditto with all the folks who called for Daniel Hudson to be in there (Yes, he’s eligible — the only requirement I have is that a guy still have rookie status). I really like Hudson, but  just because he got our MiLB Starting Pitcher of the Year doesn’t mean he’s one of the top 50 prospects in the game. Good big leaguer, yes, but not quite on that level in terms of how all his stuff grades out and his upside compared to other pitchers on the list. Either way, I love hearing from people about that kind of stuff. That’s why we do this list.

I even laugh at the people who said I should be fired because I had Miguel Montero too low. The comment looked like this:

without being too critical, this dude is out to lunch. i hate the
yankees as much as humanly possible….but montero 19??? just for THAT
this guy should be fired. totally irresponsible. this is the first and
LAST time i’ll waste my time coming to this site for an honest top 50
rundown. my 18 year old son could have done a more competent job.

I’m glad he wasn’t being too critical. A little harsh, but just imagining the scenario was too funny:

Boss-type person: Umm, Jonathan, could you come into my office for a minute.
Me: Sure, what’s up.
Boss: I’m sorry, but we’re going to have to let you go.
Me: What?!? Are we having cutbacks? Did I get a bad evaluation? Have I missed deadlines? Did I do something inappropriate or unprofessional?
Boss: Jesus Montero.
Me: What? Jesus  Montero?
Boss: That’s right. Your list had him ranked No. 19. That’s way too low. If you really cared about your job, you would’ve at least had him crack your Top 10. Now pack your things and get out of my sight.

I even thought some of this one was funny:

Mayo = loco
you keep publishing garbage like this and someone more competent is
going to take your place. There are tons of sports writers out there
that would love to write for MLB. Unless of course you’re trying to be
the Rush Limbaugh of sports – intentionally spewing junk to get a rise
out of your audience.
Just a poor effort. Very disappointing to see someone not take their
job very seriously.

I never took Spanish, but I’m pretty sure Mayo does not mean loco. Might want to look that up. Anyone who knows me would likely laugh really loudly about the Rush Limbaugh comparison. I think that would be like comparing David Ortiz to Jacoby Ellsbury.

But (as the serious background music starts to play) this comment is where things get a little touchy to me. Again, I usually ignore this stuff and I will continue to do so. But I figured maybe this could count as a public service announcement for those of you who like to give your opinion after reading something (and more power to you!).

There’s no need to get personal, you know? You have a problem with the list? Great. Tell me and the world. But provide some substance, huh? At least the guy who said I should be fired provided a reason. Calling me completely irresponsible is a bit much — I didn’t yell fire in a movie theater or get behind the wheel while intoxicated here; I just had everyone’s favorite Yankee prospect  lower than most would have it. You disagree with it, fine. Back it up. He should be in the Top 10 because…

Now, the Rush Limbaugh comment, while making me chuckle, also had nothing to say. Again, some perspective people, these are baseball players we’re talking about here. Spewiing junk to intentionally get a rise out of my audience? Umm, I’m not calling the president a socialist fascist, or whatever Limbaugh might say. This is baseball. Of course,t he list is designed to stir debate.

And to my final point, the one that bothers me the most. I can’t force anyone to not say something, but really, you have no right to say my effort was poor or that I don’t take my job seriously. The same goes for the person who said I was lazy. I’ve been called many things, lazy in my work has never been one of them.

Seriously, you have no idea who I am or what I do here. I know, I know, I shouldn’t take this nonsense too personally, and I won’t, I promise. But if you’re going to attack me personally, I’m going to use this space for this time only to respond. You don’t really know how much time I took talking to scouts to put this list together and I’m sure you didn’t realize I wrote around 14,000 words for the text that went with the list, not to mention the prep work for the show. Why I have this urge to prove myself to you, I don’t know.

But that’s it. I’m done. Just think before you submit a comment. Argue about players, back up your arguments, say the list is terrible, fine. Just be wary about the tone. Not too much to ask, is it?

And with that, I leave you with a link to a “guest ranking,” this one from USA Today’s Steve Gardner, who’s got a neat fantasy baseball blog over there called Fantasy Windup.

Whew, that felt good.

4 Comments

A Yankee fan being rude on the internet because he felt a Yankee prospect was being underrated…?

First time for everything I guess…

Well put. My biggest problem is when the mean-spirited comments are anonymous. I’m not expecting a full given name as the ID, but you as a writer are putting your name and face and e-mail address out there for all to see, but the commenters who get personal are doing so behind the veil of abbreviated account IDs, unsigned e-mails, etc. When I was writing, I paid little attention to the criticisms that came with no return address or e-mail or some way to respond (respectfully).

Well said, Mr. Mayo. Very well said.

I can say this much to those who would question Mr. Mayo’s work ethic:

As one who works in minor league baseball and TRIES to keep an idea of what’s going on in the industry, for him to produce a WEEKLY roundup of the top promotions in the business is quite a task in and of itself. Mr. Mayo’s writing doesn’t stop there….

To compile a list of the best prospects … most fans don’t have a CLUE what that really means. First of all, two kinds of players are drafted each year in June – bodies and prospects. The prospects are expected to pan out and become contributors, whether small or large. Bodies are drafted as guys who are good at baseball, but not good enough to play MLB ball – they’re there to provide a team so the prospects can learn to play the game as professionals.

Most of the players you see at the Single-A level are bodies. On average, only one or two players from ANY team at any given year will actually see Big League action. Most – especially at the low-A levels – wash out by their second or third years.

But even when you take the guys at Triple-A – all of them are supposed to be Major League ready – or the guys at Double-A – where the real prospects are, you’re looking at improbably odds to reach the Majors. An average Double-A club has no more than four players of the 30-40 they’ll see during a season that will become MLB players – let alone stars. That number doesn’t change much at the Triple-A level.

So all these HUGE stats you see in the California League or the Midwest League … or even in the Southern League, Eastern League or the Texas League (where I work now) … they likely won’t translate to similar MLB numbers. Want an example? Look to Luis Durango of the Padres, who would qualify under Mr. Mayo’s requirements, I believe, for the list. One of the “best” players in the Texas League last year – even played in a half-dozen games in San Diego – and a speed machine. His numbers are impressive. Is he on the list? Not even close. And for good reason, which I won’t go into here.

The point is, Mr. Mayo spends countless hours – no doubt, most of his waking life – scanning the both the business and the baseball sides of minor league baseball … VERY tough to do. Almost impossible. And he still comes out with some pretty legitimate stuff.

So … allow me to be one who says to y’all … back up off of the man. Dude works HARD for his money.

Yo Mayo,

I watched the top 50 and agreed with most of it. The funny thing about sports fans is that they always think THEY’RE the right person for the job. Whatever that job may be. GM, broadcaster, second baseman, etc. Just tell them to pipe down, have another beer and another slice of pizza. They’ll be able to ply their trade come Monday morning much to the dismay of someone nearby who thinks THEY acn do the job better.

Keep up the good work !!!

Dominick (Philadelphia)

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