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On criticism: the case of J.P. Arencibia

Criticism happens, how we deal with it is the important thing.


It is tough to be criticized.

If I had dime for every time someone wrote me and complained about how mean BBB readers were in the comment thread of their brilliant Fan Post I'd go out and buy another bag of cheese doodles. My answer is generally pretty much always the same, 'if you write anything that more than 2 people read, someone will criticize'. It's life.

It's the same with anything you do in public.

It's tough, what ever you do, someone is going to say you are no good, that you shouldn't be doing what you are doing. Someone will say you will never be any good. That is always tough to hear.

It is hard not to be emotional when someone criticizes you. It's is easy to forget they are saying you aren't good at this one thing and instead read it as they are saying that you are a lousy person. That's why we have in our rules that you are allowed to say a play was crap but not allowed to say a player is crap. Criticize the play not the person. In arguments on here, we ask that people not get personal, though we can argue on how well we follow that rule. J.P Arencibia. is clearly taking things personally. It is hard not to.

JP's professional failings are on display in front of millions of people. That would be tough. When Gregg Zaun or Dirk Hayhurst call him out on it, thousands see it. Heck, when some random blogger calls you out on it, hundreds see it. It would be a tough way to live.

It's easy to be a critic. Easier still to be a critic that hides behind a computer screen. We should remember that and be a little more careful about what we say.

My son and I have this long, continuing, argument about JP. He feels that, we here at Bluebird Banter, have been too hard on JP. He did have a point, for awhile there it seemed like every third post was about JP and his failings. On top of that, he felt that (putting words into his mouth) that we were taking too much of a short term view of the guy, that in the long run, JP would be a league average catcher and we should be happy with that. Oh, and there are others on the team that deserve to be ragged on more.

My view was that JP has the talent to be an All-Star (at a pretty weak position), that average shouldn't be shouldn't be his goal, but, if it is his goal, he's falling well short of it. And that we have every right to suggest that he has to improve or be replaced.

I wanted to comment on a couple of his points that JP made:

  • JP said 'speaking for myself and my teammates'. That was a mistake, he clearly isn't talking for his teammates and the unfortunate part is that reporters now have to go to his teammates and ask about what he said. and we'll find out if he was speaking for his teammates.
  • His suggestion that Zaun and Hayhurst weren't good enough players to be able to criticize him hits uncomfortably close to the line I've heard, far too often, you never played the game, how do you know. Even talking to Dirk about JP, Dirk used the line 'you know this from your years of play', as kind of a trump card. He's right, I don't have playing experience, but that doesn't mean I don't know some things. There are things players know that I'll never know. I love talking to coaches because every time I do I find out just how much I don't know about baseball. But there are things I do know, and I try to keep my comments to those areas.
  • Bringing up the PED allegations against Zaun was a low blow. Beyond that, it should make for a few uncomfortable moments the next time JP sees Melky.

I thought Dirk's comments on it all were very professional. He's right, JP is being emotion, but then it's hard not to be. Dirk did a good job of not firing back the same way.

In all, sometimes we forget we are talking about living, breathing people when we are on here. But then, I totally reject the idea that we shouldn't comment on players. This is what we do, if we are bad at it, people will stop coming to the site and SB Nation will fire us. So far that hasn't happened.