Hall of Fame Writer Tracy Ringolsby : An Example of Eroding Respect for Journalism

Hall of Fame sports writer, Tracy Ringolsby, decided to write a piece on Alex Rodriguez on April 30, 2010.  Here is the link.  In one of the more amazing acts of irony, Mr. Ringolsby has decided to take aim at Rodriguez’s running over the mound as an excuse to blow him up on other mistakes he has made.

So since I am not a writer, let’s just make this easy.  I will quote a sentence from Mr. Ringolsby’s article and then give you my take.

Number 1:

“Rodriguez’s act of arrogance in Oakland wasn’t his first (and most likely won’t be his last) inability to show respect to the game and its participants.”

My Take:  There is no rule that you can’t run over the mound.  The rule is that if you go out of your way to run by a player to purposely annoy him, then you are out of line.  But Alex is simply running back to first base oblivious, as we all know, to anything around him.  I doubt Alex even knows that Braden was there.

Mr. Ringolsby, you wrote,

“Not that it would matter to Rodriguez. He lives in his own little world, and he is oblivious to anyone else.”

You remind us of something that we all know.  Rodriguez is oblivious to any other player and that he lives in his own little world.  I know that, you know that, every reader knows that, and Braden knows that.  Braden slips and confirms this truth by saying that he (Braden) “doesn’t even show up on his (Alex’s) radar.”

Who doesn’t know that Alex Rodriguez lives in his own world?  You give us great examples of this truth.

“Among other things, there was that May 30, 2007 game in Toronto when Rodriguez, on second with two outs, is alleged to have yelled “Mine!’’ on a pop-up, prompting Toronto third baseman Howie Clark to step back from underneath the ball, allowing it to drop and permitting a run to score.”

Exactly.  Rodriguez’s actions are so out of line and no fan, player, or writer is surprised.

Number 2:  You say that Alex is being selfish for accepting a contract?

“And that wasn’t the first time A-Rod put his own needs ahead of an organization. Tom Hicks, the man who is attempting to sell the Texas Rangers, was able to cover the Rangers’ share of Rodriguez’s 10-year, $242 million deal signed before the 2001 season, despite Hicks’ bankruptcy problems.”

I’m too stupid to even understand what this means.  Are you saying A-Rod accepted and offer from a guy who was going into bankruptcy?  Or are you implying that A-Rod is the reason Hicks makes bad fiscal decisions?  Or are you saying that A-Rod knew Hicks was close to bankruptcy and he wanted to be the “straw that broke the camels back” because Alex secretly wanted Rangers workers to get fired?”

Here is what I think happened,

“Hey Alex this is Scott Boras.  I have great news!”


“The Rangers offered you $242 million.  Do you want to accept it?”


But Mr. Ringolsby shapes his article differently,

“It’s the working stiffs with the Rangers, the ones who had their future caught up in a Hicks-created retirement plan, who are left with nothing to show for their efforts.”

What?  I don’t get it.  It sounds like you started to prove that Alex is selfish.  But you decided to prove it by saying Tom Hicks is selfish?  Is this Alex’s fault or Hicks’ fault?

My take:

I don’t think that Alex said,

“Is Hicks about to go bankrupt Scott?”

“We don’t have access to his personal accounts.  But as far as we can tell, he is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.”

“Will my contract send him into bankruptcy?”


“Will Hicks have to fire a bunch of workers?”


“Awesome!  As long as the little guy gets screwed and the owner makes it out ok then I am good with it.”

Number 3: Today’s players don’t play the game with respect for the team.  Example,

“Don Baylor was hit by more pitches than anybody in the history of the game who did not wear padding, and yet he charged the mound only twice. As a manager he would warn his own players not to charge the mound.

“It’s a selfish emotion,’’ he said. “You charge the mound and you get suspended for five games. How does that help your team if you can’t play for five games?’’

Again, I don’t understand your point.  What does this have to do with Alex’s selfishness?

Your Conclusion:

“Maybe what it all boils down to is, quite simply, Rodriguez is the high-priced poster boy for an age of self-indulgence.

If so, he wears the label well.”

That was personal.

I’ll Try

Here is how I would have written your article.

A-Rod an example of eroding respect for game

By: The Fake Tracy Ringolsby aka Morgan Ensberg

Alex Rodriguez found himself in the middle of another controversy tonight when he jogged over the pitchers mound in Oakland.  Starting pitcher Dallas Braden said,

“Insert quote where Dallas Braden explains himself.”

But in a rare instance, A-Rod might be right.  To make sure, I checked with well-respected baseball man, Don Baylor.

“Insert whatever Baylor says.”

Amazingly, Alex is right and Braden is the one out of line.  But we spoke too soon.  Here is Alex’s quote,

“Insert quote were A-Rod says he doesn’t know about the rule but then puts Braden down by saying “from a guy with a handful of wins.”

Alex could have taken the high road by saying the rule doesn’t exist.  But instead,  he shows us another glimpse of the eroding respect in baseball with these petty comments.

This is familiar territory for Rodriguez.  We remember him screaming “Mine” in Toronto in 2007.  Or the time he tried to bat the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s glove in 2004.  So what happened?  Why is he like this?

In a bit of irony, I think it is the failure of our families to pass these lessons on to our kids.  It seems like respect and manners are deteriorating as a whole.  When I was growing up we were punished if we didn’t honor our elders.  We opened doors for women and we took our hats off inside.  Not today.  Today women open their own doors and men wear hats inside.

Alex will continue to make poor decisions like this for the rest of his career and not a single person will be surprised.  I just wish we had done a better job of teaching players like Alex how to play the game with honor like Don Baylor.

I miss that game.


Mr. Ringolsby,

I am not sure why you chose to write this.   You are a respected man in baseball, but not with crap like this.  This is petty.  This is easy.  You have been blessed with a Hall of Fame induction.  Every single player wishes they could achieve that.  But this article was the writers’ version of Alex Rodriguez’s play, Hall of Fame ability and poor decision-making.

You’re better than that,

Morgan Ensberg

76 Comments on “Hall of Fame Writer Tracy Ringolsby : An Example of Eroding Respect for Journalism”

  1. PaulK says:

    I’ve really been enjoying your blog, Morgan. Lots of wonderful insights into the game and the players, and a lot of honesty. Much appreciated.

    Just wanted to point out something that I’m sure you didn’t mean to appear a certain way…the line about “Today women open their own doors”. Am I right in assuming you meant “Today, men don’t make the attempt to open doors for women”, as in, “chivalry is dead”? Because we certainly would like to applaud the fact that women open their own doors, both figuratively and literally. But they appreciate the gesture of us men holding the doors open for them too. I know my wife does. 🙂

    • Paul when I was growing up, my Grandma would come to a door and stand there and wait for one of her male grandchildren to open the door. My wife doesn’t open the door when I am around. My sons are 4 and they are learning the same thing.


      • Tom says:

        Really enjoyed the post, Morgan. Yeah, it’s a shame about chivalry going by the wayside. As the son of a single mother, now married to another strong and independant woman and raising a daughter (now also 4) whom I fully expect to be strong and independent in her own right, there’s nothing sexist about holding a door for a lady, be she 84, 64, 34 or 4. My mum taught me that. That said, like clock-work about once a week my wife holds the door for me– and maybe you can relate– when we get back from the main grocery trip and I’m weighed down like a mule in the Andes.

      • Brian McMahon says:

        I respect what you’re saying here, Morgan. But who are these men who refuse to open the door for women? I tell you truthfully, I don’t know any of them. When I’m out in public, I see men holding the door for women all the time. I’m always puzzled by these “chivalry is dead” comments whenever I see them.

        Love your blog.

  2. casey says:

    “Alex will continue to make poor decisions like this for the rest of his career”

    I was with you until you went with the “will” instead of “might”. Past behavior could indicate future behavior but is not a guarantee of it.

    • That is fantasy Casey. Alex has been extremely consistent in his decision making. So far he has taken a lot of heat for these decisions, but still he doesn’t understand what he is doing. I do believe people can change. If Alex was aware of what he was doing then he could make his life much easier.


  3. teamlittleguy says:

    Morgan: just found this blog a couple of days ago and wanted to let you know how much I’m enjoying your take on things. There are so many examples of “bad behavior” that get attention in the media and it seems that sometimes the people who are doing the right things and setting a good example get ignored.

    (And as your post here illustrates, sometimes people get unfairly attacked because of legitimate past transgressions. Kudos to you for applying consistency and fairness in your analysis.)

    As a big fan of the Braves, I had no idea you were such a good guy. Almost makes me want to be a fan of the ‘Stros.

    Almost. 😉

    Keep up the good work!

    • I am no saint, but I find it sort of strange when I read pieces like the one Tracy Ringolsby wrote. It just doesn’t seem accurate so I thought giving you another perspective will help you think that most writing is subjective. Mine included.


  4. Zack says:

    “I’m too stupid to even understand what this means. ”

    For all the talk about ARod’s slap of Arroyo- the following link gets no mention, ever.

  5. redzapper says:

    I too just found this blog and will be a regular reader. Love your take on things – it is indeed “Baseball IQ”

  6. James says:

    Nice article. You blog is starting to remind me of the once great Fire Joe Morgan blog without the cynicism.

    • Thanks James. I am not aware of that blog. My goal here is to teach baseball and be accessible. Sometimes I come across articles that just don’t sound right. This article was an example. Stay in touch and fire away!


  7. Larry says:


    This is a bit tangential, but reading through the part of your post that discussed A-Rod’s Rangers contract and Tom Hicks’ finances, I was reminded of something I have always been curious about and that I have heard announcers touch on during broadcasts, before shying away. Do players face any kind of pressure from the unions or other players regarding pushing for or accepting the highest bid?

    Even though I would pay to be a MLB player for even one week, I don’t blame players for getting as much as they can. So, naturally, I don’t see an issue with A-rod leaving Seattle or Arlington even though it irked a lot of locals in both towns. But surely there are items in a contract equation other than money, that have value. Like who is left after they are done paying you.

    Take Ryan Howard. Good for him for landing that deal. I don’t believe he should have done anything any differently and he should not have to worry about how the Phillies retain players. But it is pretty clear that they got rid of Cliff Lee because they knew they would need the cash to sign Howard. It is also pretty clear they are going to lose Jayson Werth after this year. The law of diminishing returns says that the value of the 25th million dollar Howard makes next year will not be as high as the value of the 20th million dollar he makes. Is there a point where the value, monetary or otherwise, of potentially being a part of a dynasty outweighs the purely fiscal reward of cash? Is it better to make 25 million and be surrounded by mediocre talent or to make 20 million and have that one extra ace pitcher? Surely for lower paid players it’s different, but once you are making $150,000 per game do you ever get to the point where you say, ok, I have enough money, but I want something more?

    Again, Howard deserves every dime he gets and I know it is a slippery slope to owners asking players to “take one for the team” then pocketing the cash themselves. But I can’t help but think that in the absence of union pressures and the mandate to “raise the bar” for lower paid players, a guy like Don Mattingly might have traded the last million or so for a better shot at a ring. I guess it sort of begs the question, how much is a ring worth?

    I know I have a sort of naive view of the player’s point of view here. (Honestly, I will probably never know the difference between 20 and 25 million dollars). But I am just curious if there are any unwritten (or written) rules about how players should behave vis-a-vis the offers they receive…if players have the freedom to make these sorts of decisions if they so choose.

    • Larry that is a great word….tangential…I don’t know what it means, but it sounds like tangent so I will go with that.

      I never felt any pressure from the Union, but I was never in uncharted waters. My guess is that there is more pressure to accept the huge offer because of the scrutiny that you will be under. Players make decisions based on what they think is the best for them at the time. Deciding when enough money is enough is the same as you deciding that you will pay $3 for a burger, but not $4.

      My view is that a player is responsible for their actions at all times. I try not to speculate.


  8. Dan Watson says:

    Wow, that is some piece by Mr. Ringolsby. I read it before continuing with your piece, Morgan, and I had even different problems with it.

    I also have a problem with one specific thing you said: “I am not a writer.”

    I don’t have enough time to get too in to it right now, but you ARE a writer and I’ll prove it to you later.

    Great, thought provoking stuff as usual. I’ll have my blog talk with your blog about TR’s blog later.


    • Bid Dan Watson. Well I am a writer in a completely unaccountable way. Writers have editors and companies that pay the bills. I sit and type a bunch of words and hope that my point gets across.


  9. jason says:

    Are you being ironic?

    Every fan knows Rodriguez lives in his own world and is oblivious to everyone else?

    I’m a fan, and I “know” nothing of the kind. Nor do I take for granted what other players say – who knows if they’re not just clubhouse lawyers who hate the guy.

    I take nothing for granted, here. He may be the most self-centered person in baseball. He may not be. I don’t “know” that he’s selfish.


    • Well Jason I am not sure what to say. I assumed that those watching A-Rod play noticed that he makes decisions that no other player makes. Good point then…there are people that don’t notice that anything he does is any different than another player.

      I too will say, Hmmm……….

      Good stuff,


  10. Andres says:

    Mr. Ensberg,
    Big fan of your new blog. Your insights into the game are very appreciated.

    Two things in response to some of your comment responses above:
    The story about your grandmother would be exactly the same as my grandmother so I totally appreciate where you are coming from. I’m only 25. So the concept and practice aren’t completely dead.

    You mentioned you hadn’t heard of the Fire Joe Morgan blog. I thought I’d provide it here : http://www.firejoemorgan.com/. Unfortunately the authors are no longer posting to it. They claim work gets in the way.


    • Rick says:

      Work is getting in the way for them. Ken Tremendous is sort of busy with Parks and Rec. I think Junior is one of the producers/writers for the show too.

      Anyone who listens to Joe Morgan is left with few choices about how to react. Becoming cynical is the least harmful to yourself and to society as a whole. The other choice is to cease all normal neurological functions and live the rest of your meager existence in a vegetative state.

      • Wow…that is really a lot to take in there Rick. I don’t really want to blow up guys, but I was reading articles last night and I just started typing. I hope to be the example of a person who doesn’t have neurological functions and can still push these little buttons on this board in front of me.


    • Andres thank you for the post. It is cool that you were raised with that type of respect.


  11. Mike says:

    Just recently started reading and have enjoyed it very much. It’s great to see/hear things from players’ perspectives.

    My question: I don’t think I’d be venturing on a small branch if I said ARod was a little self-centered. You hear all the time how important “clubhouse” guys are and how someone like ARod could be a problem in the clubhouse. I’m not saying he his, just using him as an example. As a former big leaguer, would you care to elaborate on the whole “clubhouse” or “locker room” guy that a lot of fans think is so necessary in order to win. I’m just curious if that aspect is something that is completely blown out of proportion or if truely holds merit.


    • Mike I think it is vital. The combination of players in that locker room will make or break your season. It isn’t good enough to be a good player. It takes more than athletic ability to win in this game.


  12. bowie says:

    good post, Morgan. you could have titled it, “Ringolsby an example of eroding respect for journalism”

    • I’ll change it now. Great call Bowie


      • teamlittleguy says:

        Not to put too fine a point on things, but TR’s column is an example of eroding respect for the truth (in both journalism and society).

        Mr. Ringolsby seems to try and pick a winner based on relative fame (or infamy, depending on your point of view). But that line of thinking only gets you so far. A-Rod’s response was arrogant and tone deaf — but Braden went off the deep end over a rule that 1) no-one seems to have heard of; 2) had no impact on the flow or outcome of the game; and 3) should have been handled between the lines or behind closed doors in any event.

        But if you start with the objective truth of “is this an unwritten rule?” and work your way through the sequence of events from there (as Morgan did), you end up seeing that both players come off as selfish & immature in that particular situation.

        Ringolsby’s piece was lazy, but I’m sure that it had its audience among people whose dislike for A-Rod exceeds their desire for the objective truth.

        • I agree with you. What is really concerning to me is that Ringoldsby is considered by fans as a great reporter. To be honest with you, that was the first time I had ever read an article by him. When I realized that his intro touted him as a “Hall of Fame” inductee, it really felt manipulative. I still don’t understand why he used the examples that he did as proof of his opinion. My guess is that he has very little accountability with whomever he writes for. I would bet that an editor checks his syntax and then basically gets the go ahead. I just can’t figure out what he was trying to do there.


  13. Randall says:

    Hey Morgan,
    I enjoyed your take on this. And I totally agree with you on opening doors for women.
    This is not really related specifically to the article, but I did want to get your take on something. Do you think the media makes themselves sacred cows? I know the standard line by athletes is “they have a job to do”, and I get that. I understand if you’re in a slump, or make a bonehead move (on or off the field). It’s their job to ask you about it.
    To me it seems that most people in the media try to present themselves with a great heir of self-importance to the players and the fans. For instance, I was listening to a Houston sports radio show a few years back, and Barry Bonds was the subject (Yes I know a whole subject by himself). The radio host kept talking about how bad of a guy Barry Bonds was. So a caller calls in and asks the host what he’s basing this on, “have you had any personal dealings with him?” The host responded that he hadn’t, but he’d “heard how Barry treated fellow members of the media”. That just seems just as juvenile as whatever behavior Barry is being bashed for.
    Now I’m not here to say Barry Bonds is or isn’t a nice guy. However, if the host had said “one day I was in the visitors’ clubhouse at TenRun field/Minute Maid and Barry cussed me out and called my Mom some very bad names when I asked him about steroids.” Then I would say, yeah this guy has a point.
    That may not be a good analogy, but it just seems like the media thinks they are entitled to know everything about a player including their personal lives. And if a player doesn’t reciprocate with gushing adoration for the media, they are labeled as a bad guy.

    • Randall this is a great question. I believe that some reporters are great and most are not. It seems to me that reporters are under a tremendous amount of stress to talk about controversial topics. Whoever makes the decisions on content should be held accountable. Newspapers say that they are a dying breed and that they can’t make money. Whatever? They are struggling to make money because they no longer represent truth. They have entered the same game as People Magazine and Us Magazine. They have abandoned fact and decided to be subjective. It is a great example of forgetting their strength.


  14. jameso says:

    hey morgan, big fan here. loved what you did in ’05 and was excited to see you in pinstripes a couple years ago.

    i write this to ask if any of what you’ve said about alex here is based on knowing him in the clubhouse during your stint in new york. it seems like half the beat writers can’t stand him, yet the ones that do support him are very vocal about it in the face of all the criticism.

    i always wondered why, and hoped you could give some more insight into what kind of person a-rod is on a daily basis, something no player ever seems to want to do. is he really a jerk? or is he just completely self-unaware, like steve carell on the office?

    • Jameso I write according to my experiences and what I see and interpret. In my opinion, Alex is harmless. It seems pretty easy for me if you just try and figure out why he makes the choices he makes. In my opinion, you don’t need to know him to get an understanding of his needs.

      This is what I think. He is a guy that wants to be loved. He has tremendous ability and wants to be seen as a great guy because of it. As a result, he tries to say all the right things. If you are acting, then eventually you will slip.

      I got along great with Alex. He and I would just bs about whatever. But I saw him as a guy who wanted a friend. He is the hardest worker I have ever seen. He has drive that I have never seen before. Remember, that guy is taking all of this heat and still producing. It is amazing. I think he makes poor decisions most of the time with media and that is what gets him in trouble.


  15. dingers says:

    Morgan Ensberg you own. You own so damn much.

  16. lisa gray says:

    several things

    1 – i don’t think that opening doors for females is “good manners” unless they are old ladies and were raised to believe that they shouldn’t have to open a door, or unless her hands are full. i would open a door for a man who had his hands full. helping someone else out is good manners. but we females do not need “help” opening a door.

    but in general, you are most certainly right that most parents don’t teach kids to have good manners. or, more importantly, to have some consideration for the thoughts and feelings of others. all the sensitivity training should start at home. unfortunately, kids with good manners are disrespected by other kids, so they learn right quick that being rude is kewl.

    2 – alex rodriguez is an elite baseball player. no question about that. i have never met the man, but he certainly comes off, with everything he has ever said or done, as a person who is incredibly egotistical and self-centered and completely oblivious to the feelings of anyone else. he is 34 years old and that is too freaking old to act and talk as if you are 12. old as he is, he has ZERO concept of the idea of “graciousness” or of the idea that if you want to be loved, you have to love. not just stand there oblivious to anything but incoming endless adoration.

    3 – I have read tracy’s writing for a long time, and this is one of his most poorly written articles EVAH. it is ridiculous to conflate rodriguez ‘contract with the rangers with his behaviour on and off the field – or to attempt to attach it to any explanation of why (supposedly) major leaguers no longer “respect The Game” – whatever he means by that.

    4 – you haven’t missed anything whatsoever by not reading the fire joe morgan blog. it wasn’t funny, was just the kind of vicious, bitchy stuff you expect from the class clown making fun of the retarded kids or the dorks in glasses, tripping them and laughing when they fall down – and hopefully giving them a kick in the ribs without being seen by the authorities. you know the kind – like 12 year old fart and belch humor.

    makes me wonder if the writers themselves weren’t those “retarded” kids/dorks in glasses who got laughed at by the kewl kidz who couldn’t stop patting themselves on the back for getting even anonymously with people who can’t fight back.

    • Lisa I couln’t disagree with you more on opening doors. It isn’t about a woman’s ability to open a door, it is sign of respect. My grandma would stand at the door and wait for me, who was 6 at the time, to open the door for her. My mom did the same thing. My wife knows that I open the door for her. My boys who are 4 will learn the same thing.
      Number 2: agree. Number 3: agree Number 4: I don’t like it when people are vicious and petty.

      Good post Lisa,


      • Brett says:

        I know it’s a little foreign to you, but I think you might entertain the thought that this a new century and not all social interactions are created equal.

        I still respect my elders, open doors for people, particularly women, but… it’s not the norm for all situations. I’ve been yelled at for opening doors for people before. Not everyone sees that sort of thing as a sign of respect. The trick is to try and figure out the correct respectful behavior for a given demographic as much as you can and realize there will always be individuals that don’t fit the preconceived norm.

        I guess what I’m trying to say is that times change. Most people do not take offense to men wearing hats indoors. Maybe it’s because I’m from the West Coast, but wearing hats indoors is pretty routine and unremarkable.

        That wasn’t it either. Social norms and standards of etiquette change through time and region. Applying the same standard to all people and saying that Guy #1 is disrespectful because he doesn’t meet the same regional, generational standards that you have is a little presumptuous.

        That said, I love your blog; it gives a nice insight into the side of baseball that you can’t get from Fangraphs.

        • Brett I understand what you are saying. I think you are right. It is going to go person by person as to what they believe is respectful.

          I open doors for women every single time and I have never once been yelled at. In fact woman have said, “No…no…that’s ok. I have it.” My response, “Well that isn’t what my grandmother taught me so you will have to talk to her about it.” I take my hat off 100% of the time inside. People don’t understand why. I tell them, “Hats separate yourself from the group. I can easily tilt my head an make the hat a barrier. I want you to be able to see my eyes.” When I walk in a parking lot, my wife walks on the inside closest to the parked cars. If i walk down stairs I walk in front of a woman so that if she slips, she can fall on me. If she is walking upstairs I walk behind her for the same reason.

          Sure some of these things my seem out of date. But they remind me that I have a responsibility to think of someone else and that women need to feel safe and protected. To be honest, I don’t care if a woman doesn’t respect me for doing this, I will respect the woman regardless of her actions in this case.


    • jd says:


      You’re missing the point on FJM. They weren’t making fun of retarded kids, they were making fun of professional sportswriters. If those sportswriters don’t know know, or are too lazy or stubborn to stop recycling the old “A-Rod’s a Choker”/”RBI’s are the Bestest Stat Ever”/”Eckstein’s Gritty Balls” columns, they deserve to be called out.


  17. Couch Tater says:

    So, Tracy Ringolsby has a strikeout in one game and you’re ready to bench him?

    By the way, I like the new design. Keep up the good work.

    • Couch, I am not trying to “bench him.” It was the first time I have ever read his article. It was just a strange take that I didn’t understand. He represents a “Hall of Fame” caliber writer and that article should never have been written.


  18. Eric Jones says:

    Great post man. I really have no idea what A-Rod is like but if I were to guess he would be someone who feels he is misunderstood. He probably makes these “decisions” because he is under all this pressure to succeed. Ecspecially in NY, where the monotonous grind of interviews where you have to say things like “we do what it takes to win” and “we gave it a team effort” is never ending. The microscope on that dude is so immense, hes bound to screw up from time to time. Usually when I see an article written about A-Rod, Tiger, Kobe or any other athelete of that caliber….I simply pass over it. As far as I’m concerned, their play speaks for itself. The TMZ society we live in today is pathetic…if only the sheep would BAH BAH behind something worthwhile. Now I’m not an A-Rod or Yankee fan but I don’t see how A-Rod is disrepecting the game at all. (Besides the PEDs buts thats a different story) At least he still acts like he cares about winning. The great thing about baseball is that the game itself tells a story to the fans. Somewhere along the lines that wasn’t good enough for these writers and they felt they should either be a part of the story themselves or just pump things up to sell newspapers and create web traffic. Keep up the great work on ESPNU and love the new layout. Heyyyoooo and Go Stros!!!

    • Heyyyyooooo! Great post Eric. I loved, “The great thing about baseball is that the game itself tells a story to the fans. Somewhere along the lines that wasn’t good enough for these writers and they felt they should either be a part of the story themselves or just pump things up to sell newspapers and create web traffic.”

      Well said,


  19. GoGigantos says:

    Though I haven’t said so until now, I have been reading and enjoying since you began this effort and enjoy it very much. I love that readers address you as Morgan and that the level of communication from you feels very personal, real and honest. Kudos to you on a great beginning and for connecting so well with so many of us fans. The hard work you are putting in now will pay off much better than any luck I can wish you in your future endeavors to share the player’s perspective with us all.

    I am curious about you saying that obviously, based on the decisions he makes, he is a selfish person. Could you be talking about as a teammate and ballplayer, not tabloid ARod? Can you show me, tell me, what some of those decisions would be as a ballplayer in the game? Are there situations in a game where he approaches his at bats in ways that don’t put the team first? I am not a big Yankees fan and have only watched ARod from a distance. There are players in my mind that I have thought are selfish on the field, but I would really like to hear it from you. Are there times when you know as a player that a guy is thinking of himself and not the situation on the field or in the clubhouse? How far do some of these guys go with their ego in the clubhouse? How much of a problem can that be?

    My Grandfather is 91, I still have to race him to hold the door for Grandma, always have. They’ve been married 70 years.

    • Greg I want to make a distinction about selfish and “living in his own world.” My point was that he doesn’t seem to understand what is going on around him. As for baseball situations, the guy has so much talent that it is silly. When he is up, just let him hit.

      For the most part, the current game rewards individual stats and not anything that helps a team win. All of these players are victims of an environment that promotes individual play.


  20. Jeremy says:

    Mr Ensberg-

    I was linked to this post by writer Jeff Gordon in St. Louis, and I just wanted to say,

    #1, very informative, interesting, well thought out post. Nice job.

    #2, kudos for taking time to respond to comments.

    I’ll be checking out your blog in the future.

  21. Couch Tater says:


    I know you weren’t ready to bench him. I was just making a joke. In this instance, it doesn’t take a SABR scientist to realize someone was looking for web traffic hits from the largest U.S. market. Sad thing is… it probably worked.

    There is a real conflict these days between generating web traffic with stories that are timely, and staying true to journalistic integrity. Tracy may have canned that article 20 years ago.

    From Journalism.org…

    But what Internet journalism requires are self-confident editors (and owners) who can resist the blandishments of quick-react readership statistics and allow laudable stories time to build their own audience. Otherwise, we will all—reporters and readers alike—find ourselves stuck in heavy traffic with nothing but fluff to read.

    • Tater I can understand that. Guys have different reasons for doing different things. If Mr. Ringolsby’s believes that successful writing is gauged in web hits then I am fine with that. But I don’t think it is good to rip a guy without giving reasonable support. That article wasn’t supported well.


  22. HC44 says:

    He may be a bit selfish but there are many people that are and that doesn’t make someone a horrible human being. In fact, if you want to be sane in this world you have to be a bit about yourself instead of having the disease to please. I will say this, its really easy to make mention of a person’s faults and it seems to be difficult to applaud people. No one is 100% bad, including egotistical athletes. You could write just as long an article on all the positive things Alex has done. Of that I’m sure.

  23. lisa gray says:


    i really like that you believe that you should actually discuss and explain your beliefs instead of doing what so many others do and simply insist on what you say being The Truth and anyone who won’t agree is a maroon. end of discussion.

    very immature – and it certainly doesn’t exactly lead to any sort of understanding or compromises, just more Those People and Us People. a modern tower of babble, you might could say…

    anyway, about the door holding thing –

    i appreciate your viewpoint and your explanations of why you do what you do – and not just because you were taught that way, as if that MUST make it The Only Way.

    i understand that things like door holding were viewed differently in earlier generations, and i have the same kind of patience for very old men who hold doors for me as i do when they call me colored – it is done from what they think is politeness and not disrespect.

    however, you are just a couple of years older than i am, so, i would like to explain to you why i do NOT like men to hold doors for me (unless my hands are full):

    my mama once told someone – i am a person, just like you. i just look different. of course, she meant being Black, but the same thing holds true for being female, not male. i expect to be treated as if i were another responsible, thinking adult, not as if i were a child. i’m a person, just like you (yeah, smaller) and i don’t WANT to be “protected” or “coddled” or treated as if i am incompetent. and that is how it feels to ME.

    some other woman may feel different about this and she has a right to her beliefs as much as i do to mine.

    however, if a female tells you – no thanks, i can get the door, and you use your size and strength to force her to acceed to your beliefs, telling you that she will have to have it out with your grandmother, you are, in fact disrespecting that woman – she isn’t going to get into a fist fight with you, but i promise you that she is NOT feeling “protected”.

    offering is fine – but you aren’t offering. you are forcing, because you refuse to accept a – no thank you. and that is the difference.

    i think that people grow up with very different ideas of what respect/disrespect actually IS. and one person’s respect is another person’s disrespect. i know that several times, you have discussed certain incidents, and i have been very surprised that you did not view them as disrespectful. i thought that maybe you are just a very easygoing sort of man who just doesn’t take offense easily, but perhaps it is that you have a different idea than i do of what constitutes respect…

    – and to switch subjects,
    you are right that baseball SHOULD write its own story. but that stopped a long time ago when writers made “heroes” out of people who hit balls, caught balls and threw balls. they wanted to make some people into more than people, because they felt that the falsehood was more interesting than just the baseball. and they were wrong.

    and now, with the insistance on sensationalism – well, it is no wonder that “reporting” is dying.

    • Well Lisa you are absolutely right. If someone forces their way to open the door then that is one thing. I do not do that. If I am walking into a store I always turn around to check if someone is behind me. I don’t hit the girl out of the way and open the door.

      You are right, I let a lot of stuff role off my back. I don’t take things personally.

      My hope is that I get to meet you.


  24. Drew says:

    I’m inclined to agree with Dallas Braden that ARod should avoid the mound when he is not part of the fielding team. The 2007 Toronto issue, the 2004 ALCS issue, opting out of this contract during 2007 World Series (no player should ever try to up the world series, regardless if they’re in it or not) and the 2010 Oakland issue are all little league behaviors by Alex. Though I’m inclined to agree with you about the contract and the Rangers, I think its ridiculous how much money he makes. Thats another issue though.

    I don’t like that ARod took steroids, and for that I find myself not respecting any of his records. The only good thing he’s done was that he admitted to it, rather than make excuses (McGwire) or blame the person who accused him of it (Clemens). Anyway, I take Dallas Braden’s side on the foul ball/mound issue. I don’t like the Yankees, as far as I’m concerned Jeter is their only player I don’t dislike.

    • Drew that is cool. Would you be mad if I yelled at you for walking on the left side of the sidewalk? If you would get mad then I would have been playing by a set of rules that don’t exist. If you don’t, then you and I would understand that there is no rule that tells you what side of the sidewalk is yours or mine.

      What do you think?


  25. John says:


    Nice job on another great post. I read this entry and most of the comments & replies, and I’d like to make a few quick points.
    First, I totally agree with the popular consensus on Rodriguez. The combination of his talent, contract & narcissism make him a huge target for the media and the “TMZ society we live in today. ” (Well said, Eric.)
    Second, it shouldn’t matter what side of the sidewalk you walk on, as long as you are closer to the traffic than the lady you’re walking with.
    Third, FireJoeMorgan.com will hardly be missed. HireMorganEnsberg.com is a site that someone needs to start, now. With your knowledge of the game and how well you can communicate, you should be commentating somewhere on national TV on a regular basis at least, if not in a dugout as a coach or manager.
    Fourth, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7-5io1muSQ&feature=related
    stick that in yer browser and click it..
    All the best,

  26. Crazy Uncle says:

    I remember Tracy Ringolsby from when he covered the Seattle Mariners. And when Rodriguez played for them, too.

    Sounds like some history between these guys still weighs on Tracy’s mind.

  27. JW Wright says:

    Mr. Ensberg, *you’re* better that *this*. Or at least you should be.

    Me thinks the gentleman ex-ballplayer doth protest waaay too much!

    • If you think that I was out of line, you should have read the article that Ringolsby wrote.


      • JW Wright says:

        You were not very classy in publicly complaining about Ringolsby’s article. If your goal was to make him aware of your thoughts, I have no doubt that you could’ve used your MLB connections to get his contact info.

        But by making this a public rant you come across as wanting only to embarrass Ringolsby (and in a one-sided forum where he is not present to defend himself, should he even choose to engage in such a public exchange).

        You don’t come across as wanting to affect any change in Ringolsby’s writing. Instead you just seem interested in venting, which essentially leaves you guilty of the same transgressions you called out Ringolsby for: writing about a public baseball figure’s disagreeable, selfish actions.

        And that hypocrisy makes you look like a frustrated ex-jock finally getting some revenge on the media.

        I don’t know you, Mr. Ensberg, so I don’t mean to imply that this is who you are as a person. I’m just saying that this is how your post here comes across, which is why I gave you the benefit of the doubt to say that you *should* be better than this.

  28. Mike T says:

    Hey, I open/hold doors for strangers. If they don’t acknowledge it as they pass, maybe thinking there was some entitlement for me to do that for them, I just say, “you’re quite welcomed!”

    Morgan, as far as this writer goes, were there ever any beat writers in the clubhouse you avoided, or perhaps the entire team boycotted, because of negative writings?

    • Mike I don’t open doors for a “thank you.” I open doors out of respect.

      There is always a writer that you have to watch out for. But I never knew a team to boycott a guy.


      • Mike T says:

        I understand, but they should have respect as well. I recently had rotator cuff surgery and it was nice to see people be polite by holding a door or even giving me a wider path to avoid bumping my shoulder.

        Once I stopped wearing that sling, life was back to normal. lol

  29. Sean Forkner says:

    Hey Morgan,

    Thought I’d pass this along. This guy is saying A-Rod did break an unwritten rule.


    Either way, my stance is that A-Rod has proven he either doesn’t know or doesn’t care about these sort of things. So, it’s a non-issue.

  30. PaulP says:

    The whole “mine” thing on the pop up really gets to me… when I hear people complain about it. I mean sure you can call it little league, but what does that say about the infielders who fell for it? Also, how is that selfish? He ended up at 3rd, a run scored I think a few other did too afterward, so it’s selfish for a player to do something to reach base safely? Oh yeah, hitting mealiness homers when your team is ahead by 5 runs, as if no team has ever scored 6 runs in an inning.

  31. Stephen Luftschein says:

    Isn’t amazing that we live in a society that demands respect but doesn’t give it?

    As you originally wrote, Braden could have just as easily have said, “Dude, it’s my mound, stay off it when I’m here”. No press, no nothing, and accomplished the same thing.

    Instead, like Ringolsby he says, “let me draw attention to me, and do exactly what I’m accusing A-Rod of doing, but tell you I’m better”.

  32. sean french says:

    Ahh but he’s not better than the propaganda he writes . He’s just a tired ole hack from the womens auxiliary whos been given a key to the club as long as he plays nice.

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