Friday, July 6, 2007

Update on Bucco Blog

Some interesting developments on the shutdown of Bucco Blog. To recap, the author of the blog, Joliet Jake, decided to cease writing because of a post he made that allegedly almost cost someone their job in the Pirates' organization due to false information that he printed. Although all the posts were removed, resourceful commenter Ted over at The Big Lead decided to check google's cache of the website and sure enough found a post that may be the culprit. PSaMP did a great job analyzing the post and bringing it the attention of other Pittsburgh sports blogs. Click here to read the post and PSaMP's thoughts.

The post seems to be a good candidate because it presents factual information - pitch counts - that could be incorrect and it deals with handling of prospects, which is obviously a responsibility of many positions within the organization. I'm going to analyze this post and see if there is anything that could cause trouble. I'm not saying this is the post that caused the problem, or that the people within the Pirates organization who I mention are any more likely than anyone else, but I think it is interesting nonetheless. I don't like speculating but we really have nothing else to go on. So here is my argument for why this is the post that caused the whole mess:

Here are the pitch counts and other facts that Jake offers throughout his post:

--Sean Burnett- May 30th- 39 pitches, 2nd inning, 37 pitches, 3rd inning -DL two days later
--Brian Bullington- May 20th -37 pitches, 4th inning, had to pitch 5th and 6th innings -DL on June 10th
--Zach Duke - June 17th- 34 pitches, 4th inning, had to pitch 5th and 6th inning
--Zach Duke- March 18th - 39 pitches, 4th inning, spring training
--Van Benschoten -June 21st - 35 pitches, last inning of work
--Van Benschoten -June 27th- 28 pitches, 4th inning, did not return.
--Shane Youman - May 6th - 40 pitch 1st inning

Out of these statistics, 3 pitch counts are incorrect, according to my research:
--Burnett threw 36 pitches in both the 2nd and 3rd inning each of the May 30th game. He was off by 4 pitches
--Duke threw 36 pitches in the spring training game (near bottom of article) in the 4th inning, a difference of 3 pitches.
--Van Benschoten threw 27 pitches in 4th inning on June 27th, 1 pitch difference

Obviously, that last one is minor, but the first two might be enough for an angry emailer to claim that Joliet Jake was fudging the stats. The only people who would be angry about this, enough to claim it jeopardized their job, would be the pitching coaches, Jim Colborn and Mike Andrews.

People seem to be assuming Colborn, especially since Jake mentions him by name. But I think Andrews fits as well, if not more so. Jake mentions in his final post that the person who emailed him has been in the business for over a "quarter century". Colburn has been in baseball (counting his playing days) for 38 years, with 23 years as a coach. Andrews was drafted in 1981 as a player, 26 years ago, and has been a minor league coach for 21 years. This is pure speculation, but if it was Colborn I feel Joliet Jake would have said something more accurate than, "more than a quarter of a century in the industry". Andrews, on the other hand, has been in the business for just a bit more than 25 years and it seems a lot more likely a minor league coach's job would be jeopardized by something like this than a major league coach's. A seemingly better match on paper.

So to recap, Joliet Jake screwed the pooch on three pitch counts, none exactly mind-blowing but still enough to maybe draw the ire of an angry Pirates employee. The "quarter-century" quote helps out, but isn't anything solid. What does it all mean? Absolutely nothing. If I had to wager I would say that wasn't the post and Colborn or Andrews didn't write the email, but there is still the possibility that it could be, simply because of the errors mentioned above. If anyone else has some thoughts or if I completely missed something let me know in the comments.

End of Post


tecmo said...

Well done.

Could be is all we really have to go off right now. We might never know who/what the reasoning was.

I didn't check the pitch counts, but 3/4 pitches do go a long way. If this is all true, I'm just surprised that someone from the organization would actually email/possibly threaten Jake. Sportsblogs are independent sources of info, usually written by fans. Just because Jake might have missed a few numbers, I don't know why that would cause such a big stir.

And this is...if this is the post. It could be.

Our sportsblog community lost one of their own. We may never know the reason, but we need to appreciate what Jake brought to the community.

Good analysis, guys.

Sam said...

Thanks, but we wouldn't have even seen the post in question without you bringing it to light, so we appreciate it.

I can see it happening, but its absurd at the same time. I can see a high up person in the organization reading the blog, seeing the numbers and then reprimanding an employee for the statistics that Jake provided but no one else in the organization had bothered to really look at. When they were proven to be false it seems very likely the employee who got in trouble would be pissed at Jake, enough to wirte an email sob-story about how he almost lost his job, even if it was an exaggeration.

The whole thing is nuts and I hope that the destruction of his blog was not an overreaction.

Steven Goelz said...

If you check the link, Bucco Blog is back up with more bullshit about what happened to him, and says everything's all right now.
Look- I've been blogging for over a year now at the Parrot, and while I try to keep the facts as straight as possible, I'm sure I've screwed up time or dozen. I also call Dave Littlfield and Jim Tracy idiots four or more times a week. Nobody is forcing anyone to stop blogging- the more I think about it, the more I believe Bucco Blog is full of shit. He never did have the greatest reputation anyhow, running with rumors that no one beleived were true, and now this cry for attention. He got it- Deadspin picked up the story, as well as others.
You or I could write that Littlefield and Tracy dress up in drag and cruise the South Side, and there's no truth to it (maybe), but no one can shut your blog down for it.
Look at Deadspin, The Debriefing, and many other blogs- no one is taking them off the interwebs and they publish way worse stuff than erroneous pitch counts or mis-identifying a Pirate employee's responsibilities.
(And for the record, that Littlefield/Tracy cross-dressing thing appeared on your blog comments, not mine!)

Sam said...

We never said he was forced to stop blogging. From what I understood, he decided to stop because he felt guilty. After reading the most recent entry I realize the guy is a flake. I still think someone emailed him from the Pirates to complain about something. Jake overreacted, in my opinion. I agree with you though, no organization, even the mighty Pirates, could force a blog to shut down. The whole thing is looking very childish at this moment

Steven Goelz said...

I know you didn't say he was forced to stop blogging, but that's what he insinuated in his earlier posts.
I don't like the way he shows one post and one post only- no way to look at his earlier stuff, even of a day ago, and now he's raising the idea that someone plaigerized his work- please.
What upsets me most is that the guy is wasting all of our time with this crap.

Geeves said...

just for the record, but i foolishly bought into what jake (not his real name) used to write. then one day some shocking analysis was made by him, so i asked DK for his opinion, and i dont remember exactly, but his response was roughly "do not take that blog seriously, i have personal experience with 'Jake's apparent mental imbalances."

haven't touched it since.