By Jeff Moss
September 11, 2016
I frequently am asked why I care so much about the Detroit sports media. Why do I spend so much time obsessing over a bunch of nobodies like Helene St. James or Matthew B. Mowery? It’s a legitimate question and one I will be addressing in this article.
Let’s take my favorite team in Detroit as today’s example. The Tigers. Now, we all know an average baseball game lasts approximately three hours. I would say conservatively that I watch about 140 Tigers games a season. Right off the bat, that’s 420 hours I invest per year with this ball club.
Then, when you consider that if the Tigers are in playoff contention like this season, I probably conservatively watch another 120 hours of Indians, Astros and Orioles matchups to monitor the progress of Detroit’s rivals.
For example, while the rest of the inhabitants of this state were watching college football yesterday afternoon, I was tuned into the game between the Blue Jays and Red Sox. A contest in which, mind you, I wasn’t even fucking sure who to root for as a Tigers fan.
If you throw in another 100 hours reading articles about the team, listening to podcasts, tuning into radio broadcasts and absorbing any other Tigers-related media, you have a grand total of 640 hours a season.
640 hours equals 27 days. Yes, I (pathetically) spend almost an entire month of my life each year dedicated to the Detroit Tigers.
So, yes, I take the people who cover the franchise very seriously because they are our conduit for information about the team. They help form public opinion and have the ability via their bully pulpit to criticize the franchise’s mismanagement.
Finally, they have access to Brad Ausmus’ press conferences to ask the questions that WE, as dedicated fans, want posed.
Which brings us to Jordan Zimmermann’s idiotic start last night against the team the Tigers are chasing in the Wild Card standings. This is a Tweet that I sent out this past Tuesday regarding that inevitability:
This isn’t hindsight. This isn’t backseat managing. This is a post I made four days BEFORE Zimmermann ridiculously took the mound in one of the biggest games of the season.
And because I only had 140 characters to work with, I couldn’t elaborate on why Zimmermann had “no business” pitching last night, but it should have been bloody obvious to ANYONE with a god damn brain. That excludes each of the folks who cover this organization for a living. But here is a list of Zimmermann’s red flags just in case you need some evidence …
1] The last time Zimmermann was effective in a MLB game was June 19th. Yes, it had been 83 days since he pitched well for Detroit. And even that was an anomaly as he had been mostly awful for a month prior to that start.
2] In his last start for Toledo, Zimmermann was not very good. In 4 2/3 innings pitched, he gave up seven runs. And while only two were earned, it wasn’t a very crisp performance by any stretch of the imagination. And the Columbus Clippers aren’t exactly the Baltimore Orioles.
3] On Wednesday, Zimmermann told the Detroit media that he was not 100 percent.
And Detroit’s manager wasn’t aware that his pitcher had said this to the media. Ya gotta believe me.
4] Not only were the Tigers facing the team they were tied with for the last playoff berth, this Orioles lineup is the wet dream of former manager Earl Weaver’s “three-run homer offense.”
Before yesterday’s game, their Saturday lineup had hit 211 home runs this year. That’s an average of almost 23.5 per position player. And there are still three weeks to go in the season!!!!
And Ausmus’ grand idea was to send out a rusty pitcher — who was struggling to hit 90mph in Toledo and who admittedly wasn’t 100 percent — against THAT ravenous lineup.
And not one person who covers this team for a living questioned this fucking asinine choice. In fact, some dipshits DEFENDED it ….
Yes, because can you imagine how poorly Zimmermann would have faired if he weren’t on his normal ROUTINE?!?!?!?!??
I woke up this morning looking forward to putting yesterday behind me with Justin Verlander on the mound, hopefully an enjoyable Lions loss and some good racing at Kentucky Downs and Belmont Park.
Then I opened Twitter and the first thing I read was this:
Uh huh. One article from the Detroit Free Press Tigers beat writer suggesting that Zimmermann should get ANOTHER START after last evening’s debacle, and an Ausmus propaganda post using Buck Showalter as his vehicle.
Now, I am going to let you in on a little secret. There are a lot of Detroit media members who do not like how I have treated Anthony Fenech. Even journalists who enjoy the DSR and follow me on Twitter. I have heard this from backchannels for over a year now.
And this wasn’t just coming from his boy Josh Katzenstein. Their argument was a lot of the transgressions that I have reported on occurred when Fenech was still in college.
But Moss, when he flipped his PT Cruiser and caused an injury accident while almost three times over the legal limit, he was just 20 years old.
And he was still in college when he sexually harassed a co-worker at the school paper, CMLife, when making unwanted sexual overtures on Facebook messenger and then insulted the looks of the poor girl’s boyfriend
And he was only in his early twenties when he went to a Downriver bar, purposely hit on another patron’s significant other and got punched in the face for said offense.
Come on, Joff, Ant had only been working for the Freep for a couple of years when he thought it would be smart to start fucking a supervisor in the paper’s parking lot.
Look, Myst, it was only his SECOND YEAR on the beat when he made the conscious decision to take a EUROPEAN VACATION in late August of a BASEBALL SEASON.
Can’t you just give the guy a break?
Screw him. (I am saying that figuratively, not literally like Stefanie Murray.)
By any means necessary. And I will tell you why. The Tigers like to control the message. They don’t want anyone in Ausmus’ office who is going to ask tough questions which is why the two biggest papers in town have absolute apologists as beat writers.
Do you want to know one reason Tony Paul is covering amateur golf, boat racing, U of M basketball and curling for the Detroit News? I have heard through sources that the Tigers VP of Communications Ron Colangelo told the News higher-ups that the team doesn’t want Paul following the team on a daily basis.
Why? Because he wouldn’t be writing puff pieces about Ausmus or defending his every fucking move. He’d be posing pointed questions the team doesn’t want asked.
You want more evidence? Do you think it is odd that Lansing broadcaster Ryan Schuiling has no problem getting credentialed for the Lions, Wings and Pistons, but has been blacklisted by the Tigers?
This is a guy who has hosted a Grand Rapids AM drive show and currently has a Lansing program airing five days a week, but he can’t get credentialed while a fangirl like Catherine Slonksnis working for a website called BLESS YOU BOYS does?
I wonder if that has anything to do with Schuiling’s relationship with me. No, actually I don’t ponder that. I know it does.
So, with apologies to all of Fenech’s friends in the media, I will end this diatribe with another story from his college days that I have never posted.
About ten months ago I got a message from someone who knew a reporter in Toledo named [Redacted.] She worked for a station called [Redacted] down there and had the misfortune of going to college with Fenech at Central Michigan.
This was another woman in an established relationship who received unwanted advances from “The Beast.” And if there is any modus operandi the DSR has discovered in obtaining these Fenech stories, it is his fetish for hitting on females who are in committed relationships.
The girl at Brooklyn’s Bar in Wyandotte. “Kitten” from CMLife. Stories he has admitted to on Twitter and didn’t have the brainpower to delete when he got the Freep gig. And now this fellow student.
Anyway, [Redacted] barely even knew Fenech existed. They apparently shared a class and had hardly exchanged any words whatsoever. They weren’t even acquaintances.
And then one day Fenech gave her a five-page, hand-written letter (with writing on both sides of the sheet) in which he explained his undying love for this borderline stranger and how they needed to be together.
How freaked out by this letter was [Redacted]? Well, she gave it to her boyfriend — whom, I believe, was studying for a career in law enforcement — and they pondered whether or not to give it to campus police.
I was told a decision was made to just hold on the letter in case Fenech’s bizarre behavior continued and she needed to file for a Personal Protection Order, but that was never necessary.
So why I did I sit on this story for almost a year? Because I had hopes of obtaining the letter and I was going to post in on the DSR. Well, I never got it. It apparently was lost in a move.
Maybe one day we will get our hands on it, but I am not holding my breath at this point.
And if you are still asking yourself why I despise Fenech or Chris McCosky so much, just do me this favor.
Every waking moment you have this coming February, remember that is the time I invest every year in the Detroit Tigers.
And this is what we are stuck with covering the team.
(You can follow the writer of this piece on Twitter @JeffMossDSR. Also, you can join in on the discussion of this article on Facebook by clicking here.)