By Jeff Moss
November 7, 2014
If there is anything that I have learned about cops through watching television shows and movies, it’s that they protect their own. The police can murder people, rape chicks and plant evidence with impunity — all while their buddies on the force turn a blind eye.
And when said lousy cop retires or dies, he is either thrown a huge party where everyone reminisces about the “good ol’ days” or the dude is laid out on a billiards table while his compadres spill drinks over his carcass.
Based on the reaction to news of the overdue retirement of Detroit Free Press Tigers beat writer John Lowe — and his sidekick, Mr. Hat — it would appear that sportswriters suffer from the same affliction as the police; you would have thought Dick Schaap or Jim Murray had decided to start collecting Social Security.
Here is just some of the positive reaction on the Twat Box:
Add my voice to those honoring the great John Lowe, retiring from the Freep. Quintessential ball writer, consummate gentleman, & grand soul.
— T.J. Quinn (@TJQuinnESPN) October 22, 2014
Not since A-Rod in 2007 has a person hijacked attention during the World Series like John Lowe. Farewell and good luck to a nice man.
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) October 22, 2014
I just want to join those saluting the great John Lowe upon his retirement. No baseball writer I’ve met enjoyed the job more.
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) October 22, 2014
John Lowe is a treasure to baseball, baseball writing, baseball writers, Free Press readers. Congratulations to my mentor on his retirement.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) October 22, 2014
Wishing all the best to John Lowe in retirement after 29 years on Tigers beat and many more in baseball. Has meant a lot for the profession.
— Jason Beck (@beckjason) October 22, 2014
John Lowe’s retirement from the Detroit Free Press is a huge loss for baseball writing. The Free Press will never be the same. #MLB
— Mel Antonen (@MelAntonen) October 22, 2014
All the best to my good friend and one-time competitor on the Tiger beat, John Lowe, retiring from the Free Press. An era ends.
— Danny Knobler (@DannyKnobler) October 22, 2014
But my favorite congratulatory missive was sent by the Tigers’ own PUBLIC RELATIONS DEPARTMENT ……
The Tigers wish all the best to John Lowe in his new chapter, a true pro who will be missed and will always have a seat in Tigers press box.
— Tigers PR (@DetroitTigersPR) October 22, 2014
And why wouldn’t the team that John Lowe covered for a living fete the man and offer him a free seat at Comerica Park for life? He spent his entire career asking ZERO tough questions of people in power; defended every awful move the Tigers front office made; and fellated garbage players on the team’s roster.
John Lowe was awful at his job, yet retirement is being hailed by the entire baseball community because:
A) He was a really nice guy.
B) He served for a long, long, long time in his position.
Look, as DSR contributor Michael “HeathBlizzGuy with Brownie Bites” opined when Lowe’s plans went public, LONGEVITY doesn’t equate to GREATNESS. If you think it does, go to your local Secretary of State and monitor the work ethic of any random 30-year employee.
The first thing you should know about Lowe is that he was an old-school baseball thinker who passive aggressively despised sabermetrics. I know, it’s really shocking that a man who created a statistic calling an ERA of 4.50 in the National League a “QUALITY START” wasn’t a forward thinker … but it’s true. The garbage QS makes “Wins” and “Saves” look like FIP and RC+, for Christ’s sake.
We are talking about a baseball scribe who was such a slave to antiquated stats that he once began a game recap of a 2013 Tigers win with a pathetic defense of Prince Fielder based on Runs. Batted. In.
I mean, every single stat known to mankind illustrated that Fielder was having a terrible year in 2013, but Lowe tried to persuade his readers that Prince was just fine because of the severely flawed RBI stat.
I am not sure anyone in recent Detroit Sports Media history has done more to keep fans in the Dark Ages than John Lowe has. If you want to know why most Tigers fans despise advanced metrics and mock the new math, it MIGHT have something to do with reading this caveman’s drivel for the last 29 years.
How bad was Lowe when it came to this stuff? Well, in 2012, he was universally mocked for his American League MVP ballot. I could go into a long dissertation on the idiocy of giving Raul Ibanez a top-ten vote; placing Jim Johnson third on his ballot (yes, THAT Jim Johnson); and leaving Robinson Cano off completely but I will save that for New York Magazine and Deadspin.
First, Joe DeLessio of NYMag.com ….
And now Deadspin:
This is the flat-earther whom his brethren can’t trip over their dicks fast enough to blow on his way out the door.
That 2012 ballot was so bad that Lowe should have been either institutionalized or, at the very least, mocked out of his profession. Instead, he was given another two years to say shit like this …..
Ok, first of all, this was a John Lowe chat where he was supposed to take questions from Freep readers. Yet, he was so eager to carry the Tigers’ water that he began the chat by preemptively defending the third-trimester abortion known as the Doug Fister deal.
Are you still wondering why John Lowe received that flowery sendoff from Tigers’ PUBLIC RELATIONS DEPARTMENT?!?!!?!?!???! I wonder if they’re also giving him a fucking gold watch on his way out the door.
John Lowe didn’t think it was part of his job to hold his subjects’ feet to the fire. How do I know this? Because he admitted it in a chat a couple years back.
That is why the Tigers loved this guy. He wasn’t a journalist, he was a fanboy who wanted everyone to like him; he never criticized anyone or anything.
Here is what Jim Leyland had to say about Lowe upon learning of Mr. Nice Guy’s retirement:
As I wrote the other day, do you think Admiral Michael Rogers — the head of the NSA — would give such glowing remarks about upon learning of Glenn Greenwald’s retirement?
Annnnnnddddd, I am guessing that Kwame Kilpatrick isn’t writing love notes to either M.L. Elrick or Jim Schaefer from his federal prison cell in Texas either.
Now, I am sure most of you are screaming at your monitor that sports aren’t as important as either a government official’s abuse of power or U.S. citizens having their cell phone calls monitored, but that’s kind of the point here.
Sports are important. We dedicate a lot of time fretting over this “frivolous nonsense.” These are billion-dollar entities that have no issue with asking for handouts when they want a new stadium built — and the infrastructure that goes along with it — but then don’t want to be covered like other companies of their stature when they fuck up.
And the John Lowe’s of the world are why we are usually spoon-fed these teams’ talking points at the expense of REAL JOURNALISM taking place.
Because it’s just sports.
Seriously, sit back for a moment and try to think of ONE TIME in the last 29 years when you remember Lowe writing anything REMOTELY critical of this organization.
You can’t. Instead what comes rushing to my mind is the constant defense of Leyland; the apologies for Don Kelly; and the Fister trade rationalization.
The man was the king of defusing toxic Tigers-related stories while using his articles for inane encyclopedic references of past performances by Detroit’s baseball team.
So let’s recap the man’s legacy.
He hated math.
He never criticized the team.
His main goal was to get the front office, players, coaches and fellow media members to like him. [MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!!!]
And he created a moronic stat which further dumbed-down the game.
Thank [Trout] he is gone.
And let’s hope the person who replaces him believes that occasionally placing his subjects on the hook is part of the gig.
I am not holding my breath.