detestable "code of conduct" diary

ok, let's get this over with.

i'm not big on rules, particularly when it comes to rules that delimit what people can say and how they must say it. i am raising a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old, and regulating what they say and do is exhausting enough; the scant remainder of my oversight time is reserved for telling la russa, duncan, and jocketty how they should be doing their jobs. it's simply impossible to impose close supervision upon the millions and millions of eager readers who visit this blog every day. so i'm tempted to adopt the succinct "Code of Conduct" that ken arneson implemented a couple of months ago over at his excellent blog, Catfish Stew:

There is no "Code of Conduct." In civilized conversations between mature people, codes of conduct are not necessary.

I will not manage people's behavior. I'm a busy man, I have better things to do. If someone fails to behave in a civilized, mature manner, I just delete their accounts. No warnings, no notification. I don't have time for that.

If and when such a deletion happens in error, human beings with a mature and responsible character will figure out the best course of action to correct the problem.

that pretty much expresses how i feel about blog ettiquette. comport yourself like an adult, and you can say whatever you want. that includes using cusswords, criticizing the team, praising the team, questioning the manager's decisions, defending said decisions, expressing frustration with individual players or worship of same, and disagreeing sharply with the opinions of the blogger and/or other posters.

you can do any and all of the above on this blog if you do it with maturity and intelligence, and above all with civility. people have been carrying on that type of conversation on this blog for more than a year without incident; about 99 percent of the readers already understand the ground rules and don't need to be reading this post. i've been proud to host and participate in their discussions. but i was not at all proud of what went on here last saturday, during the cards' 5-4 extra-inning loss to the cubs. that was embarrassing and unpleasant --- same as when one of my kids throws a tantrum on an airplane or in a restaurant. we had people telling the manager to go fuck himself, calling the players pussies and pieces of shit; one genius said he'd like to piss all over la russa, and provided a detailed image thereof. i'm sitting there at the hotel, reading all of this poolside, and thinking: i guess all those smart people who read my blog all went off on vacation at the same time i did. and they apparently enlisted my old trouble-making crew from 6th grade to stand in for them.

the mania erupted over la russa's decision to play the percentages in a tight game -- ie, to pinch-hit encarnacion for duncan vs a lefty reliever in a key spot. close tactical call, and one that could have been fodder for an excellent discussion -- indeed, a handful of people tried to have that discussion amid the 200 "fuck you la russa" posts. there was, for example, this comment from nota bene:

I'm not normally one to second-guess anybody, especially La Russa, no matter how weird he gets, but he fucking poured cold water on a rally in the 9th, and asked his closer to pitch 2 innings. Poor bench management led to a half-assed outfield, with no defensive subs available in the infield. If somebody had gotten hurt after the 9th we would have pitchers playing in the field or something.

TLR deserves plenty of heat for this one.

excellent summation of how la russa's maneuver put the team in a weak position. another well-articulated critique came from jillsinmo: I know that Tony thinks that lefty/righty stuff is sacrosanct, but Duncan TIED the game with a homer, has been hitting like a maniac, and as is turned out, he could have struck out too, just like Enc did. Sometimes you got to let your players just play and see what they can do. . . . . he overmanaged them out of a win. timbo02 expressed a similar thought -- "If you are going to go down, at least go down with your best batters, Duncan and Pujols . . . . they were in the exact right positions at the exact right times to win that game" -- and added this sharp attack on the manager's style: I just hope that someone, someplace in the sportswriter world tells this loss as it happened....that a manager, whose ego has NO end...lost a game today by thinking of his own freaking reputation over the success of the team.... there were some equally cogent posts on the other side, either defending the move on its merits or suggesting -- correctly -- that the decision, while flawed, wasn't a make-or-break thing. and finally, a few hours post-game, there was the outstanding diary by sjoshi, who did some research and added some data to the discussion -- stuff we didn't know before, and that we won't read anywhere else.

express yourself in this manner and you can vent all the frustration and criticism you want. but you can't tell the manager to fuck off; you can't call the players pieces of shit; you can't pick idiotic fights with other posters. and i'm not going to delineate the difference between "idiotic fights" and "legitimate differences of opinion"; if you can't draw that distinction yourself, then just don't post here.

re cusswords: this blog is written for adults, not children. adults get to cuss -- but most of us know where to draw the line. i don't mind a few dirty words, uttered with feeling --- but i do mind when they're used gratuitously and/or when they're deployed to vulgarize a personal attack. you can write "what the fuck are you thinking, la russa?" but if you write "go fuck yourself, la russa," your posting privileges will be revoked. you can write, "taguchi just took the shittiest route to a ball i have ever seen," but if you write "taguchi's the biggest piece of shit i have ever seen," you're busted. and if you're swearing up a blue streak, and i or another poster asks you to tone down the language --- then tone it the f**k down. immediately. with apologies.

like i said, this discussion is unnecessary for 99 percent of the people who post here. almost everybody understands how to be lively and opinionated and provocative and passionate within the bounds of common civility and decency. the threads last night, during and after the cards' painful collapse, didn't contain a single post i considered objectionable. so i'm pretty confident that saturday's thing was just an aberration, rather than the new paradigm around here.

just to be clear about it: that'll never be the paradigm at VEB.