Yesterday, we took ESPN.com to task for their use of misleading pictures in their story on the Rays failings in the Bay Area…The story blew up over the course of the day. Many were more upset with the content of the story.

We gave Bertman a pass on the content because: a) some of his points were correct on why things have failed in St. Pete. However he was short-sighted in assuming that the entire region is at fault; b) the pictures immediately killed the credibility of whatever was written because at the very least it was lazy, and at worst it looked like ESPN had an agenda; and c) the story is a tired one. And as Rob Neyer correctly stated, “nothing’s going to change in the next year or three. Which means more pieces exactly like this one.” In other words, we are pacing ourselves.

As for the rest of the combatants…

In the middle of last night’s Twitter storm, Bertman first got defensive:

Date irrelevant. Had plenty of 11,000 gates this year as well

So then, why not use one of those pictures? Oh wait, we know! Because 11,000 doesn’t have the dramatic impact of 1,000.

But then, sometime around 9:00 this morning, ESPN.com removed the picture from 2004 and replaced it with highlights of the Rays playing in Milwaukee, which seems logical for a story on Rays attendance. Guess they couldn’t find any dramatic pics from those “11,000 gates” Bertman spoke of.

Rob King, the head of ESPN.com’s digital media, then issued an apology our bad:

As you suggest, we could/should have selected a more current photo. Our bad. Photo was updated.

Still, the pic from the 2008 Rays practice on ESPN.com’s main MLB page would remain up for at least two more hours before being replaced, which seemed strange. At least the 2004 pic was from, you know, a game.

Later in the day, Bertman broke the Four Letter’s rule of not going on non-ESPN radio shows, when he made a very contentious appearance on WDAE 620 with Steve Duemig. You can listen to the interview here.

Finally, Bertman will be a guest on todays “Baseball Today” podcast with Mark Simon. Simon is a part-time Rays fan (he grew up a Mets fan, and quite frankly nobody can blame him for at least dividing his attention these days), so this topic is certain to come up.

 
 

19 Comments

  1. Amanda says:

    Cork, I’m sorry we broke RI.com yesterday. :( lol

    The Worldwide Loser in Sports can write all the misinformed blog posts they want, because RI, 620, and all of us will be right there to call them out and make them look like the fools they are.

  2. Blake says:

    As much as I dislike Berthiaume, I felt Steve Deumig did the entire area a disservice yesterday with the way he treated him on his show. It came off like Deumig was incredibly unprepared and he was getting completely owned in the contentious debate. Because of this, in classic Duemig style, he screamed at the guy like a fool and then hung up on him. Thanks Deumig. Not only was that immature and classless, but it does nothing to help the image of our area nationally in sports. And you wonder why your ratings continue to fall while 1010′s continue to rise. I only wish Berthiaume had gone on with either Toby David or JP Peterson. At least then the area would have had someone competent and prepared on the other side of the line.

    • Amanda says:

      I didn’t get a chance to hear it because I was driving home at the time. Doesn’t matter. Duemig pwned him during his opening monologue, and went point by point through his whole crappy column, and gave rational arguements like Cork did.

      • td32 says:

        Sorry Amanda, but Duemig’s interview was a disaster. It’s fine to be critical, but he was over the line, and as some have already pointed out, unprepared.

    • Sarah says:

      Blake, you are so right! There was so much good critical commentary about that ESPN blog post, including Tom Jones’ point in today’s Times that a news anchor/reporter shouldn’t be writing opinion pieces with a clear agenda. But that radio interview was an embarrassment. Duernig managed to make Berthiaume look like the smart, well-prepared one. I seldom listen to sports radio, and hearing that podcast reminded me why.

    • MJ says:

      Yea, what a wasted opportunity it was. No logical arguments, a lot of “who cares”.

      The interview on 1040 was better, but the questions were softballs.

      Why can’t we get an educated and eloquent radio personality. So many ways that article could have been picked apart or at least fairly debated and nobody had the smarts or the stones to do it.

      • JP Peterson says:

        Then you should switch over to Happy Hour with JP on 1010 CBS Sports radio from 3 to 6. We have had an informational and intelligent debate on our platform bringing on Mayor Foster, Hillsborough Commissioner Ken Hagan, Mayor Bob Buckhorn…you know…the people that actually have a major influence in what happens to the Rays! Not some ESPN flunky clearly following marching orders from Selig (through his espn bosses) to bilk the locals out of$650 million for a stadium. We would love for you and all the other great Rays fans here on Rays Index to join us everyday from 3 to 6pm! I LOVE the debate on these forums!

  3. Neal says:

    I like Duemig but it did seem like he was talking in circles yesterday…and surprisingly unprepared. When they were discussing numbers, it was painful. Bertman didn’t know what he was talking about either but that should have been an opportunity for Duemig to own him and he didn’t.

  4. td32 says:

    The sad part of the Duemig/Berthiahume “interview” was that Duemig got rolled because he had no ammo. The arguments were simple, yet Duemig focused on the wrong subject matter… “DO YOU KNOW WHAT DIRECTION TRAFFIC FLOW” or “WHERE ARE THE QUOTES”.
    Duemig came across as an A-hole, which isnt a surprise since that’s what his minions crave, so he delivered.

  5. Rome says:

    I do agree with the above comments that Duemig let us, as an area, down. I criged when he called Beriaume a “smartass.”

    Duemig could have made his point simply by saying “what’s your point with this article? What’s the end game? Because for many, this is the same article that has been written a thousand times and all it does is upset many in this area.” I would have loved for Steve to have asked that question. Instead, Duemig poses the “what’s the point” question after he hung-up on Beriaume. Not only did he hang up on him, but he hung up on him because he was about to say “let me finish” but Beriaume stopped just short of saying that.

    Duemig should have come across more prepared and had a plan of atttack. Beriaume did come across as a guy who had an idea of what he was talking about but assumed a lot conclusions based on small sample sizes or interviews.

  6. Hal says:

    As much as I loved the 30 second “interview” with that dumb ass that wrote about contracting the Rays, I have to agree that Duemig really missed an opportunity here. ESPN’s agenda is to prop up the Yanks and and Sox. They do it daily and that turd Cowherd admits as much by going on and on about how they spin the numbers. The Rays are poison to that plan and almost all ESPN people never miss a chance to take a swing at the Rays – we make their job less important by decreasing the national numbers.

    For one Bertman is a Sox fan and has a natural hatred of the Rays and is jealous of the success we’ve had for a quarter of the cost. But more importantly, the point of the article was that we couldn’t compete because of the financial disparity between the clubs and as a result our fans don’t show so we should move. Absurd! We started competing the day Stu arrived like him or not, we’ve won two of the last three division titles, and is there anybody here that thinks we won’t compete at a very high level for at least the next 5 years?

    There a million reasons and excuses that people don’t show for the games, but is drawing almost 2 million people at the gate really all that bad? Go back and look at the attendance numbers for the 70′s Sox and Phillies – 2 very good teams that were competing on a very high level. This sell out every game thing is a relativly new phenomenon for the Sox.

    Duemig almost got to these points, but kept getting lost in anger and in the mechanics of the conversation. Like him or not, Duemig is a passionate advocate for this area and our fans – I was a huge Chris Thomas fan and I still really miss him, but Duemig’s grown on me. He just missed an opportunity to strike back at the evil empire.

  7. Mark E says:

    Thousands and thousands of comments on the BSPN article page from Rays fans! Nice job RI’ers. Way to represent. I, for one, am going to continue to post comments about boycotting BSPN and their advertisers until they come clean about their agenda. Unfortunately, the traffic on their article page will enhance their advertising desirability, but we need to get our voices heard. BTW… DON’T click ANY of their ads, EVER.

  8. Michael says:

    I’m glad I am not the only one who thought Duemig was retarded.

    It is unbelievable how bad this guy is at what I assume would be basic functions of a radio host.

    He proved zero points and made us look like idiots.

    Unbelievable.

    • JP Peterson says:

      I couldn’t agree more Michael! Then you should switch over to Happy Hour with JP on 1010 CBS Sports radio from 3 to 6. We have had an informational and intelligent debate on our platform bringing on Mayor Foster, Hillsborough Commissioner Ken Hagan, Mayor Bob Buckhorn…you know…the people that actually have a major influence in what happens to the Rays! Not some ESPN flunky clearly following marching orders from Selig (through his espn bosses) to bilk the locals out of$650 million for a stadium. We would love for you and all the other great Rays fans here on Rays Index to join us everyday from 3 to 6pm! I LOVE the debate on these forums!

  9. Nick says:

    So when is Jonah Keri gonna write a rebuttal in response to the article? Maybe not a rebuttal but a different point of view, stating other facts like corporate sponsorship.

  10. Joe says:

    You know what gets me the most, why won’t the Rays upper management and ownership not try to rebutt or at least defend the market? They sit back in this fiasco, wave their fingers and watch the wind blow and stay quiet! WHY NOT DEFEND YOUR INVESTMENT?!

    That puzzles and bothers me the most. I get the tactics, but I am sick of national and local bias that just blasts the fans and its ALL the fans’ fault when there are legitimate factors to why fans haven’t shown up the way management wants them to!!! WHY NOT, STU?! You care for us?!

    The national and LOCAL bias is incredible! It is down right shocking and scary how and why no one will at least ask Stu or get Stu on the record how much he cares for Rays’ fans and understands the dilemma. Stu isn’t going to get everything he wants. What a joke! Where is the accountability?!

  11. Amanda says:

    There’s one more way they’re biased, too. Last night I watched the CWS game between South Carolina and Virginia. Ok, so we’re not talking about two of the biggest media markets in the world, right? So if they say they always start out SportsCenter with the Yankees and Red Sox because of the rating, then why in the hell did they start SportsCenter with the CWS game? (I had left ESPN on mute while I was talking to my b/f discussing the game. Go Cocks! Woo!) Oh yeah … the other determination in their order of importance is whether they have the broadcast rights to the sport. If, say, CBS had the broadcast rights to the CWS, it would probably be run in the last segment in there quick-hit roundup of “here’s what else happened in sports today” type of segment. When they had the broadcast rights to hockey, they would lead off SC with it. (Especially when they owned a team … really??) Now someone has to be murdered on the ice or a player scores five goals in a game for it to be noticed.

    • Joe says:

      Monday night, the Rays game with Cincinnati is a national game on ESPN. I am SURE the attendance is going to be RAMMED down everyone’s throat. That is an ombudsman issue. Cork, I know fans here aren’t going to get a fair shake, but can’t you or anyone here admit how wrong it is for a network and anchors to take a position and try to convert and make people believe that a market and a fanbase blows without at least PRESENTING THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY?!

      ESPN is in the business of promoting their assets. Which is why CWS is pushed and NHL is not. But they fool everyone in the guise of their mission statement as you pointed out earlier. This is why there are no Sunday night games or other promotional ways to push the team, because it is FUNCTIONAL for Sternberg to show that there are not enough fans. It works, and Stu doesn’t even need to give a quote!

      I am beyond frosted and angry about this, because we got local columnists and beat writers locked in step with the owner of the team, and they KNOW there are legitimate reasons there are problems with the attendance. Yet they too say the fans suck! I equate it to a parent/child relationship as even if the parent knows the child has messed up, the parent will DEFEND the child because of LOVE. Now, I know its business, I get that, but there is a sense of defense for something, because when you knock a market and an area ITS PERSONAL!! I am in freaking Virginia, and these shots are PERSONAL! Steve Berthiaume thinks its all a freaking punchline for a slanted column and Stu keeps his dang mouth shut! HOW FAIR IS THAT!!!!

      I LOVE Tampa Bay, and the fans here. But again I ask, why not Rays, you step up and say “ENOUGH!!!!!!!!” That reeks to me! By keeping quiet, you are telling people the market does suck and why be a fan of something! You are the ones that slashed payroll by $40 million AND STILL SAY YOU ARE HURT!!!

      What would an extra 10,000 a game get you in pure revenue? $12 million!!! (81 x 10000 x 15 (average price)) HOW DOES THAT CHANGE ANYTHING!!! The model is MESSED UP!!!! Stu, FIGHT FOR THE FANS!! Step up like Jeff Vinik and give up your allegiance to the New York Mets!!! Don’t let surrogates and minions twiddle your thumbs!! LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT!! Step up and fight for US!!! It’s your investment and OUR PASSION!!!

  12. Dave L says:

    I listened to all but the end of that train wreck. First off it was a blog, so it is obviously and opinion piece, Hey anybody last in attendance is fair game, we dont need to be so defensive. Duemig as usual came at him with a chainsaw instead of a scalpel. His only salient rebutal was that so few sox and yanks games to date skewed the numbers low, but he had no numbers to back it up so it was weak. That would have been simple to put together by the radio staff.

    the interview was followed by 25 straight minutes of commercials so they knew what they had accomplished

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