Kelly NashYesterday I made a comment on Emily Austen, the Rays’ new in-game reporter that angered some people. Here is the comment:

She’s good and seems like a solid choice. Personality-wise, she seems much more like Laura McKeeman than Kelly Nash. Nash was good, but she never seemed like she was comfortable with the Rays.

In comparing personalities I made the observation that, to me at least, Nash and the Rays never seemed like a good match. She is a very good reporter and there is a reason the MLB Network snatched her up, something I already think she is great at. But doing in-game reports for the Tampa Bay Rays never felt to me like a good use of her talents.

It was an opinion. But it was also one that was strengthened from conversations with other Rays fans who felt the same way. I don’t expect everybody to agree with me. But it was no different from all of the opinions I have expressed over the years about players, coaches, or even other broadcast personnel. Sometimes I am right. A lot of times I have been wrong. It is just an observation I made after watching a lot of Rays games.

Well, some didn’t take it well.

I was accused of taking “a shot” at Nash and how that is apparently all I ever do. I had some get mad before they even read my comment. I was accused of being like TMZ as if I was standing outside Nash’s house with a video camera just waiting to ambush her. And I was accused of “horsesh*t journalism.

They also made sure they included Nash in their comments to make sure she knew they were defending her honor.

The problem is all of these people go to games and have met Nash and have gotten to know her off the air and have a relationship with her on some level or at least they think they do. I’m sure she is a wonderful person. But that’s not my job here and that was not her job for Sun Sports.

This is going to be my 10th season writing about the Rays. I have written nearly 9,000 posts and more than a half-million words (that’s enough words to fill about 8 novels). Some of it I am proud of. Some of it I am not.

This is certainly not the first time I have angered Rays fans. I have been called every name in the book and there was a time when I was younger when that type of stuff bothered me. But after a while, you start to find a certain humor in seeing how ridiculous some fans can be.

But this one did bother me. For one, it felt a little grade-schoolish in how it was handled. But that is pretty normal in social media these days. It also bothered me a little that something like this can be misconstrued as a personal attack on somebody.

But mostly this bothered me because I have gone out of my way in the past to do favors for at least two of the people who made the comments above.

I have never understood the Rays fan-on-Rays fan vitriol. It happens in every fan base and it is dumb. It’s especially dumb here because, well, let’s face it, we need more Rays fans, not fewer.

I often get asked about getting started in writing or blogging about a sports team. My first piece of advice is always the same: don’t write about your favorite team.

If all of your comments are of the rah-rah variety one-third of the fans are going to hate you. If all of your comments are critical of the team, two-thirds of the fans will hate you. And if you try to be level-headed and reasoned with a few positive and a few negative comments, everybody will hate you.

Since Rays Index started in 2006, I have graduated, I have switched careers twice, I have gotten married, and I have two beautiful daughters that mean more to me than anything in the world. With that comes a certain level of growth as both a person and as a writer. It also teaches you proper perspective.

I am saddened that Rays fans that I thought highly of would say what they said. But when this post ends I will have moved on. I will watch the Rays on Sun Sports this afternoon. I will listen to some of the broadcast on WDAE. I will enjoy it. Maybe something will happen that I will decide to write about. Maybe not. But whenever I do decide to write next, I am sure somebody won’t like it.

And that’s OK.

I don’t say it nearly often enough, but thanks for reading.

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13 Comments

  1. Adam says:

    Mate, you hit it right when you said you can't please them all. After reading the post in question, the only thing I came away with was a slight disappointment there was no links for me to read through that day. I didn't see anything wrong with what you wrote, nothing was personal or offensive, rather just an opinion expressed on someone's proffessional style. To be honest I'm a little confused as to what the fuss is about regarding your comments.
    While I think I've commented less than 10 times total, I've been reading daily since '07, and must admit it's become routine for me to check the Rays news here, and MMA news elsewhere upon waking. Wouldn't have it any other way, and hope you keep going for many years to come. Cheers, Adam

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  2. Political_Man says:

    I ran a political blog for a number of years and people picked on the stupidest things about a point I was making. Saying someone "didn't look comfortable" is very different than saying something like "she was nothing more than a pretty face." THAT would be "taking a shot."

    Putting your opinion out there takes courage. You said nothing wrong. File it and move on.

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  3. Steve says:

    Too many people take words out of context in order to create unnecessary controversy, because they like the attention or they like pretending to feel offended. In this particular instance, I think it's a few losers trying to boost their egos by standing up for an attractive female to make themselves feel cool. It's all a bunch of BS.

    Cork, nothing you said was out of line. You're hands down the best I've read when it comes to writing tidbits about your views on the Rays, and always have been my favorite sports blog. Thanks for all you've done through the years, keep it up. Rays fans everywhere appreciate it.

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  4. Richard says:

    Cork, I follow several MLB teams, including the Rays, since I live way off in central-timezone nowhere, far from an MLB city. (I get to Tampa/St. Pete occasionally because my wife has family there, so that's how I've become a Rays fan.)

    I know you're not fishin' for compliments, but I love your blog. It's concise, insightful, funny, and reflects your take on things, as it should. It's one of the first websites I look at every day, because I know I'm usually going to learn something or get some positive, quality-type value out of the time spent, and it won't tie me up forever, because you take the time to be concise and to the point. (Some famous writer said once in la letter, "I'm sorry to write such a long letter, because I didn't have time to write a short one.") I really appreciate your efforts very much and think you do a great job. As readers, we don't say THAT enough, either!

    When I read what you said yesterday, I remember thinking, "peeeeoppple are going to overreact to this onnnne....." What you said was totally fair, if folks would just take an extra 6 or 7 freaking seconds and process the nuance of (and qualifications to) your statements.

    Just a bit too much coffee, I guess. They all just need to chill. Hell, she got a job at MLB! Isn't that, like, a promotion?

    Keep movin' on, man!

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  5. Ro says:

    Hi,

    I'd like to explain my TMZ comment even though it might not be welcome. I always forget that even when you don't include everyone in an original Twitter thread, you're still included.

    I don't read any fan blogs anymore, not just here. I tried my hand at my own fan writing and realized quickly that I wasn't a fan of trying to manufacture drama which is how I view most media.

    My TMZ comment was not referring to ambushing anyone outside their home but rather just the capturing of dramatic images, GIFs for example.

    I was turned off years ago when GIFs were being made of player injuries or players on stretchers etc, even though luckily I can't see them.

    As far as TV media goes, I have no opinion since I take in the games via radio.

    I wish I hadn't commented on that Twitter thread and will be more mindful in the future. I honestly don't even know what possessed me to come see what the drama was about since I try to avoid drama like the plague.

    this was a good post and I'm glad to see you're doing well.

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  6. Ken says:

    Write on Cork.

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  7. Charles Sandomenico says:

    Thought the comments were fine. Peeps way to sensitive these days! Thanks enjoy the site.

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  8. Greg says:

    Been reading this blog since the beginning (though I don't often comment). Just wanted to add my support for Cork on this one. I thought the comment rang true. I didn't think she felt comfortable and I still don't understand the point of having Todd Kalas as well as another in-game reporter. Doesn't make sense. There was nothing rude, biting, unfair, sexist or unsavory about the comment. Don't sweat this stuff. Also: who are these people to whom you linked? Am I supposed to know them. I assumed you must get angry tweets every so often. Why'd these folks get under your skin?

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  9. Cork...maybe you need a one on one with Gary Shelton & Steve Duemig to discuss, "TIPS ON GROWING THICK SKIN". You're one of Tampa Bays sports treasures and so was Nash. I had no problem with your take on Nash's job with the Ray's.

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    • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

      Except Duemig is a hack who is rarely prepared to show any depth behind the statements he makes.

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  10. Amandas says:

    Wow, Cork. You pay Nash a compliment, and the world goes bonkers! I don't get it: How is saying someone's talents are being wasted by being a sideline reporter a slam? That's high praise, in my opinion. The same could be said for Todd Kalas with his broadcasting chops, but he enjoys what he's doing.

    I don't always agree with what you say, but as Voltaire said, I'll defend to the death your right to say it. Thanks for putting yourself on the line every time you state an opinion in public in this crazy, mixed-up, over-offended world.

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  11. Juggy says:

    Not a fan of women reporting on things in the middle of a game, no matter the sport. It usually seems forced and not very genuine. I understand the PC reasons behind it but that usually signals time to go to the kitchen or flip the channel for me.

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  12. Aaron says:

    Personally, I'm a little disappointed how they reacted. I know they're better than that, to draw conclusions that weren't there.

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