clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Sports Illustrated Baseball Writer Has Never Heard of John Norwood, Baseball

Want to see what it looks like when a sports writer has literally no idea about the story he was assigned to write?

I'm still waiting for my football phone, Sports Illustrated.
I'm still waiting for my football phone, Sports Illustrated.

Last night, we experienced the greatest moment in Vanderbilt sports history.  This morning, we read the product of sportswriters across the country scrambling to write about it.

Sports Illustrated author, and son of people who clearly can't spell, Jon Tayler wrote the worst one.  In "Unlikely Source Powers Vanderbilt to Top of College Baseball World," Tayler opens with a gem:

There were 1,215 picks made at this year’s MLB First-Year Player Draft -- 1,215 players of all shapes, sizes and colors, from high schools and colleges alike. John Norwood was not one of those 1,215 names called over draft weekend, which came as a surprise to basically no one. After all, the junior wasn’t a full-time player at Vanderbilt, and though he was third on the team in batting average at .288, his overall line was nothing spectacular. Norwood was a fast, defense-first outfielder, not someone who had caught scouts' attention or inspired MLB dreams.

Let's nit-pick this to death, shall we?  First, why include the phrase "of all shapes, sizes, colors"?  It's cliched writing, and also, well, not really true.  Baseball players, with the exceptions of players like John Kruk, Pablo Sandoval and our own Ro Coleman, tend to be "baseball player-shaped" and of "baseball player size."  It's just lazy writing, designed only to fill space and hit the word count.  Watch me do it: Writers like Sports Illustrated's Jon Tayler have all sorts of writing abilities and intelligence quotients.

Second, John Norwood was our starting center fielder for the bulk of the year, and had been hitting so well in the postseason that Coach Corbin batted him clean-up in the final game - the de facto championship game - of the College World Series.

Third, and this one's a treat: John Norwood's batting average is .298, not the .288 Jon Tayler was told by some guy at a bar wearing a softball uniform, and reported as fact.  You can find that type of information out here, on the "season stats" page that's not exactly hidden.  This took me less than 5 seconds, and I'm not being paid to be accurate.

Fourth, while he's a fine defender (though he does have to work on his initial reads off the bat), he is by no means a "defense-first outfielder."  When he's drafted next year, it will be because of his bat.  You'd know that if you had eyes or the ability to process information via inductive reasoning.

The last sentence of the first paragraph is a clear comma splice, as well.

Finally (and remember, this is all just the first paragraph), I particularly liked how he claimed Norwood was "not someone who caught scouts' attention or inspired MLB dreams."  Ahem, Mr. Norwood was drafted in the 12th round by the Toronto Blue Jays out of high school, and when Tyler Beede turned them down, John was faced with a tough decision, as the Blue Jays threw a frightening amount of money in his face.  The ESPN broadcast team, though they mostly discussed how dreamy Mike Papi was and the deliciousness of vanilla milkshakes and plain hot dogs, even mentioned that fact last night, and backed it up by claiming he'll have a chance to be drafted in the first few rounds next year.

Mr. Tayler, I'm going to need you to return your football phone.