Thursday, October 1, 2015


"I didn't ask for your opinion on this and neither did MLB." 
--CJ Nitkowski to me

I'm not a hater. I'm just not.  I also don't believe in violence, abuse, murder, chaos... you know, stuff that many are not fans of.  That's just common sense stuff.  The story I'm about to share was all over Twitter yesterday, and it was embarrassing.  But not for me.

Let me back up for a moment and explain.  You see, CJ Nitkowski, former baseball player is probably a pretty nice guy. But truth be told, I'd never know that.  That's because he never gave me a chance to find out. Too bad for him because his first impression sucked.

He wrote a very provocative piece the other day involving the choking incident involving Jonathan Papelbon and Bryce Harper.  I know that because he keeps Tweeting it. Anyway... It was the choke seen by everyone.  I'm gonna tell you something... it was shocking to see and I'm not the only one who thinks that way.

In Nitkowski's piece, which I am always happy to link, I suggested that he was off base and that I disagreed with him. I even used the words "lame analysis" because what he did was try and insert himself, a ballplayer, into the story.  Instead of going with the obvious dramatics of the incident, the choking of a person publicly, he chose to talk about the "clubhouse mentality". Something the majority of Americans know nothing about, nor care.  In fact, when you break it down, it has nothing to do with the incident at hand. Anyway, here are some quotes from his piece:

" The clubhouse is like no other place. It’s not like an office, and it’s not like your weekend softball team. Don’t compare a clubhouse to where you work, it’s completely different...

...Papelbon is everybody’s favorite punching bag but it’s not deserved here. This is a game that governs itself; it always has and always will..."

I took exception to these quotes because in this incident, it didn't happen IN a clubhouse. Again, in a boys club, what happens behind closed doors is policed by the organization.  Papelbon went public with it though. That's the most important part of this incident. What SHOULD have happened is irrelevant, that's because it didn't happen that way.  The incident was public and not IN the clubhouse. Let me go further.

If this happened behind closed doors, most likely no one would have known about it.  It didn't, so why write about it?  CJ polled a dozen former and current players giving their opinion on the choke incident.  He asked them about it in it's full context; From the moment that Bryce Harper went to the media and called Papelbon's hitting of Manny Machado "tired" and wondered if he would be next.

CJ then set it up when Papelbon got on Harper's ass,  and then wrote about what happened next in the dugout... them screaming at each other... then the choke.  Oddly, the biggest part of the incident, that choke, CJ left out of his entire article.  Never once is the word CHOKE written in his piece. Why?  Instead, he asked players how they felt about the incident, or scuffle or whatever.  It was a mixed bag, but most sided with Papelbon, hence his title: "PLAYERS OVERWHELMINGLY SUPPORT PAPELBON IN DUST-UP WITH HARPER." Well, they're baseball players... why wouldn't they? If that's the culture, the baseball mentality, it fits CJ's argument for his piece, doesn't it? That's not analysis ladies and gentlemen... that's bias.

This "poll" shouldn't have been a player poll. It should be a public poll. Every day folks should have been polled.  The incident was public, not a private baseball incident.  When you poll baseball players, of course many in the poll would side differently, they live in that culture.  I don't, my kids don't, neither do you. You know how I know that? Because Nitkowski claimed to have it all figured out to a number of people on Twitter yesterday, acting like the all mighty knower of everything IN the clubhouse:
Silly... and rude."YOUR OPINION DOESN'T REALLY MATTER".  This is a person under the FOX and MLB umbrella and he's talking smack to every day folks like that? That's a problem.  Needless to say, I too disagreed with Nitkowski and that's what should happen when there's an opinion piece.  People disagree. There's usually a dialog on social networks, some agree, some don't and you move on.  Not the case with Mr. Nitkowski apparently.

Yesterday morning I released LAST TIME I CHECKED, CHOKING IS AN ASSAULT. It was a counter to Nitkowski's piece and I wanted him to see it. Why write about the guy and not let him know... right? I wanted him to know I disagreed. I almost felt like I should do it as a courtesy as to not talk about him behind his back or something. I was no where near disrespectful. I merely sent my story his way.  That's when it started:
Clearly he was baiting me, mocking me and then it took a nasty turn. I didn't expect that. I was not looking for a fight. I merely disagreed and wrote that in my piece:
"CJ Nitkowski is wrong...In the end, Nitkowski and I disagree 100%, but here's what I know... he's not gonna come after me and choke me out.  Most likely he'll tell me I'm "way off base" and I don't know the clubhouse mentality... and that's fine, I don't.  

But clubhouses don't get a free pass for a Kung Fu move that is known to murder people."
Yeah... it didn't go the way I guessed. CJ had his back up and went after me:

Then, in a mysterious move, he tweeted this:

Alittle unstable was my guess at that point. I mean, let me get this straight; He didn't like my opinion. He hammered me.  Then disagreed with me disagreeing with him. He tweeted publicly that people don't like opposing opinions and that he should stay away... but did exactly what he was blaming others of doing?  Wow.

In the end, we learned something pretty significant here.  My opinions don't matter. Yours don't either. Only CJ Nitkowski's do, because he's a former baseball player and he knows everything.

Strangely, that's not how social media works, CJ. When you write something provocative, expect to get blow back, pal.  And remember something; as a public figure as CJ Nitkowski is... have some professionalism.  I have never seen someone quite as rude as what I witnessed yesterday.  Disagreements happen a lot, but this was over the line.  Now I never once dropped a swear word at Nitkowski. I never told this guy to go F himself. I never told him he was an idiot, none of that.  Others have by the way. I didn't. I merely told him I disagreed.

The irony here is that I mentioned in my article that CJ and I would disagree but "he's not gonna come after me and choke me out." It was tongue and cheek...  but he did:
Fantastic foreshadowing, isn't it? He Twitter Choked me.  Unreal.

Why am I writing this? Because I'm kind of shocked. If you read the pages of BYB, you know no one here is hateful.  You know we deliver solid pieces about family, love, the Yankees, kindness and the like.  In short, CJ messed with the wrong guy.  I refuse to sit here and take that from a public figure. It's humiliating and unwarranted.

Now, as a reader of BYB, I do NOT want anyone to go blasting Nitkowski for his behavior, he's clearly JV.  He can live with that. All I wanted to do is report the story. It's an important one.  The Papelbon-Harper incident was NEVER about a clubhouse baseball mentality.  It was always about a choke grab used on a teammate and human being because of a screaming match and media leak. That's something that should never happen anyway... but definitely NOT on live television.

And this is just a good lesson in general. This world is full of hate, but we can all have a dialog about opinions without getting nasty.  There's no reason why Nitkowski had to escalate it the way he did, but he did and that's sad for him.  Sure, he was probably getting attacked from all sides, but I didn't... I just disagreed.  There's a major difference. 

Note to self, don't bother with Nitkowski, he might choke me out. He's a bully.

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