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Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Bob Loblaw Law Blog, May 2, 2007.

  1. I just finished reading the book "Fantasyland" by Sam Walker and thoroughly enjoyed it. As a male in the 18-35 demographic, I have been playing fantasy baseball since my college days, so it was interesting to see how much time, money and effort Walker put into his rotisserie squad. His anecdotes about players and fellow fantasy players were interesting, and I was very impressed with his ability to reconstruct conversations, some of which occurred in hectic locker rooms or noisy bars.

    That said, I have a serious question re: Walker's journalistic credibility.

    I've never covered a MLB team or been in a MLB clubhouse, but from talking to friends in the business and reading things posted on here, it's pretty clear that there are certain things you DO NOT do when dealing with professional athletes. Among them: asking for autographs, pretending they are your friends or boring them with inane banter about your fantasy team. After reading the book, Walker shat all over those unspoken rules, especially the last two.

    What I'm wondering is how Walker is treated by fellow journalists now that the book has come out. I can't imagine being a writer on deadline, waiting to interview a player while Walker chats him up, gives him a free T-shirt and asks him if it's OK to trade him in a fantasy league. Has he been villified in the business? Do people just ignore him? What was the reaction to the book by people who either know Walker or have worked with him?

    I know this is pretty random, but after finishing the book I just got interested in what (if any fallout) has come from it.
  2. Shaggy

    Shaggy Guest

    I don't remember him getting any autographs in that book. He did give players T-shirts with his team name on it and ask several of them about their fantasy performances.

    I can't imagine he interrupted any one-on-one or group interview to do it, though. There's a ton of alone time in a typical locker room.

    And generally, the players enjoyed the change-of-pace questioning, like Menkietwicz, Jacque Jones, Ortiz... Just not Troy Percival, who uttered the best line of that whole book. "Suck my dick. No one cares about your stupid fantasy team."
  3. Shaggy

    Shaggy Guest

    It was a fantastic book, by the way.
  4. Big Buckin' agate_monkey

    Big Buckin' agate_monkey Active Member

    I thought this was about the titty bar by the dirt track in my neck of the woods.
  5. Sly

    Sly Active Member

    Dude, it was a book about fantasy baseball. I'm sure there are plenty of fantasy owners out there would like to go into locker rooms and converse with their players. As a reporter, Walker did that type of immersive journalism and did a hell of a job. He also writes some great stuff for the Wall Street Journal, so I don't think his credibility is exactly hurting in the business.

    Yes, I thought it was a fantastic book. And, no, I'm not Sam Walker.
  6. leo1

    leo1 Active Member

    given that he's not a baseball beat writer i don't see why this impacts his credibility. as sly said, he was writing a book about fantasy baseball so he talked to players about fantasy baseball.

    if a baseball beat guy wrote this book he might be treated differently in the clubhouses but this is no different than anyone writing about a subject they don't cover day to day.
  7. Mighty_Wingman

    Mighty_Wingman Active Member

    It was a great book. I seem to remember Walker mentioning he got one autograph...maybe of Jacque Jones, after his dad died? Something like that. And I had the same questions about his ethics.

    It reminded me a lot of Warren St. John's "Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer," which included a scene where he's thrown out of the Bryant-Denny Stadium press box for cheering for the Tide.

    One thing I thought was funny about the book was how long-ago some of the names seemed. The idea of Jacque Jones and Doug Mientkiewicz being on anybody's fantasy team...well, it made me crack a smile.
  8. Shaggy

    Shaggy Guest

    You bastard [/jacquejonesfantasyowner]
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