Goodbye SweetSpot Network, Hello Big Scary World

By The Common Man and Bill

The eagle-eyed  reader may have noticed that the ESPN banner no longer appears above, or that The Platoon Advantage is no longer found on the ESPN’s roster of SweetSpot Network blogs. Indeed, TPA’s affiliation with the WWL has come to an end. ESPN has always been particularly sensitive to media criticism, and our ongoing series of posts regarding Jeff Bagwell and the Hall of Fame were sort of the last straw for the editors, who pulled the plug on us.

Eh, these things happen. We had a very nice almost-18 month run at the Network, during which time we accomplished a lot as a blog, posting daily recaps of new material from around the network, organizing a network-wide Expansion Draft, and providing content for the ESPN SweetSpot Blog (which we did for free, by the way).  We also added two terrific writers to our staff, in Mark Smith and Jason Wojciechowski.  We are incredibly proud of the high quality work that we’ve put out in that time, and marginally proud of the ‘meh’ quality work we did.  But still and all, for the most part, it was a positive experience.

That’s not to say there were not bumps, so when TCM debuted his “plagiarism” series (and specifically when one particularly thin-skinned and astoundingly ignorant mainstream writer mentioned in the piece — who shall, for now, remain nameless — decided he needed to take his complaints and threats of a legal action up the ladder at ESPN), it’s clear that some individuals felt we weren’t worth the trouble of keeping around.  Even though the idea that such an obvious piece of satire was actionable is laughable (to us, to ESPN, and to anyone with even the most basic understanding of what libel actually is).  So really, most of this seems to be The Common Man’s fault;  but Bill is definitely an enabler.

And, frankly, we can kind of see ESPN’s point.  We probably weren’t a great fit for ESPN’s lack of enthusiasm for media criticism and toned down rhetoric.  So no hard feelings.  Frankly, while we like the writers (both ESPN employees and bloggers) associated with the network, several other aspects of it have had us close to leaving on several occasions over the last year or so, and ultimately, it’s almost certainly a good thing, overall.

What does this mean for The Platoon Advantage?  Well, not much at all, most likely. We’ll still be here.  We’re definitely open to other opportunities that will allow TPA to grow and thrive, and perhaps lead to actual monetary compensation this time. We’ve already turned up some intriguing possibilities, both for us as writers and for the blog, Watch for at least one big announcement, and possibly more than one, sometime over the next few days.

And one thing we can say for certain is that we will enjoy not having to bite our tongues every time Jim Bowden says something stupid, Steve Berthiaume wants to talk about the value of pitcher wins, or some other talking head wants to tell us why we need to respect the feelings of Luke Scott or David Tyree.  That should be liberating.