First up, and update on the story that we spoke about last week, the Darby Conley/Bob Lobel/"Get Fuzzy" thing. Instead of just dropping the issue and letting it die it's natural death, Lobel has stupidly decided to press on, bringing a suit against "Get Fuzzy". Here is the article from Friday's Inside Track, a gossip column at the Boston Herald (they love this shit, especially when the Globe is involved):
Bob Lobel filed suit yesterday against ``Get Fuzzy'' cartoonist Darby Conley, his syndicate and the New Bedford Standard Times over a comic strip that alleged the longtime CBS4 sports guru was drunk on the air.
``During his entire 34-plus-year career, Lobel has never appeared on the air intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol,'' the suit states. ``The statement that Lobel is a drunk is false and is intended to injure him personally and professionally and was made at a time when it was common knowledge that Lobel was in negotiations with his employer for a contract renewal.''
Lobel's attorney, Harry Manion, said the cartoon appeared in 450 newspapers across the country but the suit names only the Standard Times because it's still Fuzzy whether every outlet ran it unedited. (The comic strip appeared in the Globe but Lobel's name was removed.)
Manion said the sportscaster ``loves his job'' and was ``really upset'' by the cartoon.
``This kind of thing has reared its head before because he's got such a breezy style on the air,'' Manion said. ``But he doesn't drink. He takes his job very seriously and was very upset about this.''
Manion said Lobel is looking for three things from the defendants: an admission that the comic strip was false, an apology and monetary damages - most of which he will donate to charity.
``So that something good can come out of this,'' Manion said.
A spokeswoman for the United Feature Syndicate, which reps the comic strip, said she was unaware of the suit and had no comment.
The strip, which ran May 13, featured a sports fan, his dog and cat watching TV with the dog asking, ``Is this sportscaster drunk?'' The fan replied: ``Lobel? He's like some TV outreach program or something.''
The reason why Conley - who lives in Carlisle - included a Boston broadcaster who would have little relevance outside New England in his nationally syndicated strip is Fuzzy.
First off, Harry Manion is one of the biggest frauds going around. I've heard him on WEEI talking about sport lawsuits and more often than not he's wrong, in either his interpretations of the law or his predictions on how big court cases are going to turn out.
But this statement of Lobel not drinking is the biggest crock of shit ever. It is a well known fact that Lobel likes to drink, and really, who gives a crap as long as it doesn't impact his job. The guy is way older than 21 and the last time I checked, an adult can have an adult beverage every now and then. Hell, I've seen Lobel on TV with a beer.
And who cares whether he "loves his job" or not? If I showed up to work shitfaced tomorrow would that be ok because I don't love my job? Of course not, this logic is specious at best.
Finally, I like how Manion thinks that Conley and WBZ-4 are in league to defame Lobel so that he won't get a contract. Does he really believe this? Can you see the scene:
WBZ-4 President: So Mr. Conley we have an agreement, you call Lobel a drunk and we won't have to pay him ever again!
Conley: Ok. How is this going to work again?
WBZ-4 Prez: Make up one of your comics, you know how everyone listens to comics ... do I have to remind you of the Yellow Kid?
Conley: From the 1890s?
WBZ-4 Prez: The very same. Your strip could be the next Yellow Kid. You can be synomous with lies and slander! You'll be a house-hold name!
Conley: Sounds great, what do I do!
The bottom line is this, yes Lobel was heavily dissed. Is it worth getting into a long, drawn out legal battle where your private life may be brought into the light? You know that Conley's attorneys are going to find people who will say that they've seen Lobel plastered all over the place. Is that something he'd want? I doubt it. I think he should have just let it go.
I finished another book this afternoon, it was called "Baseball Dynasties" and it's by Rob Neyer and Eddie Epstein. I'm going to pull a page from fellow SoSHer Chad Finn's blog http://touchingallthebases.blogspot.com/ and link a picture of the book before I get to my opinion on it.
I enjoy Rob Neyer, I think that he's one of the smartest baseball writers around and is able to blend stats with good writing and interesting anticdotes, sort of like Bill James. I had never heard of Epstein, but he seems ok too.
If I had to break it down into percentages, this book is about 60% stats, 40% anticdotes. I like the anticdotes better. The stats got boring, though I was intrigued by offensive winning percentage, which is the winning percentage if all of a team's players hit like the player and the team allowed an average number of runs.
Obviously in a book where the top 15 teams are named, there are going to be some really high OW%, most of them are Yankees (Babe Ruth, Lou Gherig of the 27 team and Mickey Mantle of the 1961 squad are among the highest of all time), but it also showed that most great teams have some real crappy players.
Surprisingly Epstein and Neyer come to the same conclusion on who the greatest team ever is. Yes, it's a Yankee team. Yes, it is a team before the 40s. But it's not the 27 Yanks. It's the '39 team.
The one major problem I have with this book is that it's really New York centric. Of the 15 teams, eight are from New York (five Yanks, and one Dodgers, Giants and Mets a piece). I know they have great teams, but there are a few that can be taken out.
Aside from that small complaint and that the stats can be a bit boring (you know what you're going to get with Neyer) I thought it was a pretty good book.
Either tomorrow or Friday, I will write another entry before I leave for Atlanta.