Where Have all the Writers at Circling the Bases Gone?

Was it a purge or a mass defection? Did NBC hire the budget consultants from The Weather Channel? The Italian Flu?

Whatever it was, the editorial staff of the site formerly known as Circling the Bases has been razed down to senior editor Craig Calcatierra (so renamed because he continues to insist that the site is his turf) and to the redoubtable Bill Baer. Gone are Drew Silva and Matthew Pouillot (or however you spell it – this is blogging, not journalism, you know?). Here are Craig and Bill, leaving the epic meeting at NBC headquarters after learning that their staff had been downsized:

Apparently, the suits and pencilnecks at NBC, not content with having imposed on their readers a vomit of slow-downloading ad content, links to irrelevant subjects like backandforthandbackandforthandbackandfrothball or backandforthandbackandforthandbackandforthpuck, thumbnails that send you jerking all over the homepage when you click on them or comment links that send you to the wrong threads,  have now decided to excise several of the site’s best writers (or did they quit in disgust? More research needs to be done!) and replace them with AP feeds like today’s thread about another cockamamie second base slide rule call against Houston last night.

Circling the Bases celebrated its seventh birthday this past week, whereupon Craigster offered up a paen to NBC’s editorial non-interference policy (in which category discontinuing his staff would not, precisely, apply). Craig forebore to mention that “Hardball Talk” was a corporate standardization move meant to strip the uniqueness away from his blog and line it up with all the other androidal names of the blogs on the NBC sports site, a move that got shoved down his throat no less sans recourse than the recent desecration of the site design.

Ah well. At least you have to figure that Bill Baer must now feel more secure in his own employment:





73 thoughts on “Where Have all the Writers at Circling the Bases Gone?

  1. it started last year when the local comcast writers’ pieces showed up.

    the redesign is horrible. I still go back, because I have been reading craig since shysterball, and I like his stuff. But I rarely go back on a computer because it is un readable for all the reasons you mention.

    Also, the way you can’t refresh to see the newest story is maddening.

    the format on my phone is the same as it used to be. I can’t comment, but at least I can read it.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. I am truly sorry that Circling the Bases is suffering. I wish nothing but success for the writers. I hope that they use this as an opportunity to succeed in far greater ways than they ever imagined.

    I know that redesign is one of the best things that has ever happened to me because we would not have this site. Thank you, @scoutsaysweitersisabust.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I never really found the writers @ HBT that compelling. The regulars were what made that board interesting. CC was fun in that he liked to provoke traditionalists and conservatives. Unfortunately, this caused a redundancy of topics at times. Silva, Short and Pouliot write more in depth stuff on other sites. I’ve never found Gleeman to be particularly informative or interesting. I think HBT is basically an aggregator and all of those guys mailed it in pretty frequently. Three or four cursory paragraphs about some story that could be found anywhere else on the web was the standard offering. If I’m running NBC, I wouldn’t pay anybody much for that kind of content, either.


  4. I never forgave CC for the way he treated people on Twitter who dared to complain about the redesign and his statement that they could completely eliminate the comments section and it wouldn’t affect the site’s popularity at all. I honestly haven’t read a word he has written since. I hadn’t even thought about him until you posted this.

    I will admit that I enjoyed the contrarian positions he took against the traditionalists and dinosaurs. It’s too bad that I became the dinosaur in his eyes for daring to prefer the old format.

    Liked by 7 people

    • You weren’t alone in turning your back on the site over that. Frankly, knowing Craig personally – up to a point – it surprised me; it didn’t sound like him. I hate to speculate on things like this but I also suspect he felt besieged at the time, caught between a re-design he didn’t even like himself, about which he was not consulted in advance, and probably feral enough in his former lawyerliness to anticipate worse, like the budgetary decapitation of his staff, if not eventually of himself, and the need to mount some kind of defense of the usurpation of his own authority. I think he was in survival mode. I suspect that he still is.

      Liked by 3 people

        • I can attest. Writing is wonderful therapy. Save the co-pay. Just write and exercise, and surround yourself with good friends. I say this as a psych major and health professional. I detest talk therapy–it just makes me ruminate and I dissect the analyst–although it does work for some. And yes, allow yourself to find beauty in chaos. That’s how you know you’re alive.

          I appreciate his honesty. Being depressed does not excuse you to be an asshole to others. I am really glad he is getting help and feeling better though.


        • Per Ms. Greater Tampa Bay 2016 😉 I agree about writing as therapy, at least if one has a tilt that way. Community newspaper work lets me write a column every week, play around with heads and ledes, and a few other things. Pay ain’t great, but still I rise, or something like that.

          Writing poetry and blogging on my own in my spare time, plus journaliing, fills out the bill.


  5. Jeez, this blog IS a lot easier to read.

    Maybe the solution is to simply NOT respond to posts on “that other site” that are generic news reposts and not Calcaterra?


    • You’re free to refer to it as Hardball Talk if you want – no one here is setting boundaries. I refer to it as “Circling the Bases” most of the time because that was its unique original name before the androids at NBC imposed the lifeless “Hardball Talk” on it to bring it into congruence with all the other corporate-branded names of its sports blogs, but that’s just my preference.

      How you interact with our oppressed, commodified and emasculated progenitor blog is entirely up to you, of course. No one here will ever ask you to take sides.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The only thing I won’t approve of is being nasty one way or the other. It’s one thing to express frustration or disappointment over this site or that site, but I won’t stand for personal attacks against anyone on this site, or anyone on that site. People are of course free to come and go or in-between, and I hold no ill will toward HBT, but this is not the place to be nasty. It’s just unseemly, and quite honestly, we are better than that.

      Of course feel free to disagree with something someone says, as I won’t censor anyone’s opinions, just don’t be nasty or cross the line. Anyone who was over at HBT is more than welcome to come join us, and that includes Craig, Aaron, or anyone of the writers. My biggest goal in this site is it being one of inclusion, provided people can behave with basic decency toward one another.

      Basically act with a little class and we won’t have any problems. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

Join in on the conversation!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s