Mis-guided Opinion

As the slow death of newspapers happens in this state and across the country, it is harder and harder for papers to find their niche.  In this state we have the Courant.  By far the biggest paper but due to budgetary cuts, it has had to cut back on some local sports coverage.  That is where papers like the Middletown Press play a still important role in delivering your local sports news to you.  They do a fairly good job in covering all the high schools throughout Middlesex County.  With that being said, one of their columnist delivered a very harsh op-ed piece on Sunday directed at the East Haddam Legion program.

Jim Bransfield has been covering Middlesex County sports for as along as I can remember.  While I agree that his criticism of the forfeit was dead on, his angle of attack was off.  There is no way he should have called out a kid for being sick in his article.  If he got that from the head coach, he still should have used a little foresight.  Should the coach called out his player like that, absolutely not but Bransfield also should have not used the kids name or why he missed the game. 

Now, for full disclosure, I do have a little knowledge of the East Haddam Legion program.  I have been asked numerous times to coach in the program but have had to decline due to time commitments.  I knew I couldn’t dedicate two months to the team and program so I don’t do it.  This is relayed to the kids at the start of the season but lets remember that kids don’t plan vacations, the parents do.  Calling the kids un-dedicated is just wrong.

I coach baseball in East Haddam at the High School.  I know for a fact how dedicated these kids are.  Now I can’t speak for the kids from East Hampton and Colchester, the other two towns that make up the program, but from previous years they have shown nothing short of being all in for the team.  To call these kids “selfish” is just dumb.  Bransfield had no idea what other circumstances were happening at that time.

I am in no way defending the kids who didn’t show.  There are obviously some underlying issues at play here.  To lump the entire program under Bransfield’s righteous microscope is wrong.  The men running the program work tirelessly to make sure these kids have somewhere to play.  Lets not go out and punish the program.  Also, let’s be careful painting with such a wide brushstrokes. 

Finally, on a side note, I know for a fact that the Junior Legion program in East Haddam was very strong this year.  Why couldn’t some of those players by cycled up for one game to help the big club while getting some valuable experience?  Isn’t the purpose of a junior program to feed the senior program when necessitated?  Just a thought.

Jason Hendry is a morning director at NBC Connecticut.  He is an avid sports fan who also likes to dabble in politics, music, food, movies and other aspects of pop culture.  His true passions in life are his family and baseball.

 Follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/hendu11


13 Responses to “Mis-guided Opinion”

  1. Jay,
    Unfortunatley the juniors had a game at the same time and were playing with only 9 kids. They had my son play for the seniors in the afternoon game in Guilford after he pitched and played in the heat for the team he was assigned to. They told him that if he didnt play they would have to forfiet, so he changed his plans and helped out the senior team. I agree with you, my son and his friends are commited to the team and should not be lumped into a negative category.

    • Gee, I guess that doesn’t show any commitment huh? Playing two games in that heat after pitching the first one, nope, no dedication at all. It’s too bad he lumped all the kids together because I know the Hale-Ray kids would have done what they could to help out the seniors. This could be an on-going situation as the time passes and before next season. Lets hope this does not get too ugly

  2. I think you know, Hendu, what my reaction to Bransfield’s musings would have been if one of my kids were involved … I’d likely rip him, his editor, and his paper a new one, but only after I thoroughly researched the entire issue. Unfortunately it’s not clear whether Bransfield researched anything outside of his own opinions – no indication that he spoke with the young man’s parents to try and find out what happened, no indication that he researched the accuracy of what he was told about other players’ commitments to the team, or if what Bransfield perceived as true is actually true. Good reporting constitutes research – of all sides of the story. It appears that Mr. Bransfield fell back on his opinion rather than real reporting … if he did research the issue he should have said so. I think the most valuable lesson for the young man mentioned by Bransfield, and all who read his ‘musing’ is that not all reporting is accurate or worthy of the read.

    • joene, you are entirely correct in saying that bransfield did not research anything, because he never does, he is a disgrace as a journalist

  3. Despite the issue with Bransfield, it really is great that someone…anyone…is covering the games, and it happens to be the local paper which is undergoing something of a rebirth with the new publisher.

    The Courant is now using Trib writers I am totally unfamiliar with to cover the big events, and I don’t like it at all.

    At least you know who you’re dealing with.

    • Congrats Gerry on being my 1,000 comment and yes, I do love that we still get local high school coverage, despite how bad it can be sometimes

  4. YEAH BABY!!!! WHAT DO I WIN??????

  5. My respect and admiration. In some parts of the world, that’s like gold.

  6. I’ll take it.

  7. Gerry makes a good point. It is good that the local paper is covering local games … but isn’t that what a local paper does? The Hartford Courant has not had good local … at least in East Haddam … coverage in years, and with its current situation there is no point in throwing it into the mix. If the Middletown Press is in the middle of a revamp, perhaps they should consider revamping to the point of actually hiring a reporter, a real, fair reporter, to cover local sports.

    Congrats on your 1000th comment … Gerry at least deserves a cup of Joe for his good timing.

  8. Junior Legion team is hosting a second round playoff game at noon on Saturday. I have to assume either Jordan or Peter is pitching. Hope you can make it!

  9. Jay,
    Peter went 4 innings gave up one earned run. When he left the game we were down 1-0. We went down 2-0 after 4.5 innings. We scored 2 in the bottom of the 5th. was 2-2 into the bottom of the 7th we scored a walk off run and won 3-2. South Windsor tomorrow. I’ll keep ya posted.

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