Bob Kravitz hearts Stampede Blue, calls me and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban "weenies"

For three years, I've called Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz all kinds of names. I've called him a "turd", "ass", "idiot", "stupid", "uninformed", "snarling", "crotchety", "dimwitted", and "incompetent." I think it is fairly safe to say that we, as a community on Stampede Blue, do not like the work Bob has produced for the Indianapolis Star. We haven't been absolute in our dislike of ole Bob. When he has written good articles, we have taken note. But, in general, Bob seems to create disgust and annoyance from his readers with his pieces rather than interesting ideas that provoke discussion.

Indeed, other blogs have joined us in our dislike of "Krabby," as he is playfully called by his on-air radio partner Eddie White at 1070, The Fan. For the last three years, blogs like 18to88, Stampede Blue, and others have made it a point to insult, bash, and berate Krabby's work in the juvenille way that best fits us losers who sit in our underwear and write from inside mom's basement.

Well, today the journalistic stalwart that is Bob Kravitz decided he wasn't going to take it anymore. He decided he was tired of the insults and the constant suggestions that he is nothing more than and overpaid hack in desperate need of facial hair grooming. Today, my dear readers, Bob Kravitz fought back at us dirty, immature bloggers by doing what any professional, ethical journalist would do:

He called us "weenies."

My biggest objection is the proliferation of blogs and posts by anonymous weenies -- or pansies, if you will.

Everybody is big and brave behind a pseudonym, but confront them face to face, and next thing you know they're changing underwear.

I've asked some of my more 'Net-savvy friends to fill me in on what's out there in terms of Indy sports-related Web sites. The more voices, the better, right? I'm not so naïve or arrogant to think the newspaper owns a monopoly on news-gathering or editorial content.

Former Colts Web site reporter John Oehser has a terrific site, indyfootballreport.com, which every Colts fan ought to bookmark (right after IndyStar.com, of course).

...

The rest, though, are garbage. Some are little more than clearinghouses filled with links from mainstream media sources, including The Star. Others are dominated by the writings of people who hide behind ridiculous pseudonyms like Big Blue Shoe and Deshawn Zombie.

Kravitz's anger stems from NBA owner Mark Cuban issuing an apology to Denver Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin's mother on his blog. Cuban didn't do the apology "face to face," and that seemed to push the right buttons with ole Bob. Now, he's out for his pound of blogger flesh.

Overall, I guess I can't be too upset with ole Bob. I've called him some pretty mean things, many of which were pretty out of line. Sure, it's nothing when compared to some of the things readers of IndyStar.com have written in the comments section of Kravitz's articles, but I understand it if Bob doesn't insult his readers. I mean, they pay his bills. Me? I'm a much easier target to focus his frustrations on, and I probably deserve it. I agree with him that guys like John Oehser deserve praise. John has added a wonderful blog to our sphere.

As for schmucks like me, Bob has effectively told me where I can stick it:

It's like this: You will be taken seriously, and should be taken seriously and should be given credentials to cover the team, when you stop hiding behind silly names.

Bill Simmons doesn't hide. Will Leitch and the folks at Deadspin don't hide. The thousands of newspaper bloggers out there don't hide.

I don't mind personal criticism in the least; if you dish it out, you take it. Some of it is kind of funny, if I'm being honest. But who are these people writing in Stampede Blue and 18to88?

Again, weenies.

Well, let's see. Where to begin?

First off, I'd like to thank Bob for finally writing about blogs in general. It's taken him a good five years to finally figure out they exist, but it is better late than never.

Second, as with most of Bob's writing, he should do some actual reporting first before he goes off spewing his opinion on things he doesn't know anything about. Playing ignorance about the Internet does not make you seem appealing. It makes you look like an out-of-touch gasbag, which is what we have said Kravitz is for some time now.

Case in point: My site name. The name is BigBlueShoe, not "Big Blue Shoe." The difference is subtle, I know. And maybe it's not all that important, but we losers on the web make it a point to make our names seem "webby." It's a youth thing. Just as Will.I.Am is named Will.I.Am. and not "William," my public persona is BigBlueShoe. Oh, and last I checked, Will.I.Am is taken quite seriously despite the fact that his name is Will.I.Am.

And just as Will.I.Am is taken seriously despite his "weenie" name, I too am indeed taken seriously despite my name, BigBlueShoe. And to address Kravitz's point that the Colts deny me access because of my pseudonym, I'll simply state that several people who work for the Colts know my actual name. Whether it's PR head Craig Kelley or radio announcer Bob Lamey, they know me. Kravitz can call and ask them, but that would require Kravitz to do actual work before shooting his mouth off.

In fact, most of the people I deal with in the sports media world (whether it's at West 56th Street, Yahoo Sports!, or readers on this blog) know my real name. It's not like I've made some great effort to hide my identity. I've posted pictures of myself on this and other SB Nation sites. I've done podcasts and interviews where my real name is used. Lots of people know my name, whether as BigBlueShoe or as...

And since both Yahoo! Sports and CBSSports.com publish my blog articles on their respective websites, I think it is pretty safe to say that despite my name, I am taken seriously.

So, the question of team access has little or nothing to do with the fact that my name on this blog is BigBlueShoe. The reason I am not given access to the team in the same capacity as someone like Bob Kravitz is because the Colts have a standing order from the top (aka, Bill Polian): No blogs. That is what more than one Colts employee has told me, anonymously of course. So, it doesn't mater if my name on the blog is BigBlueShoe, John Smith, or Shoe.I.Am. I'm a blogger. The Colts have a "No blogs" policy. Simple as that.

Obviously, the policy is silly, and it is one of the reasons the Colts are known for being closed off to their fans and to the press, but it is a stigma the Colts are willing to live with. 

NFL teams have their own polices on how to treat bloggers. The Denver Broncos (a team Bob used to cover when he worked at the Rocky Mountain News) allow Mile High Report's head writer, TheSportsGuru, press-level access to their team and facilities. Recently, the NFL allowed TheSportsGuru and JasonB press access to the NFL Draft despite the fact that their online names are TheSportsGuru and JasonB. Of course, the folks at the NFL who gave those guys press access passes know their real names. They know my name too.

All that said, who is hiding Bob? Certainly not me and my fellow bloggers. It seems the only media person who doesn't know my real name is YOU. Kinda says something, doesn't it?

Oh, by the way Bob, Will Leitch hasn't blogged for Deadspin for over a year. He's now a writer for New York Magazine. I can give you his email, if you want. Or, I can refer you to his Facebook profile, assuming you know what Facebok is. We talk pretty often. See, I can name drop too. The difference is I actually know the people I'm name dropping.

Oh, and Bob, I noticed how you didn't mention The Big Lead in your list of successful blogs with access that don't hide behind "weenie" pseudonyms. I'm sure you remember the head writer there who blogs under the name TheBigLead, and that he interviewed you not too long ago. Last I checked, TheBigLead didn't have issues with access. Last I checked, he's taken pretty seriously.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that while Bob may think people don't take me seriously, the fact of the matter is he is wrong. They take me, and a whole heck of a lot of other bloggers, very seriously despite the fact we write under funny names. Now, people like Bob Kravitz and the Colts might not take me seriously, but you will please pardon me if I say that really could care less. I've already stated why the Colts deny me access. If I wrote under the name BigBlueShoe but my content was on, say, ESPN and not Stampede Blue, I'm fairly certain I'd get to interview Peyton Manning, and ask him what his favorite Kenny Chesney song is, or something.

What Bob doesn't seem to get is the reason why people like me blog under names like BigBlueShoe. He assumes (incorrectly) that it is because we are afraid to take responsibility, or accountability, for our words. He sees the fact that I do not write under my own name and thinks to call me a coward. Hey, the insult isn't what bothers me. Bob can call me all kinds of names. Of course, when he does this he kind of loses his cred as someone who can lecture on ethics in journalism, but that's OK.

He never had credibility in that area to begin with.

No, the reason I blog under the name BIgBlueShoe isn't because I am afraid of being called a "weenie." I blog under this anonymous pseudonym because this blog is not about me. It's about you, the readers.

My job is not to write articles in order to generate an affect or draw attention to me. My job is to write articles that create a dialogue between fans. My job is to reach out into the virtual world and engage people, not tell them what I think I think. I'm not here to discuss what my favorite airport coffee. I'm here to generate discussion on topics people care about. That is the key difference between us weenie bloggers and columnists like Bob Kravitz.

By doing this, by creating a place that enables people to speak up and out about their favorite sports team, I've taken the focus off me (the writer) and placed it on them (the readers).

When all is said and done, I'm probably the least important person on this blog. You'll notice there is no giant, smug picture of me, showing off my smiling face... like some people I know:

Bilde_medium

Well, helloooooooooooooo there.

Photo: cmsimg.indystar.com

 

The reason I don't have this kind of "HEY, LOOK AT ME!" photo is the same reason I don't have my real name up there.

My name isn't important. What people say here, how they express their thoughts and ideas; that is what is important.

Lost to ole Bob is the irony of his last few statements:

I don't mind personal criticism in the least; if you dish it out, you take it. Some of it is kind of funny, if I'm being honest. But who are these people writing in Stampede Blue and 18to88?

Again, weenies.

We're becoming a culture of weenies.

We hide behind technology that makes one-way conversations possible.

We hide behind technology that provides us with pseudonyms and takes accountability out of the equation.

Journalism, and life, are about true human connections. We lose that, we lose the essence of what it means to truly communicate.

I think most people here agree that there is more human communication on this blog than on the web pages that post Bob Kravitz's articles. Unlike Kravitz, I engage my readers. I comment with them in my own articles. In several cases, I give readers the opportunity to write articles, just like I do.

People like shake n bake, mgrex03, KingRichard, and Colts Homer were all Stampede Blue readers before they had the ability to post stories. All come from different backgrounds. All have different points of view. And all met each other because they enjoy the simple, human interaction this community blog provides. And they all have "real" names, yet chose to blog under "weenie" ones. Why?

Because they know it isn't about them. It's about the readers.

And regarding Bob's problem with me slinging insults at him anonymously, I post my work email on the blog. To this date, I have never received an email from Bob Kravitz expressing dissatisfaction at my writing I've never gotten a phone call, a text, or a "tweet" from Bob. Hell, prior to today, I had ZERO confirmation that he even thought I existed. So, if he ever had a problem with me calling him a "turd," he certainly never said anything about it directly to me. Sorry, but who was the coward again, Bob?

Personally, I think he never really minded or cared that I called him names and made fun of his articles. With every article of his that I bashed, I always linked back to his original article. This means I drove traffic (aka hits) back to the Indy Star. Sadly, Bob has yet to return the favor. Even today, he didn't post a link to my blog. He just mentioned the name. Oh well.

Oh, and for someone like Bob Kravitz to lecture me, or anyone, on journalistic accountability is somewhat funny. Accountability from a man who once questioned the parenting ability of Tony Dungy? Ha! Please.

I really want to thank Bob for writing his article today. Really, I do. To my knowledge, it is the first time a major media outlet in Indianapolis has acknowledged that there are, indeed, Colts blogs. Places like Yahoo! have known, and supported, this stuff for some time, and it's nice that the Indianapolis Star has finally caught up. Of course, Bob is wrong on most of his points, and in the article he comes off as a paranoid, bitter old man who possibly seems threatened by a bunch of "weenies" encroaching on his medium. But hey, that's Krabby.

Bob doesn't know me because Bob has made no attempt to know me. He doesn't know that I am getting married to a former journalist this summer (she thought your article was pretty bad Bob, and she used to be an editor for Associated Press). He doesn't know that my aunt once worked for the same paper he currently works for. He doesn't know that her grand father once covered the Scopes Monkey Trial. He doesn't know that I have regular interactions with journalists with Yahoo!, NFL.com, and other outlets.

In general, he just doesn't know. He just doesn't get it. Maybe one day he will.

For more feedback on Bob Kravitz calling me a weenie, check out our FanPosts. I'm sure you'll enjoy them.

Go Colts!

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