Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Reaction to John Feinstein’s ridiculous article


John Feinstein, a guy whose opinions on things I used to read and look forward to, completely lost my respect with his ridiculous Sept 25th column where he argues, somehow, without anything in the way of proof, that the 2012 Stephen Strasburg shutdown affected the 2013 team.  He lost most of my respect last year with a similarly ridiculous article (discussed further on) but this one took the cake.

This column was so bad that the mild-mannered Adam Kilgore felt the need to post a rebuttal, to his own Washington Post colleague, online soon after it was posted.

This column was so bad that noted Nats troller Craig Calcaterra of HardballTalk (who has clearly criticized the team for the 2012 shutdown) lambasted the article in this blog.’s Ted Leavengood posted a similar critique.

This column was so bad that when asked for a response, Davey Johnson called Feinstein “an idiot” during a radio appearance.

Do you know when the last time Feinstein wrote an article about baseball was?  Take a guess.  Yup; October 13th, 2012, the day after the Nats were knocked out of the NLDS, in a clearly canned article the he probably wrote in late August waiting for the Nats to lose in the playoffs.  Go back and read the 2012 article and see how awful it was as well; dripping with lazy sportswriter narrative and with not one mention or occurence of these key words: doctor, injury, medical or rehab.  You know, all the words that were key reasons as to why Strasburg was shutdown in the first place.

My opinion on this is pretty clear (most succinctly stated in this article titled “Innings Limits and Media Hypocrisy” earlier this year); if you want to criticize the Nats decision to shutdown Strasburg, then you HAVE to similarly criticize all the other “shutdowns” of pitchers we see.  If you don’t, then you’re a hypocrite; the placement of the team in the standings should NOT dictate medically-driven decisions for a 24-year old.  What really gets me is writers like Feinstein who don’t even bother to address the medical reasoning for the shutdown and act like its 1950.  Thankfully Feinstein doesn’t have a Hall of Fame vote or else he’d be posting drivel like what we get out of Murray Chass and making inane arguments about why the modern revolution of statistics is “stupid” and “ruining the sport.”

Feinstein needs to stick to his little niche of College Basketball with occasional complaints about how the PGA tour has screwed him, and keep his nose out of sports that he clearly doesn’t understand.



Written by Todd Boss

September 25th, 2013 at 9:19 am

7 Responses to 'Reaction to John Feinstein’s ridiculous article'

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  1. This was an awful piece of sports journalism. And that he frames his opinion as an inarguable fact only makes it worse. He provides no support, no proof of causation, nothing. I agree with Calcaterra: this piece was written a long time ago to fit a pre-conceived narrative. This isn’t just bad, this is Bayless bad, which makes me conclude that Feinstein wrote it just to get the attention comes with taking an outrageous, unsupportable position.


    25 Sep 13 at 3:47 pm

  2. It drives me crazy when fans engage in baseless amateur psychobabble and mind reading exercises; you can imagine how I feel when a “professional” does it. I read the article in the dead tree edition of the WaPo, but refuse to look at it online. I won’t give him the benefit of a click.

    I used to occasionally read his stuff on tennis and basketball. But when I listened to his appearances on the Tony Kornheiser show all I could think was “what a self-important gasbag.” And that was while chatting with TK! I’ve tried to ignore Feinstein ever since.

    John C.

    25 Sep 13 at 5:54 pm

  3. John Feinstein is very good to great at two things…….. writing about college basketball & golf. As we can see here, when it comes to baseball it’s strictly amateur hour.

    Mark L

    25 Sep 13 at 6:22 pm

  4. The telling thing for me was to scan through his archive and find that he has not written one baseball piece this year. How can you have a credible opinion on the in and out machinations of a team if you never write about them? I can point to 10 different reasons why this team failed this year, each subtle and not the be-all end-all reason for their failure, but each probably contributing.

    Todd Boss

    26 Sep 13 at 6:54 am

  5. Oh, Feinstein is still writing? Thought he’d been put out to pasture years ago. When you go from being a serious journalist to debasing yourself by trolling for attention, it is time to hang up the old typewriter (does he eve own a computer?), go fishing and stop the nonsense.


    26 Sep 13 at 8:03 am

  6. Totally agree, it was a terrible article. Lost a lot of respect for Feinstein.


    26 Sep 13 at 10:23 am

  7. The Post also noted several negative reactions to Feinstein’s piece. It really was a bad bit of journalism

    The Old Boss

    26 Sep 13 at 11:09 pm

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