I have a lot of respect for Jon Heyman. He’s clearly one of the hardest working baseball writers in the national media. To have your research and opinions read and criticized for over thirty years takes an extreme dedication to your job. When dealing with the Trade Deadline or Winter Meetings, Heyman doesn’t appear to miss a wink, and he deserves a lot of credit for the devotion he puts into providing us fans with updates. As someone who aspires for a career in baseball analysis, I admire such a work ethic and find it intensely motivating. Yes, if there was a trait to steal from Jon Heyman, it would be his assiduous commitment to work.
However, the CBS Sports writer has been accused of tainted quality in his work. His most recent puff piece on Johnny Damon appears to be the final straw for many bloggers and Twitter users. The accusation? Heyman is a mouthpiece for Scott Boras. While I’m more accustomed to analyzing baseball statistics, I decided to bring in some numbers to test these claims. I found two similar national writers, who produce articles at similar rates and work for well-established organizations, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and Buster Olney of ESPN.
The goal was to test the amount of articles that focused on Scott Boras clients and then those that linked his clients to the Yankees. In order to do so, I selected the same date range of December 15th, 2011 to February 16th, 2012, that being the length of Heyman’s current activity at CBS Sports. Though the range of dates certainly maintained a control in the frequency of Boras clients that were hot topics, it did limit the number of writers to research. Olney and Rosenthal were the only two similar national writers to publish with such frequency, anyone less may have fallen into the category of small sample size. The numbers showed startling evidence.
|Writer||Total Articles Written||Number of Articles Focused on Boras Clients||Percent of Articles Focusing on Boras Clients||Number of Articles Linking Boras Clients to Yankees||Percent of Articles Linking Boras Clients to Yankees|
The chart above shows that Jon Heyman wrote about Scott Boras clients at a rate well above double Buster Olney’s or Ken Rosenthal’s. When doing my research, it was the consistency of Boras pieces that most astounded me. While Rosenthal and Olney’s articles would often come with Fielder and Madson updates or signings, Heyman wrote regularly about other agents like Carlos Pena, Edwin Jackson, and Carlos Beltran. Even more amazing was the rate at which he linked Boras clients to the Yankees. Even though Rosenthal and Heyman both wrote the same number of articles, Rosenthal only linked them once, with Heyman linking them nine times. That means that 32% of the time that Heyman wrote about Boras clients, the Yankees were involved. As many clients as Boras has, when two of every five articles are about Boras clients, and more than one of every eight are linking Boras clients to the Yankees, something suspicious is happening.
I recognize how incredibly competitive the national baseball media can be, but if it’s true that Heyman has sacrificed his incredible reputation for what appears to be a partnership with the infamous Scott Boras, he has disrespected his readers. While you expect quality out of such a writer every day, I find it hard to trust one that would willingly release rumors based on someone’s agenda. Not only does this influence baseball fans, but it influences the whole baseball market, and is something I could foresee being banned by the next CBA. I wholeheartedly hope that these numbers are a big coincidence, but it sheds a lot of doubt on such an excuse.