This morning, a NoMaas reader named Matt Williams sent us an email exchange he had Wednesday with longtime Philadelphia Daily News sports columnist, Bill Conlin. Bill caused a bit of a stir when he penned an article proclaiming the Phillies have the best infield of baseball’s modern era. The point of this post isn’t to debate Conlin’s findings or evaluate Matt’s counter-argument. Rather, we’d like to show you Bill Conlin’s standards of professionalism.

Matt’s initial email:

I read your article about the Phillies infield today. I had several major issues with it. I’m not saying that the Yankees infield is the greatest of all time, but I am pretty sure it’s better than Philly’s.

First of all, Ryan Howard is unreal vs right handed pitching. But he is a horrible hitter vs left handed pitching. He’s below replacement value vs left handers. His OBP last year was below .300 and his slugging % was barely over .350 vs left handers. Because of the fact that Philly overpaid him, they are forced to use a subpar hitter in the middle of the line up vs left handed pitching. Prior to his slight rebound last year, he had declined in 3 straight years in BA/OBP/Slugging %. Mark Teixeira on the other hand is a switch hitter that is much more constistant as a hitter. He won’t put up 50+ HR’s, but he won’t have an OBP less than .300 either. Remember, the goal in baseball is not to create an out. I would say it’s a push because Howard is THAT good vs right handed pitching, but his weakness vs left handed pitching is too great to just say he’s a better hitter. Defensively I would call it a push.

Chase Utley is a better player than Robinson Cano, no arguments there.

Jimmy Rollins is fast declining as a SS. His BA/OBP/Slugging % numbers have decreased 3 straight years. Jeter is still Jeter. Defensively, Rollins is better but Jeter’s offense more than makes up for that.

Alex Rodriguez is hands down better than Placido Polanco and it’s not even close.

Saying that A-Rod puts an asterisk on an all time great infield is just a cop out. He admitted to PED use years ago. That has nothing to do with the 2009 or 2010 season. He was never suspended for steroids because face it, MLB looked the other way. It’s not fair to penalize A-Rod for something he admitted to before joining the Yankees when you don’t know if someone on the Phillies used or not. One can make an arguement that it’s not natural that Ryan Howard hit 58 HR’s in one year, which is more than A-Rod ever did. How do we know Howard wasn’t juicing that year? He never hit more than 50 HR’s in any other season.

If you add longevity, the Yankees infield is clearly better. The 4 players have been teammates 2 straight years and it could very well end up being together 5 or 6 years depending on what happens with Robinson Cano.

Polanco is the difference. If Philly had a better 3rd baseman, it would be a fair argument.

Nothing disrespectful from Matt, right? Tone of the email isn’t inflammatory. Well, Bill Conlin responded to this email with one word and one word only:

STEROIDS

Upon receiving this, Matt became a bit agitiated and replied:

I’m sorry that you can’t admit that Ryan Howard sucks vs LHP and saying Polanco is better than A-Rod because of steriods is just LOL. What’s sad is that you probably have a Hall of Fame vote. Like I said earlier, what does taking steroids in 2003 and earlier have to do w/ playing 3rd base in 2010? Just out of curiousity, if someone on Philly get’s caught w/ PED or steroids, are you going to retract that statement?

Bill Conlin quickly fired back:

Had a HOF vote for 44 years, ace. Retract this.

Wow. How do writers who treat readers like this keep their jobs? Newspapers nowadays aren’t really in the position to respond like this to their main source of revenue generation.

Bill Conlin D-Bag
Never trust a man with this amount of facial hair