Sometimes the anonymity of the Internet creates a false sense of importance.

Unfortunately for me, it also creates a false sense of unimportance.

As some of you know, I occasionally also write parody news pieces for The Cubs Brickyard. It isn’t the passion project that Bleacher Nation is, and it therefore gets a whole lot less of my attention. It also has a fraction of the readership of BN – I mostly do it for myself. It’s fun.

For those reasons, I’ve always thought of The Cubs Brickyard as pretty unimportant. I write articles from time to time, but assumed that they were swallowed into the abyss of the Internet almost immediately as soon as I pressed “publish.” That kind of assumption leads to a potentially dangerous feeling of invulnerability when writing parody pieces. “Hey, man, if nobody’s reading it, who cares what I say?”

Well, apparently Fernando Perez cares. And he’s right. I dropped the ball.

This week I wrote a parody piece about Perez, the outfielder the Cubs acquired in the Matt Garza deal, suggesting that the trade surprisingly converted him from someone who would have to come to the Cubs Convention as an attendee into someone who could come as a player.

Implicit in the satire was a dig aimed at Perez (namely, that he’s insignificant as a ballplayer when compared to Matt Garza), and some of the “jokes” in the article were a bit off-color. And Perez called me on it in his Tumblr. Like, hard.

Did Perez misread the article a bit? Yes. Was his reaction a little over the top? Yes. But was he wrong? I’d love to say yes, but I’m not sure that he was.

I took a shot at him because he was just some random outfielder thrown into “the Matt Garza trade,” and didn’t think twice about it. I should have. I’m not saying that Perez’s feelings were hurt (that would involve an assumption about Perez’s reaction that I’m not willing to make), and I recognize that most of his fisking of the article was directed at its lack of humor and typos. But still, I feel bad. When I put something out there with my name on it – yes, even my faux name – it should be up to a certain standard. And then the damn thing gets picked up by Deadspin? What happens if all 15 of your minutes are people ripping on you? Do they still count?

So, I want to apologize to Fernando. The article sucked, and you were the vehicle by which the sucky article was written.

I’d also like to apologize to any readers who thought the article sucked. Unfortunately, it happens.

The article was clearly not one of my better offerings. Setting aside the typos and misuse of “attendant,” it wasn’t terribly funny. I think I’ve had a few winners over the years, but I recognize that you’re only as good as your worst article. And so, for the poor quality, I’d like to apologize.

Finally, one more nod to Fernando Perez: you’re a Cub now, and that makes me a fan. I have absolutely no illusions that I could do what you do, and by no means do I intend to come off as the stereotypical sour blogger (in his mother’s basement, and all that). It’s easy for me to take shots. I get that.

I hope you succeed as a Cub. I wish you nothing but the best, and I hope you keep your sense of humor about you. I found your YouTube video about minimum salary ballplayers to be quite hilarious. And, er, sorry about the “not a guy you’d make a move to get” stuff. I’m officially rooting for you to make the 25-man roster.

Oh, and Fernando: I’d never take a shot about being in a musical. I once played the Scarecrow in a high school production of “The Wiz.” I’d say that’s about as big as glass houses get.

UPDATE: Fernando says there’s no hard feelings, which I appreciate. His counter-apology is unnecessary, but accepted.

I think he’s still got the wrong impression of me – both as a person and a writer – but (cliche alert) we only get one chance to make a first impression. I bombed mine with Fernando, and probably quite a few prospective readers. All I can do is try harder next time. And spell “heroes” correctly.

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    • DaveB

      Fred, while I understand that ‘f’ may have been a fan favorite during his time in Tampa, you have to realize that this is CHICAGO, not Tampa, and we are CUB fans. We don’t give 2 shits about what memories ‘f’ gave you in the ’08 season. That means NOTHING to us. It has absolutely no bearing to us considering hes stunk it up since then. Im glad you have such fond memories of the guy, but for the Cubs he IS a throw-in and I highly doubt he makes the 25-man roster. That’s all that matters to us, not ‘what he did on a different team 3 seasons ago’.

      As far as ‘f’s writing skills compared to Ace’s, I think you’re way out of line. I’m a law school student, I read a lot, and I consider myself fairly knowledgeable regarding sports. I read A LOT of articles, blogs, etc, not just regarding baseball but basically all major sports. I’ve been reading Ace’s articles for 2+ years and I can say that among all the blogs I read in all sports, Ace is at the top. I haven’t read any of ‘f’s NY Times blogging but from what I read regarding his complaining/whining to Ace, his response to that, as well as other posts on his tumblr, im not impressed. Nor am I impressed with that youtube video, i didn’t really find it funny at all. Taking it all into account he comes across as arrogant and whiny to me (he is from New York so thats probably where the ‘I’m better/smarter/more intelligent’ attitude” comes from).

      • DaveB

        Maybe if ‘f’ spent less time making shitty youtube videos and less time whining/complaining/writing 3-hour-in-depth breakdowns about articles on the internet and spent more time in the batting cage then he wouldn’t be considered a throw-in.

        His attitude comes across as though he isn’t fully devoted to baseball. Even in his response to Ace’s apology, he was talking about how it was 2 AM or some shit and he should have been in bed ‘hours ago’, but instead was spending his time responding to internet blogging articles. (And the funny thing is, this will probably be the only time he will be mentioned by any Chicago bloggers- except when inevitably announcing that hes being cut in Spring Training).

        If I was a 20-something ‘prospect’ who hasn’t done shit in 2 seasons and I was running out of time to prove myself, you can bet your ass I’d be in the cages all day every day trying to make the most out of my opportunity (especially after being traded to a new team and trying to prove my worth to them). What I would NOT be doing is sitting at a computer until 2 AM complaining and whining to bloggers. He is a throw-in, and if he doesn’t like it than too bad. Ace was simply telling the truth- that this player is a throw-in who has no worth to this team. If ‘f’ doesn’t like it, he should get on the field and do something about it instead of using his keyboard. Could he have worth to this team down the road? Obviously, yes, but he doesn’t seem to be working towards that.

        Ace would smack the fuck out of ‘f’ in any verbal throwdown. ‘f” tries to come across as “im so smart/intelligent/cool/hip’ but it all seems fake to me. He really isn’t that intelligent. Ace has much more smarts/better writing skills. If ‘f’ is so worried about his writing skills and his youtube videos then he should just retire from baseball, because there are a lot of players who have spent their entire careers in the minor leagues despite devoting their ENTIRE energy to baseball, and I’m sure they would kill for the chance to train with the team during spring training and try to make the squad.

        • Fred

          To Dave B: Thanks for making me glad I don’t live in Chicago, if it’s home to a long-winded and humor challenged fellow like you. And by the way, the Rays don’t play in Tampa.

      • Bric

        As a fellow Cub fan I gotta say you need to tone it down. The Rays fans came onto this site with nothing but good intentions on providing a little insight into a guy I know next to nothing about and having a laugh. And the “Don’t go there, THIS IS CHICAGO” trash talk would probably carry a little more weight if not for the fact that the Rays in their 15 year existance have done a hell of a lot more in the playoffs and World series than our team has done since you or I was born. So, at most, learn from their attitude toward their team. At the least, hold off on the trash talk until the Cubs do something in the post season.

        • DaveB

          So how many World Series championships do the Rays have in our lifetime? Thats right, as many as the Cubs. How many do the Rays have in their history? ZERO. Your argument holds no weight, I don’t care how they’ve done or how close they’ve come, you either win the World Series, or you don’t. That’s all I care about for the Cubs. I don’t care if the Cubs won the NL pennant for the next 10 seasons in a row, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is being Champions, and the Rays haven’t done that.

          As far as your argument of ‘me trash talking”, you’ obviously didn’t read my argument or you misinterpreted it. I didn’t say ‘This is Chicago’ to talk trash, I said it to make the point that the fact Tampa fans liked him so much 2 seasons ago doesn’t help us. The Tampa fan said, ‘To me this was a Fernando Perez trade that Matt Garza was just in’. I said that, while I understand his sentiment, that sentiment doesn’t help the Cubs nor can it be used to measure the trade from the Cubs standpoint. It doesn’t matter to the Cubs that Perez was a fan favorite for what he did 3 seasons ago. What matters to us is whose going to help us win, and you know what? Its not gona be Perez, its gona be Garza.

          Bric you are obviously very confused if you think I’m the one talking shit. Some Rays fan comes on here and basically calls out Ace, saying that their AAAA player Perez is a better writer/blogger than Ace? Please. Thats garbage. Perez gets offended because Ace states the truth (he was a throw-in player), and Ace actually goes forward and apologizes even though it wasn’t warranted. There was nothing vicious or malintended with Ace’s short satirical piece. He was saying the truth, and if Perez (or Rays fans) don’t like it, its not Aces fault. If Perez doesn’t like it, he should be in the cages all day every day instead of staying up until 2 AM arguing with bloggers on the internet. I’m not the one who was talking trash here. The Rays fan read 2 articles that Perez blogged and calls him the God of blogging while simultaneously calling out Ace. Ive been reading Ace’s posts for years (along with most Cub fans who read blogs) and I know hes one of the best out there. The Rays fan hasn’t ever read BN so he has no justification/experience to make comments like that. If some other fans come on here and talk shit to Ace, you can bet your ass I’m going to back him up. It goes beyond being a Cubs fan, its because I know Ace is great and its simply not fair to him (and to his readers) to have unwarranted comments made like that.

          • DaveB

            EDIT: Meant to say ‘Ace is great *at what he does* and its simply not fair to him (and to his readers) to have unwarranted comments made like that.’

            • Ace

              Dave, you’re putting me in a tough spot: on the one hand, I think you’re being a little too hard on the Rays/Rays fans. Some talked a little shit, but meh. It happens. On the other hand, you’re talking about how awesome I am. And I, too, think I’m awesome. It’s really a bit of a pickle.

              So I say nothing.

              • DaveB

                Once again, sorry if I came across as ‘being a little too hard on Rays fans’, like I said I never intended to talk shit, i was just trying to make the point that Rays fans were acting like Perez was the main piece in this trade because of how much they loved him as a fan-favorite, but from a Cubs perspective he still is a throw-in. I hope he can rekindle some of the talent he had in ’08, but right now im pretty sure that the Cubs aren’t really expecting that to happen. As much as Rays fans might love Perez for what he did in ’08, here in Chicago we are excited for what Garza is going to do in 2011 and beyond.

                And Ace, I will admit I did talk a little shit when the Tampa fan called you out, but like you said ‘some talked a little shit, It happens’. I just thought it wasn’t fair for these people to call out your writing/blogging skills when they’ve never been to this site before and therefore have no justification/experience to be comparing you to someone else. The Cubs obviously have a huge following, and BN is consistently considered one of the top blogs for the Cubs. If Ace’s blog is considered one of the best/favorites for a team with as big of a following as the Cubs, that must mean that Ace is doing something right.

        • Fred

          Thanks, Bric, indeed I had posted here thinking I was just sharing some fond observations about a player who is now one of yours.

  • givejonadollar

    Two funny guys going at it.

    I see no harm done here. If anything, you raised Fernando’s profile with the fans because I didn’t know a damn thing about him until reading this back and forth the last 30 minutes.

    Now, I’m a fan, and it’s because of Ace writing that article.

    And, I’m sure it’s the same with others as well.

    I’m hoping this guy can be our leadoff hitter in 2011 and steal 70 bases! If not, we are going to talk some mad shit about him. :)

  • Love it

    He made you his bitch! Classic.

    • VanSlaw

      I would think that you would be unhappy, what with the worries that you are being replaced.

      Of course, I suppose that it’s possible that he dunked your ball gag in whiskey to pacify you . . .

  • Mark

    It seems like Perez should be concentrating on baseball instead of searching the net for blogs about himself and making funny videos. It would seem that at his age, it is now or never to make the 25 man roster.

  • Steve

    The guy is a throw-in, at very best. Hiking in NZ had better help the guy, after his “worst season”. If you look at the guy’s numbers, there is really no reason to think he’s headed for a major upturn.
    Deadspin? I place that organization right up there with TMZ…a gossip column, that still covers the likes of Brittany Spears, and Steven Sagal. I wouldn’t worry much about them.
    “f-” should be in the hitting cage, not in front of his computer, as this might be his last shot. Who knows, perhaps Jim Rome needs as intern.
    Fernando, obviously, has demonstrated that there is much more to him than the on field persona. He is intelligent, well-spoken, and knows how to express himself. I could care less. I want performance on the field.
    Most likely, Ace DID hit a nerve. I am sure that “f-
    ” knows exactly where he fit in, as far as the Garza trade is concerned…a throw-in., instead of advertising cam
    If he wants to be known for his baseball talents, instead of advertising campaigns, or viral videos, then he had better make sure that his play is recognizably better than with of the two…

  • Ian James

    Anyone who can stand up and write an apology like that is indeed a true “man”.
    After watching the Perez vid I became a fan of his as well – the guy is pretty dang intelligent and a hip new yorker (like I used to be!).
    Anyway, I hope this doesn’t make you too gun shy to sometimes accidentally step over the line.
    I say if you can admit your mistakes then go ahead and take some chances.

  • DaveB

    I have to agree with Mark and Steve on this one. I feel like ‘f’ overreacted big-time with his response.
    Google the name of any professional athlete (ones who have proven that they can play at a professional level, unlike ‘f’) and you’ll find a plethora of mock articles and parody news about those athletes. And you know what Ace, your mock article would be rated very ‘PG’ compared to whats out there (we all know how vicious people can get, but that was obviously not your intention here).
    The funny thing is, I not once can remember any of these athletes searching the internet for these articles and then posting angry responses about it. You know why? Because they’re PROFESSIONALS. It comes with the territory, and they know it. They know their job isn’t to worry themselves with such trivial matters, they’re job is to be out on the field or in the batting cages getting better each day. Think about all the material out there on ARod, Jeter, Lebron, Kobe, Brady, (enter any star athlete here). All that shit would be Rated NC-17 compared to your parody news piece. And ‘f’ isn’t even in the same GALAXY in terms of talent as these players are, so he should actually be happy that you wrote a piece like this, because otherwise nobody would even know his name an nobody would give 2 shits about who is he/what he has to say.
    ‘f”s time is running out, and he should be more worried about preparing to prove that hes worth something as a ball player instead of doing a 3-hour in-depth breakdown of every single parody/mock article out there regarding him (Oh wait, there are none others except for this one).

    Unlike you Ace, I will NOT be rooting for this player to waste a spot on the 40-man roster (much less the 25-man roster). Theres no way I see ‘f’ being able to take away a spot from a guy like Reed Johnson, a guy whose proven that he can play at the big league level and a guy who is beloved by Cub fans. Why? Because he ALWAYS plays hard and he DOESNT complain/whine.

    Ace, you originally said it might be good to have a guy like ‘f’ in the clubhouse because he was a ‘funny guy’, but do we really see ‘f”s whining/complaining being a positive in the Cub’s clubhouse? If he whines/complains so much about a single little mock article, can you imagine how much hes going to whine/complain if he gets some ribbing from his teammates, or gets joked around with? Is he going to throw a hissy fit if known jokesters like Z or Dempster say something to him that was meant to be playful (like your article), but instead he takes it way too seriously? Just looks like this guy would cause drama that we simply don’t need.

    Tobe honest, I never found his youtube video to be funny either. Just looks to me like a New Yorker trying to be hip/funny/trendy/intelligent sounding instead of focusing on his ball playing (which, as previously mentioned, his time is winding down).

    • DaveB

      One last point I want to make (before I stop wasting my own time responding to this scrub of a player who we likely will never hear about again after he gets released in S.T. and who will never step foot on Wrigley Field as a member of the Big league team):

      I can understand him attacking Ace as a parody writer, but he also attacks Ace as a writer/blogger and in that aspect he is COMPLETELY WRONG in doing so.

      I’ve said it hundreds of times before and Ill keep saying it, but I’ve been at this site since Article 1 and it is now my only destination for Cubs news. In his short couple of years, Ace has quickly become one of the most respected Cubs reporters/bloggers on the internet. His posts are always filled with relevant information, fair, to the point, and always with some humor thrown in.
      ‘f’ reads one little article and attacks your entire credibility when he has absolutely no right to do so because he has no background experience/info. Like Ace mentioned, the parody articles are something he does on the side, something that he doesn’t put much time in to (because hes obviously putting in the time to make BleacherNation as great as it is) and something done strictly ‘for fun’ (key word there, it was done ‘for fun’, as a little joke/humor, nothing that was mal-intended or vicious).

      If ‘f’ had seen some of the other Cubs blogs compared to this one, he would know how Ace’s is a step above the rest. The majority of these bloggers do not have the inteillgence/writing-reporting ability/humor that Ace has, and the majority of these bloggers would be MUCH more vicious in a response to ‘f’ if ‘f’ had complained about one of their articles.
      Im pretty damn certain that almost all other bloggers would tell ‘f’ to FUCK OFF instead of apologizing. That just shows what kind of person Ace is. It shows his ego in no ways interfers with his postings on the site. Even though I don’t really see a reason for Ace needing to apologize, he did so because he saw that ‘f’ was offended, and Ace felt bad about that.

      Gathering from ‘f”s response to Ace’s article, his youtube video, and his career stats, it looks to me like hes focusing on being a comedian/viral video star instead of a ballplayer. Looks like its time for him to hang up his cleats and focus on whats really important to him, because from the looks of it, its not baseball.

  • JR

    I agree with every one of DaveB’s points. I am a big fan of your writing, Ace, both substance and style. You’re clearly also a very, very nice guy for apologizing to someone for writing a satire based on something that, as far as I can tell, is true: he was a throw-in player that very well may not make the roster. It is amusing, though, that he presumed to critique your writing while throwing around the term “have went.” Glad to hear Reed Johnson has an invite to camp, I would love to see him on the opening day roster.

    • Ian James

      I was wondering if his “have went” was intentional bait that Ace was too intelligent to rise to.

      • Ian James

        “to which Ace was too intelligent to rise”

        Never end a sentence with a preposition!

        • pfk

          Reminds me of the story of the Texan who was visiting his son at freshman parents weekend at Harvard. He was walking on campus and came across a student and asked, “Say boy, can you tell me where the library is at?” The student responded, “Well sir, at Harvard we are taught never to end a sentence in a preposition.” The parent responded, ‘Is that a fact? Well then, can you tell me where the library is at…ass hole.”

        • jstraw

          “This is the sort of pedantry, up with which, I will not put.”
          Sir Winston Churchill

          • Ian James

            Hahaha! Thanks for the yuks, guys!

  • Kenny L.

    I thought the parody article was kind of funny. Not great, but I chuckled.

  • Bric

    Oh, Ace…pshawwww… We readers can see through the weak attempts at appology by both of you. Cleary since you have met your match grammatically and comedically, there is but one recourse… you must challenge him to a duel, sir! I shall be your second. As for weopons, I suggest the blunderbuss or hand ax. Do not take this lying down. Your dignity is at stake man!

  • Ace

    Thanks for the support, friends. I don’t have a cross word for Fernando, but I do appreciate you folks sticking up for me – and the compliments.

    My parting thought is simply: good luck, Fernando. Go Cubs.

  • Windy City Misfit

    He posted a counter-apology and as a quiet follower of BN, I am kinda proud how both of you have handled the aftermath. Compassion isn’t the most common thing in Chicago media.

    Perez … Good Luck and play your heart out …we could use some speed.
    Ace … your still the first stop for more than a few Cub fans.. gatta mean somethin. Keep up the good work.

  • Sledge

    I’m a Rays fan here because this chain was posted on I have not laughed so hard in a long time. Many Cubs fans now know why some Rays fans will miss ‘Nando. Regardless of his skills, the dude is cool and a refreshing change from the average athlete. It is impossible not to root for him to succeed. I’d much rather see an athlete spending his spare time on comedic YouTube videos that the various other troubles nightlife could get him into.

    Ace – love your comment “Oh my, this has gone… poorly”. And having watched him around the Rays, you can take him at his word that there are no hard feelings. Seek him out at spring training or sometime and you’ll get the complete picture.

  • Lroy10

    From as well and have to say I’m not happy about seeing Nando headed to Wrigley. My favorite Rays moment of all time is Fernando slapping the crap out of home plate as he is sliding past Vteck in game two of the 08 ALCS. Don’t sleep on him just cause he can’t afford to shower in evian. Good luck Nando, and thank you for your time in Tampa!

  • Fred

    Another Rays fan here via Raysindex, and let me second (third) the comments of my brethren. ‘Nando is the bomb, we’ve loved having him in the Tampa Bay area. He was never in line to become a superstar, but he was well on his way to becoming a major leaguer in 2008, but had to sit out 2009 with an injury and never seemed to get his mojo back in 2010.

    Cubs fans, stop ragging on him and appreciate what you’ve gotten here. He may seem like a “throw in” player to you, but to us he was at the core of some of the most exciting moments of our 2008 championship run. To me, this was the Fernando Perez trade in which we happened to lose Matt Garza.

    Ace, Fernando did a stint blogging for the NY Times when he was injured — the guy can write. I would not take him on in a verbal smackdown.

  • Fred

    Dave B, thanks for making me glad I DON’T live in Chicago.

    And by the way, the Rays don’t play in Tampa.

  • DaveB

    Well thanks for making me glad I don’t live in St. Petersburg, where apparently ball players and fans alike get very easily offended.
    I meant no harm Fred. I understand your sentiment towards Perez, that he was a fan favorite, etc. I was just trying to make the point that the fact Perez was a fan favorite for the Rays for what he did in ’08 is not going to help the Cubs in 2011. Im sure hes a great guy and fans here would love him (like you say), but that alone isn’t going to get him a spot on this team. The only way he gets a spot is if he earns it with his play. So while you look at it as ‘The Fernando Perez trade in which we happened to lose Garza”, all I was trying to say is that isn’t a valid view from the Cubs perspective, because Garza is going to be the one who helps the Cubs moving forward into the future.
    Is this not a valid point to anyone else? I don’t understand why people are taking this point as ‘trash talk’ or getting offended by it, because thats obviously not the intention. Rays fans I go in peace, I have nothing against you and I don’t want to argue about this. I understand that you were just trying to impart some wisdom about a player we don’t really know anything about, but at the same time realize that, while Perez made great memories for you, he’s still a throwin for us. All we care about is what happens in 2011 and moving forward, and Garza is the one whose going to help us in that aspect.

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