“You can’t have one foot in one camp and one foot in the other.”

2019-08-29 DavidRossAnthonyRizzo

David Ross, aboard Anthony Rizzo’s shoulder after the Cubs won the 2016 World Series. Today Ross broadcasts for ESPN . . . and is also paid to advise Cubs president Theo Epstein. Conflict of interest?

The Mets and the Astros (as the Colt .45s) were born in 1962. In the same year, a future Pulitzer Prize winner for distinguished commentary offered a wry observation he couldn’t have known would describe even more acutely the American atmosphere of 22 years after his death.

“It is impossible for a man who has enjoyed the taste of our beer and the flavour of our politics to decide which has gone more sour in his lifetime,” wrote Murray Kempton, introducing a section of his anthology of newspaper and other essays, America Comes of Middle Age.

The flavour of our politics has always included partisans on any side or from within any political camp who assume those delivering, observing, or analysing news they simply don’t like are employed, gainfully or otherwise, by one or another opposing campaign or office holder.

And there have been reporters and editorialists every so often caught behaving and performing as though they are employed formally if furtively by political campaigns to which they are personally sympathetic.

I raise the foregoing in part from personal experience and in part from an intriguing excursion in The Athletic this morning that examines a trend not necessarily new but necessarily troublesome.

My adult life has included about 31 years as a professional journalist, from small regional daily newspapers to small regional daily news radio (as an anchor/reporter), from trade journalism to the station from which I’ve practised in the past decade as a free-lance baseball writer for a vast audience, conservatively speaking, of three.

I’ve never been employed, formally, gainfully or otherwise, by any baseball organisation including a baseball team. Nor, in my earlier career, was I ever paid for any particular work by any political party, or by any organisation inclined to promote politics, law enforcement, education, or other matters I covered as a reporter and, yes, occasional columnist.

You’d have to be the title character of the Who’s legendary Tommy (you know: deaf, dumb, and blind—oops! today we say hearing-, speech-, and vision-impaired) to doubt such things exist, of course. But no such people ever approached me that way. (Some were more inclined to approach me for an execution: my own.) If they had, I would have told them politely but firmly where they could plant such a request, usually into a certain part of their ample anatomies.

I’ve also dealt with readers and listeners who presumed I was so paid, not because they questioned the validity or the diligence of my work, but because they simply disagreed with where it went and what it disclosed. I have no issue with disagreement, but I have every issue with the presumption that someone with a particular formal agenda paid me to report or think one way or another.

As a baseball writer here and elsewhere, and at least four other publications have published my work in the past several years, I’m employed strictly by myself or by those who chose to publish me. No major or minor league baseball team has ever paid me to write or think anything. And I’m reasonably confident that no major or minor league baseball team might ever be foolish enough do so.

The Athletic discussed those whom the public knows to be baseball broadcasters or reporters who are not strictly former baseball players but who also happen to be employed, formally, gainfully, or otherwise, by a few baseball teams. The magazine seems uncertain whether to be amused or alarmed. It’s an uncertainty about which I’m certain myself that it should seem alarming enough.

Consider Alex Rodriguez and Jessica Mendoza. Rodriguez is a retired player who has since carved a reputation as a candid analyst for ESPN since joining them last year, but who was also employed as a Yankee advisor from the moment he took his uniform off for the final time until, by mutual assent, he stopped receiving Yankee paychecks quietly last winter.

Rodriguez’s relationship with the Yankees is no longer an employee-employer but an informal one, hence his presence when the Yankees flew to London to play the Red Sox there this season, but he still has a relationship with the team. Mendoza is also an ESPN commentator—and a paid advisor to the crosstown Mets. Which presented a ticklish hour or two during the run-up to this year’s new single mid-season trading deadline.

Because, on one Sunday Night Baseball program, Rodriguez and Mendoza addressed that coming deadline, and Rodriguez asked Mendoza frankly whom the Yankees should have on their wish list, to which Mendoza replied without skipping the proverbial beat, “Noah Syndergaard,” the Mets’ righthanded pitcher who was only thought to be the prize nugget on the trading floor.

“So began an impromptu game of Let’s Make a Deal,” wrote The Athletic‘s Marc Carig, “one that illustrated an issue that has raised concerns within clubhouses and front offices alike . . . By uttering Syndergaard’s name on the air, [Mendoza] indirectly revealed for millions of viewers that her team had put the pitcher on the block, the type of acknowledgment that is typically not made public.”

Consider. Mendoza has broadcast Mets games against assorted opponents with deep access to both sides’ clubhouses, as well as being “involved in various facets of the front office operation,” as Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen indicted she’d be when he hired her as an advisor this spring.

When most baseball fans last saw David Ross, he basked in the mammoth party around the Cubs’ 2016 World Series triumph, to which he’d contributed especially a one-out home run in Game Seven’s top of the sixth, as well as a very viral on-camera dugout bid to ease the jitters of Cubs third base star Anthony Rizzo.

Like Mendoza, Ross is an ESPN broadcaster today. He’s also on the Cubs’ payroll as an advisor to president Theo Epstein, a role that includes scouting to the extent that Grandpa Rossy (as he was known affectionately by his fellow Cubs and by Cub fans alike) was involved directly when the Cubs signed protracted free-agent relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel this summer.

“It wouldn’t be unusual,” Carig noted properly, “for Ross’ duties to take him to games involving division rivals such as the Cardinals and Brewers.” If you’re thinking to yourself that the conflict-of-interest potential is rather vast, be advised, as Carig notes further, that that potential seems to divide teams.

Carig observed Braves manager Brian Snitker unconcerned about Mendoza interviewing him in her ESPN capacity even while knowing she’s a paid Mets advisor; and, Cardinals manager Mike Schildt gives Ross the benefit of the doubt even though he’s an ESPN commentator on the one hand and a Cubs advisor on the other. “Listen,” Schildt told Carig, “if ESPN trusts [Ross] to be able to do his job appropriately, then there’s no reason for me to question that.”

But Carig also noted that Mendoza told an ESPN conference call with reporters “that managers and players were already cautious with members of the media when speaking on the record, and that ‘teams that I’ve been around . . . they would probably have the same concern with whatever information they give me, whether it be me working for the Mets or me working for the media’.”

Adam Jones, the longtime Oriole favourite now a Diamondbacks outfielder, doesn’t shy away from the prospect of a conflict of interest arising, though Carig didn’t exactly phrase it that way. “One hundred percent there’s potential there, because you’re going on air and you’re talking baseball,” he told Carig.

“But [Jones] also believes that both Mendoza and Ross bring the kind of personality and insights that should be featured during broadcasts. ‘I think it’s good for the game,’ Jones said. ‘I see no harm in it’.” Note the order in which Carig mentioned personality and insight. One of the greatest knocks against turning former players into broadcasters and analysts has been that they’re engaged as personalities first and game callers or analysts second.

The legendary broadcaster Red Barber was known to have respected Phil Rizzuto because the former Yankee shortstop, hired as a broadcaster, approached Barber at once to teach him the craft. Barber was also repulsed by another former player, Joe Garagiola, who thought his natural locquacity was qualifier enough. On the flip side, Sandy Koufax proved a deft in-game analyst for NBC until he gave it up after five years, while chafing that his broadcast partners wanted him to talk more and more about his least favourite subject—himself.

Decades ago there were those in the sports press who suspected one or another colleague was one or another team’s employee in everything but name. And even before the larger advent of players turned broadcasters, teams had their tendencies to reject the idea that their broadcasters could be and often enough were more than just team cheerleaders. Barber himself learned the hard way after a little over a decade as a Yankee broadcaster following his legendary term with the Dodgers.

When the Yankees headed toward the first dead-last standings finish in their franchise history, in September 1966, Barber called a Yankee home game in which the paid attendance was announced in the ballpark itself as 413. He ordered a camera pan of the empty park, but the camera crew refused. So Barber told his viewers, “I don’t know what the paid attendance is today, but whatever it is, it is the smallest crowd in the history of Yankee Stadium, and this crowd is the story, not the game.”

Oops. One of the 413 was Michael Burke, the CBS executive who’d just been named the Yankee team president. (CBS bought the Yankees controversially in 1964.) It happened to be Burke’s first visit to a live Yankee game. Burke was informed of Barber’s remark and called Barber to a breakfast meeting at which he told Barber, essentially, “You’re fired.”

Around the Brooklyn Dodgers of the early to mid-1950s there were those who believed that the acerbic New York Daily News sportswriting legend Dick Young—who did kind of stop on the proverbial dime, turning from criticising Dodger management in the Branch Rickey era to all but canonising it by comparison as the Walter O’Malley era began—did so because he was being fed if not paid by the Dodger front office.

Young arguably brought what came to be called the New Journalism to baseball writing, observing and writing frankly about player, manager, and front office flaws in ways previously unknown in sportswriting. It’s not that his technique was novelistic, as the actual New Journalism came to be, but his penchant for calling it exactly as he saw and heard it helped seed the New Journalism approach.

Eventually enshrined in the Hall of Fame as a J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner, Young also rejected the accusations that he’d become a Dodger front office promoter, though his colleagues in the press box were never entirely certain. Roger Kahn, eventual author of The Boys of Summer but the Dodger beat writer for the New York Herald-Tribune from 1952-54, once spoke for those who were:

[Walter] O’Malley hadn’t planned and schemed all his life so that Dick Young would call him a bastard five days a week in the Daily News, so when he took over he put Emile J. “Buzzie” Bavasi in charge of Dick Young. I once said to Fresco Thompson in the Dodger front office, “I guess one of the first things Walter wanted was to get the Daily News and Young off their neck.” He said, “One of the first things? It was the first thing.

And so Bavasi captured Young, and he was in the Dodger hip pocket all the time, until it became clear that the Dodgers were going to leave [for Los Angeles]. The Daily News was to the Dodgers what the Osservatore Romano was to the Vatican. It gave the Dodger line. Young gave the Dodger line. The guys he liked were the guys management liked. The News became a Bavasi-O’Malley house organ.

“If you put in the time, if you’re there, you’ll get things that other guys don’t get,” Young once said in his defense, as quoted in Bums: An Oral History of the Brooklyn Dodgers by Peter Golenbock.

So the guys who weren’t there would always look for the crutch, and they’d say I was getting special treatment. I wasn’t. Buzzie himself said to the other guys, “You come around, and I’ll tell you the same thing.” He wasn’t going to call them up and tell them. And that applies today. You get stories by working. There’s no substitute.

The kind of actual or alleged conflict of interest suspected of Young—who didn’t exactly deny that he was still giving the official Dodger front office line—existed when the print press still generally dominated news and sports, when print journalists weren’t former ballplayers, and not necessarily in New York alone.

Can the prospect of conflicts of interest be dismissed entirely, in today’s long-enough-entrenched community of former ballplayers turned broadcast game callers, analysts, and commentators, while at least some of them are also employed formally by baseball teams?

Longtime Columbia University journalism professor Sandy Padwe, who once consulted for the ESPN documentary series Outside the Lines, said no. “You can’t have one foot in one camp and one foot in the other,” Padwe told Carig. “It’s just not right.” He’ll get no disagreement from State University of New York media professor Brian Moritz. “Speaking strictly journalistically, that’s a pretty strict conflict of interest,” he told Carig. “It’s very cut and dry on the first glance of it. You shouldn’t be paid by one of the teams that you’re covering.”

But that begs the question of the ex-players-turned-broadcasters actually being precisely defined journalists. To which Bob Ley, the now-retired longtime Outside the Lines host, said, plainly, “Just because you’re sitting behind a microphone broadcasting a game does not make you a journalist. It makes you a broadcaster.”

As often as not, though, the best team broadcasters become journalists simply by doing; Barber and his protege Vin Scully were only the most fabled examples. But they were usually not employed as paid team advisors, either. An early-season MLB memo cited by Carig showed Hall of Famers Pedro Martinez and Jim Thome, former manager Terry Collins, and former players Ryan Dempster, Jim Kaat, David Ortiz, Dan Plesac, Nick Swisher, and Rick Sutcliffe also employed dually as network broadcasters and paid team advisors.

Put to one side that paranoia is as old a baseball presence as simple on-the-field sign stealing by baserunners or coaches, the conflict risk is too large no matter how diligently the broadcasters-while-team-advisors work to separate them. The Mets ended up not trading Noah Syndergaard, after all. But they might have wanted to, and perhaps working it out of the public eye would have gotten them a great return if they did it.

We’ll never know when it comes to this year, of course. But who’s to say when the next broadcaster/journalist who happens also to be paid as any team’s advisor will drop that kind of bomb and impact something like a trade deadline one way or the other?

Proper journalists are subdivided by their particular tasks. Reporters report (we prefer to presume); analysts analyse; editorialists, columnists, and commentators, depending on your point of view, pronounce or pontificate. But if we’re paid by one or another subject to report, analyse, editorialise, or comment on behalf of one or another outcome, the conflict of interest is about as obscure as a hurricane.

If you’re watching a baseball game or observing the doings and undoings of a team away from the playing field, you prefer to believe that everything is straightforward and fair, but you know in your heart that boys will be boys and not everything proves such. Whether it was Leo Durocher’s then-high-tech sign stealing scheme to effect a dramatic 1951 pennant race comeback, or the Cardinals caught dead to right hacking into the Astros’ computer database three years ago.

But that doesn’t mean you should look the other way, either, when there is a real conflict of interest potential when you watch a game and listen to the play-by-play and the in-game analyses. “Broadcasters working for teams are just another reason for caution,” Carig wrote. “As always in baseball, the guard is up.” Within reason, appropriately.

Watching your language, baseball division

Detroit Tigers Manager Sparky Anderson watches his

Sparky Anderson, who murdered the King’s English now and then but whose baseball lyricism was second to few.

There are times—in cyberspace or otherwise—when stumbling upon something you missed when it first arrived can sting rather than charm. Especially if it’s a fine essay on baseball jargon, and you discover you’re just as guilty as everyone else of making mincemeat out of it. Or, you rediscover that you’re a repeat offender who’d better be grateful he doesn’t live in a state with a three-strikes law.

The essay in question is Allen Barra’s, from The Atlantic, in June 2012. He took a good, long look at what became of baseball’s language and was not amused. More saddened than infuriated, Barra decided, with apologies to Yogi Berra (whose biographer Barra admires him for his syntax as much as his baseball virtuosity), that he wished baseball people really hadn’t said half the things they’ve said since, oh, around 1980.

I’d love to be able to say much as changed. But then I’d love to be able to say I’m not guilty of failing to pay my syntax, too. Say, regarding runners in scoring position, which bothered Barra as “an ugly and imprecise term, originating mostly with broadcast announcers.” Once we had a runner on second, a runner on third, or runners on second and third, customarily. We’ve had runners in scoring position since the Reagan Administration.

“The new phrase means, of course, a runner in position to score on a single,” Barra wrote, “which is true only if the base runner is not Jason Giambi, who generally needs a double to have a break-even chance of scoring from second. Used indiscriminately. . . it is not merely vague and confusing, it’s incorrect. You can just as easily call the batter’s box a ‘scoring position’.”

Especially if the batter is someone like, say, Tommy La Stella, the Angels’ new toy, acquired in an offseason deal with the Cubs where he’d made himself into a useful substitute (wait, just wait) but didn’t exactly threaten to become the next Mike Trout. Oops. At this writing La Stella has hit exactly as many home runs this season (ten) as he’d hit in his entire previous major league career. He also has a season’s OPS just 72 points below Trout’s. At the rate he’s going now, La Stella is in scoring position when he merely checks in at the plate.

On the other hand, someone did come up with something other than “the bases loaded” to describe, well, the bases loaded. I could be wrong but I think it was Rex Hudler, then an Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels broadcaster, who went swimming and came up with a beauty: “ducks on the pond.” He didn’t say “ducks in scoring position, either.” One up for Raspasaurus Rex.

Barra had no great love for pitchers versus position players, either. Hard to blame him. “When I played Babe Ruth League ball we had pitchers and regulars, the latter term referring to players who play every day,” he wrote. “Now we’ve got something called ‘position players,’ which takes up two more syllables than ‘regulars’ and is misleading, since pitcher is as much of a position as the other eight spots. We also have ‘role players,’ which says nothing and takes up two more syllables than ‘subs,’ short for substitutes. ‘Role players,’ too, is inaccurate; doesn’t every player on the team have a role?”

Yankee substitutes of the late 1950s-early 1960s had a term for themselves. Tell me scrubeenies doesn’t sound friendlier, and funnier, to the game and to the ear, than “role players.” It won’t cost you an extra syllable, either.

Coaches and managers have roles, too. But let’s not get too technical. I’m pretty sure the announcer who dreamed the term up decided “position players” was a sensible way to distinguish everyday men from not-quite-everyday pitchers. I’m also pretty sure men walked on the moon, women won’t become pregnant from a mere kiss, and children think of only one thing when it comes to their parents. (Divide and conquer, and thank you, Danny Thomas.)

Barra also didn’t like “velocity” for extremely fast fastballs, “location” for what we used to call “pinpoint control” or “excellent control,” or “walkoff hit/home run” for “game-ending hit/home run.” (I’d also like to know just when and just why “home run” became a compound word.) But he didn’t complain about “gas,” “bullets,” “BBs,” or “cheese” for extremely fast fastballs.

Showed him the high cheese, then I punched him out with the yakker—Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley. In case you wondered, “yakker” in what was once known as Dial-Eck referred to a curve ball. Curve balls are also known as benders, 12-to-6, and Uncle Charlie. Then Dwight Gooden had to spoil it: his curve ball was so curvy and so deadly when he was on it became known as Lord Charles. Lord, have mercy.

I may be wrong but I think we have legendary Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone to thank for turning pinpoint control into a real estate pitch. It did and does get a little sickening after awhile, listening to pitchers talk about “location, location, location.” Even if they were such Mazzone charges as Hall of Famers Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz.

Just once, I’d pay money to hear any pitcher talk about painting, working, climbing, hitting, or using the corners the way Hall of Famer Whitey Ford or anyone speaking and writing about him once did. Let a pitcher speak of his failure to “locate” his pitches, I’d like to ask him when, where, and how he misplaced them. Maybe that was the problem. “Sorry, Skip, I lost that hanger.” We found it for you, kiddo, we retrieved it from behind the ballpark.

(Which reminds me: If there’s one sportswriter question that should earn immediate excommunication, it’s “What were you thinking?” after a hitter’s been humiliated with a called third strike breaking into the zone when he least expected. Or, after a pitcher’s been hit for a ten mile drive. What do you think a hitter was thinking about getting frozen alive? What did you think a pitcher was thinking about getting taken across the state line? In front of 35,000-55,000 in the ballpark and about ten million on television or next to radios? I guarantee it wasn’t, “I thought to myself, what a wonderful world.”)

The game-winning home run gave the winner great praise, Barra wrote, referencing Bobby Thomson and Bill Mazeroski specifically. The walkoff home run, he frowned, is “a term that thumbs its nose at the loser since the team in the field begins to walk off as soon as the ball clears the fence, while the batter is still circling the bases.”

And, while the winning team pours out of dugout and bullpen at once, and en masse, the better to commemorate the blast by turning the blaster into game-winning hamburger. “I’m just about out of breath,” heaved David Freese after he hit that staggering game-winning, 2011 World Series-tying home run in the bottom of the eleventh of Game Six. “I just got beat up by thirty guys.”

Barra admired Virginia Woolf’s admiration for Ring Lardner, whose best stories and articles were “about games, for one may guess that Mr. Lardner’s interest in games has solved one of the most difficult problem of the American writer; it has given him a clue, a center, a meeting place for the diverse activities of people whom a vast continent isolates, whom no tradition controls. Games give him what society gave his English brother.”

In other words, Barra continued, “millions of immigrants, no matter what language they spoke when they came here, came together around baseball. And that happened because even if you knew just a little English you could, by listening to the broadcasts, learn baseball Baseball language once drew newcomers into the game. Now, it’s becoming a language that shuts many people out, one that makes them feel as if what’s happening on the field is something a little more complicated than they thought. The ultimate result is that we all end up knowing less—particularly about baseball.”

And yet. “We try every way we can think to kill this game, but for some reason nothing nobody does never hurts it,” said Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson, who could have been tried by jury for murdering the King’s English (not to mention the Queens, the Bronx, the Manhattan’s, and the Staten Island’s) now and then, but whose baseball lyricism was second to few. And who never saw men in scoring position sent home on walkoff hits off misplaced pitches. (I think.)

But I’m getting a little ahead in the count. (In baseball, that’s a good thing. In writing, it isn’t.) To Barra, turning fielding into defense and hitting into offense is, well, offensive. “When, exactly, did ‘fielding’ become ‘defense’? The word fielding perfectly described what a baseball team in the field was doing. Defense was the term common to basketball.”

I have one answer: I can remember Mets broadcaster Bob Murphy, of blessed memory, opening a 1960s home game broadcast by “setting up the dee-fense for the New York Mets.” Little by little I heard more people doing it. Defense was also a term common to football and hockey, too. The last I looked, sporting goods stores still don’t sell defenders’ gloves.

“For that matter, when did hitting and base-running get lumped together under the leaden term ‘offense’?” Barra added. “Were ‘batting’ and ‘hitting’ and ‘base running’ too quaint for an audience that also watched football and basketball? When did we decide that because football and basketball had offense and defense that baseball had to have them, too?”

Unfortunately, people who ought to know better decided long enough ago that baseball itself had to have things football and basketball had, too. Things like diluted championships, salary caps, and other cancers.

When baseball first went to divisional play, it didn’t have “playoffs”—it had League Championship Series. Then, baseball introduced the wild cards. In 2012 it introduced the second wild cards. And speaking of wild cards, leave it to baseball—which makes gambling Original Sin—to describe a batter hitting with two balls, two strikes, two out and two men on, as “deuces wild.” That one’s aces in my book.

Once upon a time, baseball’s only known wild Cards were the Gas House Gang, that bunch of particularly randy, rowdy 1934-35 St. Louis Cardinals. (The 1957 Braves, the 1986 Mets, and the 1993 Phillies were just a bunch of wild and crazy guys.) How long, now, before baseball’s governors, arbiters, and shepherds introduce not just every team in a division, practically, going to play for a championship with the World Series becoming something with an unrecognisable name?

Hey, it could be worse. At least three major team sports have identifiable championships. We have the World Series, still; not even Rob Manfred is willing to throw that one out of the game. The National Football League has the Super Bowl, and they’re welcome to it, never mind that it sounds more like something—in hand with the scrambled brains of football play—you’d see involving a wrestling title.

The National Hockey League has had the Stanley Cup Finals to itself since the folding of the original World Hockey League in 1926, after the Montreal Maroons defeated the Victoria Cougars. The National Basketball Association has . . . the NBA Finals. They can’t even call it the Naismith Finals, never mind that that’s the trophy the winner wins. How boring, for a sport of perpetual motion, whose championship trophy is named after its founding father.

Once upon a time, if the occasional fight broke out on the baseball field, we had Red Barber to thank for telling us we had quite a rhubarb going there. Wouldn’t you rather have a rhubarb than a bench-clearing brawl? (We once had Barber to thank, too, for describing the bases loaded as “FOB”—full of Brooklyns.) It beats the hell out of “donnybrook,” which sounds more like naming a soap opera super couple than a rhubarb, anyway. (I wonder: did the couple have themselves a donnybrook over the rhubarb?)

We have Barber’s disciple and successor, Vin Scully, to thank for the can of corn—the easy outfield fly. The can of corn probably originated in the old-time grocer picking off a high-mounted can of food with a hook stick, prompting it to drop almost lazily into his apron, unless the rest of the shelf’s contents came down upon his head first. Name me one football, basketball, or hockey term that was born in the A&P. (Oops! Today we’d say Wal-Mart.)

I once promised to send every last gasp of gibberish in my baseball writing out (at the plate and otherwise) to the best of my ability. And I know I broke that promise so liberally so often you could mistake me for an elected official. Or, decide to run me for office in the first place. William F. Buckley, Jr., wherever you are, may I borrow your immediate response to the question of the first thing you’d have done if you’d been elected? (It wasn’t, “I’m going to Disneyland,” either.)

I’ve sent more than my share of men in scoring position home on misplaced pitches turned into walkoff hits, and I didn’t even show them the high cheese, never mind that I couldn’t punch them out with the yakker. (Guilty, Judge Robinson: I’ve used “punchout” for strikeout. Yes, I know it wasn’t Muhammad Ali throwing one at Joe Frazier. I throw myself upon the mercy of the court, Your Honour.)

I plead no contest. But as Michael Corleone once said to his wife—when she reminded him it was seven years since he promised the Family would be completely legitimate in five years—“I’m trying, darling, I’m trying.” As James Thurber once said, you could look it up. But I’d rather you take my words for it.