Friday, May 30, 2008

Why it's called "I Hate Matt Berry".

If you're stumbling across this blog for the first time, you may be wondering why I decided to title it "I Hate Matt Berry".

Short answer: I hate naming things and "I Hate Matt Berry" was one of the first things that popped into my head. (This does not bode well for any future children or pets I may or may not have; they'll most likely have names such as "It's too hot" or "I like pizza".) My thinking at the time was influenced by the spirit of the title of Dick Hyacinth's comic-related blog, "Dick Hates Your Blog".

Long answer: The spirit of my blog's title may be tongue-in-cheek, but while I have nothing against Matt Berry as a person, I can't stand his style of writing. He knows what he's talking about when it comes to fantasy sports, definitely more so than I do considering he's been playing fantasy sports since before I had internet, but I can't stand skimming through his ramblings to get to any serious nuggets of fantasy advice they might contain.

Now I know that his humor and his stories about his personal life work for some people (a lot of people in fact, considering it was the huge popularity of Berry's web site that got him the gig at, but reading tales about crazy girlfriends and discussing which Hollywood starlet is the hottest just doesn't work for me when I'm trying to get my fantasy fix. To strain a metaphor, I don't want all the garnish and fat that comes with my dinner, just the juicy steak that I crave.

I feel that there's a place for writing that takes into account the convergence between sports and pop culture, where we can discuss their similarities and relationship together; Bill Simmons does this very well for the same site. But as the Senior Director of Fantasy for, doesn't Matt Berry set the tone with the articles that he writes for the whole of the web site's fantasy content? When he contributes content that feels like more of a fit for Page 2, does that mean that Matt Berry is an odd fit for the Fantasy section at, or is this how feels that their Fantasy commentary should sound like?

Now the easy answer is that fantasy addicts like myself who prefer other writers to Matt Berry should just avoid his articles and take advantage of the wide variety of fantasy pundits featured on the site. And there are a lot of talented fantasy experts on, with a wide range of opinions. It's important for a premiere sports site such as to offer a variety in the opinions expressed because they are trying to reach the widest audience possible. Having writers like Matt Berry is important because they appeal to a large audience of fantasy-participants.

But it can be hard to ignore the effect that Matt Berry's personality has on the site, especially in the chats.  During his chats, Matt Berry tends to reward certain types of questions with his attention due to the chatters' ability to humor him or connect with his interests.  This tends to engender a chat where everyone is trying to sound like Matt Berry, to make jokes like Berry, to become a Berry clone.  It can make it frustrating for someone like myself, who just wants to read Matt Berry's answers to fantasy questions, to have to dig through running jokes about stalkers, Megan Fox vs. Anne Hathaway, or favorite TV shows.  It's all a lot of noise.  Sure it's entertaining to some, but not everyone.  

So the chatters who find themselves being rewarded for acting like Berry clones, they take it into other chats to try and make it work there.  They try to figure out what the chat host likes to talk about, they try to make jokes to get themselves noticed, and it can turn into a pathetic display of attention-seeking boorishness with everyone doing their best to be seen and heard.

This can be annoying if you are only interested in hearing a fantasy analyst's opinion about fantasy baseball.

Look, I don't want to excoriate Matt Berry for the style of writing that he's developed over the past decade.  I know how important it is to set yourself apart with a singular and unique voice, especially in the broad landscape of fantasy writing and analysis.  As The Talented Mr. Roto, Matt Berry has cultivated a brand that has helped him to rise to the elite levels of fantasy punditry.  This is ultimately not a bad thing, not in the grand scheme of things.

I just feel that so much of the fantasy analysis available on the web is flawed, not in the content per se, but in the presentation.  There is a lot of fluff out there, a lot of analysis that lacks depth, a lot of writers making their reputation by tearing down the opinions of other writers in order to build up their own.  I'm not accusing Matt Berry of any of these things; as far as I can tell, he is very professional.  But I wish that he would be more in-depth in his articles, and less broad.  I wish that when he makes grand and bold predictions, that he would take more time to back them up with solid reasoning other than just hunches.  Anyone can make predictions, but Matt Berry is supposed to be one of the best, so when he makes a prediction that differs with the opinions of others, I want to know why he feels he's right.  I wish he would take the time to write insightfully about 5 subjects, as opposed to generally about 50 subjects.

Again, I know that he's probably busy with his position as Senior Director of Fantasy, and he probably can't write the way that he wants to, but I'd like some fantasy analysis with a little more meat.  Less garnish and fat, more meat and potatoes.

So, I really don't hate Matt Berry, and I hope that he doesn't take my blog title personally because I know he gets a lot of flack from louder voices than mine.  It's just the kind of title you come up with when you're feeling cheeky and you don't think anyone's going to notice anyways, because who really reads this other than the 11 other guys in my fantasy league.  Who knew that it would lead to this?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

youre a loser