He tracked them down. And called them up. Here's a taste of his column:
Recently, in response to something I wrote on my blog about Jeff Bagwell and the Baseball Hall of Fame, Matt tweeted me a couple of times.
The words were snarky and snide and rude. His final message, however, left an extra special impression: "I got caught up in the anonymity of the internet. I'm sorry and here is a legit post with my criticisms." Upon opening the pasted link, I was greeted by a nasty pornographic image that would make Sasha Grey vomit into the nearest trash can.
Normally, this sort of thing doesn't faze me. Write sports for a living (especially online, as I do for SI.com), insults come with the turf. You're dumb. You suck. You're an idiot. You're a moron. I'll never read your crap again. That's the %#$$ #$@@#$ %$$# thing I've ever heard. How do you have a job? Go to hell. Screw yourself. Drop dead.
I've heard them all, and aside from occasionally entertaining my wife with a reading from my Greatest Hits Packet ("I call it my 'Go back to Africa' folder," says Howard Bryant, an African-American ESPN.com senior writer), I turn the other cheek and move on.
But not this time.
This time, I aspired to know why Matt, cloaked in the anonymity provided by the internet, felt the need to respond in such a way to, of all things, a Jeff Bagwell post.
So, going deep, deep, deep undercover, I tracked him down and, shortly after our exchange, gave him a call....
What he found was not what he expected.