Posts Tagged ‘baseball’
There’s no better way to guarantee more media coverage for an issue you don’t want the media to cover than to blow up at a reporter about that issue. Especially if your blowup is recorded.
Bryan Price, the manager of the Cincinnati Reds, serves as the latest case study. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer:
“Upset by the accurate reports that All-Star catcher Devin Mesoraco was not with the team for Sunday’s game in St. Louis, Price went on a five-minute, 34-second expletive-filled tirade in his daily session with reporters.”
An “expletive-filled tirade” is, if anything, an understatement. In just 634 seconds, Price said “fuck” 77 times. That’s a “fuck-per-second” ratio of one f-bomb every eight seconds. And, not surprisingly, his vulgar rant went viral, drawing more attention to the very story he wished had been buried.
Even worse, Price seems to have a completely inaccurate belief about the proper role of the press:
“I don’t understand what the importance is for everybody to know if we have a player that’s not here. We don’t benefit at all from the other teams knowing that we don’t have a player. You don’t have to be a Reds fan, but it doesn’t help us if our opponents know who’s here and who isn’t…I don’t need you guys to be fans of the Reds, I just need to know that if there’s something we want to keep here that it stays here…Your job is not to sniff out every fucking thing about the Reds and fucking put it out there for every other fucking guy to hear. It’s not your job…How the fuck does that benefit the Reds? It doesn’t benefit us one fucking bit. ”
Instead of viewing the media as a collection of independent journalists, Price appears to believe they should function as an appendage of the Reds, writing only the items that would benefit his team. That belief is, in many ways, more troubling than the tirade itself.
On Tuesday, Price offered a partial apology via Twitter:
“In my pre-game conversation with reporters yesterday, I used wholly inappropriate language to describe the media coverage of our team. While I stand by the content of my message, I am sorry for the choice of words.”
That’s too bad. He got two things wrong in his rant—the language and the idea behind the language—but he only apologized for the former. And although Price’s frustration is somewhat understandable—it’s too bad that a major leaguer finds out that he’s being sent to the minors through a media report before the team officially tells him—it’s just a part of today’s media culture that he’ll have to accept. The Reds’ media strategy, like that of any competitive business, must reflect the fact that the press sometimes gets news quicker than they might wish.
We’ll now see if Price’s rant has a chilling effect on reporters who want to maintain access and therefore temper their coverage, or if it only encourages local reporters to continue doing their jobs as they should.
Photo credit: Keith Allison, Wikimedia Commons
Tags: baseball, Bryan Price, Cincinnati Reds, media training disaster, sports
Posted in Media Training Disasters | 1 Comment »
Bryce Harper, the Washington Nationals’ 19-year-old rookie outfielder, hit a homerun on Tuesday night to help his team beat the Toronto Blue Jays.
He hit another homerun after the game.
During a post-game press availability, a reporter pointed out to Harper that people can drink legally at age 18 in Canada, so he wondered whether he might celebrate by drinking his favorite Canadian beer.
That was a silly question for at least a few of reasons. First, answering that question could create negative headlines, such as “Underage Nationals Star Names His Favorite Beer.” Second, as a Mormon, Harper isn’t supposed to drink at all. Third, what type of question is that, anyway?
Harper reacted perfectly, refusing the question and telling the reporter, “That’s a clown question, bro.” Priceless. It’s worth watching the brief exchange.
That clip brings up another important media management question: when is it appropriate for a PR handler to jump in and interrupt an on-camera interview?
You may have noticed that just after the question was asked, a PR rep standing off-camera interjected and told the reporter to “ask something else.” In this case, the interruption was unnecessary – Harper’s initial reaction made it clear that he wasn’t going to answer the question. But the P.R. rep’s instinct to jump in was right.
That goes against the advice I typically dispense on this blog. Generally speaking, I advise PR pros to avoid jumping in during live interviews. Doing so at the wrong time can create a much larger story, as illustrated by this infamous 2004 Meet the Press clip:
Still, there are moments when jumping in is the better of two options. In Mr. Harper’s case, the PR rep felt he had two choices: to allow Harper to answer the question and potentially embarrass himself and his team, or cut off the line of questioning and potentially take some heat for doing so. Especially given the irrelevant nature of the question, I’d argue the PR pro made the right choice. (I’m not sure I’d feel the same way if the reporter was asking about a legitimate scandal, instead.)
Of course, there’s a third and better choice than the two mentioned above: Give all of your players media training and trust that they’re able to handle these situations without needing outside help (I’m guessing that did happen in this case). Mr. Harper looked to have the interview under full control, meaning he was able to deflect the question and move on with ease.
In this case, his PR rep had reason to be confident enough to allow his well-prepared player to handle the situation alone, using the same skill he regularly demonstrates on the field.
A grateful h/t to @FitzFiles.
Tags: baseball, Bryce Harper, sports, Washington Nationals
Posted in Media Training: Good Interview Examples | 2 Comments »