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Saturday, May 03, 2014

Inside Look into Both Sides of MLB’s Delicate Writer-Player Relationship | Bleacher Report

Very interesting article by Dirk Hayhurst .

Jim Furtado Posted: May 03, 2014 at 05:50 PM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dick hayhurst, reporters

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   1. Howie Menckel Posted: May 03, 2014 at 09:18 PM (#4699820)
that is VERY interesting.

now, Dirk doesn't really understand the beat guy side of things. At all. But it never occurred to me that he, and presumably a lot of players, apparently think the writers are afraid of them. In fact, I'm now realizing that the players would be equally shocked to know that the writers - rather than being intimidated - hardly speak of players in some revered tones once back in the press box. And I'm being charitable.

Maybe this is a start toward both sides understanding how things really are, lol. whatever teenage admiration writers may have once had is long gone by the time they see the churliness and immaturity of too many of the "role models." Thankfully there are many exceptions, but even those just lead to an appreciation for professionalism, not some hero worship or nervousness about whether the player "likes" them.

   2. Greg K Posted: May 03, 2014 at 09:20 PM (#4699823)
I didn't know that about Halladay (that he often ignored reporters), but it makes sense. Despite being the best player on my favourite team for a long time I can't recall hearing him say anything too often. This year he made a broadcast booth visit to a Jays game and I was actually shocked at how much he talked and how happy he looked. I suspect he wasn't unhappy as a player so much as he was apparently just so focused on his preparation and routine. Either way, I'm glad to see him seemingly having a great time now.
   3. Howie Menckel Posted: May 03, 2014 at 09:57 PM (#4699828)

Halladay seems to have been extremely well respected both by fellow players and national media. not sure re local beat guys now, but if there was a legit reason for the delays and he otherwise was very accessible, it's something people can accept.

Former Rangers goalie Mike Richter used to take forever to get to his post-game media time, but it was worth the wait, he was a fascinating character, and I recall no sense that he was trying to be inconsiderate.

It's an unusual business relationship, but all of those require some reasonable accommodation....
   4. puck Posted: May 04, 2014 at 01:32 PM (#4699974)
Do guys like Plaschke and Shaughnessey go into the locker room to do interviews? Those are guys I figured people would not like talking to.
   5. valuearbitrageur Posted: May 04, 2014 at 02:08 PM (#4699984)
the writers - rather than being intimidated - hardly speak of players in some revered tones once back in the press box. And I'm being charitable


That's not what Dyrk was writing about. He said it's intimidating asking questions in the locker room, not that the writers wouldn't rip guys behind their backs with false bravado in private conversations.
   6. cardsfanboy Posted: May 04, 2014 at 02:29 PM (#4699990)
Interesting take, I'm a little upset he didn't really finish the Arencibia story, stopping it at the confrontational aspect of it, instead of giving Arencibia's response.

That's not what Dyrk was writing about. He said it's intimidating asking questions in the locker room, not that the writers wouldn't rip guys behind their backs with false bravado in private conversations.


Agreed, he isn't at all talking about revered tones towards the players, he was just trying to say how tough of a line it is to interrupt people doing their pre/post game rituals, in order to do your job. How tough it is to come up with a new question because the same old questions is the questions the paying public wants to hear.
   7. Howie Menckel Posted: May 04, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4699997)
I can't think back of a single writer who found it intimidating to ask questions in the locker room. I suppose it's a self-weeding-out process - if such a thing would be intimidating, that obviously wouldn't be a career path for you. But I must say that if I was the pro athlete, I assume I would have the same plausible, though inaccurate, perception that Hayhurst has. That's why I found this to be so interesting.

Part of the job is being an effective communicator. You have to understand how to approach very different people very differently. If you are a beat regular, you get to know the players over months and years. If you do your job right, they can tell and they will respect the job you have to do, for the most part. There are a-holes, obviously, and they may tell you to get lost. I guess if you have a thin skin, that would be upsetting.

One athlete I covered for years who people think must have been "intimidating" was Derrick Coleman. Now, he was a big pain in the butt to coach, obviously, but he never "no-commented" me once.

I remember one game, he shot about 1-for-14 and his team lost. He was pissed, and he had his back to us at his locker for several minutes. After an appropriate period of time (maybe 2 minutes; we have deadlines), I asked a question. He turned around slowly - very slowly - and took a deep breath as he looked (not glared) at me. He paused a little longer - and then he answered the question. No writers were harmed in the course of this episode.

I saw Derrick again last year, and we were pleased to see each other and reminisce about the good old days.

As for asking questions, again that depends on the athlete. With some, you just need a one-word topic and they're off and running. With others, you have to phrase things very carefully to avoid a snarl or a one-word response. And I'll admit, having a rival writer who asks stupid questions sometimes did lead to the best answers.

Per columnists, that varies wildly. Marriotti had the most infamous reputation I recall for not "working the room" - Peter Vecsey rarely went to games, either, but he did have a lot of sources a phone call away. Others, especially the one-sport guys, are around the clubhouse all the time.

I suppose overall that it's obvious that most people would have a hard time pitching to a big league hitter, and far less obvious that many people would flinch at the ides of asking big, strong, young athletes difficult questions just minutes after said athlete blew it.

   8. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 04, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4700000)
Very interesting first hand perspective, Howie. Glad you shared it.

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