Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Your Press Corps At Work

I was going to write these up in greater detail, but after awhile even a cynic like me gets dispirited with our lazy and insipid press corps. I'll leave it to you, Gentle Reader, to follow the links. Just beware what you will find there.

Part I
The Tribune's Ed Sherman offers this telling glimpse of what the media thinks is important:

The Chicago media are in for a wild ride with Lou Piniella.

The scouting report from beat writers who covered him in Seattle, Cincinnati and Tampa Bay is that Piniella is engaging, compelling, cooperative, brutally frank and definitely combustible.

"Covering Lou on a beat is a thrilling experience," said Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, who followed Piniella during his stint as manager of the Devil Rays. "Some nights you could be halfway through a calm conversation and then all of sudden he goes off on something and you have a news story. You never know what to expect, but you know you're going to get something."

Or nothing. It is hardly a secret that Piniella hates to lose. If a particular loss gets to him badly enough, he has a history of refusing to talk afterward.

Topkin said Piniella averaged six to 10 games per season when he didn't come out of his office to address reporters.

"He leads the league in managerial closed doors," said Jim Street of MLB.com, who covered Piniella during his tenure with the Mariners for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "He was afraid he would say something he would regret later."

Street said Piniella usually would apologize and explain his behavior the next day. After a while, the beat writers got used to it, Street said.

Chicago, though, isn't Seattle or Tampa. The sheer volume of reporters, not to mention a much higher intensity level in Cubs coverage, will make it more difficult for Piniella to get away with his closed-door act.

Got that, Lou? You've been served -- no way are you gettin' away with any of that closed door stuff in Chicago! And don't use any of those lame "afraid of saying something you'll regret later" excuses. That's exactly what the press wants from you! Just ask Ozzie.

Part II
Shorter Dr. Phil: The Tigers wouldn't have made it to the World Series if Jim Hendry hadn't been stooooopid and signed Ivan Rodriguez and Magglio Ordonez when he had the chance.

There's no sight like hindsight, is there? Especially when one uses it as the whestone for the axe one is grinding.

But if you want to play these "What If?" games, you should have at least a basic grasp of the context in which those decisions were made. It's easy to say now that Hendry should have signed Ordonez. It would not have been so easy to say that he should have signed Ordonez after a season in which he missed 100 games because of a knee injury.

At least the Cubs are in good company. They're with the other 28 teams that failed to sign Pudge and Maggs, thus guaranteeing the Tigers the AL Championship. If one can ignore the real-time context of one team, one should be able to ignore the real-time contexts for all teams.

Like the White Sox, for example. Didn't the manager and GM of the team run Ordonez out of town because he was a bad guy? Dr. Phil glosses over that decision. After all, it didn't fit in with his War on Hendry scripts.

Part III
Shorter Sully: Me and my cohorts have been telling you all year that Aramis Ramirez is soft and doesn't hustle and chokes under pressure. But if he opts for free agency the Cubs will lose a franchise-caliber player. And Jim Hendry is stupid, too.

The moral of this story is that all the players on the Cubs suck (like Corey Patterson). Unless they go to other teams (like Corey Patterson); then they're great. It's kinda tricky the way it works...

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