Archive for Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Commentary: Media, athletes need to get along

Writers always will be lurking in the clubhouse, so players need to establish a sound relationship

July 6, 2005


— Carl Everett usually doesn't talk to reporters before a game. The Chicago White Sox outfielder was eager to address this subject, however.

You couldn't shut him up, in fact.

Then again, this was guaranteed to illicit a response. The question posed to players, coaches and managers before a recent game between the A's and White Sox at McAfee Coliseum may have been the most well received question ever posed in a major-league clubhouse.

What bugs you most about the media?

"There are cameras everywhere," said Everett, who has been one of the game's most controversial figures in recent years. "It has gotten to the point where if you're standing in the dugout and they want a certain shot, they'll ask you to move. Hey, this is our space. I'm not moving so you can get a shot."

It seemed like a relevant question after Texas Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers shoved two cameramen before a game against the Los Angeles Angels last week. Rogers has appealed the league's 20-game suspension and could also face a misdemeanor assault charge as a result of his outburst.

There was little support for Rogers among the White Sox and A's, by the way. Several players chose not to address the incident specifically because they were smart enough not to stick their noses into somebody else's controversy. They were unanimous, however, in agreeing that Rogers was way out of line.

"Kenny is one of those guys who wants to be perfect," said Chicago first base coach Tim Raines, who played with Rogers in Oakland in 1999. "He's got some temper in him, but I didn't think he had that much (temper). That surprised me."

That's not to say they don't have beefs. Reporters who mill around the clubhouse before games was a frequently mentioned complaint.

Clubhouses are open to print reporters (no cameras for obvious reasons) up until 45 minutes before game time and then following a brief cooling-off period after games. Sometimes media members hang out much like the players do.

Reporters often are as competitive as the athletes they cover. Sometimes they will stay in the clubhouse just to make sure they don't miss anything.

Stupid questions and having to answer the same questions again and again were other common complaints. Players admitted, however, that it was virtually impossible to ask a frustrated pitcher who just gave up a walk-off home run, for example, a question that doesn't end up sounding stupid.

Other times, questions are so stupid they make veteran reporters cringe.

"When somebody has a bad game, I wish everybody could ask him questions at the same time so the guy doesn't have to answer over and over," Raines said.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen is the same as a manager as he was as a player. He's baseball's biggest chatterbox. It doesn't matter who you are, a player, reporter or the second-base umpire. He'll talk until your ears bleed.

It's no surprise that it was Guillen who said it best.

"As long as there has been baseball, the media has been around," he tells his players. "You better learn to get along."


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