Baseball and the Media: How Fans Lose in Today's Coverage of the Game

By George Castle | Go to book overview

FOUR
Celebrity Players or Upstanding
Role Models?

Just when you think you've seen and heard everything in baseball, something new comes into your gaggle of experiences.

Breezing past a group of reporters early in the 2004 season, Cubs catcher Michael Barrett asked us, “Do you guys need to interview me?” The answer almost always to such a question would be “yes,” but I never heard a player verbalize the obvious in a daily clubhouse routine.

Months later, Barrett explained himself at length. “My personal opinion is that bad publicity is better than no publicity at all,” he said. “There have been articles in the paper I haven't enjoyed. But, hey, my name is in the paper. To me, it's an honor to have your name in the paper, good or bad.

“The perfect example was in 2000.1 made two errors that cost us [the Expos] the game and I was booed out of the stadium. But even in one of the worst moments of my career, it's a cool feeling to know people care about what you're going through right now. If you're honest with the fans [through the media], they realize how much of a person you are and they can relate to you, and that's what makes baseball the game it is.”

An addendum to such sentiments was offered by Jeff Bagwell, longtime centerpiece of the Houston Astros, whose clubhouse could have been rated for years as one of the most media friendly. “We always looked at it as the media has a job to do and we have a job to do,” Bagwell said. “We have to work together. If you appease each other I think things work out in the long run. Both sides have to handle themselves. There's a big if there. It has to work both ways.”

-51-

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