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

By George Castle | Go to book overview

SIX
LaTroy and Carl as Jekyll and Hyde

When they're at the apogee of their verbal skills, LaTroy Hawkins and Carl Everett could be among baseball's leaders in the lively art of conversation.

But that high point is unpredictable in the lives of these two emotional big leaguers who played on opposite sides of Chicago during 2004 and 2005, before Hawkins was traded from the Cubs to the San Francisco Giants and while Everett served as an outfielder and designated hitter for the White Sox. You could sit down and debate in long form the issues of the world with Hawkins and Everett. Or they could dismiss you just as easily.

Both veterans of highly charged confrontations with umpires, Hawkins and Everett sat down separately in midsummer 2004 to describe what makes them turn on and off their accessibility to the media and, in turn, the baseball consuming public.

What emerged from the jawboning sessions are players thrust into celebrity status who want none of the trappings of the same. Hawkins and Everett may be more sharp-edged in their public relations stance than most of their fellow Major Leaguers. But their explanations show a basic tenet: Athletes in many cases simply desire to play their favorite sports, but not to have to deal with all the ancillary duties that come with their new-found high profiles.

Hawkins and Everett also reveal a misunderstanding of the working style and motivations of the media that is prevalent among athletes. It's regrettable that they've sometimes thrown up barriers between themselves and the media. Yet their words, tinged with suspicion, can enlighten those baseball officials who truly care that their highly paid charges properly represent their teams and their sport.

-82-

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