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

By George Castle | Go to book overview

ELEVEN
Chicago a Toddlin', But Soft,
Baseball Media Town

One of those pleasant manager's office chats with Jim Riggleman was proceeding as usual as the trade deadline approached in July 1996. Getting together once every other home stand or so, we'd sit in the little office, up one flight of stairs from the main Wrigley Field home clubhouse, and chat, usually at Riggleman's invitation, after batting practice.

A man dispossessed of a raging ego, Riggleman and I would dovetail from the Cubs to baseball in general, and then on to fatherhood to politics to social mores. Sometimes we'd jaw so long I wouldn't notice that the first pitch was only twenty-five minutes away. “Gotta go, Riggs, otherwise you'd have to suit me up,” I said, scurrying out the back door unnoticed into the main concourse and then up to the press box. Luckily, Cubs PR chief Sharon Pannozzo was otherwise occupied at the time. If she had discovered I was in the clubhouse area almost twenty minutes after it was closed to media with game time approaching, I would have been roasted alive. Informed of this arrangement nearly a decade later, Pannozzo laughed. Her statute of limitations had long since expired.

But on this day near the end of the first Clinton Administration— I don't think Riggleman voted for Slick Willie—the manager gave me a quiet earful. The Cubs were on the periphery of contention, bouncing around the .500 mark. General manager Ed Lynch, whose aggressive trading early in his tenure in 1995 had given way to utter caution, did not have anything hot on the fire. Nothing would be fated to heat up as the deadline passed. But in the privacy of his office, Riggleman practically pleaded for reinforcements and seemed miffed his boss was moving too slowly for the team's good.

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