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

By George Castle | Go to book overview

Afterword

Baseball is the most media-accessible and, in turn, fan-accessible sport that's ever been created. Problem is, the players who play the game, the executives who govern it, and the media who cover it don't know a good thing when they have it in their firm grasp.

Say a game begins at 1:20 p.m. The home locker room will typically open at 9:50 a.m., three and a half hours before the first pitch. Even if the clubhouse is closed during batting practice after 10:30 or 10:45, players, coaches, and the manager usually can be tracked down for a quick quote or informal conversation around the cage— if the media member isn't too busy gossiping with a colleague or simply killing the grass. Then, after batting practice is over at 11:50, the locker room reopens for up to forty-five minutes. If a reporter can't cop a few one-on-ones during this open window, he or she really isn't trying.

Contrast this arrangement with the NFL. Locker rooms are closed pregame. Reporters have to gather their material at practice in dribs and drabs during the week, usually in tightly controlled group interviews. Head coaches almost never can be interviewed one-on-one. Access to their defensive and offensive coordinators also is increasingly choreographed. There's no sitting around a dugout bench or leaning against the cage chewing the fat with these militarized coaching minds.

Meanwhile, the NBA prides itself on being a media-friendly league. Not so fast. Reporters have a short window after practice between games to interview players and coaches, usually on the court, with little if any locker-room access. Before a common 7:30 p.m. NBA tipoff time, the locker room will be open from 6:00 to 6:45 p.m. Yet

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