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Clubhouse Etiquette

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by dragonfly, Jun 13, 2007.

  1. dragonfly

    dragonfly Member

    Just curious ... What's your etiquette on feature questions with baseball players. I generally prefer to do that stuff pregame, but sometimes you miss a guy or he doesn't want to talk pregame and you've got to catch him postgame. I cross my fingers that the guy's team wins on those nights, but I still try and get it done when they lose as long as the guy is cool. I just wait for the deadline guys to finish and then ask the guy if he's got a minute.

    I've never had a problem with it until tonight, when the team's PR guy (the visiting team) tapped me on the shoulder and questioned why I was asking feature questions right then. It was pretty weird. The player was totally fine with it, but the PR guy seemed upset. Yeah, the team lost and is in a bit of a rut, but I don't think a 2-minute interview is enough to warrant that reaction. I could understand if the player seemed huffy, or if I was badgering him for 10 minutes. But this was literally two questions into the interview. Seemed a bit of an over reaction.

    Am I wrong?
  2. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    Nope. Your approach is very reasonable. By doing it pregame, you can get more time, guys are relaxed and not plotting their exit and you are not stepping on the toes of writers trying to make a deadline. That doesn't mean you don't have a place in the clubhouse postgame. You are doing a job. If you tried to get what you needed pregame and didn't, you have every right to try to get it while you can. You are going about it the right way: Being respectful of guys who are on deadline and being sensitive to whether the players are OK with giving you a few minutes. But even if you weren't, it's not the PR guy's place to tell you how to do your job. You have a legitimate reason for being there, and that includes talking to players for stories. Your credential specifies rules about when you can talk to players and you were doing it during a time that reporters have access. So as far as you are concerned, what is appropriate should begin and end with that.

    Your credential doesn't distinguish the relative importance of your story, so don't worry about it. It sounds like the PR guy is trying to control things to a ridiculous degree. If I were you, I would have humored him somehow rather than getting into it with him--you don't want to piss off PR people--but been firm about the fact that you were working on a story that required you to talk to Player X and this was the only opportunity you had had to speak with him.
  3. Very good post, Big Ragu. I'm just wondering if the last name of PR guy in question rhymes with Snoreowitz.
  4. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    Clubhouse etiquette in baseball is that you handle your feature stuff before the game and reserve post-game for game-related questions.
  5. goalmouth

    goalmouth Well-Known Member

    I suggest talking the whole thing over with the PR guy in the press bo-- uh, the Jim Beam Club.
  6. Eagleboy

    Eagleboy Guest

    I've had times where I've tried to work on the feature stuff beforehand, but because the players in question are often on some kind of streak, they don't want to talk about it until after the game.

    To me, that's fine, especially if I'm going to be one of the only ones working on that piece. And when the player tells me that he prefers it that way, well, I can't really disagree with that choice.
  7. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    Same here. I can think of at least a couple of instances in which I got, "Not now, later," and then got an accommodating interview after a game. Clubhouse etiquette is that you try to do non-timely stuff before a game and that you don't step on the toes of guys making deadlines. But ultimately, you're there to do a job, and it would be dumb to leave without getting what you need if there is a chance to get it after a game without any harm done. It sounded like dragonfly was going about things reasonably.
  8. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    My thoughts exactly, Ira.
  9. dragonfly

    dragonfly Member

    Thanks for the posts. I felt fine about it, and had never had a problem with that approach before. The incident kind of caught me off guard, and I haven't been around baseball that long, so I thought I'd post.

    One question though: How much do you think it matters that the team lost and is in a little bit of a rut right now? Obviously, I can't control that, and seeing as how it's the visiting team, I only have a few shots at the interview. I just figured if the player was in a decent mood and seemed willing to do the interview, which he was, to just go for it.
  10. Smasher_Sloan

    Smasher_Sloan Active Member

    Sometimes the PR guy plays bad guy so the player doesn't have to.

    Plus, you said you were two questions into the interview. How did he know you weren't two questions into a 20-question interview?

    I don't like PR guys who interfere, but feature-type stuff is usually reserved for the hours that exist in pre-game and not the minutes in post-game.

    I don't know who you work for, but that's a factor, too.
  11. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    you sound like a big-league apologist.

    why don't we just stop asking questions altogether? that would make these guys' lives so much easier.
  12. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    What's a big-league apologist? He was just stating fact. That is baseball clubhouse etiquette.
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