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Clubhouse Etiquette

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

  1. shockey

    shockey Active Member

    baseball clubhouse "etiquette"? what nonsense!

    you have access to players. you act like a professional. the player is answering your questions. here's the only "etiquette" that should matter:

    p.r. folks should mind their own effin' business! effin' players are big boys. if the player doesn't want to do it 'cause he has a hot date after the game or whatever, let him tell me, "sorry, dude, gotta fly. try me again tomorrow.

    good grief."
  2. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    Not that simple, Shockey. Club PR guys have a job that should be respected as much as reporters'. Part of their job is to ensure orderly access to the players and the players expect that from them as part of their agreement to make themselves available. Over a period of decades players have made it clear to the PR guys that they want to handle the feature stuff pre-game, when there is more than sufficient time. (This isn't football where reporters don't have any access.) Post-game, the players want to answer a few questions about the game and get out. If reporters choose to make this a point of contention, players would eventually just start telling reporters 'no.'
  3. shockey

    shockey Active Member

    that's my point. if a player is in a rush post-game, he should be a big boy and tell the reporter so. P.R. folk need to stay out of it. this is the time for the media.

    in the example that began the thread, it was depicted that a post-game feature interview was being conducted and a P.R. guy stepped in to cut it off. THIS IS WRONG. plain and simple, and i'd give the P.R. guy a piece of my mind.
  4. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    I can't speak to that specific incident because I wasn't there and I don't know if the player wanted the PR guy to intervene or not. If the player wasn't involved in the game and if deadline reporters weren't trying to interview him, and if the reporter was just asking a couple quick questions, the better judgment probably would have been to let it go. But it puts the PR guy in a tough spot because enforcing the etiquette (this usually only applies to day trippers and newbies because veteran writers know better) is a legitimate part of his job. Some are a little overzealous about enforcing this type of thing. But, clearly, the writer wasn't working within the accepted post-game clubhouse routine. To tell dragonfly, 'fuck the PR guy and do whatever you want' is the wrong advice.
  5. shockey

    shockey Active Member

    we agree to disagree. :eek:
  6. Smasher_Sloan

    Smasher_Sloan Active Member

    "Protocol" is a better word than etiquette.

    There's a way things are done. If you need feature-type stuff, get there before the game when there's plenty of time, and enlist the help of the PR guy if you can't connect with your subject. I wouldn't expect a player to linger for that after a game any more than I'd expect a writer to spend a lot of time taking phone calls from readers when his shift was over.

    And there's still a question of what publication this person represents. Like it or not, that matters.
  7. awriter

    awriter Active Member

    Bullshit. If the player didn't want to answer the questions, he'd have told Dragonfly to get lost. The PR guy was out of line.
  8. I covered minor league baseball for almost four years (Double A) and the majority of the time, I did my feature stuff before the game. But there are exceptions. There was a point when the paper I was working for at the time only did features and a short game report as part of the team coverage. I'd say 75 percent of my feature work came before the game and the rest came after. Sometimes things develop during the game that can be turned into the gamey feature.

    Never during that time was I blown off or had uncooperative players or managers, win or lose. Maybe I was fortunate because those guys understood I had a job to do. And I never got any flack from a PR guy.

    When I first started out on the beat, nobody ever told me about "clubhouse etiquette." I figured it out for myself and picked my spots when I had to postgame. Maybe it depends what level you're covering baseball on, but I don't think it should really matter too much. I think a reporter would know better not to go on a 20-question rant after a 3-hour night game. A day game, to me is a different story.

    There were some Sundays the team didn't have batting practice, so the access to players was a little limited. In that case you have to catch them afterwards.
  9. linotype

    linotype Well-Known Member

    I'll jump on board with those who say pregame is best, then tell my story that is the exception:

    A few years ago I was planning a feature and needed to talk to Joe Randa, who was with the visiting Royals. Caught him in the clubhouse, introduced myself (it was the first time we met) and asked for a few minutes to talk. He says he has to run, but he'd be fine talking after the game.

    Well, wouldn't you know it, the Royals got clobbered -- nearly got no-hit. Head over to the KC clubhouse (I had no need for the home team because I was there only for this feature). Then-manager Tony Muser holds a 30-minute closed-door meeting and we can hear him ripping the shit out of his hitters. Great, I figured. Interview's going to get scrapped.

    What happened instead stunned me. Randa comes out of the room, shakes my hand, calls me by name -- get this, APOLOGIZES for the hold-up -- then pulls up a teammate's chair. We ended up talking on and off the record for about 20 minutes.

    And that is why The Joker will always be my favorite player of all time.
  10. joe

    joe Active Member

    I'm not an MLB writer and wouldn't claim to be, but back in the long-ago I did a few features on a Cardinals player and a Royals player. I think I did the Cardinals interviews before the game, but I'm sure I did the Royals after the game, including the player in question, David Cone and Mr. Anger Management, Hal McRae. I just waited until the regulars were done, introduced myself and asked for a few minutes. The guys were more than accommodating, especially whilst sipping a Rolling Rock after a victory.
    Eh, my two cents.
  11. joe king

    joe king Active Member

    If you can't get a guy you need before the game -- maybe he's in a pitchers-catcher meeting or in the training room or he gets away while you're interviewing someone else -- and he's willing to talk after the game, that's fine. PR guy should stay the hell out of it.
  12. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    Especially if the PR guy in question is baseball's biggest piece of shit. He probably saw an unfamiliar face, saw his precious little team falling apart at the seams and decided to take it out on you. He'd never take it out on a daily guy who is doing feature stuff post-game.

    Trust me. I've seen it happen, and it always happens during a losing streak.

    If it happens again, ignore him and finish your interview. Everyone else ignores him, why not you?
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