By: Gina Mason
Professional sports have changed in many ways over the last few decades. From instant-replays to pace-of-play and heads-up tacking rules, all aspects of pro sports are now under a microscope and aggressively dissected by their respective leagues, officials, media and the public. Thanks to the invention of fantasy sports and our tech-savvy culture, the way we consume and talk about sports in general has changed drastically. The media and the public now expect a lot more out of coaches and players than ever before and coaches especially are put in the hot seat all of the time and forced to provide reasoning for every decision that they make.
From my experience working with a professional baseball team, I have witnessed this firsthand and truly applaud the players and coaches (and the staff that media trains them) who have been able to maintain their composure and confidence in the spotlight. For those of you who don’t really know much about baseball, the media gets an incredible amount of access to the players and the coaches behind the scenes. There is usually a press conference before and after each game with the manager, reporters are allowed in the locker room before batting practice, allowed on the field during batting practice and back into the locker room after the game. From a media standpoint, this is fantastic and it at allows reporters to get a great deal of insight from the team and provide fans with the insider scoop that they crave. However, this constant access can also put a lot of pressure on the players and the coaches as they constantly have to be ready to face a media firestorm.
Last week, the media scrutiny became all too much for Cincinnati Reds manager, Bryan Price. During a pre-game interview, Price unleashed his welled up emotions on the media after a reporter wanted to know why All-Star catcher Devin Mesoraco was not with the team for a game in St. Louis. Price blurted out 77 “f-bombs” during the five-minute, 34-second expletive-filled tirade and he targeted the media for breaking a story about the catcher the night before. “I don’t know what the importance is for everyone to know if we have a player that’s not here,” Price said. “We don’t benefit at all from the other teams knowing we don’t have a player.”
Call it pent up frustration or a moment of insanity, Price went on questioning the way in which the media behaved and why they have to always know everything, “I don’t get why it’s got to be this way. Has it always been this way where we just tell f****** everybody everything? So every f****** opponent we have has to know exactly what we have. Which f****** relievers are available, which guys are here and which guys aren’t here, when they can play, and what they can do. It’s nobody’s f****** business. It’s certainly not the opponent’s business. We have to deal with this f****** b*******.I like to talk — and I have spoken as candidly as I can with you people, if that’s not good enough, I won’t say a f******thing. I’ll go, ‘yes sir, no sir.’ And I can do that. But f***, I’ve been as candid as I can f****** be about this team and our players, and we’ve got to deal with this s***, every f****** team that we f****** play has to know every f****** guy that’s here and what they can and can’t do? F*** me. It’s a f****** disgrace. I’m f****** sick of this s***. It’s f****** hard enough to f****** win here to have f****** every f****** opponent know exactly what the f*** we bring to the table every day. It’s f****** horse****. I don’t like it. It’s what I’m saying. To make it very clear, I don’t like the way that this s***’s going — at all. I don’t like it. I don’t think you guys need to know everything. And I certainly don’t think you need to see something and tweet it out there and make it a f****** world event. How the f*** do we benefit from them knowing we don’t have Devin Mesoraco? How do we benefit from that? They benefit from it. I just want to know how we benefit from these f****** people know we don’t have a player here. Can you answer that? How is that good for the Reds?
Price definitely struck out with his delivery and I am sure the Reds PR team stood there in horror witnessing a verbal car crash in slow motion. However, many are saying that despite his foul language, Price’s message was not that outlandish. The necessity of knowing everything at all times in real-time may be taking away from the game and is putting too much pressure on the players and coaches, not only in baseball but in all sports. While some feel that as a professional athlete or coach, you waive your right to privacy and must address your critics daily.
I tend to agree that the public doesn’t need to know every single thing that is going on with each and every player at all times and that he does have a point that it can somewhat take away from a team’s competitive edge. However, I will say that as a manager of a professional baseball team, addressing the media is part of his job and he is getting paid a lot of money to do so. I would highly suggest that he should consider a few more media training sessions after that fiasco.
What do you think of Price’s rant? Do you think it was justified?
To hear all five minutes of Price’s rant, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wROe2dzJDqY
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