My old friend Max Power sent me the following email this week:
Mark, turns out a friendly columnist from ol ra-cha-cha doesn’t care much for your boy Longo. Take a gander…
Max is a native of Rochester, New York and this “column” appeared in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle during Longo’s rehab start with Durham. I had subtly retired the Blow-It.com Category a few months ago beacuse, in all honesty, 90% of sportswriters are honest, hard-working folks that do a great job. It didn’t seem fair to smear them all by highlighting the bad apples. (As a lawyer, I can understand professionals that are unfairly tarnished by the bad acts of their colleagues). But this is a decidedly bad apple and it demands a response. Right?
I could take this column apart line-by-line* (in fact, Max, My College Boss Carnival Matleuse, and I took it apart line-by-line in a hilarious email conversation I will post in the comments if your interested) but that would be giving it due it doesn’t deserve. It’s central message is, basically, “Evan Longoria wouldn’t talk to me. Doesn’t he know who I am? I am the media! I am the most powerful columnist in this little corner of western New York! He crosses me at his own risk.” This column isn’t about Longo. It’s about Jim Madelaro. Someone who obviously grew up idolizing Max Mercy.
Sometimes, media types start creating their own hype and they get caught in this mindset that ballplayers have an OBLIGATION to deal with the media. After all, ballplayers exist because fans pay to see them play. Fans only love ballplayers because they learn about them through the media. Ergo, the media = the fans. Madelaro says as much: “[Cal] got it: The fans count. The media counts.” Incorrect. A more accurate statement would be: The fans count. The media used to count.
Fans consume baseball first hand now. Why do I need Jim Mandelaro’s opinion of Longo? It’s not like my only opportunity to form an opinion of Longo is on a black-and-white TV playing the Game of the Week. I see him play, interact with his teammates, interact with fans, every night. To paraphrase Jimmy Buffett, Mandelaro’s occupational hazard be, his occupation’s just not around.
In fact, as a Rays fan, I don’t really want Longo spending his time on rebah assignment talking to every local fish-wrap that stumbles by his locker. He’s not there to create a new generation of Rays fans in Caledonia or Mumford. He’s there to get healthy and get his hind-quarters back to the Trop.
I honestly have no idea why Longo blew this guy off. Maybe he was sore and didn’t want to answer questions about his hamstring. Maybe he thought Mandelaro was a vagrant that had mistakenly wandered into the Bulls’ clubhouse. Maybe he was just in a bad mood. Either way, I don’t care. Clearly, talking to this clown would have been a waste of time anyway.
*His comparison to Cal was too easy, though. Because I can actually refute that factually. The Rays VP of PR held the same position for the Orioles for 16 years. He has actually worked closely with Longo AND Cal. And he loves Longo and raves about what a good guy Longo is. So, there you go.