Friday, July 07, 2006

Red Sox Drama..Again

There was an interesting article in today's Boston Globe entitled, "Inner Workings Revealed." The piece reported "The breach in trust between Theo Epstein and Larry Lucchino that led to Epstein's departure from the Red Sox, and how principal owner John W. Henry was able to persuade Epstein to return as general manager less than three months later, is explored in a new book by Seth Mnookin, who was given extraordinary access to the team's inner workings during the 2005 season."

Huh? What? I heard from multiple sources that one of the reasons Theo wanted to leave his position was that he spent too much time dealing with media relations-related responsibilities. Look at Theo in the media this year. How many times have you seen him quoted in print, on TV or on the radio? I know he calls a radio station or two for weekly chats, but that is about it.

The story in the Globe added, "'[Theo] explained how he'd felt left out to dry after the [Nomar] Garciaparra trade, how he felt increasingly isolated from much of the organization, how he felt that the team's obsession with generating more and more press coverage actually made it more difficult to focus on what he thought should be the team's primary goal: winning baseball games,' Mnookin writes."

When the new management took over the Red Sox, they wanted to fix the following: fan experience at the park, relationship with the media and (I believe) fixing up the character/chemistry in the clubhouse. By the end of 2004 season, they had addressed all these issues. In regards to media relations, I have been told they did a 180-degree turn from their former predecessors. Theo was available all the time, reporters could do live feeds from the park at 6 a.m. or 12 p.m. The relationship with the media was never better.

We all know what happened at the end of 2005 and the beginning of 2006. What I want to know is how/why they let Seth Mnookin have some much access when certain important people in the organization wanted to tone down the media activity in 2005? Did he know someone high up? Was he giving a boatload of money to the Jimmy Fund or the Sox? I am extremely interested in reading this book later this year.

Moving forward how should the Sox handle media relations activities in Boston?

* Face the fact that the Globe is going to have the inside track on stories. You know what. Why shouldn't they? Like it or not, their parent company owns 17 percent of the Red Sox. Is it a conflict of interest? Maybe, but I would definitely help out the owners of the team first.

* Define a clear-cut spokesperson for senior management. It seems Henry does not want to be in the public eye, Lucchino is trying to stay quiet after the battle with Theo this spring. What about Dr. Charles Steinberg, vice president of public affairs? He seems like the ideal candidate to be the clear/lone Sox spokesperson when Theo is busy or unavailable.

* Continue to do whatever to ensure leaks do not take place. If they think a story is going to break and it's true, get out in front of it. Be proactive, not reactive. The Sox don't need to pitch reporters to secure coverage. They get enough press every day. They just need to work with the media to make sure they have the "correct" story and do not write negative/inaccurate information about the team.

Editor's Note: I have no clue about the real inner workings of the Red Sox PR team/media relations plan, so my ideas may be completely off base.


At 3:56 PM, Blogger Patterson said...

Drop the editor's note. This is your blog, and you know what you're talking about, no matter what anyone says. Great piece, dead-on.

At 3:56 PM, Blogger Bob said...


At 4:23 PM, Blogger jenny said...

I don't think Steinberg is the answer. In fact, he's part of the problem. I have an acquaintance who worked with both Theo and Steinberg when they were with the Orioles, and he says they have not really liked each other since Theo was 18. Add that to the fact that Theo evidently thinks Steinberg was behind that crap column by CHB on Oct. 30 and I think that's a no on Steinberg.

Why not Jed Hoyer or Ben Cherington?

At 4:55 PM, Blogger Milne said...

Ms. chief jr -- good points. I agree that Hoyer or Cherington could be the answer. The Sox need to have a strong spokesperson other than Theo available to comment on issues.


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