Furcal and the media cycle

Lots of coverage today regarding Rafael Furcal, including stories in the LA Times, Daily News, and the Orange County Register, among others. After making six errors in the first 20 games, Furcal took it upon himself to get extra groundballs with the first base coach, Mariano Duncan, and hopefully this will help him get back on track. As you know, he’s been battling some nagging injuries and today’s day off, as well as yesterday’s, could give him the boost he needs.

For those of you who don’t get to follow the news cycle as much as those of us in the PR world, I figured I’d write a brief post on why it is that you often see the same subjects from the numerous outlets that cover us.

Generally speaking, we have seven people that cover us every day — four daily papers, MLB.com, KFWB and the Associated Press. These are the only ones that travel with us on the road and in the case of the AP, they’ve got someone in each city, so they don’t actually travel.

The clubhouse opens to the media three and a half hours before game time and is open all the way up until 45 minutes before, with the exception of when the team is on the field taking batting practice.  Every day before the game, Grady Little meets with the media and talks about the main subjects of the day while trying to answer any questions that the reporters have. This is why, for the most part, the same subjects come up in all the coverage the following day (or in MLB.com’s case, later that day).

The exception comes when one of the reporters thinks they know something that the others don’t. In that case, they’l ask me or Joe Jareck, our assistant director of public relations, if they can stay after the group media session and ask Grady something on their own. Sometimes they have a real scoop, sometimes it’s nothing major, but it’s a way to differentiate your coverage from the competition.

Another exception will be on a day like today. Without a game, the writers all have "off-day stories," which they will have been working on throughout the week. Usually this is a feature of some sort on one of the players, coaches, staff members, etc. and most of the time, they differ from the other people covering the team.

This is probably more than you care to know about how the team is covered, but with yesterday’s news about a new spokesman in the White House, I thought it might be interesting to explain how news gets made, even in the sports world.

JR

10 Comments

Very interesting. This is the insider stuff I like reading about most. Thanks for the post.

I enjoyed it as well. Very interesting.

Yeah, this is the kind of stuff I think readers of this blog want to know. We’re the people who stay until the game is over even if it’s not a save situation for Gagne (I did, the one time I made it out to Dodger Stadium when I was on vacation).

I will say Baez is filling in the closer role well, but he’s still not Gagne. Maybe it’s the fact that he has a neater appearance, or the fact that his k/9 is, well, less than 9. I think I read Eric would be joining the team and starting rehab on his elbow; is this still the case? And will he be in the dugout? If so, hopefully Grady can keep him from yelling at the ump.

Keep up the “inside” information. I like the behind the scenes story.
I am pleased to see that Furcal is coachable and is taking extra grounders to sort out his fielding difficulties. I just hope he puts the ball in play and does not try to overswing. He can get things going with just walks and drag bunts… no need for homers in the leadoff spot.

thanks for the story behind the story!

still think furcal needs to take several games off and just get right. wouldn’t be opposed to the DL actually. admire that he is trying to gut it out, but he is really hurting the team with this bat and now his glove. besides this thing with the shoulder hurting to accomodate his hand injury, how many times have we seen that – esp last year with gagne.

and living in philly, i have seen lofton up close and he was stuck in the two hole behind rollins when he was a better leadoff then JRO, as he is better than furcal and the missing izzy.

i know furcal is the second highest paid SS behind jeter, but he is not the true leadoff guy that lofton is…

i would go this way –

lofton

mueller

drew

kent

nomar

furcal

cruz

navarro

pitcher

or maybe even flop drew and mueller

as he has more speed than mueller

Well if you’re concerned about speed, that’s why Furcal goes at the top; the #6 spot will give him fewer chances to run. Don’t forget that he’s also rather adept at bunting for a base hit. I also like the fact that he is still open to improving himself.

What I’m worried about the most is Kent’s cold streak. The guy is below the Mendoza line, which is not only bad, but we haven’t heard about his health nearly as much, attributing it to a cold streak. But the guy has taken two nasty hbp’s, each one taking him out of the game. He got nailed in the 4th of the 3rd game of the season, at which point he was 5-9. Since then he’s batted .145, which is just not good. He has hit a homer since then, but otherwise has not hit very effectively at all. Is he healthy, or does he need to hit the DL, perhaps moreso than Furcal? I know Ned Colletti likes the fact that he can play through pain, but it’s painful to watch your cleanup hitter struggle to hit .200.

“What I’m worried about the most is Kent’s cold streak. The guy is below the Mendoza line, which is not only bad, but we haven’t heard about his health nearly as much, attributing it to a cold streak.”

Kent will be fine. He has smoked the ball right at a fielder several times. Pretty soon, those kinds of hits will find a hole. It’s just a matter of luck.

Nice to see the PR world get some coverage of it’s own. I’m a college sports information director myself.

How much of your job is assisting the local daily coverage versus pitching stories to national media outlets? In my world, it seems like we’re trying to coax the media into giving us coverage, where as a pro team at the highest level demands that coverage.

Thanks!

http://jpschmack.mlblogs.com/

Nice touch Josh… keep these good articles coming!

On a side note, is Ken Gurnick on vacation or something? Haven’t seen a post from him in several days… he’s okay?

Funny, I have sometimes wondered about these very topics but never expected to get answers. It seems that writers would be more creative in choosing subject matter or in spinning a different angle though. Maybe easier said than done.

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