Baseball front offices are a lot more polished than they used to be when it comes to public relations. You don’t, like you once did, hear a lot of general managers or team owners taking shots at the press, at least not too sharply, and you don’t see the press taking as many shots at the front office as you used to back in the day.
Part of that is because baseball teams have come to realize that the press is not the enemy, they’re just doing their jobs. Part of that is also attributable to the fact that smart front offices know that, when necessary, they can leverage the press to help their cause and it’s way easier to do that if you don’t antagonize them. It’s also because today’s front office executives are simply smoother than their predecessors used to be and are far more adept at dodging controversy and massaging messages that, in the past, might’ve been more controversial.
As such, it’s been a good while since you’ve heard the general manager of a baseball team speak down to the press as if they are not worthy of questioning him. But the Rockies’ Jeff Bridich did recently. Check out this passage from a just-published book by Rockies play-by-play man Drew Goodman, excerpted at the Denver Post:
“I think I’m personally blessed with a capacity to not really care what is said about me all that much. I don’t really buy into the whole media evaluation.
“The reality is–and this is going to sound petty and bad—if you just objectively look at the people who are evaluating us every day, you know they’ve never come close to doing this job and all the work that goes into it. And most of them, probably 99 percent of them, they’ve never even led anything in their lives.
“They’ve worked for themselves. They’ve been self-interested beat writers who have worked for themselves and they have a job to do every day. I had the good fortune of seeing that for a long time before taking this job. So I knew not to put a whole lot of time and energy into what they think about me.
“It’d be like if I went to a hospital every day and wrote a blog about the job done by one of the surgeons and the things he screwed up. That’s crazy. I know nothing about brain surgery, nor have I ever even worked on the path to become a brain surgeon. That’s what goes on in this industry and other sports industries.”
There is no greater sign of arrogance than someone believing that they are beyond criticism because what they do is so complicated that no one else could possibly understand it. The bit about brain surgery at the end is particularly telling. He casts it as somewhat self-effacing — “I couldn’t do brain surgery” — but in the analogy HE is the brain surgeon and the beat writers who cover the Rockies are thus totally unable to comprehend what he does.
Jeff, you’re an executive for a baseball team. There are, believe it or not, people who get what you do and notice when you screw things up. Like, say, when you give Ian Desmond five-years and $70 million. Unless, of course, you’d like to attempt to dumb that move down to our level so we morons can better understand it.