Moore: On the relationship between baseball owners and reporters

From Jack Moore at The Score on November 14, 2013:

Over the past two weeks, this column has looked at pro-ownership responses to free agency. In 1979, Jerry Green wrote a season preview piece in which he stated free agency would inevitably result in a world in which “only the Arabs and Japanese will be able to own a major league baseball franchisee.” Similarly, Green and Atlantic Monthly writer Michael Lenehan painted openly racist Twins owner Calvin Griffith as a sympathetic figure as talented players left his team for richer owners, despite his hate speech and incidents like calling Rod Carew “a damn fool” for signing a multi-year contract.

Reading both stories in question, it was clear that Green and Lenehan were operating from a pro-owner (and therefore anti-player, either explicitly or implicitly) point of view. This shouldn’t be overly surprising — as much as journalism is about speaking truth to power, speaking truth to power is hard, especially when one spends so much time around the powerful. 

James Crusinberry, a charter member of the Baseball Writers Association of America and its president in 1929 and 1930, wrote about his interaction with owners in the game’s early years in the July 1949 issue of Baseball Magazine. Crusinberry was writing about the press conference, its place in the baseball news cycle, and what reporters did before the existence of the press conference.

Crusinberry tells the story of one of his first days on the job, when he missed a conference with American League president Ban Johnson and was nearly fired as a result.

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Originally published: November 14, 2013. Last Updated: November 14, 2013.