Last seen in this space publicly outing his internet abusers, Sports Illustrated’s Jeff Pealman has since turned his attentions to the war crimes against journalism (well, journalists) committed by Florida Marlins public relations representative Matt Roebuck. “He might be a pleasant fellow,” allowed Pearlman, “but he’s botching this thing, big time.”
If I’m the Marlins—a second-rate ballclub that nobody pays to see play—I’m begging for media attention. Begging for it. I’m opening my doors to reporters, pitching stories about this guy, that guy, this milestone, that milestone. I want to be covered, because I need people to care.
The Marlins, however, behave as if they’re the Yankess (and, in this regard, even the Yankees don’t behave as if they’re the Yankees). The team allows v-e-r-y limited access to the clubhouse, and Matt may well be the least helpful PR guy in the game. This comes from the repeated horror stories of others, as well as past personal experiences—of needing to speak to players for various SI or SI.com features and getting, literally, zero assistance. When one deals with, say, the Mets or Cardinals or Dodgers, he’ll at least have someone give a player a heads-up. Oftentimes, you’ll get an introduction, and even some pre-arranged sit-down time. With Florida, that doesn’t happen. The staffers seem first and foremost concerned about being pals with the players—which is laughably amateurish, but, for the poor team beat writers, laughably real.
In the hours since the above post to jeffpearlman.com, Pearlman deleted the entry, apparently after being accosted by Mr. Roebuck.
Whether I’m right or wrong in my take on the Marlins, I was definitely wrong not to approach Matt and give him a chance to speak his side. He also made an extremely valuable point, which I overlooked: Sometimes what doesn’t work for the national media works for the local media covering the team on a daily basis.
That’s a reasonable apology — who amongst us hasn’t heard of Marlins players practically begging to be traded to smaller markets, such is the insane amount of local media scrutiny afforded their every move? It’s a miracle there’s any space left in the public’s consciousness for Dolphins, Heat or Hurricanes news given the frenzy surrounded the local baseball side’s machinations.