01.28.08

Michael Silverman’s Fear Of An Ugueth Urbina Planet

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 7:06 pm by

The Boston Herald’s Red Sox beat reporter, as quizzed by Sports Media Journal :

Q. Covering the Red Sox, who were your best interviews?

A. Mo Vaughn and Pedro (Martinez) were the top two. David Cone, for one year, was great. Bret Saberhagen. Mike Lowell. Gabe Kapler. David Ortiz.

They understood why we were there. As long as you didn’t catch them when they were trying to get on the field or do something, they didn’t mind sharing whatever the issue of the day was, or sharing nothing at all but being able to talk about non-baseball things. They all had a sense of humor and realized that the relationship between media and players does not have to be tense and adversarial.

Are you going to ask me who was the worst?

Q. Who was the worst?

A. Uggie Urbina – he was a scary dude. You couldn’t go near him. Now that he’s in prison in Venezuela (for murder) I can say it. I barely interviewed him. If I did I’ve repressed the whole experience. I didn’t enjoy him at all. He was a grunter.

Carl Everett had his moments where you understood after talking to him awhile that you could never communicate on the same level. He wasn’t an evil man – just different from most baseball players.

Q. Which questions make you cringe?

A. I love it when someone calls Francona “coach”, as in “coach, can you explain this”. You know he’s just waiting to figure out first of all how to rip you to shreds or to bite his tongue that day. He has no patience for that. Sometimes people ask questions that you can’t go down the road with this manager. He won’t blast a player and he’ll always jump to their defense, so if someone asks a leading question to try to get him to rip a player and he has to dance around, I cringe. I know he’s not going to answer it and you wonder how he’ll turn it on the reporter.

I ask my share of stupid questions, too. Sometimes you ask someone how they feel after giving up five runs in the eighth inning, and they say, “how do you think I feel.” It’s never a good moment. We know the answer but sometimes we need the quote, even if the comments are rote and predictable.

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