Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE
The Blue Jays are always proud of how leaks don't come out of their front office, but should they be using the media to push their agenda like the Red Sox do?
The recurring theme of the whole John Farrell affair (to use Shi Davidi's imagery) is how the Red Sox use their media to work for what they want, while the Jays try to hide everything from the media.
John Lott had this in his story about Alex Anthopoulos press conference:
Anthopoulos said he was upset at the "false reports," mainly out of Boston, that helped fuel the rumours over the past several months. One said he and Farrell no longer saw "eye to eye" on key matters. Another claimed the GM overruled Farrell's bid to release veteran Omar Vizquel in mid-season; "100% false," Anthopoulos said.
He intimated that some of the leaks - "gamesmanship," he called them - came from the Red Sox front office, but insisted he respects Cherington and said he had no idea where the lies were coming from.
The Red Sox always do that sort of thing, they plant a story through their media people and then they use it to push for what they want. Want to get rid of a manager? Plant stories about his personal life. Want to hire a manager that is under contract somewhere else? Plant stories that he isn't happy where he is.
Why do the Boston media go along with this stuff? Because if they don't they'll lose access. They use the media to help them get Farrell and then they give their media a gift by letting them announce the trade the day before it is completed.
It gains them in two ways. They buy points with their media, who are more likely to speak fondly of them because of the gifts given and make them feel part of the team. And they mess with the Jays relationship with their media. I'm not really media, but even I was a little irritated that the Jays PR department wouldn't give me a yes or no when I asked 'can you confirm this story?' Saturday night. I know now that Red Sox jumped the gun and the Jays PR people likely had no information on the deal at that time. But Saturday night, I just wanted to make sure that the story wasn't a figment of someone's imagination before putting it up on our site. I can imagine that the rest of the Jays media was equally irritated.
And, of course, the Jays weren't happy with how it all went down, but then the Red Sox don't care. They aren't worried about what the Jays or anyone else thinks.
It does make me wonder why the Blue Jays don't do the same.
Is there are cost to the Red Sox 'sportsmanship'? Do the Jays gain in the eyes of the other teams by being more gentlemanly? Or at the end of the day, does it not matter at all to the other MLB teams? I would think the latter. Being good guys is nice and all, but you have to deal with all the teams in the league, whether they are good guys or not.
There are ethics questions.Would Toronto media not be willing to play along? There are 4 newspapers (if you count the Sun), 2 sports radio stations, tons of TV and roughly a million blogs that cover the Jays. Surely they would find someone that would go help them out. Once you get one to do it, everyone else will see how it bought access and more would do it.
The Red Sox don't have all of these stories coming straight from the GM's office to the reporter. They are smart enough to have them come from different spots in the organization to give some level of deniability.
Maybe it is time the Jays were a little less worried about leaks to the press and a little more interested in using it to their advantage?