Honestly? Shame on you

So yesterday I got in touch with Jay Bruce’s agent. My request was simple. I wanted to interview Jay either via e-mail or on the show and ask him a few questions that I figured if I genuinely wanted to know; all you readers out there would as well (i.e. ‘Who is the toughest pitcher you’ve faced in MLB, etc.).
While there are a lot of Reds fans who read Diamond Hoggers there are fans from all over baseball who come to the site. We’ve mentioned before why Bruce is our favorite player, that’s not important here. The content we put on this blog about him is solely to promote and represent him in a positive light. It’s free promotion to the Reds on one of their best commodities.
Unfortunately; I’m writing this post because my favorite organization is ran by a bunch of boobs in suits that do not know how to treat clients. Their best clients.
Here’s the email exchange, this is the initial e-mail that went to Reds Director of Media Relations Rob Butcher:
Hi Rob,
Please see below (copy of e-mail from Jay Bruce’s agent).
Yesterday I wrote Jay Bruce’s agent, _________. My request is a simple one, I would like to do an interview with Jay that helps to promote his popularity not only with the Reds fan base, but also fans all around Major League Baseball.
On our site Diamond Hoggers, we have followed his career closely since he made his debut in 2008. We have always written positively about Jay and it would really be a great piece for all of our readers from the Reds fan base to get to read or listen to an interview with Jay, as well as the readers that visit from every fan base in Major League Baseball.
We would work around Jay’s schedule, and we would send a list of questions that we would ask beforehand if needed. Any questions you would like included could be added and anything you would not like included would be taken out. This interview could be done by email or by telephone, whichever the organization and Jay would prefer.
Mainly, we are HUGE fans of the Reds and Jay and want to create a neat piece of material that connects to the fan base in a positive manner. I think Jay would be comfortable doing an interview with me based on our past writing about him and his career. I really appreciate your time and consideration.
Rob fires back pretty quickly. Does not even address me personally.
We appreciate your interest in Jay and the Reds, but because of the large number of requests we get for phone interviews, we don’t book guests for web sites other than those associated with MLB, its rightholders and our local news organizations.
Okay. I understand what he’s saying and was warned about the Reds snarkiness as an organization towards this type of stuff. But really, what do they have to lose? How many interviews are they really getting asked about each day? How many of those people bleed for the Reds?
I write Mr. Butcher back: (Sent at 11:22 AM)
Wow, really?
I don’t think it has to be so formal, really. It doesn’t have to be a phone interview, it could be as simple as a few questions via e-mail.
As someone who represents one of the fans in your upper-tier, I think this is poor business to be honest with you. Whether this is a Reds decision, or an MLB policy; I do not know. But when the sport and the organization take a look at numbers and wonder why things aren’t the same, it is these formalities and policies that cause the sport to suffer. I’m not directing this solely at you, I understand you’re doing your job and this most likely isn’t your rule. But it’s something to consider and maybe discuss in-house. Blogs are huge today, they’re a lot bigger then newspapers as you are probably starting to realize.
I’m trying to help the organization and the player here. I don’t think there are that many web sites out there that are trying to do something similar to this that push the Reds and Bruce as hard as we do. Also, how is what I would like to do any different than what Yahoo Big League Stew did last year around this time? (As you can see I link the interview with Jay on BLS)
They, like us, are a baseball blog on the internet.
Again, I respect your policy and appreciate your timely response to me. I’m a Reds fan and always will be. But this is something puzzling to me. I’ve been one of the 12,000 guys sitting at the games in September when we’re 17 games back and nothing to play for.
I’m trying to help. Thanks again,
Mr. Butcher fires back, and really this is why I’m writing this post. Notice above in bold I sent that last e-mail which was a bit lengthy at 11:22 AM.
Rob Butcher writes back within 30 seconds to me at 11:22 AM:
I appreciate you opinion.
No signature. No explanation. Nothing. Just a cold door slam in the face.
I think back to the times I honestly sat and watched this organization when I was sick; I think back to the times that I made the two hour drive from Columbus to watch them just because I love them when we were 17 games out in September when I could have been watching the NFL instead.
I think about the times I talked my girl out of a romantic dinner only to take her to a Reds game and convince her it was a better date, knowing I’d have to probably hear about it later on. Or how about this past winter when we went to Redsfest for our anniversary gift to eachother. Or about the times I went to the games after working downtown alone instead of going home and going to the gym like I should have.
None of these things make me above any other Reds fan; but I’m shocked at how easily one can be treated like they mean nothing. And the fact is, to the Reds; maybe I do mean nothing. Fair enough. I’m just a number. A statistic. An ant through the gates.
I might not understand baseball economics or sabermetrics or be able to scout talent at the Major League Level, but I do understand business. This was a bad business decision. At the very least, a little kindness and just the effort to pay it forward can go a long ways in life. But of course standing in the way is MLB’s policies or should I say the Reds policies.
Will I make the Reds pay for it? No. I won’t. I’ll still go to my 15-20 games all the way from Columbus, and I’ll still check the box scores each and every day if we’re 12 games out in September.
Shouldn’t that be the type of fan you cater to as well? I realize I’m not a season ticket holder, but shouldn’t every team in baseball want fans like myself? I think to a degree that fans like me are the only reason baseball survived.
But it’s not because of Mr. Redlegs that I do this. It’s not because the suits in the Front Office are class acts. Today I realized that for good. People who root for the te
am on the jersey, and not the name on the jersey? Well they’re wrong too sometimes.
I’ll continue to root for the Reds and be a die-hard because of class acts like Jay, Joey Votto, Danny Ray Herrera, Brandon Phillips, Arthur Rhodes, Dusty Baker and some of the other guys on the team who I believe and have heard are quality individuals. When or if they ever leave town? Who knows at this point. This experience rubs me the wrong way in a big time manner.
I wrote Mr. Butcher one more response to no avail, as he didn’t have the decency to respond to me since I made an actual point. His original response to me really lacked detail in a lot of ways of which I’ll skip out on.
Here’s my last e-mail to Rob Butcher:
You didn’t answer my question.
How is what I was asking to do, any different then the interview done here?
Sorry to go off on a tangent. I think I make some decent points, and it really brought to head another issue. The Reds wonder why they’re struggling to draw 20,000 people a game; my answer would be–or a question to them rather–are you exhausting all avenues to sell your product? No, they’re not based on these actions.
I’ll continue to do my best to support Jay and write positively about his career; as well as many of the Reds. But it’s because I like the players and respect what they do and who they are. It has nothing to do with the organization at this point.
I’m done for the day. This is like finding out Santa Claus isn’t real. E-mail me at Diamondhoggers_at_gmail_dot_com and let me know your thoughts. Not saying I’m right this is just how I feel, and there’s a lot of passion with it.
And if you want to e-mail Rob Butcher and let him know? His e-mail is RButcher_at_reds_dot_com. Just don’t expect him to care.
  • I used to intern in PR for the Orioles, and one of my responsibilities was to filter the hundreds of interview requests the team received. That was in 2003, before every team had dozens of blogs following them. I can't imagine that media requests have fallen since then. Teams are really, really loathe to grant access to non-credentialed publications. Yahoo is a credentialed organization, so while the content may not have been different, your site (no matter how popular) is. Teams are more willing nowadays to credential the bloggers that follow the team, but they still want to control access as much as possible.

  • Microcosm of MLB's general marketing issues. They just dont' seem willing to engage the fans on their level. I absolutely understand the need vet "media" sources, but you would think teams would be empowered and willing to engage & support their bases in creative ways.I wonder how much of this was MLB and how much the Reds. Given that other teams have provided a certain level of access to non-sanctioned bloggers (Such as Dave Cameron's Lookout Landing Mariners Blog), I'm guess this is mostly on the Reds. They really don't seem to understand the viral processes of information and opinion flows. Empower your advocates.

  • Your whining and moaning over this is doing nothing more than proving The Reds right for not granting you access. You run a tiny blog. This is the only post for DAYS that has even received comments, and you think you've been royally insulted by a professional baseball team because they didn't grant you access to one of their players. Who do you think you are?

  • Comments by others aren't usually a good way to judge a blog's quality or someone's passion for something, yours is a perfect example of that 'anonymous'. Who am I? I'm a fan of the Reds with a blog (sorry, TINY blog) who was trying to do something positive about one of the brightest spots on our team in years. Shame on me for attempting to use my gifts and create a little more excitement about the Reds around this time of year. Maybe when my blog gets a little bigger I'll have earned the right. Or maybe when I get a few more comments, because I assure you; those days will come. In the meantime, where's your tiny blog? Oh you don't have one? You don't do anything but write worthless anonymous comments? Well if you're thinking about starting one, I have news for you. It's not easy.

  • Hello, WHINE-1-1? I think somebody needs a WAAHHHmbulance!You really need to grow some thicker skin. First you throw a tantrum about not getting media access from a MLB team, then you go ballistic on me for calling you out on your tantrum. You're doing nothing but proving The Reds AND me right. Cry more!

  • Tiny blog? 215,000 hits is not that irrevelent. Lots of teams are engaging with blogs and you would think a team as bad as the Reds would look to nurture interest from fans and the media. Lots of teams do across MLB and all the other major sports.The point of his post was not to do "whine and moan" but rather to show how close minded and rude the Reds are.I hope you're not a Reds employee because a simple tracking of your IP could out you.

  • Yeah I mean, believe it or not, my focus is not to bash the Reds. They're like a family member. When they screw up you tell them even though you still love them. When they do well you praise them and love them more. When someone else talks badly about them in an unjust situation, I've always got their back. Plus the bottom line is they still get my money and devotion, which is all that matters at the end of the day. In this situation I wasn't trying to paint them in a negative light. I really wasn't. And I'm not defending myself nor feel the need to. I'm a good fan and if MLB had more like me, or the Reds for that matter; we wouldn't be chasing the NFL in popularity.

  • Reds Man Rick, there is a difference between "sanctioned" (implying association with a traditional media outlet) and "credentialed" (meaning an organization or person that the club has bestowed with press credentials). I'm fairly certain that the Orioles credentialed one of their most popular bottom-up blog sites (Orioles Hangout) last year, and I'd be hardpressed to believe the Mariners haven't done the same with USS Mariner and Lookout Landing.Mevs, if you're serious about wanting some more traditional access, you can't act petulantly at the first set back. Teams do literally get hundreds of requests a week, not to mention the daily pre- and post-game routine. Every single person feels the same way you do: you're just trying to give the team some positive PR, why wouldn't they want that? The team has made the (not unreasonable) decision that granting Web requests does not bring the same return as requests granted to "those associated with MLB, its rightholders and our local news organizations" (read: credentialed orgs).I'm sure you aren't the only Reds blogger who hasn't gotten access. Find a dozen of them and give Mr. Butcher a call back. Propose a "Reds Blog Day" where you and your fellow bloggers are credentialed and given traditional media access for a game. Describe the stories you're looking to write. Show him how many readers you each get. The team has to see why this a good thing for them. Perhaps the team will see this as a great, low risk outreach to some of their most avid fans; perhaps the team will decide that they won't really be reaching anyone new but will be creating some extra work for themselves and risk alienating their core media members. My point is simply that getting a rejection letter and immediately responding with "Wow, really?" isn't exactly the best way to convince the Reds you deserve any of their valuable time.

  • Your blog post is titled "Honestly? Shame on you" and yet you claim you weren't trying to paint the Reds in a negative light? REALLY? I can't imagine how Rob Butcher could possibly been annoyed by the "Wow, really?" at the beginning of your reply, or at shot you took about "hey I was here when we were 17 games back in September with only 12,000 fans!"So there's about 12,000 other people who are equally as qualified as you to have media access to Reds players, I suppose.Face it. You got cocky, thought you were going to get access to a player, and threw a public tantrum when you didn't get your way. And you absolutely WERE trying to portray The Reds in a bad light, otherwise you wouldn't have made this post. At the VERY least, you were trying to paint Rob Butcher in a bad light. There was nothing wrong with the way The Reds handled this. Frankly, you're lucky they replied to you at all.

  • There isn't 12,000 other Reds blogs though, there are only a few. Plus, Jay Bruce is our boy. So I guess in that respect we are 'special'. We have been Jay's headquarters on the net since he arrived in Cincinnati (and even before). I wasn't trying to paint Rob Butcher in a negative light. I think he did a pretty good job of that on his own and if he didn't this post wouldn't have been made. Not getting the interview had nothing to do with it, but rather the way a loyal fan and a loyal group of fans were treated.I know I'm not crazy for feeling this way, as others in the know have expressed to me that they've had a similar experience with said people in similar reasonable requests. This is unique because 29 other big league teams do not handle things this way, I'm told. It is unfortunate but I will continue to root for ad write about the guys. I don't want to be a member of the media but rather provide interesting stuff for the readers that shows an appreciation for the great players and class individuals that play for our Reds.

  • And then, if you don't get your way, you bitch about it on the interwebs. Okey doke.You are special indeed. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise!

  • Once again this had nothing to do with getting my way. I get to watch 162 games this year and write about them all if I want. If I'm really lucky maybe even the postseason. It was just about the fact I felt as if I'd be treated with a little more respect because passionate fans don't grow on trees. Most guys who have been around the game long enough would say that. Deep down inside the reds know that.

  • You do realize that telling The Reds how passionate a fan you are doesn't really qualify you to have access to a player that is reserved for media personnel, right?Every girl waiting in line to see The Jonas Brothers thinks she is the biggest Jonas Brothers fan there ever was (of course, they might not all be a big-time blog writer) and that being a passionate fan entitles you to nothing other than the right to buy a ticket and watch a baseball game, correct?You can dance around it all you want, but you didn't like the fact that you were turned down so you decided to sling some mud on your blog. The title of your post says everything about what you were trying to do, no matter how many times you may protest otherwise. And I assure you, this childish tantrum you're throwing is not going to help you out in the future if you ever tried to get access to The Reds in any other way, shape or form. If you wanted the privileges of a professional writer, you should act like one. You, however, acted like a brat who got told no by his mommy when he asked for a new toy at Wal-Mart.

  • You must be fired up after that K-State/Xavier game. It was great. You should make up a name or type in your name. It would make it easier to address you and let me know I'm talking to the same person. With all the energy you're using to combat my responses why just leave your comments anonymous? You don't have the slightest ideas about my 'access'. I don't have to say how you don't know because those who are in the know, know what I'm talking about. You don't have a blog, so you don't know the connections that I have or the people I've talked with who could probably grant me requests like this. There's more then one way to skin a cat if that was what I was really interested in.Honestly, I knew when Jay's agent refferred me to the Reds PR department that I wouldn't be granted the interview. I have talked to many people who told me how the Reds are about this kind of stuff. Rather then contacting Jay by other means, I took the professional route and respected the rite of passage by going through his employer. I respect the organization and I respect the player who I was only trying to help enough that I made those choices. I didn't mind the fact that I was 'turned down' Plus Plus er I mean, anonymous. I didn't like the fact that I felt disrespected when I'd shown an extreme amount of respect on many different levels; to the player, the organization, and the person I wrote for the request. If you don't get that, I don't know what to tell you. Many others do see it the way I am seeing it.As for your assurance that the Reds would never grant me any kind of access; I mean I guess we'll see. I've been a blogger from the right field moon deck for a long time and I don't care if I'm there forever. That's the beauty of doing something because you love it. I've already spoken to someone with the Reds who has already told me that they'll 'grant me access' at some point and we'll have a working relationship. There are very nice people there who appreciate the blog world and want to be nice.

  • Okay, then what was this post about, Mr. Insider?You keep insisting that this wasn't some attempt to drag down Rob Butcher or The Reds, yet your post is titled "Sham on you." You also state that you knew going in you weren't going to be granted access. Then WHY did you feel the need to make this post, when this happened exactly as you expected it to?You certainly do have a sense of entitlement about yourself. I repeat, your fandom ensures you nothing more than the right to buy a ticket and enter the stadium. -SAME GUY

  • Sorry to say I have no sympathy for you. The Reds were in the right, and I can't think of one single reason why they could, should, or would grant you an interview request. Your "angle" – if it can be called that – is boring, cliche, and elementary. In all your self-pitiful whining you show no recognition of the myriad issues that should be paramount to the Reds: issues related to player security and safety isses, legal concerns, and then the Reds' media obligations as defined by MLB policy. Rob Butcher deals with countless emails like yours every week and I don't blame him for not giving you the time of day. Get your media credentials and then we'll talk. Until then, case closed.

  • Sorry to say I have no sympathy for you. The Reds were in the right, and I can't think of one single reason why they could, should, or would grant you an interview request. Your "angle" – if it can be called that – is boring, cliche, and elementary. In all your self-pitiful whining you show no recognition of the myriad issues that should be paramount to the Reds: issues related to player security and safety isses, legal concerns, and then the Reds' media obligations as defined by MLB policy. Rob Butcher deals with countless emails like yours every week and I don't blame him for not giving you the time of day. Get your media credentials and then we'll talk. Until then, case closed. There's only about a dozen or so Reds blogs, so that isn't true. There aren't hundreds like the Yankees blog community. Security and safety issues? How much could go wrong through an approved email interview? What I wanted to do was no different then something that was done a year ago right now on another blog that is not MLB affiliated and I pointed that out to him and was not given even a courteous response.

  • Okay, then what was this post about, Mr. Insider?You keep insisting that this wasn't some attempt to drag down Rob Butcher or The Reds, yet your post is titled "Sham on you." You also state that you knew going in you weren't going to be granted access. Then WHY did you feel the need to make this post, when this happened exactly as you expected it to?You certainly do have a sense of entitlement about yourself. I repeat, your fandom ensures you nothing more than the right to buy a ticket and enter the stadium.It didn't happen exactly as I expected it to in regards to being courteous to a member of the fan base who should be valued. That might sound whiny and it might sound righteous but I think that myself and anyone who is into the Reds like I am should be at least treated with a certain amount of value. That means everyone, not just me. I think there are players that understand the fans are everything to this game and I think that a lot of front office people understand they're nothing without the fans. It's not a lot to ask. That doesn't mean I demand player access.

  • Think about the situation if you were Mr. Butcher. You are a busy guy that gets tons of emails and the email starts with "Wow, Really". I think if it was me that would be when I stopped reading. It doesn't matter what else you wrote. Email sucks when it comes to these types of conversations and you need to be very careful how your writing can be perceived.

  • Your sense of entitlement – all on the basis that you watch Reds games when you're sick and you are a true fan – disgusts me. The only reason I'm on your lousy blog is because it was linked from Redszone.com, and I found it interesting reading at some early morning hour when I couldn't sleep. This is the first and last time I'll visit your blog because I find your sense of entitlement and your victim complex pathetic and miserly.

  • wahhh

  • This is hilarious. I concur with Anonymous, however many of them there are. You are in the wrong in this situation, and in the wrong in every way. You are completely wrong. You should post a public apology for your overreaction.

  • As an accredited member of baseball media, I concur that the author is in the wrong here. Most importantly, from simply a journalistic sense. Either you are a passionate fan, or a baseball reporter. You can't use one to further the other. Going public with this situation will further sour any possibility you may have with working with other clubs and organizations. They research those that apply for credentials.It may be in your best interest to delete this post if at all possible. It looks bad for your blog and and speaks poorly of your professionalism.