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Who cares if Roy Halladay wouldn’t talk to reporters?

Jan 24, 2011, 12:06 PM EDT

Roy Halladay

When you have four legitimate number one starters on your team and you’re coming off two pennants in the last three years, it’s hard to find something to complain about. But via Crossing Broad, we learn that Howard Eskin found something. Roy Halladay allegedly won’t talk to the media:

And because of my track record I fully acknowledge that some of you may assume I’m somehow agreeing with Eskin’s criticism. Believe me: I am not. This is beyond lame. Halladay is under no obligation to talk to anyone. Indeed, I think the criticism is factually wrong as well, because I recall him giving an interview or two, maybe in late November or early December.

The media plays an important role in fans’ consumption of sports. But we’re not entitled to anything, and Eskin’s complaining here is really, really weak sauce.

  1. BC - Jan 24, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    Steve Carlton didn’t talk to the media his whole career and he turned out pretty good. Non-issue.

  2. rjb23 - Jan 24, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    Everyone that lives in the Philadelphia area knows that Howard Eskin is less than scum. Howard has proven on many occasions to have very limited baseball knowledge, and has had a bias against the Phillies for several years.

    For a while, Eskin was simply viewed as a tabloid type reporter. He’s actually fallen below that now and is in the opinion’s of many locals, a virus waiting to be disinfected and killed.

  3. CJ - Jan 24, 2011 at 12:14 PM

    Howard Eskin is a [insert any combination of 3 or more words that would probably result in this comment not being posted here]. That’s pretty much the only way you can describe the guy.

    It took Misanelli like a month on 97.5 to overtake what it took the self-proclaimed “king” years to built on the Philly radio waves. That should tell you everything you need to know about the clown.

  4. aaronmoreno - Jan 24, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    The “We in the media” statement is the key part. THE MEDIA is what matters, not Roy Halladay.

  5. bigcatasroma - Jan 24, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    Eskin is a joke. Not only that, but he *does* have some sort-of long-running antagonism with the Phillies. And he knows nothing about baseball. Nothing. Non-issue.

  6. Jonny 5 - Jan 24, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    Don’t listen to Howard Eskin. He’s a Bleeping Bleephole, who does nothing but bait people.

    Craig, how hard do you think it is to get Charlie Manuel so mad that he wants to beat your a$$? You probably didn’t know this , so here goes..

    • Brian - Jan 24, 2011 at 12:31 PM

      whew, I forgot about that incident. Yeah, it take a lot to rile up ole cholly. Dallas Green pulled it off once too.

      Listen, if Halladay doesn’t talk to anyone, who cares. He’s a serious, quiet guy. Eskin’s a pushy, arrogant pot stirrer and if anyone actually listens to what he has to say, well, that’s their problem.

  7. sometogethernow - Jan 24, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    “The media plays an important role in fans’ consumption of sports media.”

    So do sports.

    God bless the holy trinity.

  8. drunkenhooliganism - Jan 24, 2011 at 12:27 PM

    I have no idea how that mouth-breathing retard remains employed. I hate him with the fire of a thousand crotch rashes, and I hate the drooling wife-beaters that listen to him even more.

    Philly fans get vilified for many things, most of them are just isolated incidents, but the fact that eskin has a job is the most damning stain any city’s fanbase can have on its resume.

  9. Chris Fiorentino - Jan 24, 2011 at 12:34 PM

    Craig, you would do well to never bother to listen to or read anything from the self-proclaimed “King” Howard “Wolfman” Eskin. Nobody on his own station likes him. He’s always seen on TV kissing Andy Reid’s ass on the sidelines. He really is a disgrace to sport talk radio and the above poster had it correct….Mikey Miss on 97.5 the fanatic took him over in about 3 months in the most important 25 and older male demographic. I hear you on WIP in the morning…try asking Rhea or Angelo off the air their feelings for Eskin. It will give you a good laugh.

  10. Charles Gates - Jan 24, 2011 at 12:38 PM

    Eskin’s a fraud.

    • BC - Jan 24, 2011 at 12:44 PM

      You’re being generous.

  11. Panda Claus - Jan 24, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    Had I tried to get in here first with the cautionary “take Howard Eskin with a shaker’s worth of salt”, I might have been trampled by the stampede.

  12. bradwins - Jan 24, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    As a fan (and not a member of the media or a player), I can honestly say the following things:

    1. I do not care for the media.

    2. I do not care if a player decides he will treat the media like they don’t exist. In fact, I like that.

    3. If I were a player only one or two reporters would be familiar with the sound of my voice. I would probably pick one or two guys who I respected and trusted and only speak to them and only when I really felt I had to.

    I wish the media had some understanding of how bad they suck. They seem to think it is them and the fans against the players and managers. I can’t speak for other fans, but I am with the players, not the scum media.

  13. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Jan 24, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    Who cares? Certainly not the baseball blogers as it gives them the chance to make up anything they want.

  14. xmatt0926x - Jan 24, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    I guess I’m just going to reinforce what everyone is already saying. Craig, if you knew the history of Eskin you wouldn’t even blink an eye when he acts like a clown. He’s a bad human being besides being a bad sports radio host. He’s generally viewed by listeners and his own peers as being just a nasty and miserable human being. His weekend sports co-host Vai Sikahema (ex-nfl player) once called him the most self-absorbed human being he had ever met and these two actually get along with eachother! Just listen to his radio station. His fellow radio hosts despise him universally.

  15. xmatt0926x - Jan 24, 2011 at 1:28 PM

    Ohh..and his supposed desire to be a conduit of the fans is far from sincere. again, if you listen to his show you will understand that he despises the fans and has no problem stating that. Everyone is a moron, a dope, or his all-time personal crack against anyone who is just a regular guy…”your a nobody trying to be somebody”.

  16. phillydano - Jan 24, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    Howard Eskin is a simple nitwit. Its a shame because his latest co-host, Ike Reese is actually pretty good on the radio. Its a great show when Eskin is on vacation and Anthony and Ike take over.

    Just tell Eskin that he is the “Burger King.” And everything will be okay.

    I will give credit to Eskin on the latest Lenny Dykstra interview…now that was good talk radio.

  17. macjacmccoy - Jan 24, 2011 at 2:22 PM

    I hate this guy and sorry Pearlman but I would tell him that to his face. Not only does he know nothing about baseball but he knows nothing about football hockey or basketball either. He is probably the most hated media member in Philly with Sal Pal a close 2nd. The guy just critisizes everything and never has a good word to say about anything that goes on in Philadelphia sports. Hes just another Skip Bayless a guy who knows nothing about sports and is only there to start drama.

  18. Old Gator - Jan 24, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    I find it stunning that so many of you are dismissing offhand so many of Eskin’s immense contributions to the wellbeing of mankind. For example:

    (1) The discovery that penicillin makes it safer to come home to your wife from a road trip;

    (2) The discovery that lycopene can result in horrifying physical transformations under a full moon;

    (3) The discovery that horrible horsemeat and velveeta sandwiches can cause gummy deposits to build up on the synapses of the nerve cells in the frontal lobes;

    (4) The discovery that the dinosaurs died out because God was pissed off at them;

    (5) The discovery that erythromyacin and tetracycline together make it even safer to come home to your wife from a road trip than penicillin does.

    These are not trifles. Show some respect.

  19. akismet-1d568e9ea576d7d59568adb44b74340f - Jan 24, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    So when did Chuck Norris become a two-bit TV sports news reported in Philly?

    • Jonny 5 - Jan 24, 2011 at 4:23 PM

      Chuck Norris will now have his beard hunt you down and kill you for saying that.

  20. markfrednubble - Jan 24, 2011 at 11:27 PM

    So I guess I am going to be the first one to comment with a different opinion. Not about this guy Eskin. I am not from Philly, never heard of him, couldn’t care less whether he’s a jerk.

    I think most of you are wrong about the issue of athletes communicating with the news media, probably because you are thinking about the wrong question. It’s not about the media. It’s about us, the fans. The media is there to bring us inside the game, inside an athlete’s motivation or thought process. Their access enriches our experience.

    Most of us do not watch our favorite teams with the mute button on, or show up at the stadium without tuning into sports radio or reading the sports section. Fans want layers of information and insight on their teams and players, from independent or quasi-independent “experts” — in other words, from the news media. I would ask all of you who say you don’t care if a player speaks to the media this question: do you gain insight that adds to your enjoyment of sports by reading or listening to managers or players being interviewed? Do you enjoy the athletes who are particularly colorful or insightful in the way they describe the game or a particular big play, who seem to sincerely open up? Yeah, I know most athletes are boring as hell when they talk and add very little to our enjoyment of the game with their cliches. But don’t we love the guys who are the exception? What if they all took this responsibility more seriously and cared more about communicating with the people who pay them?

    If you do care about any of that, that’s because the reporters who cover the teams were able to talk to the participants, develop some trust, and bring you those insights. It’s because that player or coach or manager cared enough about the fans to thoughtfully explain something or share his emotions after a great win or a tough loss. The smart ones recognize they can boost their own careers and earning power by taking this approach.

    Most professional athletes may believe their wealth and fame are direct results of their talents, that being able to throw a baseball 95 mph or hit one 400 feet are skills that are worth millions. That’s not true. Their fame and wealth occur because millions of fans like us buy the tickets and merchandise and patronize the TV and radio broadcasts that pay them. All that happens because a business model has been built over many decades by MLB, the owners and the news media to package this game and these athletes in ways that make for very compelling entertainment. We, the fans, collectively pay Roy Halladay.

    So I think athletes do owe something more than just their performance to the people who pay their salaries. For practical reasons, our proxy is the news media. If Halladay believes he doesn’t owe a sports writer or broadcaster the time of day, even the human decency of being polite, that’s up to him. But if he believes the logical extension of that — that he doesn’t owe these simple courtesies to the fans who pay his salary — then I think he is mistaken. Baseball management should do a better job of trying to educate these players about the business model they so richly live off.

    • Old Gator - Jan 25, 2011 at 12:27 AM

      Pigfeathers. You suffer from an exaggerated sense of entitlement. When you buy a ticket to a ballgame you buy a ticket to a ballgame, not to a reality show about the inner workings of the mind of Roy Halladay or any other athlete. The ballplayer owes you an obligation to leave everything he’s got on the field. He owes you doodly squat beyond that.You buy your ticket or subscribe to your cable channel, you don’t buy access to an athlete’s personal life or private thoughts. You don’t buy options to have your personal representatives ask an athlete the same idiotic questions over and over again for seven months of the year if not all of it. Would you pay forty bucks for a good seat to listen to Roy Halladay expound upon his work if he didn’t go out and pitch? Of course not. If Roy Halladay were getting shelled every time he stepped to the mound, or if some outfielder ran like he was mounted on a set of caterpillar treads and authored doubles out of singles with monotonous regularity, then batted .223 for the season with a few dozen ribbies and otherwise routinely advanced runners from first to the dugout, neither you nor the media would give a flying fark at a rolling doughnut what he thought about anything.

      Then there’s that wretched plaint by the media that guys like Halladay “don’t help them do their job.” Yes they do; it just that they do it through their performance, and the whining writers, lacking the imagination to detect and propagate the implicit narratives running within every game, think they need the athlete’s words to substitute for they own. Well, maybe they do need them, but that’s not the athlete’s problem. Halladay had his job to do, and I seriously doubt if he needed the writer to help him do it. Now then, let the writer shut up and do his.

      Now it’s all well and good if some ballplayers are voluble exhibitionists. Some of them are. Some don’t play well but entertain with their banter or even with their neuroses. Good on ’em. But what you get from those guys is a gift, not a return on your ticket investment. It’s not what you paid for. I once ran into Carlos Delgado at an art gallery in Macondo and we had a delightful chat about some Caribbean painters and writers. Made my week, But I certainly don’t feel like any ticket to a Feesh game I ever bought came with a special coupon good for one conversation with Carlos Delgado about Derek Wolcott. Maybe Mike Stanton has something interesting to say about something. But that’s not what I paid for. If I buy a ticket to a Feesh game (every once in a blue moon as long as Scrooge McLoria owns the team, anyway), I buy it to watch the Iron Giant crush a pitch into the third deck. Period. The rest is gratuitous; I hold no title to it, and neither do you or any other fan.

      • markfrednubble - Jan 25, 2011 at 10:38 AM

        First, amen on media people who whine about players not talking. They are a big reason why most people have the opinions we are seeing in these comments. Amen on reporters being able to do their jobs and having the stuff to analyze the games without needing the bland locker-room quotes. Agree totally on those points.

        It’s not about being entitled at all. My tickets come with exactly what you described, nothing more, in the most literal sense. I’m not saying Halladay has a contractual obligation to do anything but pitch. The way he pitches, fans are going to love him and keep paying him if he never speaks a word or acknowledges the fans at all. I am also not saying he’s a bad guy; maybe he has good reasons not to talk to the media, maybe he has other ways of being gracious to the people who pay him. I’m saying, if they all took his approach, it would hurt the sport and eventually erode the revenues that pay them so well. Professional sports is an entertainment industry, and the audience would be much tinier and less lucrative if it consisted only of the “purists” who care only to watch the game.

        I’m also saying that when you’re that fortunate — to make millions playing a game, or a guitar for that matter — you ought to have some class and be gracious to the people who help make that possible. And for all I know Halladay does that in many ways other than being interviewed, but talking to the fans through the media is the most efficient way to do it. I know in my career, I have done very well and I could easily say that’s because I’m so good at what I do, but I know I have been blessed with great opportunities, learned from great people, been with great companies, etc., and I have always tried to show gratitude and “give back” whenever I could. To me, one of the ways a successful athlete does that is by being generous and gracious with the time he gives to the fans. Just my opinion, but I flat-out don’t like athletes who refuse to see this as part of the job. And I flat-out don’t like people who don’t treat those around them with respect and courtesy. This is basically what happened to Manny Ramirez in Boston (and pretty much every other place he has played): once he stopped performing at a high level, his years of treating people poorly and disrespecting those around him left him with no goodwill in the bank. He is pretty much reviled. David Ortiz: pretty much the opposite. (There are contrary camps on both but I am describing the majority of fans, I think.) For the rest of his life, Big Papi can go anywhere in Boston and be adored. Manny, not so much.

        If you are a fan, I doubt your enjoyment comes only from what you watch with your eyes. Watching the game itself is indeed the best part of being a fan, no question. But it’s not the only part. What we learn from the coverage, the interviews, the pregame and postgame buzz, contributes to the experience, to our debates with our friends, and to why we love it. Some of that stuff is crap but some of it is useful and entertaining. The good stuff is greatly enhanced because some players and coaches share their insights and knowledge and emotions with the media, who pass it on directly or indirectly to us.

        Don’t tell me you don’t have any writers or commentators whose analysis or reporting you value. Whichever ones you choose to read or pay attention to, I guarantee you they get some portion (likely a large portion) of their insight by talking to the athletes and coaches and executives they cover. Some of my favorites are Peter Gammons, Peter King, Boomer Esiason, Ron Jaworski, and the guy whose blog we are on, Craig Calcaterra. I don’t know about all of them but I am sure most of them (including the former athletes) get a lot of insight to share with us from the athletes and the coaches and GMs. It helps build their knowledge even when they don’t quote the source directly. That “inside stuff” and the way they filter it is part of the whole fan experience for me, and I think for most fans.

        What if you were a Bears fan and none of the players or coaches would talk to the media about Jay Cutler’s injury? Those people saw their Super Bowl dreams crushed when Cutler left the game. They want to know why, and could he have played through it. God bless Urlacher for standing up for his teammate. What if Cliff Lee refused to even explain to the public why he signed with the Phillies? You’d still be thrilled the Phillies got him, but I bet most fans love this guy all the more because of what he said and how he made his decision. How would Patriots fans have made sense of that botched fake punt if some of the participants hadn’t provided some explanation of why it was called and how it happened? Life would go on, people would still root for their teams, but over time the model would not hold up and fan support would decline.

        I just think that players hurt themselves (which they have every right to do), and their sport if they are important players, by refusing to talk to the public and narrate their own heroics a little bit.

      • Old Gator - Jan 25, 2011 at 11:47 AM

        I appreciate this dialoge. It’s uncharacteristically civil for this place but I’ll get over that (which might be good therapy with a two week trip to visit my beloved mother in law looming).

        As I understand it, nearly all MLB teams do have some sort of counseling program for young ballplayers entering the show, as well as for veterans traded in, about (a) how to handle the media – the good ones as well as the idiots – and (b) they usually get some sort of discussion over lunch about what the team expects from them by way of community relations. In the case of guys who just like to keep work and private life separate (which is not an exclusive inclination of athletes), they’re at least put on notice what sort of shenanigans won’t be tolerated. There’s an “employees handbook,” hard copy or implicit, that goes with every job – even if it isn’t as nonsensical as that Swiss bank’s version. So I guess we could say that point is moot anyway.

        I would also separate an athlete’s obligation to talk about the game per se from talking about personal matters.

        On one hand, if a guy’s had a bad game, there’s a crowd that gets off on watching him squirm – journalists as well as readers – back in the locker room. It does nothing for me to watch this, and I don’t think more or less highly of a guy because he does or doesn’t want to flagellate himself over a booted ball or missing a sign or running through the third base coach and delivering himself up to Moloch in a chest protector. Postgame interviews as a rule oscillate between acute sadism (Howard Cosell interviewing the assassinated dictator in Bananas) and a vomit of cliches (cliches are your friend, Nuke…) anyway. Next: If you’ve ever passed through a supermarket checkout and happened to scan all the wretched cover stories and photos on the tabloid rack – and for Buddha’s sake, why do they have to mingle that garbage with my food? – you know that there’s a widespread mentality that we are indeed entitled to peer into people’s private anguish and peccadilloes. Hell of a market, that. We’re kinda conditioned by it. There are sports reporters keyed into this repugnant cant of mind, like, say, the obnoxious Mr. Chass and his obsession with Mike Piazza’s acne. It’s often bothered me that a reporter is allowed to slander guys like that but that Piazza’s not entitled to tear his head off and stuff it up his ass for the privilege. But there you have it. Athletes do, however, have their silence as equalizers. I don’t think we should begrudge them the option.

        If an athlete wants to sit for an ESPN interview and talk his life over, fine – if he’s a raconteur at heart and can spin a yarn, I’m all for it. If he doesn’t want to sit, fine too. Just don’t go out there tomorrow and miss the cutoff man, okay?

  21. schmedley69 - Jan 24, 2011 at 11:49 PM

    Howard Eskin, The Burger King:

  22. deathtoallpoets - Jan 25, 2011 at 12:12 AM

    wow, this guy needs to get real. what does halladay need to say? he’s always been a guy who does all his talking on the mound. i’m sick of guys in the media, especially in football who run there mouths all day, and need the spot light on them all day long. roy halladay doesn’t owe the media anything. he’ll do his talking come april.

    Go Brewers!

  23. markfrednubble - Jan 25, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    Old Gator, I’m not talking about athletes revealing their personal lives at all. I’m just talking about athletes sharing their “version” of what we just saw them do or not do, an extension of the already public display for which they’re paid. OK, it’s not usually that insightful, and you’re more cynical than I am I guess. But it can be, and it can provide us greater appreciation for the player. Plenty often, it is and does.

    Here is the imaginary conversation I would hope that an athlete has inside his own head:

    “Man, I can’t believe I’m supposed to come off the field after an intense game and have to answer these stupid questions from these dorky press guys. I’m a ballplayer, not an after-dinner speaker. And I’m tired, and I just threw 130 pitches in a complete game. If I say one thing that someone perceives as controversial, or I get misquoted, then I have to deal with days of stupid headlines and that crap. If I don’t say anything they think is interesting, they’ll say I’m boring. Then again, I’m gettin’ paid millions of dollars to do this. Everywhere I go in this city people wave to me and shout my name and say all these nice things about me. They buy shirts with my name on them by the thousands. Even if I retire next month, for the rest of my life people will pay me just to show up at places. What a life. I guess it’s not that much of a sacrifice to take 15 minutes after the game and describe a few of the plays that are fresh in my mind. I can make sure people don’t forget the huge play our catcher made to save a run in the eighth inning. Maybe my teammates will appreciate that if I do some interviews, they’ll be left alone for tonight. Not really much of a burden.”

    You mean to tell me Halladay can get paid to do an autograph signing, and can’t stand there in front of a camera for 30 seconds and say how excited he is to get to spring training, how great it is to have Lee back on the team? I get that this example doesn’t matter and people seem to dislike the broadcaster. But I think the larger point is important if you care about sports.

    OK, I have taken enough space and time here so I might as well finish with something interesting. From Peter King’s MMQB, a little anecdote that I found cool. And he can tell it because an NFL head coach took a few minutes to tell the story.

    Now for a Paul Harveyish factoid:

    In the summer of 1989, a small-college tight end from Baker (Kansas) University came home to Pittsburgh to begin a coaching career. He found his way onto the staff at the University of Pittsburgh as an unpaid grad assistant. To support himself, he worked the midnight-to-8 a.m. shift in the toll booth at Exit 5 of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (the Allegheny Valley exit), 25 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. His dad, a firefighter, police officer and bar owner near a dying steel mill, raised him to be tough, respectful, hard-working and — a Steeler fan. Which he was, loving the Steelers as a teenager when they won their four Super Bowls in the ’70s.

    The toll-taker, Mike McCarthy, will try to break the hearts of everyone back home. He’s the Green Bay coach.

    And now you know the rest … of the story.

    Read more:

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