Sep 18, 2013, 4:00 PM EST
Here’s a fun little inside baseball media secret: players occasionally make themselves available for interviews in exchange for being allowed to talk about some marketing initiative or product they’re shilling or what have you.
It happens more than you might know. While, on some level, yes, you can view it as a quid pro quo, it’s a pretty harmless one usually. The player will sit and answer all of the questions you have for them and be a total pro about it. Then they’ll usually get a minute or two to talk about whatever it is they’re promoting. It’s not terribly different than an actor going on a late night talk show to talk about their new movie, an author talking about a book or what have you. Sure, it’s not as direct — we watch the actor because they’re actors so we expect them to talk about movies — but it’s still a matter of commerce. As long as everyone’s being up front about it and the people doing the interviews don’t become blatant shills themselves it doesn’t bother me. And normally the athlete understands the competing needs and is good about being smooth about it all.
I did one of these with Matt Cain on HBT Extra a couple of years ago. It was an awful interview because Matt Cain wasn’t all that interesting and I wasn’t too good an interviewer, but I talked to him about baseball and he talked to me about some whatever the hell it was I can’t even remember and we all lived to fight another day.
Today Matt Harvey was making those rounds. While a lot of media outlets can and do ignore ballplayers on promotional interviews, Matt Harvey is in the news this week with his Tommy John-or-not-Tommy John decision, so he he was a much more tempting target. And one of the biggest names in the business had him on his show: Dan Patrick. The appearance did not go well, however, as Harvey actively resisted legitimate baseball questions and kept trying to steer things back to the product he was promoting in a rather hamfisted manner. It didn’t make him look that great:
Really, you can practically hear the publicist in his ear telling him to pitch the product.
Since that interview aired this morning Harvey has been raked over the coals. Which normally would make me smirk a bit, but today made me nervous. For you see: I was scheduled to interview Harvey myself at 2:30pm. And I’m nowhere near as good as Dan Patrick at cutting through the baloney, so I feared it would be a train wreck. How could I sit there and let him not talk about baseball? How would I actually say the words “Tommy John” or “rehab” without having to deal with the kind of silliness he pulled on Patrick.
Ultimately it didn’t matter. For one thing, Harvey apparently told that publicist to pound sand. While talking to Jim Rome later in the day he apologized for his behavior on the Patrick show. Then he took to Twitter to apologize as well:
I’ve had a few rough outings on the mound, that was a rough outing on the radio this morning…
— Matt Harvey (@MattHarvey33) September 18, 2013
— Matt Harvey (@MattHarvey33) September 18, 2013
Then: a technical glitch caused me to miss my interview window with Harvey, keeping me from asking him about how that Patrick thing went but also preventing some awkward transitions between his elbow and the stuff he was promoting. I will note that we could hear him talking to some other interviewer and he was talking about baseball and elbows and all of the things we really care about.
For what it’s worth, the thing he’s pitching is something to do with Qualcomm’s Fantasking initiative, which does, I dunno, something, to encourage fans to watch games while using their smart phones and tablets and generally being ultra-plugged in all the time.
Given how swiftly and adeptly fans took to digital platforms to excoriate Harvey for his blatant shilling on the Patrick show this morning, however, I feel like there isn’t much need to encourage fans to mutlitask when it comes to watching Matt Harvey. They’re fiercely good at it already.
Dec 10, 2013, 8:29 AM EST
Every year we get a report that Mark Prior is working out, hoping to make a major league comeback after years of injuries. No more. Andrew Simon of MLB.com reports that the former Cubs phenom is calling it quits: After a series of injuries and several comeback attempts, it appears Mark Prior is ready to…
Dec 10, 2013, 8:11 AM EST
A true sign that the Winter Meetings are snoozeville: we’re already seeing January BSOHL stories. Case in point, Buster Posey, who is lifting weights and stuff: When the Giants training staff checked in with Buster Posey recently, the former National League MVP had a goal in mind. “He’s trying to get a little stronger in…
Dec 10, 2013, 7:03 AM EST
Jon Heyman reports that the Mariners believe David Price “would be theirs” if they agree to include Taijuan Walker in a trade but that, welp, they don’t want to include Walker in a trade. Or James Paxton for that matter. Rather, they’d like to build a trade for Price around position players. Presumably Dustin Ackley…
Dec 9, 2013, 11:57 PM EST
After accepting minor league deals in seven straight years, free agent reliever Jamey Wright appears primed to receive a major league contract this winter. According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Wright is currently deciding whether to return to the Rays for another season or sign with the Dodgers, who he pitched with in 2012. The…
Dec 9, 2013, 11:27 PM EST
We have seen some conflicting reports in recent days about whether the Rakuten Golden Eagles will post much-hyped right-hander Masahiro Tanaka this winter, but Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports brings word on why there could finally be some clarity on the situation this week: The will-he-or-won’t-he question may find resolution in the next couple of…
Dec 9, 2013, 10:23 PM EST
It was reported last month that Justin Masterson was open to a long-term deal with the Indians, but FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal hears that the team is willing to listen to trade offers. Masterson is just one year away from free agency, so the Indians would prefer pieces that they can control for the long-term.…
Dec 9, 2013, 9:35 PM EST
Mark Prior has attempted numerous comebacks in recent years, but the oft-injured right-hander told Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press earlier today that he has officially retired and could accept a front office position with the Padres. Prior, now 33, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2006. He made seven relief appearances with…
Dec 9, 2013, 9:13 PM EST
Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times has been checking in all day with updates from the Winter Meetings in Orlando. Earlier this evening, he unleashed this interesting little nugget: There are rumors that free agent outfielder Nelson Cruz turned down the Mariners’ offer of 5-years, $75 million. That’s a lot of money for a guy…
Dec 9, 2013, 8:33 PM EST
It’s been suspected all offseason that the Mets would shop second baseman Daniel Murphy and Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports hears that they are pushing “very hard” to move him at this week’s Winter Meetings. Nothing appears imminent, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Orioles are among the teams who…
Dec 9, 2013, 8:16 PM EST
Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Phillies reliever Mike Adams recently required surgery to repair a sports hernia, which is a fitting end to a disappointing year. Adams joined the Phillies last offseason on a two-year, $12 million contract, but he made just 28 appearances prior to undergoing surgery in July to repair…
Dec 9, 2013, 7:50 PM EST
There was renewed chatter over the weekend about the Red Sox possibly making a play for Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, but Rob Bradford of WEEI.com hears from major league sources that there’s “nothing to” the reports. In fact two sources said the two sides have “barely touched base.” Kemp’s agent, Dave Stewart, told Dylan Hernandez…
Dec 9, 2013, 7:35 PM EST
This is Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval as he appeared last season. This is Pablo Sandoval now, courtesy of a pic he posted on twitter this afternoon. Now, the shirt is a kinda baggy. There’s probably still some flab hiding under there. But at the rate he’s going, there might not be for much longer.…
Dec 9, 2013, 7:17 PM EST
With Robinson Cano and Jacoby Ellsbury off the board, Shin-Soo Choo is the biggest name remaining in the free agent market. And it sounds like he could find a new home during this week’s Winter Meetings in Orlando, Florida: Sources: Choo talks appear to be reaching critical stage. #Rangers, at least one other club in.—…
Dec 9, 2013, 6:59 PM EST
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent right-hander Jason Hammel is looking for a three- or four-year deal in free agency. This is an excellent market for starting pitching, with Phil Hughes and Scott Feldman both recently receiving three-year deals, but it’s not that good. While Hammel was one of the Orioles’ best starters in…
Dec 9, 2013, 6:43 PM EST
Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto has routinely downplayed a potential trade of Mark Trumbo so far this offseason, but things are heating up at the Winter Meetings in Orlando. Sources: Chances of Trumbo trade increasing. #Angels more open. #Dbacks pushing. Other teams in, all with improving offers.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 09, 2013 The Diamondbacks…
Dec 9, 2013, 6:29 PM EST
The Cubs are one of a handful of clubs without a closer and it appears that they could turn to the trade market to fill the role. According to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cubs are eying deals for Nationals relievers Drew Storen or Tyler Clippard among other possibilities. Adam Kilgore of the…
Dec 9, 2013, 6:15 PM EST
Danny Espinosa lost his starting second base job to Anthony Rendon this past season and now he could be on the move. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the Nationals are listening to offers on the 26-year-old infielder. Espinosa attempted to play through wrist and shoulder injuries in 2013 while batting just .158/.193/.272 with…
Dec 9, 2013, 5:49 PM EST
According to FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi, the Blue Jays and Rangers were involved in a three-team deal last month that would have sent reliever Sergio Santos to Texas, but that the deal fell apart because another player failed his physical. Santos would have helped make up for the loss of Joe Nathan to Detroit. He missed…
Dec 9, 2013, 5:30 PM EST
A’s starter Brett Anderson is the subject of a lot of rumors lately. Brett Anderson is also a pretty heavy Twitter user. That leads to things like this: .@Joelsherman1 so I’m like the morning-after pill? — Brett Anderson (@BrettAnderson49) December 9, 2013 Pretty slick, Brett. I also feel like if I were the subject…
Dec 9, 2013, 5:15 PM EST
After two seasons as a below average starter, Wade Davis broke through as a reliever for the Rays in 2012, amassing a 2.43 ERA and striking out 87 in 70 1/3 innings. The Royals plan after picking him up in the James Shields-Wil Myers trade? Move him back to the rotation. Luke Hochevar was a…
- Mark Prior is retiring, will take a job with the Padres 0
- Roy Halladay is retiring 53
- Tony La Russa Bobby Cox, Joe Torre all unanimously elected to the Hall of Fame 48
- Tony Blengino says recent report on Seattle front office is “just the tip of the iceberg” 61
- Rakuten Golden Eagles appear likely to allow Masahiro Tanaka’s departure to MLB 49
- Robinson Cano agrees to $240 million deal with Mariners (260)
- Yankees agree to seven-year, $153M contract with free agent outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury (160)
- Report: Mariners willing to offer Robinson Cano a 10-year, $240 million deal (143)
- Report: Yankees have agreed to a three-year deal with Carlos Beltran (125)
- Brett Gardner is drawing “significant” trade interest (112)