For the second part of our discussion on Living on the Black (sorry for taking so long to post it), I wanted to talk about athletes and the media.
Did any of the quotes that John Feinstein gathered from the players and managers surprise you? Did any seem more insightful than what every other reporter collects in a postgame interview?
I wonder if active players, and especially active players who are considering playing another season or two, can possibly give a reporter access to their approach to the game? The pitchers guard their scouting reports, the coaches will never say a negative thing about a guy, the managers give the same vanilla accounts of every game.
I also feel that, for the die hard fan, there is such an oversaturation of coverage that releasing a book the next season, large chunks of the book are re-hash. I'm reading through Mussina's half of the book, and I remember these game. Some of the quotes Feinstein uses, I remember reading other places when they were fresh. Because I don't follow the NL very closely, the Glavine half is more engaging.
Maybe that says more about me, as a reader, than it says about Feinstein's work; the baseball books I've most enjoyed have always been the ones about the game before my lifetime.
But that's another angle on the issue: when Babe Ruth ran naked through the writer's car, chased by an angry woman, the writers turned to each other and said, "There's one more story we're never gonna write." (I forget which Babe book I read that in, maybe The Big Bam?). But they had access and a camaraderie with the players that is completely foreign to the modern game.
If I'm a decent ball player in 1950, I have to play nice with the media at least some of the time, because I need them to lionize me; my reputation is just about my only leverage in contract negotiations. In the modern era, I have an agent to build binders showing that I'm a legendary player; if I want to communicate with the fans, I open a Twitter feed. In the modern era, no reporter ever did me a favor with his coverage, so why would I ever do him a favor in revealing my strengths and weaknesses?
What are your thoughts?