Ervin Santana and His Critics – Ervin Gets Backup


Francisco Rodriguez seems to be the latest Angels’ Latin player to blow off the beat writers.

I was in Florida for Ervin Santana’s last start Saturday night, but he seems to have done well enough that Matt Hurst of the Riverside Press-Enterprise sheathed his poison pen for the night.

Ervin’s cold war with the press may have brought him new allies.

Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times reported that Francisco Rodriguez is the latest Angels’ Latin pitcher to snap at the press. After reporters questioned him about his blown save Friday night, Rodriguez replied:

I’m not getting the job done," Rodriguez said. "That’s all you guys want to hear. That’s all I’ve got to say. Thank you."

Bolch reported that, "Rodriguez later appeared to soften, calling one reporter who regularly covers the team over to his clubhouse locker for a lengthy discussion."

Just who that reporter was remains unnamed, although Orange County Register sports columnist Mark Whicker published today a lengthy article about Rodriguez and his distant persona.

Register columnist Jeff Miller published an article today suggesting that Angels players are reluctant these days when interviewed by the press. Miller notes that the Latin players in particular tend to give interviews only through a translator, although most of them speak English just fine.

Meanwhile, MLB.com reports that Santana will go to the bullpen temporarily while Bartolo Colon gets the start Friday night at Chicago. Ervin’s response came through "translator" Kelvim Escobar. "I’m going to be ready when they need me."

Media hubris aside, the Angels continue to cruise towards the playoffs, and I guess I should be the first one to suggest that Angels GM Bill Stoneman be voted Executive of the Year. But that’ll have to wait until another column.

1 Comment

“Ervin’s cold war with the press may have brought him new allies.”

GOOD!

Excellence in team sports favors group identity over individual desires. It means that a good teammate does not expose another teammate for the sake of a story. On the other hand, a good journalist is supposed to report the truth—the good, the bad and the ugly. These are roles with conflicting obligations. Which is why athletes occasionally get burned when they treat reporters as confidantes.

Regardless how much we might wish (or pretend) otherwise, we writers and fans are not Ervin’s teammates. It means that beat-writer blogs claiming to be an “Insider’s Look” are rarely more than oversold promises and wannabe ego. Either they’re not telling everything they know, or more likely, not getting anything special.

Players are boring to interview? What has media presence got do with baseball? More to the point, the inability to tell an interesting story is a failing of our ATHLETES? Am I really supposed to care less about Jeff Mathis’ ability to handle pitchers and more that his locker “looks like the aisle at the grocery store you try to avoid. … packages of Snickers and Oreos, boxes of ‘Nilla Wafers and Little Debbie’s Honey Buns…”?

I’m being a tad hyperbolic here. The last example was in fact a nice hook for the story—the high-caloric fuel for Jeff’s iron-man schedule. Nonetheless, wouldn’t it be wonderful if SPORTS reporters spent more time talking about the GAME, instead of the GOSSIP?

Heavens, what a concept.

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