DIARY: During playoffs, speak softly and carry big stick, uh, bat

Major League Baseball sent out a powerful message to its owners, teams and spokespeople during this year’s three-week stretch of playoffs: shut up!

Major League Baseball sent out a powerful message to its owners, teams and spokespeople during this year’s three-week stretch of playoffs: shut up!

Major League Baseball sent out a powerful message to its owners,

teams and spokespeople during this year’s three-week stretch of

playoffs: shut up!



Not wanting to detract attention from the action on the field (perhaps

justifiable paranoia after losing the 1994 series to a player’s strike

and the decline of TV ratings), the league once again ordered its

members to keep quiet during the playoffs. This meant, among other

things, a ban on announcements of player moves, manager hirings/firings

or front-office shakeups.



Baseball execs - especially those from teams who haven’t made the

playoffs and need to keep their fans involved - have long expressed

frustration with the quiet period. But this was the first year in recent

memory where the policy broke down, with two off-the-field happenings

giving rise to more intrigue than the games themselves.



First, the Chicago Cubs accidentally let news of the hiring of manager

Don Baylor slip, posting it on the team web site nearly two weeks before

the league-sanctioned date.



Then, the grand unveiling of the league’s all-century team was

diminished when NBC reporter Jim Gray badgered Pete Rose (banned from

the game for life due to gambling allegations) during an on-field

interview. The NY Yankees’ Chad Curtis kept Gray’s ambush top-of-mind by

refusing - on camera - to talk with the reporter after hitting a

game-winning home run.



Maybe the league’s Powers That Be are right: some things are better left

unsaid.



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