LAST CALL: Knowing PR game makes Siroty a hit

For the PR pro whose blood, sweat, and tears can be found in articles under the byline of a journalist, here's a tale of how one man's PR experience landed him a great story, recognition, and the know-how to promote it.

For the PR pro whose blood, sweat, and tears can be found in articles under the byline of a journalist, here's a tale of how one man's PR experience landed him a great story, recognition, and the know-how to promote it.

Dave Siroty, a New York Mets fan and manager of the Syracuse Orangemen basketball team, wanted to be a sportswriter, until he landed a college internship at the Big East Conference doing PR and media relations.

"I saw how journalists looked for controversy, he said, "and I saw how my friends reacted to what was written. PR was a way for him to promote the good in sports instead of looking for the bad, he continued.

Siroty's snappily-titled book, The Hit Men and the Kid Who Batted Ninth - Biggio, Valentin, Vaughn, & Robinson: Together Again in the Big Leagues, which hit shelves on July 1, highlights the careers of four Seton Hall University baseball teammates in the late 1980s who went on to the major leagues - three as players, one as a scouting director.

Siroty got the story from his time with the Seton Hall athletic department PR arm, coaching star players through interviews.

"I taught them honesty, that a relationship with a reporter is important, he said. "Now they can do it in their sleep."

Though he has a publicist, Siroty knows how to play the PR game, noting that his subjects and friends were able to connect him to the right audience.

"Rather than trying to get on sports talk shows, he said, "I recognized that Marteese (Robinson) is better for them because he can talk about prospects in a team system, and then promote the book. He's more valuable."

Siroty knew that the key to a good book is a good story, and therefore chose to write about the years before the majors, and their lives outside of baseball. He also highlights the players' devotion to helping kids with cancer.

"As a PR guy, you know what people want to read, and these people's major league lives have been covered ad nauseam, he said. "It's how they got there, and what they accomplished."

And how did he find the time to write the book?

"I was crazy, he said. "I did it at night, used my vacation time. I'm a PR guy who just can't quit."

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