NEW YORK: When the Baseball Hall of Fame cancelled an event because of his antiwar views, actor Tim Robbins hired Dan Klores Communications to turn the story on the Hall.
Acting quickly after the AP got wind of the Hall's decision to cancel a 15th anniversary celebration of the film Bull Durham, Klores was able to get a letter penned by Robbins into the wire story. He also got an agreement from the writer that he would use as much of Robbins' retort as he would the Hall's original letter.
"I knew that unless we respond and get it in there, it's going to be a one-sided story," Klores said. "And it wasn't a one-sided story. We usurped it."
Klores then blasted his letter, along with the Hall's letter to Robbins announcing the decision, to news organizations across the country. He also made Robbins available to the media in the days after the blow-up.
From then on, the hits just kept on coming.
News stories in major media outlets followed, along with editorials lambasting the Hall. The LA Times went so far as to compare its president, Dale Petroskey, to Robbins' wild starting pitcher in Bull Durham, Nuke LaLoosh. "It turns out that his delivery can be as off-target as young LaLoosh," the Times said of Petroskey, who was formerly an assistant press secretary in the Reagan administration. The New York Times called him a "knucklehead" in an editorial.
In the face of widespread criticism, the Hall's response was minimal. Petroskey rejected most interview requests, and then offered a muted explanation, saying that the reason for the move - to avoid running the risk of politicizing the Hall - hadn't been explained.
That didn't make much of a dent in the coverage. Instead, the media latched on to other parts of the fallout, such as legendary baseball writer Roger Kahn's withdrawal from a separate Hall event and Major League Baseball's removal of Petroskey from the initial regular-season game played in Puerto Rico, where he was to throw out the first pitch.