When it comes to the media relations policies of Major League Baseball and the Chicago Cubs,
I tend to think of a famous statement usually attributed to Pastor
Martin Niemöller. It's about the compliance of German intellectuals
during the Nazi rise to power and the establishment's successive
elimination of chosen demographics.
They came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up
Ed Nickow from Chicago Sports in Haiku, summed up what went down:
Earlier this year, MLB
Advanced Media sent a cease and desist letter demanding that Cubscast
stop podcasting, take down their website, and transfer the domain name
Basically, this is censorship and message control that would make the old Soviet Union proud.
And now, because a fan-produced podcast
uses the Cubs name and colors (yes, they complained that the Cubscast
website used a blue and red theme) we have lost one of the best, and
most entertaining, fan podcasts.
Here's how Lou put it in his letter to Cubscast listeners:
Of all the things an organization with such great resources as
Major League Baseball can do, this seems like a low note and a waste
of talent to me. I love baseball, but I wish they would move quickly to
embrace fan involvement, fan communities, and technology. Other
leagues such as the NBA
are setting the bar high, and baseball has some serious catching up to
do. Watching a great sport like baseball is one thing, but being
connected to other fans makes watching and experiencing a season a
thousand times better.
defense my Chicago Now brothers. Even more chilling, and hitting closer
to home was this sentence:
"my fellow ChicagoNow blogger Julie DiCaro has complained, many teams (including the Cubs) really haven't figured out how to treat bloggers when it comes to access."
as a "body of water." Actually, the Cubs already "came for me," in a
different sort of way.
I originally published on the Washington Times Communities. When you
see my comment about Zambrano bear in mind that two weeks after I wrote
it, he had his childish hissy fit in the Crosstown series.
credential, and I was allowed to enter the conference room, where the
Cubs brought out manager Lou Piniella and Ryan Dempster. Every other
media member was granted access to the clubhouse and the opportunity to
converse with other players. I was not.
piece like a Muslim fundamentalist thinks of Salman Rushdie's "Satanic
Verses." (Ok, bit of an exaggeration obviously, but they weren't
pleased) They sent a letter to my editor at the Times. And then denied
every other credential request my publication made on behalf of me that
summer. The letter said:
"This is definitely not the type of article I would've
expected after we spoke during Spring Training and the beginning of the
regular season. I can completely see how the Brewers could see this more as a blog than an article."
What are you in 7th grade? "Everyone else is doing it...I need to fit in."
type of feature story you'd see in a newspaper. I actually thought it
was way too fawning for a story about a $150 million ballclub that spent
most of the season long out of contention. And gave me substandard
in any Medill journalism class any time soon, but when it comes to
content generated from attending the game, I'm all business all the
time. Anything I produce as a direct result of being credentialed will
be professional enough for the AP!
which I'll possibly share at another time. Because I know another
incident like this is going to happen soon. Maybe they'll come for you
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest webzine. He's also a regular contributor to the Tribune's Chicago Now network, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com
You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank
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