Upset because reporters had revealed information he was trying to keep secret, Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price on Monday launched into a 5 ½-minute pregame tirade. He shouted the F-word or a synonym 77 times.
It was vintage Leo Durocher (1960s-70s) or Tommy Lasorda (1980s) or Hal McRae (2006). According to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Trent Rosecrans, who recorded the speech (See Link below if you want to hear it), Price also spoke knowingly about excrement, be it human (8 times), bovine (twice) or equine (once).
The incident was prompted, at least in large part, by Rosecrans’ article that mentioned All-Star catcher Devin Mesoraco not being with the team in St, Louis because of “personal reasons.” Even though no other details were stated, Price thought that was too much information, that the opponents could use it to their tactical advantage.
Price was hoping the St. Louis Cardinals would assume Mesoraco was present and available as a pinch hitter. “It doesn’t help us,” Price said, “if our opponents know who’s here and who isn’t.”
Price asked why Rosecrans felt compelled to write the story. “Because, as a fan, I’m wondering ‘Here’s a spot for Devin Mesoraco. Why isn’t he there?’”
Rosecrans knew that if he did not include that quite newsworthy item, other media outlets would beat him to the story. It would be on radio, perhaps even on television. At any rate, it would be tweeting all over the place.
Rosecrans turned out to be right. Much of Cincinnati knew that Mesoraco was not with the team, even before the newspapers rolled from the presses.
The Enquirer reporter also annoyed Price by writing that catcher Tucker Barnhart was on a flight to St. Louis before Price told another catcher, the unfortunately named Kyle Skipworth, that he was being demoted.
Probably, most of all, Price was angry because Sunday’s loss was the fourth straight by the Reds and seventh in eight games.
But of course, the reporters hanging around and spreading the gloom make an easy scapegoat.
“I don’t need you guys to be fans of the Reds,” Price said to a group of reporters after television cameras had departed his office. “I just need to know if there’s something we want to keep here, it stays here.”
The problem here is that Price, who is 52, is living in the 1990s. That was a time when a manager would chat with a handful of newspaper reporters before the game and disclose injury information and personnel decisions, with the understanding – sometimes explicitly stated, sometimes not – that the information would not go public until the next morning.
Times began to change as sports talk radio became more prominent, and many newspaper reporters also found lucrative part-time jobs on talk radio. About the same time the boom in national televised sports programming – the rise of ESPN – lifted any veil of secrecy behind which a baseball manager could hide.
Then, by the turn of the century, social media brought yet another level of exposure, wanted and otherwise.
With all the social media and smart-phone technology available today, there’s no keeping secrets with traditional media. Many reporters will tweet out stories before they print them or appear on radio or television to tell them.
All a manager can do is change with the times. Whose fault was it that Cincinnati reporters were told about a player’s demotion before the player himself was told?
Click here for Link to audio and AL.com article, “Cincinnati Reds Manager Bryan Price drops 77 f-bombs . . . ”