Saturday, February 5, 2011

Observations of the Bochey/Sabean Press Conference

Caution head is bigger in person then
 it appears in this photograph
Bruce Bochey and Brain Sabean are going to be sticking around for another couple of years, not a huge revelation as they are coming off a World Series title so it only makes sense. If you want the specifics and the hard news about it you can read Henry Schulman's report who is a surprisingly sloppy looking fellow, what I will give you is a little running commentary of what goes on that you don't normally see in the news reports.

First off the press conference is down at the field level in the bowels of the stadium, so the Giants PR folks rounded up all of the media and herded us down from the suite level so things could get started. I was in an elevator with Tim Kawakami and some camera guys.

The first thing I noticed was Kawakami is a pretty tiny guy (for some reason I have this tendency of thinking that people I have never met are bigger then they really are. I am not sure what it is but I am always disappointed when they turn out smaller) and my general impression is that he is a bit of a sour puss (now he may be a perfectly lovely guy but at least in my tiny bit of interaction that was the impression I got). Everyone was making small talk when Kawakami let it slip how he felt about us bloggers.

Now a little back story before we get to far, this to the best of my knowledge was the first time that the Giants had invited bloggers to be a part of any of their formal media events. So this was new territory for the bloggers present and for the media members who don't normally have to rub elbows with us salt of the earth types.

Continuing on, Kawakami let it be known how he felt about the masses wielding tools of mass communication, he joked "pretty soon it (baseball writing) will all be done by 8 year olds talking about what they saw on TV last night and complaining about what they feel." I guess he didn't realize that I wasn't one of the unwashed masses and that he fell for my disguise.

So to say the least when I got off the elevator and walked into the press room I wasn't feeling too welcomed by the establishment. From here there is a little more not feeling welcome as the room was divided into little cliques. The AP guys up in the front left, the Chronicle writers in the front right, the Mercury News people on the right edge of the room, the CSN Bay Area guys hanging around in the middle and Jeff Fletcher kind of in the front middle by himself. The separation reminded me of what goes on in High School with each person belonging to his or her own group and not really straying from that.

Now that everyone is ready the stars of the show walk in, Brain Sabean in his leather jacket, Bill Neukom in his signature bow tie and Bruce Bochey putting on a nicer coat to cover up his dingy polo shirt for the cameras.

The one thing that you notice right away with Bochey is that his head is enormous. I am sure that this is not the first time that you have heard this but man it is big and it just doesn't translate on TV the same way it does in person. It is one of those things that you really have to make an effort not to stop and stare mouth agape. The giant dome though must be filled with wisdom and managerial secrets because during the playoffs he was on a crazy hot streak with his decisions.

All three men sit down and the cameras start rolling on we are under way. Before the press conference began everyone was given a press release so the details are already known so there is no big revelations. Neukom is a fine public speaker but let's be honest this isn't exactly riveting stuff so I let my eyes wonder around the room soaking everything in.

He looked into my soul and didn't like what he saw.
(picture stolen ruthlessly from
As I am doing this and watching everyone I turn to Sabean who has the stoic look off into the distance and project confidence while your boos says good things about you look down pat. I could learn a few thing from him about that but I guess that is something that comes with being the longest tenured GM in baseball. I am about to turn away when our eyes meet, we have a moment where we are just staring into each others eyes and then I feel something.

It feels as if Sabean is looking deep into my soul and then he realizes that I am a part of the crazed "lunatic fringe" he soft loving gaze turned in an instant to a burning glare. I quickly diverted my glance and was sure not to look directly into the eyes of Sabean for the rest of the press conference.

Mr. Neukom finishes with heaps of well deserved praise for both men and then he starts clapping but outside of the Giants staff along the wall it is crickets in the room. I guess the media in their effort to be impartial don't even show the social niceties of clapping to fill awkward silence after a speech.

When Nuekom was done clapping for himself the question period began. There was nothing specular here  just your run of the mill questions to try to get a little more details and asking the quote generating questions for both guys that writers use to fill out their stories. What was most surprising was how little effort goes into generating the cliché response and how little the reporters challenge them to give a more honest and candid response.

I asked some of the players about this, I was wondering if the practiced them or if they had one particular go to that they liked. All of the players insisted that there was truth to using them and that they didn't practice them but it is a good way to communicate things that are not easy to put into words.

With the questions answered the press conference came to an end. There was no new big breaking revelation but that was the expectation. This was just the under card for the up coming talk with Pablo Sandoval who caused a bit of a media circus.

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