I turned 50 last year and so began what I believe will be my last full decade of full-time employment in the public relations field, i.e. I really, really do NOT want to be still running around like a maniac 24-7 dealing with media queries and Twitter postings and websites, oh my, at the age of 70.
That being said, even now I have begun to contemplate what my…dare I say the word…RETIREMENT…might be like.
My guess is I’ll be as busy if not busier once I officially power down the computer and pass along my priceless list of media contacts to the next person to flop down in my office chair. I have a novel—actually a trilogy of novels—I’ve been wanting to write in earnest since the mid-1980s. I also plan to pursue my acting career and go out on a lot more auditions. I may keep teaching. And I’ll be spending a lot of time with my will-be-my-wife-by-that-time, Tina. We hope to travel a lot. Toss in time for gym, fencing, and attending plays, that’s a pretty full schedule.
But there’s one more thing I’d like to add. And I’d like to use today’s blog entry to lay the groundwork.
You see, since that humid evening in June 1979 when Orioles (www.theorioles.com) third baseman hit a game-winning, 9th inning homer off Tigers’ reliever Dave Tobik to usher in what would forever be known as ORIOLES MAGIC, I’ve bled orange and black. It’s a bit of a pain, having to explain this every time I have a blood draw done, but anyway…
What I would very much like to do, once I am officially retired, is to take a stroll down to “the Warehouse” for a meeting with whomever will be the head PR honcho of the team by that time. To volunteer.
Despite what I am sure is a great effort by Orioles PR folks to ensure that Orioles players understand the world of the media, how to do an effective interview, how to make sure they do NOT become entangled in a social-media-manti-t’eo-style-mess, it seems every year we have ballplayers saying things they shouldn’t and doing things the team would rather they wouldn’t, going viral on YOUTUBE et al.
I’d like to offer my services to work with Orioles players throughout the system, from rookie ball up to the major league club. I think if players can be indoctrinated to how to handle media of all types—print, radio, TV, social, online, from banner headlines to blogs—and to offer that training from the very start of their pro careers, by the time they reach the big club (if they are so lucky), they’ll have one less thing to worry about, because they will be MASTERS of the interview.
Doing an effective interview does not mean rattling off say-nothing-BULL-DURHAM-quotes-tacked-to-your-locker responses. The media’s wise to that. What they want is something memorable, human, REAL, genuine, not manufactured, not synthesized, but colorful, insightful, and perhaps more than anything else, ENTERTAINING—and this is particularly true among sports figures.
For what is sports, afterall, other than entertainment?
I’d provide media training for the ballplayers…and for any of the administrative, front-office types, from Aberdeen to Delmarva to Bowie to Norfolk and even Baltimore, if they’ll have me.
Plus, I can offer something other PR folks can’t (besides the fact I’d be willing to work for NO salary): My soon to be wife, Tina.
Tina is a copywriter by trade, and so could be very helpful in working with the athletes’ who have their own websites or Twitter feeds, etc., but what she’d offer most is something a lot of the younger players in the system would definitely “cotton to.” I call it, "Tina's Sense of Mom."
Tina is the ultimate caregiver.
She’d be bringing the boys her homemade spanikopita and assorted Greek delicacies, books to read, ideas to contemplate, she’d offer an ear when they felt low or troubled (Tina has a strong background in dealing with depression and did volunteer work for the Alzheimer’s folks)…she’d become the maternal figure for these young men, many far from their homes for the first time in their lives.
We’d kinda be like…well, den mother and father of a sort. There to look after “the boys,” help them with media and with mothering.
And did I mention Tina and I are both quite amusing? We’re fun to be with; ask anybody. Before you know it, we'll be as much a part of the Orioles locker rooms as the trainers, the clubhouse attendant, the guy who fixes the whirlpool machine when it acts up. Years later we'll be the cute, gray-haired couple that all the players adore, soon to be featured on a segment of 60 MINUTES or maybe CBS SUNDAY MORNING.
That’s my pitch. Together, Tina and I could offer media training and support. Stability, spinach pie and solace, plus safe passage through the morass which is modern media. There to tell a story, lend an ear, run an errand, etc. And absolutely free, no cost!
So, when the time comes, whomever is guiding the Orioles ship at that time, keep this in mind. You won’t be disappointed. And if you're not interested...well, there's always the Ravens!
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