Ron Darling, SNY.tv
During April Fools' Day in 1982, I was the fool (or so I thought) when I was traded from the Texas Rangers to the New York Mets nine months after they had made me their No. 1 pick. Life is full of serendipity and that day changed my professional baseball life forever.
But, when I think of April Fools' Day, I always think of Jay Horwitz and his "little lies" he would send out in the notes to the media and one of the greatest hoaxes, the Sidd Finch story -- a must-read on April Fools' Day (Sports Illustrated, April 1, 1985).
Horwitz has been a friend to every ballplayer that has ever worn the orange and blue from 1980 to our present day. His new book, Mr. Met, will reveal how exactly a sports-mad kid from New Jersey became a family member to generations of major leaguers. If you have time, Google his relationship with Franklin Jacobs, the great high jumper who was the original Spud Webb.
The relationship for a ballplayer and the media is vital. I was lucky enough to meet many talented writers still writing today. It isn't always easy and some harsh words and hard feelings always occurred. But like a great matador, your PR reps can avoid danger, smooth things over, and make sure that the relationship continues to always move forward. The media and fans remain undefeated in this relationship.
Players are so much more experienced with the media and branding of themselves and this makes me proud. There is still a feeling (so dated, BTW) that if the clubs market the players, compensation will rise. It might, but it's a win-win -- ask Mr. Silver and the NBA.
I guess this forum is my chance to thank all of the public relations people who protected me and allowed me a chance to express myself to some of the great sportswriters. Merci!
Stay healthy, be kind to each other and PEACE.