Yankees Make Concerted Effort To Ensure Players Are Prepared To Deal With Media
No team goes to "greater lengths" than the Yankees to make sure its players are "prepared to deal with the media and avoid the trouble that can accompany their positions with one of the most-followed sports franchises in the world," according to Paul White of USA TODAY. Yankees Senior VP & GM Brian Cashman said of his team's media training program, "We want to be the guardrail at the top of the cliff rather than the ambulance at the bottom." Cashman mandates that the first act of spring training every year for Yankees players "is watching a 25-minute video as part of their media training." They also receive a "four-page handout, which includes advice from journalists and former Yankees, plenty of examples of how not to deal with the media, and photos of all the journalists who regularly cover the team." This year's video begins with former MLBer Randy Johnson "having a sidewalk confrontation with a photographer the day before his 2005 introductory press conference when he signed with the team." Yankees Dir of Media Relations Jason Zillo said, "We make it a point to be strategically proactive." Other teams have media training programs, and MLB "includes it in the annual Rookie Development Program for top minor leaguers." Zillo said that he "hasn't given the video to numerous other teams that have requested it after hearing about the Yankees program, but is happy to lend advice." Several of the beat reporters "speak in the video and all 11 were asked by Zillo to address the team before its final exhibition game." While most teams have two or three beat reporters, the Yankees have "11 who travel to every game and some newspapers often send a second reporter." A typical Yankees home game "has 25 to 30 reporters and, Zillo says, 75 to 100 credentialed media members including photographers and broadcast crews." Zillo and Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez have "have worked closely to find strategies to minimize controversy around Rodriguez yet keep him available to talk about his role in the game" (USA TODAY, 4/13).