Friday, June 30, 2006

Dejan on the propaganda machine

Corroboration in today's Q&A for what I wrote about--and what many readers commented about--earlier in the week.
Increasingly, since you raised the subject, Ian, this team is engaged in all kinds of unusual behavior off the field lately. Without going into details -- since I would not know precisely where to point the finger -- management very clearly has recently begun pushing some in the organization, particularly those who have a public voice, to put a brazenly positive spin on what is nothing less than the most miserable stretch of play in the franchise's 120-year history.

That goes from some of what you hear over the air -- "We will persevere!" -- to suddenly ultra-happy press releases to asking what type of questions might be asked of Robert Nutting in an interview to the sudden absence of negativity in the daily game notes distributed to the media.

Information you might have read in our paper about the history of the Pirates' various losing streaks, for example, came as the result of a long stretch of clicking away, year by year, at a baseball reference site. It did not come from the team, as it has in the past on such transparent matters. Apparently, some in the Pirates' front offices must have thought that they could suppress an 0-13 slide into secrecy. ("Quick: Someone knock out Leno's transmission tower!")

Never mind what this sort of behavior does to lessen the public's trust in the organization.

And never mind, for that matter, that there is no such thing as negative publicity in sports. When your fans are angry in Pittsburgh, it means they care. When your fans no longer care, you become irrelevant.
It's a great point: The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The Pirates don't know how fortunate they are to have an active community of passionate fans who write about them on blogs and who organize and conduct fan protests.

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