Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How Not to Win Friends and Influence People

Randy Lerner and Eric Mangini continue to amaze. In this week's edition of the Berea Follies, Lerner and Mangini went out of their way to ensure the undying enmity of every sports reporter in Northeast Ohio by feeding juicy tidbits to the national media, while tossing little more than scraps to the local yokels.

Yup, in the midst of all the turmoil that has surrounded the Browns, Lerner and Mangini have said nothing of substance to any of the people whose livelihoods depend on their ability to cover the team. Eric Mangini did his usual version of coach-speak at his weekly press conference, while Lerner deigned to provide scripted replies to a series of e-mail questions submitted by The Plain Dealer's Tony Grossi.

But that doesn't mean the Dynamic Duo were completely closed-mouthed. In fact, when it came to the national media, they were downright forthcoming. Lerner gave an interview to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, while Mangini performed an extended impersonation of a human being in front of CBS Sportsline's ever credulous Clark Judge.

They ought to know better than to give preferential treatment to New York based national media at this point in time. Everybody in this town has a giant chip on their shoulders when it comes to anything related to New York, including the local media hacks. In a month during which Cleveland fans had to watch C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee duke it out in the World Series and watch the national media smugly speculate about LeBron's future --which they just know won't include Cleveland -- how smart is it to treat the local media like red-headed step-children?

Lerner and Mangini may think that things can't get worse for them in the local media, and may have decided that this kind of high-handed treatment is an appropriate punishment for real and perceived offenses against them. I guess they've never heard the expression "Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel." Smacking The Plain Dealer and the other guys around may feel good, but Lerner and Mangini, and their team, are going to pay for this decision.

I'm not shedding any crocodile tears for the Cleveland media. In fact, nobody loves a good diss of The Plain Dealer as much as I do. But the fact remains that for a team that is struggling to retain fan interest and avoid television blackouts, delivering sharp kicks to the collective groin of the local media by peddling the big news to the New York guys simply isn't good business.


Vinny said...

I'm glad you're back.

Diamond Dave said...

Me too.

Hornless Rhino said...