Yesterday, in the media capital of the world, the Yankees staged what amounted to a media blackout.
They threw an invitation-only press party for Jason Giambi. Black tie was not required. Still, the color would have been an appropriate one for this black-eye session.
Anyone administering this fiasco can say an independent public relations firm, not the Yankees, orchestrated – and set the ground rules – for Giambi’s bull session with notebooks and microphones.
They can say Giambi’s agent, Arn Tellem, was puppet master for an exercise in obfuscation. They can say all the Yankees provided was a home – Yankee Stadium – for this charade.
The fact Giambi’s soiree was not covered live by the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network, aka Al-Yankzeera, was the most telling evidence of the distance the Yankees attempted to put between the organization and Giambi’s soiree. If Steinbrenner & Co. wanted the “press conference” on YES, it would’ve aired.
When it comes to the Yankees, the Giambi story is big. It would stand to reason YES would cover Giambi’s meeting with the media live. When Giambi signed with the Yankees, YES covered the press conference live. Other momentous events, like Derek Jeter being named Yankee captain, were also carried live on YES.
Instead of getting live coverage yesterday, Yankee fans could only see a small snippet of video replay on WFAN’s “Mike and the Mad Dog” simulcast on YES. Then, viewers were reduced to having to listen to a replay of Giambi audio – in steroid-phonic sound – while having their eyes glaze over watching Mike Francesa and Chris (Mad Dog) Russo listen to this drivel.
Man, that was riveting television.
This, again, showed that YES’ marching orders come directly from the Bronx and Tampa. The right thing to do, if YES was a legitimate network devoted to covering all Yankee news rather than an extension of the team’s PR department, would have been to air yesterday’s Stadium session live.
Instead, there was a convenient excuse for shafting viewers. Since “ground rules” were set by the Giambi camp, no local TV outlet was allowed to televise the farce live. So, Yankee lackeys running YES could tell everyone: “Gee, we wanted to cover it live, but we were just following the rules.”
Rules that will be broken if the “new” Giambi gets off to a hot start. Then, YES will air his postgame press conference live.