After a Cactus League start last week, newly acquired Mariners P Eric Bedard limited his exchange with the Seattle press to a mere 4 question, 78 second session. When Bedard was shelled by the White Sox Monday, the Post-Intelligencer’s Jim Moore writes, “if they didn’t have a rule against cheering in the press box, spurned scribes might have exchanged chest bumps and done the wave.”
When we approached him, Bedard said: “Five questions,” and no one was sure if he was serious or kidding, the smart money being on the former.
Shockingly, he took 10 questions, hitting double figures for the first time in his career. I also counted five or six smiles and, again, I couldn’t tell if he was joking around or playing us for fools.
He said he doesn’t feel a responsibility to talk to the media. When asked if he’s uncomfortable doing interviews, he said: “No, I have my reasons.” But when asked what they are, he waved off the question, which was either No. 7 or 8.
We were then told by a Mariners PR staffer to ask only questions about Monday’s game. A few seconds later, during an awkward lull, I said I had a couple more questions, but they weren’t about the game.
“Those aren’t real questions,” Bedard said. Man, he had me on that one, they were fake questions, imitations that I was trying to pass off as real questions.
I’m not certain about other reporters, but going into a locker room is not my favorite thing to do, especially after a loss. I’m not looking for dirt; I’m looking for the quickest way to get in, get quotes, get out and go home.
I’m not going to criticize Bedard for his reluctance to talk, nor did I take satisfaction in watching him get ripped by the White Sox. But I do find his behavior strange. If he were still in Baltimore, no big deal; but he’s new to Seattle, and you’d think he’d want to make a good first impression, regardless of his disdain for the spotlight.
If I were him, I’d think to myself: “Geez, I’ve been lucky. I was just a runt in high school and here I am, a big league pitcher making $7 million a year when I could be fixing elevators like my dad did or my brother does now. And if that means I’ve got to put up with these rumpled guys with notepads surrounding my locker once in awhile, I’ll hate it but I’ll do it.”