Dave Littlefield was asked by a Pirate fan when he plans to resign and Littlefield answered him by saying the current offense is not up to par, the players are in the 26 – 30 year old range and should be performing better, and the Pirates will score more runs when they do.
The second caller asked Littlefield what advice he has for suffering fans and Littlefield responded by saying there are better days ahead, the Pirates won three of four series before they went on the last road trip, the players must perform better, the players are young and in a funk right now, and he feels strongly it will be better.
The third caller was Dave Littlefield’s agent (just kidding – it was a fan) who called to say he was tired of people ripping on Littlefield, he thinks Littlefield is doing a really good job, and to hang in there. Littlefield’s response was that winning games was the most important thing and that’s what they are going to try and do.
Remarkably, the Bucco Bloggers merely glanced sideways at that third caller, without suggesting what to my ears – trained as a call screener for sports talk radio back in my college days – was clearly a planted call. Intrigues and conspiracies and aspersions, oh my!
The rational is simple. As I wrote to Brian Wilmer (whose mention of this story tipped me to it) of the Writer’s Radio (an excellent sports podcast (and live Internet Radio program):
When I was a humble call screener for the ACC Hotline call-in show, we had a guest and no callers, and sure enough one of the network employees called up, and asked an reporter like question, and primed the pump, so to speak.
But with the caller for Littlefield, he didn’t have anything else to say but positive, glowing stuff for the GM. A caller holding might want to voice support, but he’s still going to want to make his point. Calling a radio show is an act of narcissism that your opinion is worth disseminating. So is blogging! A caller would say his bit of support, then get on with why he called. A planted call though is there to stop the bleeding.
The call was one that successfully stemmed the tide of anti-Littlefield venom, and allowed the Littlefield to take command of the show back from the callers. Mission Accomplished! Still you have to admire the forthrightness of the two disgruntled callers basically asking the leader of their team, “why is it that after fifteen years, we still stink.” Hopefully, Littlefield, or the next General Manager of the Pirates will soon re-establish the winning tradition to a proud and dejected baseball town.
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