Monday, November 5, 2007

Baumbach Mountain out of a molehill

Sometimes the worst thing you can do is humor a reporter who's written something blatantly controversial because all it does is make them a hero to their bosses. Such was the case today with Newsday columnist Jim Baumbach, who decided to dump on Al Arbour's victory Saturday night because, one can only assume, he was feeling neglected.

We've worked with Jim before and he has always seemed bright, diligent, professional, usually on his medication. But this piece is so lame, so depressing in its desperate attempt to ignite an emotional response from fans. Even Rangers fans are joining their Islanders brothers-and-sisters-in-hockey and piling on, defending Al's name and coming up with inventive words to describe Jim.

Once the Reader Response meter hit 160, I decided to jump in. Admittedly, not traditional form for a PR person. But then again, neither is this blog. Here's my contribution. You'll see I refrained from calling him a "tool."


Jim: Saturday night's event will never, ever be matched by any team, anywhere. With the exception, of course, of our ultimate goal of a Stanley Cup, from beginning to end the Al Arbour game was the greatest night a professional sports franchise and its fans could have. And as Newsday might say, It Happened on Long Island.

It's too bad the Arbour family, Al's players, our fans and my colleagues had to get smacked with this blatant grab for reader feedback. Red Schoendienst - are you kidding me, Jim?

That said, perhaps something good can come from this. I would imagine your bosses are mighty giddy with all the attention your column is receiving. (160 responses and counting - did you get that many from your Phil Hughes updates from Scranton?)

While your editors will no doubt put you up for an award for your brainstorm - or at least send over a "Way to go, Jimmy!" email - here's hoping they also remember our fans' passion-in-numbers when they are deciding who gets the back page the rest of the season.

Chris Botta
VP, Media Relations

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