The news flying around Twitter this evening is that Oakland A’s director of public relations Bob Rose reportedly pulled the media credential of Dale Tafoya for his criticism of former manager Bob Geren. Tafoya is the host of the podcast Athletics After Dark and the author of “BASH BROTHERS: A Legacy Subpoenaed.”
My knee-jerk reaction to the news was a quick flash of outrage over the team’s alleged attempt to put a muzzle on media criticism.
I’ve followed Tafoya’s site and Twitter account for a while and I’ve found him to consistently deliver fun, informative, passionate posts and podcasts from the perspective of an A’s fan. I’ve never found anything he’s done to be offensive or over the top, including his tweets about Geren this season.
The whole move by the A’s seems like a petty attempt to pick on the little guy which never sits well with someone like me. Because if Tafoya’s a little guy in this scenario then that makes me the far, far littler guy (try and picture Verne Troyer) and who knows what the ball club could to do to me for criticizing anything the franchise does?
Will I be banned from the West Side Club? Banished from the Stomper Fun Zone? Denied access to the line for Saag’s sausages? The possibilities are endless and terrifying for someone who enjoys writing about the A’s and going to games.
But like I said, that’s just a knee-jerk reaction and I know that those often aren’t the best things to work off of. So I took a deep breath and when I calmed down I sent an e-mail to Rose who happens to blog about the A’s and can be reached at email@example.com.
He’s always seemed like a reasonable guy in his blog so I asked him if there’s anything in the fine print when a person receives a media credential that prohibits criticism of the team. I also pointed out that columnists from around the Bay Area regularly criticize ownership, the front office, the manager and players yet they never have their credentials pulled.
Let’s be perfectly honest here, “criticize” doesn’t even begin to cover it. When you get right down to it local and national columnists regularly savage the A’s but they keep getting to show up at the ballpark with full access to the team.
Hopefully I’ll hear back from Rose because it seems like a reasonable question in light of the online rumor mill buzzing about the A’s punishing a member of the media for speaking freely about Geren.
The main examples I pointed out to Rose are the recent columns by Lowell Cohn of The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa. On June 10 after Geren was fired Cohn ripped Geren and general manager Billy Beane but about a week later Cohn got to sit down and interview Beane.
One member of the media tears into Geren and gets to meet with Beane afterward while another member of the media criticizes Geren and has his access to the team cut off. Sound fair to you?
I’m hoping Rose gets back to me or someone in the media shines a light on what happened to Tafoya but the smart money says I’ll never hear anything about this again. If that’s how things shake out it would be really disappointing.
A’s fans everywhere deserve to know that the same team that can’t be bothered to sit down with local politicians to try to hammer out a deal to keep the franchise in Oakland at Victory Court apparently has plenty of time to drop the hammer on a member of the media who had the audacity to criticize a manager the team held in such low regard that they fired him.
Like I’ve said before, there may be a lot of frustrating moments with the A’s but there’s never a dull moment.