This past Friday afternoon myself & fellow mopupduty writer Callum were contacted by the Jays media relations department with an invitation to attend the Jays annual State of the Franchise event. This is the first time that I can recall the Jays have reaching out to the blogging community.
The event took place on a cold and snowy Monday evening at the Rogers Centre. After arriving and settling in I was pleasantly surprised to find myself as part of a blogging contingent, as four or five additional Jays blogs were attending the event. On this day bloggers were given a role similar to a U.N. observer. Watch the media scrum from a distance but don’t get involved.
A few minutes before the State of the Franchise address, I asked Jays communications manager Mal Romanin a few questions about the team reaching out to bloggers.
Mal acknowledged that blogs “have an impact and create discussion” and by inviting a portion of the blogging community that the Jays are trying to “be a little bit ahead of the curve, although we may be behind it.”
Blogger access was discussed at winter meetings and “The MLB allows each team handle their own market”
I asked Mal about the perception of basement dwelling bloggers, which he laughed off, although he did acknowledge that the Jays were interested in finding out what the bloggers were about and if they can conduct themselves in a “professional manner”.
While I can certainly understand the trepidation from the media relations department, I have to applaud the Jays for taking this first step.
For a team/blogger relationship to work, both parties have to be willing to work together. For their part, the Jays need to provide fair access to players and accept that there will be a learning curve. Bloggers will need to display a high degree of professionalism in order to get their foot in the door (and to keep the door open).