I’m telling you, you cannot make this stuff up sometimes. Stolen from an item in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer has worked some tough rooms and has decided to offer advice about how to handle those crowds.
Fleischer, who prepped Selig before the baseball commissioner’s news conference after the release of the Mitchell Report, has joined with IMG to help form Ari Fleischer Sports Communications, which is “to provide media training, image management and crisis management for athletes, coaches, and team and league execs,” according to SportsBusiness Daily.
“The media that covers sports is very much now like the media that covers the president: very assertive, very powerful and very focused on what’s wrong and what’s negative,” Fleischer told CNBC.
Scene: MLB press room in NYC, with throng of reporters from various media outlets in seats, with notepads and tape recorders in hand. Fleischer strides to the podium.
Fleischer: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, thanks for coming to today’s briefing. Let’s get this going. Buster, let’s start with you.
Buster Olney, ESPN: Ari, this whole brawl that started at yesterday’s pre-season game…shouldn’t baseball be trying to clamp down on displays like that?
Fleischer: You know, this is simply ramping up a rivalry. Don’t look at it as unnecessary violence; there’s a code in baseball. Frankly, this will make the 18 games between the Yanks and the Rays much more interesting. That’s how we see it. Jon?
Jon Heyman, SI: Ari, is the commissioner’s office going to weigh in on Roger Clemens continuing to participate with the Astros even after all the allegations and testimony?
Flesicher: Well, we can’t dictate to the owners what they will do with their franchises. We look at it this way: we want to let the legal system take its course, and we’re glad he’s staying involved. Mike?
Mike Phillips, Miami Herald: Ari, are there any measures the league will take with regard to more revenue sharing, in order to help even out the playing field?
Fleischer: Yes, of course. The $6 billion in profits that the sport brings in, thanks to the fans out there, is being used to better the sport in general, not just several teams of haves over have nots. The hard work being done by franchises is paying off. Jay?
Jay Mariotti, Chicago Sun-Times: Even the commissioner hasn’t denied that there’s work to do on the steroid and HGH issue? Are there any concrete plans to get better testing in line for the season to keep players from cheating?
Fleischer: You’re looking at it the wrong way, Jay — we’re doing what we can, but we can’t stop everyone from taking the initiative on their own to beat the test. Besides, thinking of them as cheaters is kind of harsh. It’s maximizing potential by healing faster. I’ve got time for one more. Bill?
William C. Rhoden, NYT: Ari, when is the commissioner going to ask executives of the teams to speak about what they know regarding steroid use? And, if baseball won’t, what will you say if Congress gets involved again?
Fleischer: Bill, it’s not that simple. Owners are responsible for so much more than whether individual players are using illegal performance enhancing drugs. Each of the owners and their general managers address these things on a case-by-case basis, and if a player is suspended, they look into it. We’re trying to move past the negative era, and focus on the good of baseball. Dredging the past decade or two up won’t do us much good, all right? Thank you very much, folks, and we’ll be back next week.
(Strides off stage briskly, to shouts of “Ari! Ari! Ari!”)
*All names used for reporters are actual sports reporters and columnists, yet the words are obviously fake.