It began on Saturday in southern California. Buckle up, because it will continue for Colorado Rockies (and, honestly, all Major League Baseball players) for the foreseeable future.
At an event where his high school number was retired, Colorado Rockies catcher Tony Wolters was asked by a reporter about the scandals that have rocked Major League Baseball in recent weeks, including the biggest one involving the Houston Astros that has now cost three MLB managers their jobs.
In the article, Wolters (along with Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who also was honored during the event) was asked about the controversies that have enveloped MLB over the last several weeks. The catcher answered the questions gracefully (as Wolters always does with the media). However, it’s obvious that it was just the start of more questions to come.
We as reporters are always wondering about a player’s reaction to a situation that is happening in baseball, even if it doesn’t involve them directly. They’re all part of a small fraternity of MLB players so, even indirectly, they are affected. With that in mind, members of the Rockies are going to be asked about the Houston-centered controversy. They’re going to be asked about the ethics of the game. They’re going to be asked about what’s considered “cheating” and what isn’t in today’s game. They’re going to be asked if baseball can still connect with its fan base.
We’re just past the centennial mark of the Black Sox scandal that allegedly changed the course of the 1919 World Series. Those same questions above were asked of players then. They’ll be asked now, more than 100 years later.
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Wolters was the first Colorado player to publicly go through the gauntlet but he certainly won’t be the last. This weekend’s Rockies Fest at Coors Field will see some of those questions likely lobbed at players by fans and media members alike. The questions will continue with spring training scheduled to open in just a couple of weeks.
And those won’t be the only questions asked this weekend and beyond. If you don’t think players aren’t going to be asked about the Nolan Arenado rumors and the mindset of the team after last season and a quiet offseason, you’re in for a big surprise.
Questions will be asked and opinions will be shared, and some will be more vanilla than others.
These questions, however, won’t just go away after they’re asked once. They’ll likely be asked numerous times in numerous ways by numerous members of the local and national media. That’s where PR skills and patience (or the lack thereof) will become very apparent for today’s player.
Let me be clear: The majority of Rockies players have always been gracious to answer our (Rockies media) questions and many will stay after the game to try to explain to us what went right or what went wrong in the just-completed game. They will often listen to our theories and answer our questions about them. It’s our job to ask and it’s a part of a player’s work day to listen and answer. They don’t have to certainly, but most players in Colorado’s clubhouse do. That’s something that I personally have always appreciated about the makeup of this team off the field.
I’m interested to hear the questions answered this weekend and what takes are delivered to us on all things baseball. I’m also interested to hear how many times those same questions are answered before Colorado takes the field on Opening Day.
It is said that patience is a virtue. MLB players will need plenty of that this offseason and beyond when the majority are just wanting to play the game they love rather than answer questions about its validity.