Police are keeping reporters away from owners at the owners meetings
The owners meetings are going on in Arlington, Texas right now and something unusual is happening: the owners are using police to shield them from reporters seeking comment.
Chandler Rome, the Astros beat writer for the Houston Chronicle, attempted to talk to Astros owner Jim Crane at the hotel in which the meetings are taking place. Which makes sense because, duh, Rome covers the Astros and, if you haven’t noticed, the Astros are in the news lately.
Here’s how it went:
Hello from the owners meetings in Arlington, Texas, where hotel management and a group of policemen attempted to throw a small group of reporters out of the hotel. Order has since been restored. Perhaps Jim Crane will speak today.— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) November 20, 2019
Before he was escorted away by a police officer, Jim Crane said he would answer questions “only about baseball.”— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) November 20, 2019
Full exchange with Jim Crane:— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) November 20, 2019
"Do you have a few minutes to talk?"
"If you want to talk about baseball, I'll talk about baseball. What else do you want to talk about?
"So, you have no comment on ..."
"Any other issues," Crane said, before two police officers intervened
Could have asked Jim Crane who the Astros were planning to protect from Rule 5 selection, but was not afforded the opportunity.— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) November 20, 2019
This was confirmed by other reporters:
Just to be clear: There are police officers stationed in the lobby of the hotel working as security, and when they got the sense Jim Crane did not want to talk, they cut in to the media scrum and escorted Crane to a staircase leading to the level where meetings are taking place.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 20, 2019
To clarify, all owners, not just Crane, are under the same restriction. We can't approach owners. Tarrant County police on scene to enforce it.— Laura Albanese (@AlbaneseLaura) November 20, 2019
To be clear: this is a radically different way things have ever been handled at MLB meetings of any kind. Reporters -- who are credentialed specifically for these meetings at this location, they’re not just showing up -- approach the GMs or the owners or whoever as they walk in the public parts of the hotel in which they’re held or in the areas designated for press conferences. It’s not contentious. Usually the figures of interest will stop and talk a bit then move on. If they don’t want to talk they just keep walking, often offering apologies or an excuse about being late for something and say they’ll be available later. It’s chill as far as reporters vs. the powerful tend to go.
But apparently not today. Not at the owners meetings. Now police -- who are apparently off duty on contract security, but armed and in full official uniform -- are shielding The Lords of Baseball from scrutiny.
We live in interesting times.