A part of me thinks the Rangers PR staff owes a debt of gratitude to the New York Observer’s John Koblin for “this bleak depiction of life on the Knicks beat”:http://www.observer.com/2007/life-knicks-hell.
I say this because, while they’re all under one largely dysfunctional Cablevision umbrella, the story underscores how much more pleasant it is covering the Rangers. To be clear, we’ve all had our dust-ups big and small with the Rangers PR staff, and I’m not delusional enough to think their objectives and the media’s objectives are one and the same.
But if you read this story—and I suggest you do—you’ll know there is a difference between a productive, if even occasionally contentious, relationship between a team and its media; and complete insanity, which is basicaly how you’d describe what’s happening down the hall with the Knicks.
Why the difference? A couple of theories: One, the Rangers are good (or relatively good) and the Knicks stink. That always helps.
Two, hockey is hockey and basketball is basketball. The Rangers and the NHL still needs the media—and yes, even the print media, or whatever it is I am these days—to promote the sport and help repair the damage done by the lockout. The NBA, meanwhile, enjoys better ratings on TV so it doesn’t rely as much on the writers. And in the case of the Knicks, it seems they just want their writers to go away.
Granted, there are some common practices between the two. The Observer story talks about Knicks PR staffers monitoring interviews, and that happens occasionally with the Rangers. But more often than not, at least with players, they leave us alone to talk to whomever, about whatever. Yes, there is an overall veil of secrecy at the Garden that can be difficult to penetrate, especially for someone like me in just his second season covering the team. But unlike some of the Knicks writers, I at least don’t feel like the powers-that-be are conspiring against me.
So there you have it. By comparison, things could be a lot worse. Now if only they’ll go back to the playoff custom of giving us free bagels at the rink, I’d really be content.