Guest Slot Leads To Hot Spot p. 12

By: Dorothy Giobbe New York Yankee replacement player claims his opinions
published in a ghost-written column were 'misinterpreted';
New York Post says his comments were accurate as they appeared sp.

A REPLACEMENT BASEBALL player who hoped for a chance in the spotlight has ended up with a major league headache.
Doug Cinnella, a pitcher vying for a spot on the New York Yankees replacement team, recently took on the added title of columnist for the New York Post.
When Cinnella was sent to the Yankees' Florida training camp in Fort Lauderdale, he agreed to share his experiences in a personal diary form, to be published in the Post.
Cinnella related his thoughts and impressions over the telephone to a Post sports reporter. The reporter then condensed the sentiments in a column, under the heading "Dairy of a Dreamer," in which Cinnella treated readers to the trials and tribulations of a regular guy from New Jersey trying to make it into the big leagues.
The first four columns were personal and heartfelt. Cinnella told readers about his heart murmur, and how he feared that when the Yankees found out about his condition, they would send him packing back to Paramus.
The column also took a political shot when Cinnella declared that he didn't care if people thought he was a scab.
"I'm not in that [baseball players] union and I have no loyalty to it," his column read. "I'm just here taking advantage of a situation."
Cinnella's situation went smoothly until the Teamsters threatened to hold a rally during a Saturday practice at the Yankee camp. Hoping to avoid a confrontation, the club's brass opted to cancel the session.
On Monday, Cinnella's diary ran with the headline, "To Hell with the Teamsters." In another article, under the heading "Replacement Rips Yanks," he blasted the Yankees for canceling the weekend workout.
Strong words for a wannabe replacement pitcher. The problem, Cinnella claimed, was that he never said a word of it.
Cinnella told the Bergen County, N.J., Record that his views had been "misinterpreted" by the Post reporter who worked with him on the column.
"I had no idea what I said was going to come out like that," Cinnella told the Record. He added that he had no idea who the Teamsters were.
But the Post stands by its reporting. Greg Gallo, sports editor, said simply, "We wrote what the guy told us."
Gallo maintains that Cinnella cried foul only after taking heat from Yankee management.
"He wasn't misquoted," Gallo said. "He said it, we ran it, and he had some problems on his end from the Yankees because of the language he used."
Thus, a little less than a week after his first column, Cinnella decided to bow out of the journalism game and stick to pitching.
Guest sports columns are popular, especially around playoff time. Because many sports figures aren't particularly articulate, editors say, a beat reporter is often enlisted to help.
Usually, the reporter will accompany the player to practices, or the two will talk on the telephone. The reporter then fashions the conversation into an article.
But there's a fine line between condensing a player's thoughts and actually putting words into his mouth.
Dinn Mann, sports editor for the Houston Post, said that the less articulate a player is, the greater the chance for misinterpretation, or worse.
"Generally, I prefer that the so-called guest columnist is actually capable of writing the column," Mann said. "I think editors need to be more careful about the players that they're doing this with, because a conversation is so different than the printed word.
"There's the danger of the story being exaggerated or told out of order," Mann added. "And we as an industry have gotten a little lax about how these columns are done."
For the recent NFL playoffs, the Post used Miceal Barrow, a Houston Oilers linebacker to "write" a column. His thoughts were taken down in a conversation over the telephone and written up by a Post sports reporter.
"Miceal was enthusiastic and articulate, so it worked with him," Mann said.
Phil Laciura, sports editor for the Detroit News, said the newspaper doesn't often use guest columnists. But, at one time, the newspaper ran a column by Sparky Anderson, manager for the Detroit Tigers.
Anderson was aided by a News reporter who sat with him for a few hours in the dugout, Laciura said. "We didn't add to the column, and we didn't try to speak for [Anderson]."
"Sparky got a big kick out of it," he added.
Back at the New York Post, a new major league hopeful has replaced the replacement.
Phil Venturino, a pitcher from Brooklyn who played on the Angels minor league circuit, is the newest "author" with a byline under "Dairy of a Dreamer."
?( Cinnella's diary in the New York Post) [Photo & Caption]


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here