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The Rockies: Memories of Bad Public Relations Past

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The media's coverage of the Colorado Rockies' remarkable late-season surge is put under the microscope throughout the November 1 Message column. However, there wasn't enough room in the petri dish to fully discuss the dubious performance of the team's public-relations personnel, as well as past problems spelled out in a pair of previous pieces.

The PR office's most recent strike-out took place in relation to the World Series ticketing debacle. Spokesperson Jay Alves and other squad representatives laid low for far too long during the system meltdown, and when Alves finally deigned to address the situation, he did so in an imperious tone that was as insulting as it was unnecessary. Moreover, rather than taking responsibility for the problems, Alves suggested that a malicious computer intruder had caused the crash. If there's evidence to suggest something of the sort, he was entirely justified in making these claims. If there's not, and if the Rockies are running local authorities through their paces for reasons of public-relations spin, the repercussions could potentially get ugly.

Whatever the case, Alves' prickliness was very much in keeping with several incidents reported in the Message over the past few years. A July 2000 offering reveals that the team once refused to make its players available to appear on yakker Jim Rome's syndicated radio show as punishment for remarks made by the host, and quoted the Fan's Sandy Clough, who'd also gotten into a dustup with Rockies management, calling Alves "a lightweight" and a "phony." Just over three years later, an October 2003 edition of the Message told a similar tale -- except this time, the Denver Post was on the receiving end of a Rockies banishing, for the sin of accurately using quotes slugger Larry Walker gave to reporter Troy Renck in a column by scribe Mark Kiszla. The team eventually started talking to the Post again, but Alves failed to return five phone calls from yours truly on the topic.

Executives with the Rockies' organization have built up a large reserve of good will thanks to the remarkable performance of its young players. They should spend it wisely -- and if they don't, the media has every right to hold them responsible whether the Rockies are National League champs or not. -- Michael Roberts

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