After the over hyped incident last night, I found it very funny how the next day interviews were handled by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writer Anthony Witrado.
Last season, I was able to land an internship at WISN Channel 12 in Milwaukee. I worked as a sports intern during the fall semester. I was fortunate enough to get to go to a lot of media events involving the Brewers. I met many different personalities in the field during my time at WISN. I ran into just about everyone that works covering the Brewers. This was the first time I met Anthony Witrado.
Witrado worked his way up from covering Prep Sports for the Journal Sentinel into a beat writer that covered the Milwaukee Brewers. I saw some of his earlier work and thought one thing, he wasn't very talented. How he was promoted to the current position he now holds is beyond me.
The first time I saw him was in a press conference with Ned Yost after a Brewers game. Witrado was decked out in his usual work attire of baggy jeans and a FUBU shirt. He had a very distinct personality about him. He gave off the mentality that he was better than everybody else. This translated in his writings frequently. I looked at a segment where Witrado answered questions for fans labeled the Brewers mailbag. Here are some actual questions that Witrado answered. Great professionalism, eh?
Q: John of Pittsburgh - I've only read a few dozen emails, but I must say to Anthony that you come off as an arrogant know-it-all, yet you don't even seem to have the reporting knack to find out how they clean the bleachers/seats at the park (a legit question). I'm fairly sure this won't make the mailbag, but you should know that this is the way you are seen to one outsider (Yes, still a Buccos fan after all the losing :( ... sigh) I hope you can take this as simple constructive criticism and not a personal attack. Regards, JS
A: Anthony Witrado - They wipe them with a towel, although it's not like I sit in the ballpark after games studying the fad of cleaning up after people. I'm too busy knowing everything.
Q: Justin of Milwaukee - Anthony, you come off like an arogant prick with your responses. Valid questions are only met with sarcastic non-answers. Doesn't take much to be a Brewers beat writer, does it?
A: Anthony Witrado - Usually not.
Q: Jeff of Fredonia - How does an idiot like you keep his job?
A: Brewers Mailbag - I know people.
I am not saying that these people were completely respectful to Witrado in their questions, but wouldn't you expect a little bit more out of a professional journalist. This type of behavior would be common on a middle school playground, but not in a major newspaper.
One of the reasons Witrado seems to be popular with some fans is the constant negativity he displays. I have the great pleasure of going to many games to watch the Brewers play. My biggest problem with the fans of my hometown is how negative they are towards the Brewers. I heard so many people write the team off with two weeks left last season, Witrado included. The Brewers made the playoffs, and everyone jumped right back on the bandwagon. For how much criticism the Brewers take, you would think the majority of people in Milwaukee are Cubs fans.
Witrado frequently points out the negative in any situation that he is presented with. Just take one glance at a game log on the Brewers Blog on jsonline.com. He will write one or two lines when the Brewers do something well. As soon as a lead is blown, an error is made, or a big situation is screwed up, Witrado begins his assault on why the Brewers are not a good baseball team. I have held in my frustration up until this incident with Prince Fielder and Guillermo Mota.
For some reason, Witrado was given the responsibility of representing the Journal at the game last night. After the game, Fielder went after Guillermo Mota outside the Dodgers clubhouse (See post below for details). Witrado admitted that he was in the press box still, and did not see what happened. Witrado stated that he went down to see what was going on and saw an enraged Fielder that was "cussing" in front of everybody. I was eating lunch today when I first saw Witrado's name appear as a guest on ESPN today. I thought the entire situation was overblown and couldn't believe that ESPN was focusing so much on it. Witrado recognized this, and future interviews, as a chance to be cast into the spotlight. He made it publicly known how immature Prince Fielder's actions were. He gave a first hand account of what happened when Prince stormed into the clubhouse. The problem with that was that he already admitted to not being there. I was unable to obtain the interview with ESPN, but was able to get audio from his interview with 1250 WSSP in Milwaukee.
I understand that this national spotlight for Witrado is big, but why would he handle it the way he did? He basically bashes Prince, and the Brewers, for the entire interview. This is the team, and star player, that he covers for a job. If I was a Brewers player, I would not give this guy another interview for the remainder of the season. He is a jerk that will throw anyone to the wolves in order to look out for himself. The anchors on ESPN could have cared less what Anthony's personal opinion were anyway, they wanted to know what happened. Anthony Witrado was in the press box at the time of the original incident. How can he give an accurate representation of something that he didn't see?
It's not that I have a personal vendetta against Witrado; I just think somebody should shed light on a no talent jerk. He gets paid to cover the Brewers and works for the fans. He treats the fans like crap with condescending answers to serious question. He has one job to do, keep the fans interested in the Journal Sentinel and the Brewers. Being a jerk to the people that basically employ you is a bad idea. He took a minor incident and made it into a huge spectacle on national television. He needs to be fired, not only for this incident, but a couple of years of poor work.
I'll leave you with one final quote...
Q: Adam of Milwaukee - Hey Anthony, there are so many great blogs about the Brewers that in my mind serve as mainly a way for people to get excited about this Brewers season. I don't see anything wrong with that! Do you!
A: Anthony Witrado - Not so much, but those people are also not in the clubhouse gathering inside info like Tom and I. Blogs are all good as long as you know which ones are informed and which ones are just fans. I also hope people don't mistake the people who write the fan blogs for actual journalists. But to better answer you, no, I don't see anything wrong with it.
You're right Anthony some blog writers aren't actual professional journalists, yourself included.