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The Phillies don’t want ‘bloggers’ at the IronPigs Banquet

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The Phillies again show that they’re trying to run their franchise like it’s 1992.

MiLB: MAY 01 Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Indianapolis Indians Photo by TMB/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images

I received an email from a friend yesterday which contained the media advisory for the annual IronPigs Banquet. It’s pretty run of the mill, except for one part. Can you spot it?

IronPigs Charities will be hosting its eleventh annual Phillies Winter Banquet presented by The Air Products Foundation, Abarta Coca-Cola Beverage Company, and Service Electric Cable TV & Communications on Thursday, Jan. 18, at Sands Events Center in Bethlehem. As in the past, there will be a media session prior to the event from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Working media* is invited to attend the session for interview and photo opportunities with our featured guests, who appear below:

Gabe Kapler, Phillies Manager
Gary Jones, IronPigs Manager
Nick Williams, Phillies Outfielder and Former IronPig
Mark Leiter Jr, Phillies Pitcher and Former IronPig

*Per request of the Phillies, bloggers will not be credentialed for this event.

Yes, that’s right. The Phillies are still afraid of “bloggers.” So afraid that they won’t credential them for this BANQUET. So afraid that they’re using the term “working media” to make sure that us bloggers know our place.

You might not have noticed, but around here, we love feel-good news like a banquet that celebrates the Phillies. Celebrating the Phillies is what we’re about, so I’m trying to figure out what they’re scared of. Are they afraid that someone will have a wardrobe malfunction and we’ll write about it? Are they worried that we’ll somehow twist the coverage of the nice speeches that Gabe Kapler and Nick Williams are going to give? Do they think we’re uncultured boobs who don’t know how to act in front of players and executives? What do they think is going to happen if they allow a blogger (GASP) to come into their banquet with journalists and regular people to cover this event?

I have no idea. But I do know this: the Good Phight has been around for almost 13 years, and this will be my sixth year running the show. We cover the Phillies with honesty and humor, and we do it without credentials. We do it without credentials because the Phillies (namely their VP of Public Relations, Bonnie Clark) don’t want us to have them.

And that’s fine. It’s clear that the Phillies don’t respect or understand what we do here. For almost 13 years we’ve written recaps of every game, written news posts on every injury and trade, done analysis on every topic imaginable, from trade rumors to the TV deal to their yearly promotions and merchandise. We love the Phillies, and we’re dedicated to covering them in a way that’s true, honest, funny, and appealing to fellow fans. Because we’re fans.

We here at The Good Phight have long since given up on the Phillies as an organization showing us any love or respect for the work we do. That ship sailed years ago, when the the Phillies’ VP of PR essentially told us (or me personally) that what we do isn’t something they want to be associated with. They’re not going to become the Rockies or Mariners, two organizations that have welcomed their local bloggers with open arms (with fantastic results). And seeing such a pointed reminder of how little they care about or understand what we do, it doesn’t even hurt anymore. It just triggers an earth-shaking eye roll at how much the Phillies want to run their public and media relations like they’re still in 1992.

When Matt Klentak came on board, I had a glimmer of hope that the Phillies’ PR strategy would change, but it didn’t. With Gabe Kapler on staff, I had another glimmer of hope... that’s now also been stomped out. The Phillies want to be known as a forward-thinking organization, and in some areas they’re really trying to be. I admire that. But there is no effort being made in the public relations department, which isn’t just sad, it makes zero sense. It’s hard to be a progressive, daring, forward-thinking franchise when your PR department still appears to use typewriters, mimeograph machines, and rotary phones. It’s hard to take the Phillies and what they’re doing seriously when they still feel the need to specifically exclude bloggers from their events.

So hi, Phillies. We’re still here. And we’ll be here whenever you decide that bloggers are worthy of credentialing, or worth your time at all.

UPDATE (1/9, 5:00 p.m. ET): The IronPigs, through Director of Media Relations and Broadcasting Matt Provence, sent an email with the following clarification:

“Yesterday, the IronPigs sent out a media advisory about the Phillies Winter Banquet. Please note that I erred in using the following wording in our release: ‘Per request of the Phillies, bloggers will not be credentialed for this event.’ I did not realize policy had changed; and we didn’t exercise the due diligence to discover this to be the case. I apologize for all misunderstandings and take full responsibility the mistake. Thanks for your understanding.”

At some level, there was a miscommunication here, and an unfortunate one at that. It’s good to know that the Phillies have made some sort of amendment to the previously rote denial of entry to bloggers, at the very least, and that outlets like ours seemingly aren’t considered personae non grata simply by the inherent means of our existence.