BOR Guest Blogger Week: Rob Butcher
It is a privilege to be invited as a “guest blogger” on Better Off Red, though I readily admit I’m not nearly as humorous or intellectually stimulating as some of the other bloggers and tweeters whose names you see mentioned regularly in this space. But something happened last week that I hope you all find as cool as I did.
By now you know Jamie Ramsey, whose wit and insights into our game have made this space the ultimate internet destination that it is, is on a quiet break in a much warmer place than Cincinnati. Before he left, he was riding shotgun as the Reds pushed the technological envelope in announcing last week’s trade in which we acquired LHP Sean Marshall from the Cubs for LHP Travis Wood, OF Dave Sappelt and minor league IF Ronald Torreyes. Back to the trade in a minute….
One of the most important duties of any team’s media relations department is to disseminate information as quickly as it can, particularly as it pertains to a trade or other roster-related transactions. When I began my career in baseball in 1988, we notified the media of such transactions by fax and phone. In the mid- to late-1990s, email became a preferred method. Now, 15 or almost 20 years later, teams are breaking their own news and transactions via Twitter and Facebook and other social media outlets because those vehicles are immediate. If you’re reading this, you are aware we can do it now by phone, if necessary.
Two days before Christmas, the Reds and Cubs were finalizing details of the Marshall trade. I was on a plane to San Francisco, Jamie was in the office. The teams agreed to announce the trade at noon ET, which means I was going to be 30,000 feet somewhere over the state of Utah. Jamie had the hard part, tracking down new player Sean Marshall to see if he was available for a conference call later that afternoon while at the same time monitoring our email conversation to make sure we didn’t lose contact with each other. Thanks to our good friends at Delta and GoGo In Flight, I was able to log on to the internet while in the clouds, chat via email with Reds GM Walt Jocketty and Jamie and Cubs PR and, precisely at noon, announce the trade via Twitter before emailing my media list from my own computer.
My wife said it had been a long time since she had seen me that excited about announcing a trade. She might even have used the word “giddy.” It also could have been the 8 cups of coffee I had in-flight, but I doubt it. I simply was fascinated by the technological advances that allow us all to do our jobs while on an airplane. Anyway, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I’m hoping the Reds are the first team ever to announce a trade via Twitter from 30,000 feet. If you follow @Reds, you might have been part of history….
Rob Butcher is the Director of Media Relations for your Cincinnati Reds.