Warriors’ PR Blunder

Wanted to get this up earlier but the little girl turned 2 today. Poor thing had a fever on her birthday! Crazy weekend for me. Daughter’s B-Day today. Memorial Day tomorrow (which has new meaning for me since my sis is an Iraq vet, her stories are heartrending) and my anniversary is on Tuesday (eight years, baby!). Plus I’m supposed to be taking some time off before the draft hype gets crazy. Nonetheless, this Warriors-official-taking-up-blogging story won’t die.

As it turns out, there were four comments made on my blog from the same IP address discovered on WarriorsWorld.net. Thanks to the excellent research of my colleague Tim Kawakami, we know that IP address is linked to Raymond Ridder, the Warriors executive PR director. Ridder, according to Kawakami (which Ridder reiterated to me), said he’s only posted like 10 comments. But with the 16 Kawakami found, plus the four I found, the total is up to 20.

But the posts on my blog — none of which used the handle “Flunkster Dude” he used on WW.net– reveals Ridder may very well be telling the truth. Why? Because one of the four comments by that IP address was made by me.

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Please Tell Me He Didn’t Do It

I must say I was blown away by my collegue’s post about Raymond Ridder’s foray into the blogosphere.

Reason No. 1: If you let members of the organization tell it, they don’t read the media or the blogs out there. They spend more time ripping all of us for having misinformation and we aren’t worth their time. I know Raymond Ridder is an exception. Dude is dilligent at his job. He leaves no stone unturned. I share Kawakami’s sentiments about him. (And he’s an even better guy away from the office.) But I KNOW he’s not the only one. They read.

Reason No. 2: He admitted it. Wow.

Reason No. 3: While I am not shocked that it happens, I am shocked that someone of Raymond’s status, who actually shapes the message of the Warriors, also tries to shape the reaction. I’m a big West Wing fan. This is equivalent to the Press Secretary or the WH Communications Director posing as a citizen and trying to shape the reaction. You can’t play both sides of the fence. At least, you can’t get caught playing both sides of the fence. Fans don’t get to shape the message, or the product, so the Warriors shouldn’t get to shape their opinion of it. That’s practically a violation of the First Amendment!

I am seriously baffled as to why. I know why he did it. I talked to him late last night, too, and I understand his logic. I don’t understand why that is his logic.

I will share with you this, and this is, you know, seeing how the sausage is made kind of stuff. (Which I don’t think really matters, since it is my job to get you the info. The working relationship between the team and the media is for my editors and I to deal with.) This is totally my opinion on the matter, but this situation does give a little insight into the relationship between the Warriors and the local media. Because there is one fact at the center of both issues: Golden State can’t stomach negative press.
The famed writer Brendan Behan popularized the concept There is no such thing as bad publicity. But the Warriors don’t buy that at all from my view. They say they don’t mind. They say they look the other way. But really, I think it burns them up. I was told by a Warriors front-office member that any negative publicity hurts the business.

Me personally, I look at the situation and wonder why Ridder would chime in to make the conversation “positive.” When you guys come on here and rip me to shreds, question my integrity as a reporter, I think it’s great. Because you’re here. You may notice I usually engage in those conversations because it makes for good blogging, the back and forth, the disagreement. Of all the blog sites and websites out there, I find it flattering that people come here.

Why is it not enough that the conversation is about the Warriors? They won 29 games. The season is over. The Nuggets-Lakers game was on. And people were talking about the Warriors. To me, that’s a good thing for a franchise pining to stay relevant.

But for the Warriors, and I am generalizing based on five years of dealing with the organization, when they see stories they view as negative, or people’s comments not being what they want on a blog, they take it as an attack. Therefore, the people who make these “negative” comments and write these “negative” stories are the enemies.

As a result, their coach chides the beat writers in interviews, nevermind they are the only two writers who cover them on the road. They demonize columnists who are critical of them, nevermind the fact that if this organization was in New York, they wold be begging for coverage from Bay Area media. They wink at the STH and say “we’re going to talk to you instead of them,” not even completely understanding the fans’ appetite for information about their team, which they can’t and wouldn’t dare want to fill.


STH Conference Call Transcript

It took me all evening, but here is the transcript from the Warriors first-ever conference call with season ticket holders, which featured President Robert Rowell, GM Larry Riley and TV broadcaster Bob Fitzgerald as the moderator.
If you weren’t able to get on, or you didn’t have time to listen to the audio on the team’s website, you can get it here. I did leave out the stuff that wasn’t new or interesting. Otherwise, I’d still be typing.

A quick overview of what I thought were the highlights:

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If you’ve been watching the Eastern Conference playoffs, especially last night’s Game 1 in Cleveland, you may have noticed No. 20 from Orlando.
Is it me or does Mickael Pietrus look pretty good?
He has been money on the offensive end, especially from 3-point range, and he’s yet to make the unforced turnovers we saw so much when he was with the Warriors. You know what he looks like? The veteran off the bench the Warriors need. He shoots the three. He defends. He’s versatile.
To be sure, Pietrus is playing on one of the best teams in the league, so his strengths are magnified and weaknesses covered up. Plus, he was so focused on becoming a star here. Leaving the Warriors, not getting the money he wanted, seeing what it takes to win big in the NBA, I think that stuff humbled him.
Still, for Warriors fans, it has to be tough to watch another former Warrior shine.


Trade the Pick?

The Warriors aren’t going to be able to move up without giving up someone good on the roster. So, who in this draft is worth infiltrating into this roster?
It seems the Warriors would do themselves a big favor by trading the pick. The only problem is that the draft happens before the real movement begins – July 1. So if they don’t pull off they trade they want (for Bosh) on draft day, they’d have to draft someone others will like and package him later.
How is another rookie going to work with Nellie, whose patience is dwindling by the day? Especially a point guard?


Mullin Is Out, Officially

The Warriors are set to announce they have signed Larry Riley as the general manager. They are announcing that Chris Mullin, Executive vice president of basketball operations, will not return. A Warriors official confirmed.
They aren’t firing Mullin, according to the official. But his contract will not be renewed. That means he is still on staff until July 1, when his contract expires. The Warriors will not find another executive vice president of basketball operations. Riley will be the head basketball honcho as the general manager, the post previously held by Rod Higgins under Mullin.

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