15 Most Awkward Player Press Conferences in Recent MLB History

Josh BenjaminCorrespondent IMay 16, 2012

15 Most Awkward Player Press Conferences in Recent MLB History

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    Being a pro athlete means dealing with the press on a regular basis, and in baseball, that's no exception.  This means keeping your tongue and behavior in check, otherwise reporters will eat you like a Subway $5 Footlong.

    Sure enough, some players, managers and even executives have forgotten this rule and have let some things slip that maybe shouldn't have been heard by the press. Take Pedro Martinez (pictured), for example. 

    In 2004, when discussing the possibility of facing the New York Yankees in the playoffs, the quirky pitcher used an...um, interesting wording to describe his history against the team. It didn't end up being relevant, but led to an awkward silence just the same.

    Here are 15 moments from the press room that were those involved able to go back in time, probably would have acted differently.

15. Billy Martin Calls out His Star and Boss

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    This slip of the tongue occurred not too recently, but back in 1978. Still, it's too important to not include.

    Martin was managing the Yankees at the time, having won the World Series the previous season. This year, however, the team was struggling and Martin was dealing with a conceited star in Reggie Jackson and an overbearing boss in George Steinbrenner.

    When asked about the rifts between himself and Jackson and Steinbrenner, Martin pulled no punches.

    "The two of them deserve each other," he said.  "One's a born liar; the other's convicted."

    Well, I think now is a good time to mention Rule No. 1 of speaking to the press: Don't call out the team's star and then take a jab at your boss's criminal record.

14. Jim Leyland Flips Over...Jason Grilli??

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    Jim Leyland has a fiery personality, and if you want to keep him calm, here's a tip. 

    Don't mention former Tigers hurler Jason Grilli

13. David Ortiz Addresses His Alleged Steroid Use...Sort of

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    2009 was an off-year for Ortiz. He didn't hit his first homer until late May and finished the season hitting just .238 with 28 home runs and 99 RBI.

    The highlight of his season, however, came in August, when it was reported that he was on a list of players (released in 2003) who had allegedly tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. 

    In a press conference, Ortiz denied that he ever did use PEDs, and when asked about the test, his lawyer only stated that the man they call "Big Papi" was only on the 2003 list.  In terms of whether or not he had tested positive, nothing was said.

    Cover-up much?

12. Pedro Martinez and His Kinky Relationship with the Yankees

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    As good as Martinez was during his tenure with the Boston Red Sox, he always seemed to have a problem consistently beating the New York Yankees. In his career, he went 11-11 against the Bronx Bombers and 1-3 in the postseason.

    Prior to the 2004 postseason, and shortly after losing a regular season game against the Yankees, he addressed his struggles against the team quite openly.

    "They beat me. They're that good right now," Martinez said. "They're that hot. I just tip my hat and call the Yankees my daddy."

    I'm sure that the reporters interviewing the future Hall-of-Famer would have preferred a less graphic comment.

11. Charlie Finley's Shot at Alvin Dark

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    Finley was one of baseball's quirkiest owners, and while he may have been hard to work with, the Oakland A's teams he fielded in the early 1970s were great.  The team actually won three straight World Series titles from 1972-1974. However, here's the weird part.

    Dick Williams managed the '72 and '73 teams, only to resign following the second title after becoming with Finley's meddling. He was replaced by Alvin Dark, who had managed the team in Kansas City in 1966 and part of 1967.  Upon his re-hiring, Finley did not hesitate to bring up the past.

    "Yes, he's back," said Finley.  "And yes, he expects to be fired again someday."

    Wow...next time I'm welcoming someone home, maybe I'll just mention how they'll leave again at some point?

10. Roger Clemens Gets Defensive

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    Alright, Roger. We get that you're upset about being accused of steroid use. As a member of the press, allow me to let you in on a little secret.

    Most sports journalists were fans before they joined the ranks of the press. That said, most of us want to see you exonerated. Thus, do you really need to get so defensive when asked perfectly legitimate questions?

9. Davey Johnson and the Fire Alarm

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    Rule No. 2 of speaking to the press: If a fire alarm goes off mid-interview, obey all safety instructions and vacate the premises immediately.

    Sitting at the microphone and doing diddly-squat is WRONG.

8. Ryan Braun Addresses Offseason "Situation"

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    I understand Braun wanted to get some thoughts out of his system, but just what was the full point of this press conference? I remember watching it on TV, and all I could really do was smile and nod. 

    There weren't many questions I was aching to ask.

7. Hal McRae Flips out

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    Well, this one sure is interesting. Then again, if you're a member of the press, just what else can you do when a manager reacts this way after a loss?

6. Roger McDowell's Alleged Homophobia

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    Roger McDowell was once a talented relief pitcher, and now serves as the pitching coach for the Atlanta Braves. Last season, while the team was facing the Giants in San Francisco, he made the mistake of heckling a fan and his family. The only problem was that he took his response to a new level.

    The fan alleged that McDowell spouted homophobic slurs, made sexually explicit gestures and threatened to "knock his teeth out with a bat."

    McDowell apologized and was suspended for two weeks, but you can only imagine how awkward that public apology must have been for both him and the press.

5. Lee Elia Rips the Fans

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    Rule No. 3 of speaking to the press: Please try to keep the profanity to a minimum.




4. Ozzie Guillen's Remarks About Fidel Castro

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    Rule No. 5: If you are a manager in Miami, which has a large Cuban population, don't praise Fidel Castro.

3. Marge Schott's Talking Dog?

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    Former Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott can be called a lot of things, and weird is definitely one of them. 

    In 1992, at the introductory press conference for new manager Tony Perez, the infamous owner said that her dog, Schottzie, told her to hire the Hall-of-Famer.

2. Marge Schott Apologizes for Hitler Praise

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    Here's an addendum to Rule No. 5: Praising Adolf Hitler is a bad idea under any circumstance. 

    The day Schott apologized for her remarks, I can imagine that one could cut the tension in the room with a Bowie knife!

1. Jose Canseco's Empty Press Conference

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    Well, this must have sucked. Canseco called a press conference at the Four Seasons, and all he heard was crickets chirping!