This just in: Boston Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino put his Thursday afternoon tee time on hold to answer reporters’ questions.
We repeat: A professional athlete made his golf partners wait some 15 minutes — that’s an entire quarter of an hour, or maybe half a hole, considering the slow pace of play rampant on courses everywhere — while he held an impromptu press conference.
Here’s the stunning scene as it unfolded in the Red Sox spring training clubhouse, according to the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham:
“Shane Victorino left the Red Sox clubhouse on Thursday afternoon and saw a group of reporters waiting for him. He said he was late for a tee time and couldn’t do an interview.
“A few minutes later, Victorino parked his black Range Rover in front of the clubhouse door, having reconsidered his position.
“‘You guys stick around for a minute,’” he said.
“Victorino grabbed his cellphone, pushed back his golf date, and then spoke for nearly 15 minutes.”
Of course, we’re being facetious about the magnitude of the occasion, but in light of the way some sports figures treat the scribes who put them on the front pages of their publications and websites, Victorino’s actions were unusual.
After a career-worst 82 and missed cut at the Phoenix Open, Tiger Woods made light of the jock-media standoff. He quipped he was “only doing this [interview] so I won’t get fined,” before graciously responding to queries about the woeful state of his short game.
Some may have believed the guarded Woods, who has a reputation for being, shall we say, prickly, with golf writers, was skewering those knights of the keyboard, and he probably was to some extent.
But the former world No. 1, an avid football fan, was actually lampooning media-shy Seahawk running back Marshawn Lynch, who would rather be stuffed at the 1-yard line with the winning Super Bowl points in his hands (oh, wait, that did happen!) than engage in the always fun-filled back-and-forth with NFL scribes.
“I’m here so I won’t get fined,” Lynch repeated in response to 29 queries during Super Bowl media day before leaving after the minimum five-minutes mandated by Commissioner Wouldn’t Know a Deflated Football If It Kicked Him In The Teeth Goodell.
Woods may have been funning with everyone, but reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant wasn’t, when, during All-Star weekend, he became the most recent Lynch acolyte by uttering, “I’m only here talking to y’all because I have to.”
Such goings-on occurred as athletes from every sport are taking to social media and Derek Jeter’s The Players Tribune to shoot their “unfiltered” (Jeter’s word) messages directly to fans so they don’t have to deal with those pesky typists in the middle.
All of which leads to Victorino, whose communique was that, despite two bulging disks in his back that landed him on the DL three times last year and required surgery in August, he’ll fight to get in the lineup for the Sox’ 2015 title run.
As Abraham noted, the fact that the two-time All-Star and World Series champion with four Gold Gloves was on his way out to play golf was a good indication that Victorino’s back was not an issue (that long-ago fiasco involving ex-Boston ace Josh Beckett playing golf while on the DL notwithstanding).