October 27, 2009
NEW YORK — The New York Post photographer wore the hesitant look of a man who normally wouldn't be doing something like this were it not for the fact he worked for a tabloid newspaper and his boss would fire him if he did not. And so there he stood silently during several questions about Jimmy Rollins' guarantee, through a couple on Charlie Manuel and even through a couple on the very newspaper he was holding in his hand.
Finally, there was a lull in the questioning of Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino(notes) and the photog could not put it off any longer. Raising his camera in one hand and the cover with the picture of Victorino dressed as a cheerleader with the other, he spit out a quick request that sounded both sheepish and prematurely regretful.
"Shane, could you ..?"
"No, I'm not holding that up, bro."
Victorino immediately turned his attention elsewhere. The photographer walked away.
At least he could tell his boss that he tried.
There are many ways to tell that a World Series is being held in New York — and not, say, St. Petersburg, Fla. — and one of them is to simply look at the press coverage in that town. On Tuesday morning, bundles of the New York Post hit the city streets with the following sarcastic headline: "GOTHAM TREMBLES: The Frillies are coming to town!" The cover was bolstered by a photo of Victorino's torso melded onto the legs of a high school cheerleader and an accompanying article detailing why New York is better than Philly. (Actually, it was more about why Philly and its fans are "second-rate" and took three reporters to put together, which is a sad reflection on the NY Post.)
For the most part, Victorino was a good sport about his starring role on NYC news racks. He said someone alerted him to the newspaper via text message, but said he didn't understand why he and not one of the bigger stars was targeted as the main villain. He also made a few cracks about the cheerleader's legs.
Eventually, though, the center fielder tired of the newspaper questions as much as he tired of questions that started with "about what Jimmy said ..."
After the photographer had left, Victorino looked down at a copy of the paper and finally showed that it bothered him a bit, labeling the departed photographer a "clown."
"Get these out of here," he said.
Here's a video clip of Victorino,in happier times, talking about the NY Post cover: