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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Fleischer losing clients

The man behind the Mark McGwire media plan has lost a couple of high-profile gigs.

As many St. Louis Cardinals watchers know, the club engaged the communications firm led by former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer to guide them through Mark McGwire’s re-entry into baseball.

Ari Fleischer (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)The message delivered did not resonate well as McGwire insisted his use of performance enhancing substances was for recovery reasons only and did not assist his impressive home run totals – his primary claim to fame as a player.

As the architect of the Big Mac rollout, Fleischer took a fair amount of heat. Now, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports the National League champion Phillies have not retained Fleischer’s services. Used as a speaker last spring for media training for players, he was replaced by a competitor for 2010. Anonymous organization members did not offer positive comments on Fleischer’s effectiveness.

The paper also notes that Major League Baseball no longer employs Fleischer Sports Communications, having used them from 2005-09 when steroids was a more prominent issue for MLB. The source referenced noted the parting of ways was amicable.

Fleischer’s McGwire strategy began with a short general release followed by a hour-long interview with Bob Costas and a series of individual calls to key media members. McGwire’s time at the Winter Warm-Up fan event was the best and worst of times, as he was greeted with a long ovation from fans, but a poorly-arranged meeting with the general media flopped badly.

From the process perspective, McGwire recovered somewhat by meeting with the media several times once he arrived in Florida, though the major concern with his message will apparently remain.

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