Top 100 Baseball Blog

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

David Holtzman

            Have you ever wondered how where the information you get from the media about your favorite baseball team comes from, or who set up that great interview with the new rookie? If you have, then wonder no more, because I have tracked down someone who is responsible. His name is David Holtzman, and he is the Director-Media Relations for the Kansas City Royals.
            Holtzman graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in sports management, and later obtained a masters degree from the same school in sports administration. He first came to the Royals in 2004 as a media relations intern, but was named Media Relations Coordinator by December of that year. Holtzman was appointed to his current position in 2006, and since then has overseen the team’s media needs. His Royal biography states that he “oversees the day-to-day media relations responsibilities, including game information and press releases, as well as all Royal publications.”
Over the course of a 162 game season, not to mention spring training, free agency, and other times of high interest, Holtzman always has a high demand for access to his team. Of late, his job has surely gotten even more hectic, as the Royals have developed one of the finest farm systems in all of baseball, and many of their prospects have either made their way to the Big Leagues, or are rapidly approaching their debuts.
The most recent development that will certainly require the attention of Holtzman is the news that the 2012 Major League All Star Game will be held at Kauffman Stadium, marking the return of the annual classic to Kansas City for the first time since 1973. Even though it is a year away, there will be a lot of hype leading up to the big event. The All Star game combined with the stable of talented young players, mark an exciting resurgence of Royal baseball. The team is sure to be in demand in the news for years to come, and David Holtzman will be in the midst of it, making sure that Kansas City media and fans have access to information about their team and favorite players.
David Holtzman Interview:
Can you please tell me a little bit about your typical day to day work?: “Typical” depends on the schedule.  That is part of what I love about the job because there rarely is typical and standard 9-5 work.  When the club has a home game, I will arrive at Kauffman Stadium around 9:30 or 10 a.m., work on a media game notes in the morning, catch up on other projects such as the Royals Baseball Insider magazine in the early afternoon, and then spend the remainder of the afternoon in the clubhouse and on the field helping set up interviews for the media. Once game time comes, I will be in the press box scoring the game, researching and working ahead for the next day, week, etc.

How did you first become interested in baseball?: Baseball has always been an interest of mine growing up as the youngest of three boys in San Diego. I was a San Diego Padres fan from as far back as I remember, went to the NLCS and World Series in 1984 as a six-year-old and used to mimic the Jack Murphy Stadium PA announcer when I was three.

What is your favorite part of your job?: Working in sports. Over 99% of us are not lucky enough to become professional athletes when we get older, but I am lucky enough to still work in and around them on a daily basis. That means I get to experience the highs and lows of a season, the excitement of a walk-off home run in from of a sellout crowd, etc. That’s the best.

What is the biggest challenge of your job?: For me, it’s the long hours. I have a three and a half year old son and seven-month-old daughter at home. Once spring training begins in mid-February, I most certainly see the people I work with more often then I see my wife and kids until October. But those hours weren’t a secret when I got in the business and we make the best of it.

Who is the most "media ready/friendly" coach/player you have worked with?: Hard to narrow down the list. In my eight years with the Royals, I’ve dealt with many players who have been sensational at handling the media. Someone that comes to mind is Joe McEwing, who we got at the end of his career, but was such a solid guy, a great sound bite for the media and someone who we could rely on to always be at his locker when needed.

How much has your job changed with the call-up of a mega prospect like Eric Hosmer?: Not too much. It was a busy time when he first came up and we went to New York where he hit his first big league homer and then followed that up with his second the next day. Hosmer is going to be a great player some day and he already is a pleasure to work with in my field as he handles himself well with the media.

Do you have a specific strategy planned as K.C. readies to call even more prominent prospects?: My boss, Mike Swanson, speaks with a lot of our prospects a few times a year to just give them a quick “media training” on what to expect, what we expect of them and some of the pitfalls that they can run into this day and age with all kinds of media, including social media.

What are some good skills or attributes that you like to have a media member to possess when you work with them?: For me, it is all about a level of trust and media must have for the job we do and vice versa, a level of trust we have for the job they do. I would like them to realize we do our best in order for them to get their work done in the best and most time-efficient manner, but sometimes that isn’t possible due to conflicts, etc. Obviously, my job is with the Royals so they are first and foremost my #1 priority. I am here, as are all Royals employees, to do what we can to support the club and allow them to do as best they can between the white lines. But my job also is to service the media and help in any way possible. The media serve as a very important messenger to our fans on a minute-by-minute basis, so I take that very seriously. 
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