Clubhouse chatter: Most unapproachable players

 
Updated 3/23/2020 5:03 PM

What our columnists and sports writers have to say as they wait for the games to resume.

Who's the most unapproachable player you've ever encountered?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Albert Belle played for the White Sox in 1997-98, and he was one of the best hitters I've ever seen. He also was one of the strangest players I've covered. Belle generally had no use for the media, which is fine. But he did have a bit of a soft spot for newspaper beat writers since we were around all the time, at home and on the road. Belle's policy of not talking before or after games saved us a lot of time having to stand around waiting for him to show up at his locker stall. From time to time, however, he did give the Sox's media-relations staff a heads up when he did feel like talking to writers, and he usually had something interesting to say.

-- Scot Gregor

Easy. Mike Schmidt. Tried several times and it was always, "No." Frank Robinson also was pretty nasty, but he did speak to me once on the golf course in Cooperstown when I was with Andre Dawson. Otherwise, he was a solid, "No."

-- Barry Rozner

Tiger Woods. It was a very brief encounter, but one I'll never forget. Covering the U.S. Open at Olympia Fields in 2003, I was doing a story during the middle of the week on the inconsistent greens. After blowing past autograph seekers, Tiger briskly turned the corner and made his way to the players' clubhouse. I was standing there and quickly said something like: "Tiger, do you have a second? I'm doing a story on the greens and would love to get a brief comment." He never broke stride. Just walked right by me with a stone-cold look on his face.

-- John Dietz

There aren't many openly rude players in the NBA. If they don't want to talk, they'll usually have a PR person spread the word. I do remember when Rasheed Wallace played for Portland, he'd be in the locker room before games with headphones on and was loudly singing/rapping along to the music. Don't think many people approached him for questions. Then when Wallace was traded to the Pistons, he basically did the same thing pregame, but they cranked the music throughout the locker room. If you wanted to talk to somebody on the team, you wouldn't be able to hear the answers anyway.

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-- Mike McGraw

Eddie Murray, no fan of the media, seemed happy after the 1983 ALCS-clinching 3-0 Game 4 win over the White Sox at Comiskey Park. I was alone in approaching him in the locker room, and before I could finish asking if he'd like to talk, he shook his head adding a barely audible "no."

-- Mike Smith

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