What do Tom Glavine and Sarah Lacy have in common?

When Tom Glavine joined the Mets, he was a career Atlanta Brave.  The team had been a playoff mainstay for a decade and he had won a championship with them. 

Instead of continuing to help his team, he opted to take a few million a year more on what would have been a $10 million a year offer with the Braves.  Another factor was the Met's option for a 4th year, which gave him a better shot at 300 wins.  Basically, it was a completely selfish decision.

Mets fans knew he didn't really want to be in New York from the start.  So, not surprisingly, when you prove yourself to be selfish and looking out for #1, then your audience is going to have very little tolerance for anything but perfection.  If you're shooting for millions and a personal milestone, you have to deal with the downside as well as the upside.

He had a pretty mediocre Met career, but Glavine's fail came at the end of the 2007 season.  The Mets were on the brink of one of the worst collapses in sports history, but all they had to do was to win a single game down the stretch to force a playoff... and two to get in.  Glavine's last two performances were abysmal.  Against the hapless Washington Nationals on September 25th, with the Mets still up 2 games, he gave up 6 runs in 5 innings, getting outduled by Justin Bergmann.  Fail.

Nuclear fail came on the last day of the season, when the 300 game winner could only record a single out.  He faced nine batters.  Five got hits.  Two were walked, including a plunking of Dontrelle Willis, the opposing pitcher.  Seven scored.  Thirty six of the worst pitchers he had ever thrown in his life--only 17 of them for strikes.

But the worst part about the whole thing was his response after the game.  He said he wasn't "devasted" and that was a word he reserved for life and death situations.  What Glavine didn't get was that many fans feel like it is life and death when they watch a team... it's certainly bigger than just a game to them.  Regardless of what he felt like on the inside, as a $13 million a year entertainer, it shouldn't be too much trouble to feign a little devastation for the fans sake.

In fact, he never showed much emotion at all, and that was the worst part of it.  It wasn't just that he failed... he never really seemed to acknowledge it.

Similarly, when Sarah Lacy got to interview Mark Zuckerberg at the SXSW keynote--conveniently close to the timing of her book about the company--she put herself in the spotlight.  It was a huge opportunity to step up.  A fantastic interview could have meant some great wind at her back for book sales and certainly a nice notch in her journalist belt.  It reminded me of when Kara Swisher had an opportunity to get inside AOL during the late 90's on the way up her great journalistic career.  Sarah Lacy could have been the next Kara Swisher.  Instead, we sat there wishing it was Kara Swisher doing the interview with Mark.

She failed to bring an already uncomfortable young founder out of his shell.  She failed to pick up on what the audience wanted out of the interview.  She patronized and then even seemed to flirt with Zuckerberg during the interview.  I sat there in person... it was like watching a car accident.  Arrington thinks people are being sexist, but girl or guy, flirting is flirting.  If Robert Scoble did the interview and started twirling his hair at the mention that Mark is the youngest billionaire, everyone would have said, "WTF...  Is Scoble flirting?"  It didn't have a place no matter who was interviewing.

Even my friend Ariel, who is most definitely a woman, said it live on Twitter:

"Can't tell if Sarah Lacey wants to flirt with Zuckerberg or interview him the leg bouncing and hair twirling enough!"

Eventually, I was so uncomfortable that I had to leave...  I'm sorry I missed the end when she attacked the audience, but her video comments afterwards were as equally obnoxious as the interview.  She said that she made the mistake of coming to a "developer's conference".

I'm not a developer.  I didn't want to hear about the specifics of API's either... but "You don't believe Facebook is really worth 15 billion, do you?"

What kind of question is that?  What's the expected answer?

And, "Beacon, WTF?"

I'd like to just to interviews like that...   Maybe I'll get to interview GW and I'll just say, "Iraq, WTF?"

Eliot Spitzer interview, "Hookers, WTF?"

Certainly more efficient.  Why waste words?

And let's keep in kind that this is someone who, just a week ago, "asked for the ball" in the big game.  She made a big deal about not getting into TED.  So, she got to step up to the keynote interview at SXSW and she blew it...   hey, you know, it happens, but she's got to own up to it, just the same way she would have owned up to the upside of great book sales, big stories, etc.

Instead, she blamed everyone else but herself.  She blamed the people in the room for possibly preventing any big name people from ever attending again.  Her now famous "screw you all" twitter...  it's Glavine's "this is not devastating" all over again.

She needs to admit that she was poorly prepared for the interview and apologize...   save some face and take some of the hit she's tried unsuccessfully to dodge so far.

Blogged with Flock