Where do athletes get each other’s phone numbers?
It comes out a lot during the offseason. A free agent will get a call from someobody convincing them to join their team. Or the free agent will call a player on a team he’s interested in and ask him about the team or the city. It makes a lot of sense. But, how do they get the number?
It happened recently with the Mike Cameron signing. The asked him about the fact that he was a centerfielder, and Jacoby Ellsbury also plays center field. Cameron said that he called Ellsbury to talk it all over with him to make sure he was ok with it. Who gave him the number? Does Cameron ask Theo? Does he say, “Hey I’d like to call Ellsbury to talk it over…can you give me his digits?” Does Theo just hand them over? Does he pull the old, I’ll call him and give him your number? Is it really a conference call with Theo in the room to make it all professional? What if Jacoby doesn’t want to give his number out? What if he thinks Cameron is a jerk and doesn’t want him knowing where he is? What happens than?
And that’s a simple example involving two players with a common thread in the same sport. What about across sports? I remember when Nomar Garciaparra had his wrist surgery. It was reported that he called a member of the Bruins who had had a similar surgery to talk about the recovery with him. Who gets Nomar that number? Does he call the Bruins Customer Service number and ask? Does he happen to have a common friend? Is there a “Boston Area Sports” phone book somewhere that I don’t know about? Why does Nomar have access to this discussion when I don’t? Just because he’s famous, other famous people agree to talk to him? If I have wrist surgery, can I call Nomar up to see how he dealt with it?
My favorite example, though, is Peyton Manning. When he was a junior in college, he was trying to decide whether or not to leave school early. Tim Duncan, had faced a similar decision, and decided to play out his college career. So, Manning called Duncan to talk it over. Who on earth was the match-maker in that one? This college punk wants to call the NBA rookie of the year. Can we make that happen? Manning wouldn’t have an agent who knew people. Did the AD at Tennessee know the Wake Forrest AD and go through it that way? Again, is that option available to everyone? If I’m a college junior, and wonder if I should drop out to work on my family farm, can I call Manning? If I have wrist surgery while in college, can I set up a conference call with Manning and Nomar? If I wanted to talk to a random accountant or engineer, I wouldn’t have any idea how to get their number. How on earth do you break into the inner circle of a professional athlete?
How do I get my hands on that phone book?