Friday, April 6, 2012

Looking back on the Al Campanis interview

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the infamous 4/6/1987 Al Campanis interview on the ABC Nightline program which was the focus of a recent ESPN Outside the Lines episode.

The remarks Campanis made on this show generated a storm of controversy and quickly cost him his job as general manager of the Dodgers. But putting aside what he said, I find it stunning how amateurish Campanis looked and sounded during this segment. I am stuck by his strange demeanor throughout the program and his awkward laughter around the 0:38 mark on this clip. One would expect that a man who had been a longtime Major League Baseball executive would have had a vast amount of experience with press conferences, media interviews, and other public speaking engagements. But the video footage seems more consistent with someone who is appearing live on-camera for the first time.


  1. Jeff, I'm really enjoying your website--I'm also over at the506. On Campanis, he wasn't a frequent guest on TV, though he had done interviews, but in this case it was apparently something different for him: he wasn't facing the host or the interviewer or in the studio, but on a remote hookup, and he wasn't used to that. More unkindly, it was after a game, and there's a theory that he had indulged a bit as he watched the game or right afterward.

    1. Michael, Thanks for the positive words. You raised some good points on Campanis which could help explain how uncomfortable he seemed during the Nightline segment.