As a major league pitcher, Don Carman was about as mediocre as you could be. His career record over ten seasons in “The Show” was 53 wins against 54 losses. His career ERA was a remarkably unspectacular 4.11. He never made an All-Star team, never pitched in the postseason, and never led the league in anything at all.
But even though I’ve never met him, I’ll bet a month doesn’t go by that I don’t think of Don Carman, and it’s all because of something he did while playing for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1990.
The Phillies were notoriously recalcitrant in the ’80s and early ’90s. Fans in Philadelphia are known for being difficult (pelting Santa Clause with snowballs at Eagles games, throwing glass bottles and batteries at players in several sports, booing legendary athletes like Mike Schmidt and Julius Erving and even intentionally vomiting on young girls). The Philadelphia media can be combatant, too. Players in MLB, the NFL, the NBA and the NHL often become jaded to the Philly environment, and many times through the years they’ve simply clammed up, refusing to say anything at all rather than risk throwing fuel on the Philadelphia sports pyre.
Carman had a different — more thoughtful — response. Instead of saying nothing, he made a list of every answer he might ever need and posted it on his locker. There were 37 in all, and he titled it “Reporter Responses.”
You can read the full list here, but some highlights are
(1) I’m just glad to be here. I just want to help the club any way I can.
(4) We’re going to take the season one game at a time.
(9) We need two more players to take us over the top: Babe Ruth & Lou Gehrig.
(26) That’s why they pay him ___ million dollars.
(28) I know you are but what am I?
Obviously, Carman was and is a genius. It got me to thinking about creating a similar list of responses for ICAST — something that could work for an exhibitor whether he’s talking to a potential buyer or a reporter. Here are some responses that will serve you well.
3. It depends.
4. This product is a game changer!
5. Seriously, this product is a game changer!
6. I’m telling you, this thing is a game changer!
7. Of course it’s new! We’re displaying it at ICAST aren’t we?
8. It’s an improvement on their very rudimentary design.
9. Actually, they ripped us off, not the other way around!
10. Ours is very different.
11. What do you mean somebody was making this in the 1930s?
12. Best of Show means everything!
13. Best of Show is just a piece of plastic.
14. He’ll be right back.
15. He was just here.
16. These high school kids are our future.
17. These high school kids are a waste of my time.
18. That’s why we named it “The Game Changer.”
Feel free to post this in your booth.
And you’re welcome.