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Challenges of covering summer baseball

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Smallpotatoes, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    While I've been driving for a full-time job, since I was laid off from my sports editor position six months ago, I've been freelancing for a paper I used to work for several years ago.

    After covering the end of the high school hockey season and high school baseball and lacrosse in the spring, I'm now covering a Senior Babe Ruth team.

    One thing I've noticed, and I guess that's just the way summer ball is, is that getting lineups for the opposing team can sometimes be like pulling teeth. In the first game I covered, the home team didn't even have its lineup ready until the bottom of the first. It batted all 13 guys they had and only first names appeared on the lineup card. I asked around, parents, players, coaches, and nobody seemed to know everyone's last name.

    Tonight was more of the same, first names, nicknames, initials, the coaches didn't even know some of the kids' last names and neither did the kids.

    I wouldn't mind so much, but I'm supposed to do a box score. We can argue about whether or not this league is worth covering and if it's worth doing box scores, but that's another topic for another day (and don't get me started on the decline of Legion ball). That's what I'm paid to do and I'm going to do what I'm paid to do.

    That said, I briefly considered using the last name "Mayhew" for a kid named Brandon and "Pappas" for a kid named Angelo. ;).

    Is this just typical of summer ball, at least below the Legion level?
  2. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    Yeah I bet it's typical. Your only hope is to be a reporter/pest. Get the team you cover's lineup and go sit in the other dugout til they get you a lineup. Or have somebody dictate one to you. Got to stay in the other team's dugout til you get what you need.

    But if it's unavailable it's unavailable. You'll have to fill out half the box and put a note that the other team was not available.
  3. ChrisLong

    ChrisLong Well-Known Member

    1- Don't run a box score.
    2- If a kid is named Ronald, don't use McDonald.
    HanSenSE and sgreenwell like this.
  4. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    You now know it is a problem, so - show up 30 minutes before the game starts, so you can handle it all before the game. That should be more than enough time. It can also be a matter of what you're asking for. No, the lineup might not be done until minutes before the game. But if you ask for a roster, some teams will have that.
  5. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Well-Known Member

    Full boxes for Senior Babe Ruth? Good grief ...

    Do what you can to make clear that you're media and that you want to get players' names spelled correctly. In some cases, they will understand because their name has been botched because of a crossed wire. In others ... well ... out-of-area teams probably aren't worried about their names in an out-of-market publication. Even if they can read it in their home territory online.
    Fredrick likes this.
  6. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    Drive your company van onto the field and don't move it until you have lineups.
  7. SoloFlyer

    SoloFlyer Well-Known Member

    What kind of league allows teams to start a game without handing over a completed lineup to the umpire and opposition?
    Fredrick likes this.
  8. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Our state allows high school teams to play games in June, after the actual season is over and school is out. They're usually doubleheaders, although a lot of times the coaches make things up on the fly depending on how much pitching they have available. It might be two five-inning games, two seven-inning games, one five-inning game with the JV and a seven-inning game with the varsity, or one nine-inning game where they bat everybody and have free substitution.
    Key players might or might not be there, depending on if they had to work, are off playing with another team, or went on vacation that week.
    And, since we're in the south where the pop up afternoon thunderstorm is a daily occurrence somewhere, schedules are very loose. I've seen 5 p.m. games get rained out because a storm moved in and out of the area between 4:50 and 5:15 and no one wanted to spend 90 minutes getting the field ready again.

    The games don't count, so the goal is to get as many people to see live action as possible and figure out who can actually play for them next year. Most teams don't keep score, and some don't even turn the scoreboard on. Once I realized that, after way too many years, I stopped covering the actual games. I'd get out there beforehand and talk to the coaches for an offseason check-in story or feature and then shoot pictures of the first couple of innings and head out. Sometimes I'd just shoot pictures and do a photo package. Maybe slip in the final score if anyone bothered to write it down.
    If the people playing and coaching don't care who wins, I doubt anyone else does, either.

    Going back to your original question, that kind of league.
  9. bpoindexter

    bpoindexter Active Member

    Every team has a scorekeeper, so I'd hit them up. If he/she doesn't know all the first and last names, I'd hit up the kids after the game.

    One of my old sports editors, way back in the early 1980s, used to tell me if I couldn't or didn't get a first name, then make up one. He always suggested "Lefty."
  10. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

  11. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    We had a bit of that too, although they technically wouldn't be school teams - Always a local business or two in a town, sponsoring the team and the "league." They kept W-L, but nobody really cared, since every team made the end of season tournament. At this point, they'd often play it like the real deal.
  12. Regan MacNeil

    Regan MacNeil Well-Known Member

    Several posts have already provided the correct advice. So can we just use the rest of this thread to make John T. Reed and transmissiony jokes?
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