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covering first MLB game tomorrow

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Jim Halpert, Aug 2, 2006.

  1. Jim Halpert

    Jim Halpert Member

    Alright, so I recently (about 2 months ago) started my first job at a small daily that happens to be about an hour from a major city with an MLB team. We usually don't cover the games, but tomorrow there's a very small local angle that we can write about, so I was asked if I wanted to go. Obviously I immediately accepted, but I'm a little nervous about the whole experience. I really have no idea what to expect or where I can go or what to do.

    Any advice so I don't look like the young kid newbie without a clue, even though thats exactly what I am? Thanks.
  2. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    1.) Ask for autographs.
    2.) Make small talk with the starting pitcher. He LOVES that.
    3.) Ask a lot of questions during the manager's pre-game presser.
    4.) Wear a team hat into the locker room.

    I keed, I keed.

    Just go in there with a plan re: who you're going to talk to and be prepared. If you have to ask the manager something, wait a few minutes for a lag in the conversation before doing so. And absorb as much as you can. You can learn a lot more by being the quiet guy nobody sees as opposed to the loud, doofy newbie.

    Good luck.
  3. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    You can go on the field from about 3 hours before the game until 45 mins before the game, I believe. (Depends on your situation and what type of pass you have, but for the most part, this is true.)

    You can go in the clubhouse -- not sure what the time limit is for before the game -- but they will open it between 10-20 minutes after the game (to allow players to cool off, officially).

    After the game, in the clubhouse, there will be a pack of reporters around the stars or players of the game, usually, so if your "local angle" is a marginal player, you should be able to go talk to him right away, 1-on-1. Work up the nerve, and go over to talk to him. And be polite (ask him if you can have a minute first, then ask him your questions.) Half the battle in this scrum is mental, especially until you get comfortable.

    Probably want to get to the manager for quotes on the local angle as soon as you can. If you can get those quotes before the game (and they're not dependent on the result), all the better for you ... and him. After the game, most writers want to ask about ... the game itself. Anything outside of that, on deadline, is going to piss a few people off. Probably not a good strategy for a newbie.

    Any other specific questions, ask 'em here or PM. Good luck! -- and have fun! -- and kick ass!
  4. ogre

    ogre Member

    I agree with all the above advice, especially about focus. There will be all sorts of extra nonsense (that is joe blow's 15th career three hit game vs. Team A) that can distract you from why you are there. Also, get there early so you know when players/managers are available. If you are filing on deadline, there probably won't be time (in fact there won't be unless it's a day game) to hit up both lockerrooms after the game.
    Last thing, have a good time, because it is really fun if you relax enough to enjoy the game.
  5. If you can talk to your local guy before the game, do it. He might be gone by the time you can get to him once the game is over.

    Iin general, if you're doing a story that isn't based on that night's game, you might be better off doing all your interviews before the game. Like buckweaver said, you can go on the field well before game time. Usually the manager has a media gangbang during that timespan, too (sometimes in the dugout, sometimes in the postgame interview room). It's usually pretty loose and you can ask stuff then that might be a bit more difficult postgame (b/c of other writers on deadline or the manager being in a foul mood, if his team loses).

    If something happens with your guy during the game and you want to follow up on it, it's easier to ask a quick question or two postgame than to get into something too in-depth.

    And do have a good time. If you're used to covering high school softball games and youth soccer meets, it's a bit of a difference.
  6. DENNY

    DENNY Guest

    There is some great advice on here already.

    Make sure you get to the stadium and into the clubhouse as early as you can. That way you'll have plenty of opportunity/time to talk to the local angle guy and anyone else you might want to speak to (manager, teammates, coaches, etc.). Just make sure you don't stand around too long waiting to talk to someone, because at some point the players will have to go hit, take extra fielding practice, lift or whatever.

    If a player you want to talk to is hanging around his locker, go up to him and ask if he's got a couple minutes to answer some questions. Tell him who you are, where you're from and what you're working on.

    Good luck.
  7. novelist_wannabe

    novelist_wannabe Well-Known Member

    Don't know if this is too late, but it might smooth things along if you ask the team's media relations person to assist in setting up the interviews you need ahead of time. And please, please, don't sit there and cheer in the press box. It's unbecoming.
  8. Barsuk

    Barsuk Active Member

    Be sure and eat a lot of the free press box food.

    And if the president is throwing out the first pitch — which is what happened at my first MLB game — build in an extra hour or two for parking and security checks.
  9. thegrifter

    thegrifter Member

    go up to the biggest guy in the press box and punch him in the balls, just so everyone knows who's the new king of the box.
  10. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    And, if Chris Berman is there, I believe the offer is up to, what, $500 now? ;D
  11. Lion_Woods

    Lion_Woods Active Member

    Probably the best piece of advice. Sometimes, we wait around forever and then it's too late. You have to just jump in there and ask your questions and move on.
  12. OkayPlayer

    OkayPlayer Member

    The best advice I have is have fun with it. My first time in a major league clubhouse I was so nervous I didn't enjoy it.
    Go early, hang around in the clubhouse (just don't get caught staring). Go on the field. Even if you don't need to, sit in on the managers' pregame just to learn from older reporters and just to see how it is. Breath it in.
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