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Little League World Series insights

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by flexmaster33, Aug 12, 2012.

  1. offwing28

    offwing28 Member

    People-watch. You're probably gonna have to do the story about your team's parents/cheering section; see if another team's looks interesting. Mexico's was a blast. Between my shaky Spanish and their shaky English, we had fun.

    Make sure you've got phone numbers for at least a parent or two, particularly for the off-day stuff. We did that "Our Boys (and their families) As Tourists" thing and it worked out pretty well.

    If you have night games, be prepared in case the coach and players decline to come in for interviews (or to be interviewed when you go out).

    Be prepared to laugh when you get the spiel about protecting the kids and limiting media access, then watch ESPN run the show.

    We did little notes on where each of the teams came from. I enjoyed researching those more than anything.

    As of a few years ago, if you weren't there reasonably early in the day, nearby parking got scarce. Between staying c. 30 miles away and several late-night games for the locals, made for some long days. There's a little bar down the road. Be darned if I remember the name. (Found it: Mountaineer Lounge, 420 E. Mountain Ave.) Food wasn't bad, and reasonable. Helpful after a late night.

    If you can roll with the punches, think it's a decent time. I couldn't for an assortment of reasons at the time and was mostly miserable. Now I wouldn't mind going back someday.
  2. MightyMouse

    MightyMouse Member

    Yeesh, is this some kind of performance art that we're all unaware of?

    You have an age requirement for what does and doesn't deserve coverage? How does that conversation even go? "Oh, I'm sorry. I'd love to do that story, but my journalistic integrity precludes me from writing about anyone under the age of 16."
  3. No. 1 - Enjoy the hell out of it. It's like nothing you can imagine. It's a different experience and one that is kind of mind-boggling for a tournament for 12-year olds. This will be my fourth year working in the area and despite it being 10-14 days of hell for what we have to do in Williamsport, it's still fun once you get in the flow.

    2 - Get to know the team Uncles. Each team has, I believe, 2 Uncles assigned to the team by Little League and they're essentially chaperones and your guides. They'll know the team's practice schedule among other things and can help coordinate an interview with someone if you can get ahold of them at practice or after a game. Most of the Uncles have been doing it for 10, 15 or 20 years and are Williamsport area residents as well.

    3 - In all honesty, the games are great and everybody wants to win, but being at the LLWS is about everything outside of the baseball. The kids are going to get all kinds of equipment from companies who sponsor the tournament. They're going to spend time in the Grove (the player dorm area which is off-limits to media) playing ping pong and swimming and playing other games with kids from different countries that'll make for good stories. These kids are going to play in front of a couple thousand people, but probably nothing like the 30,000 that showed up for the Clinton County team last year, in a setting they've never been a part of before. There are going to be so many stories to write that go way beyond baseball that your head will explode.

    But like I said, make sure to try and enjoy the trip. Williamsport isn't any different from any other small town in America, but it's a cool and crowded place to be during the Series.
  4. Watcher

    Watcher New Member

    Poor ESPN. Spend all that money and effort to cover something that is beneath them.
  5. Hango

    Hango New Member

    Talked to Gresham manager after he won NW Region on Saturday. He was scheduled to start a new job today....and he doesn't even have a son on the team.
  6. MightyMouse

    MightyMouse Member

    Maybe I've just been stuck at my desk for too long, but I think the chance to go to South Williamsport to cover the LLWS would be one of the cooler things to happen.

    As I've indicated previously, I strongly disagree with PEteacher's stance that this is "beneath" covering. In fact, I think something like this could be a tremendous resume builder, if you do it right.

    Notebooks, blogs, player profiles, family profiles, town profiles -- it seems like there's an endless supply of material here.

    Have fun with it, Flexmaster.
  7. expendable

    expendable Well-Known Member

    Though they probably would've already you if they did, it couldnt hurt to ask around to see if the town has ever sent a team to the LLWS before. If it has, that opens the possibility for several more angles. Especially if one of today's players is related to a player from the past.
  8. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    It's only the fourth league from the state to get to the World Series, and yes, the first from this city in the state.
  9. SnoopyBoy

    SnoopyBoy Member

    I covered the LLWS in Williamsport twice, but not in nine years. I've covered Super Bowls, World Series, major college bowls games, All-Star Games, the Daytown 500 -- you name it -- but the LLWS was up there. What a great event.

    Both times I was fortunate to stay in Williamsport. The main drag where the restaurants and hotels is in Williamsport and the LL facility is actually across the river in S. Williamsport -- which is an All-American little town. The whole town caters to the event that week.

    Contact the head coach ASAP and get his cell phone. Get to know him. Get him to text you practice times. You'll want to be at all the practices to get to know the kids as much as possible. When I covered it, the kids didn't talk after they lost a game. They were taken right to their compound up the hill and it was up to the coach and parents to make them available. You can't go in the compound. If they won, the kids would come to the interview area.

    Get to know the parents. They all hang out together and they have stories and great background on the kids. I went out to eat with them and even went to the bar at the TGI Friday's with them.

    I got the idea the kids had no idea how big of a deal the LLWS was. They were signing autographs, playing on TV and in front of a bunch of people. What makes the LLWS great is admission is free and the concessions -- at least 9 years ago -- were dirt cheap. It's how it was supposed to be.

    Have fun with it.

    And for the guy who thinks it's below him to cover the LLWS, covering the LLWS in 2000 changed my career. I covered preps for years and was sent to Williamsport. I did a great job, got A1 stories at a top 10 major daily, and soon was on my way up the chain. Four years later, I was on a pro beat. Make the most of it.
  10. BillyT

    BillyT Active Member

    You just don't get it.

    First of all, it's a major international sporting event that many of us would love to cover.

    Second, you have a fricking job, so you do it.

    And yes, you're doing it for the readers. Some of us do covering competitive cheerleading.

    And by bringing rape victims into a sports discussion, you prove just how much you don't get it.

    Holy cow.
  11. SnoopyBoy

    SnoopyBoy Member

    Again, I covered the LLWS for a Top 10 circulation daily and got a few A1 stories and changed my career. If you would rather quit than cover it, go ahead.
  12. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Well-Known Member

    Yes, I can say PE Teacher is officially off base...far off base.

    Down here one day and it's been crazy fun. Not only am I having a blast, but our numbers are blowing up back home. We're getting more feedback/interest on this than anything I've covered in by 16 years with the paper. Huge crowds, fun environment, volunteers who bend over backward to help you out. It's been fantastic...here's hoping the team wins, so I can hang around a few extra days :)
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