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MLB beat writers, spouses

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Wonderlic, Jul 7, 2012.

  1. Wonderlic

    Wonderlic Member

    Serious question/topic of conversation for the MLB beat writers here. I'm talking about the ones who cover most of the 162-game regular season, with all the travel that entails, plus playoffs and all of spring training. Are you married? How do you find the time to spend with your spouse and, if you have them, your kids?

    Seems these beats are best suited for the unattached, but I imagine there are married reporters out there who make it work. ... Right?
  2. hankschu

    hankschu Member

    There's no easy answer to this because every marriage is different, but the one common thread is that the beat writer's spouse has to be an independent-minded person for the marriage to have a chance to work.

    Beyond that, I've always insisted that I have one weekend day off when the team is home plus the ability to take a trip or two off. I think most sports editors prefer that, too, mainly to prevent a boatload of comp time and to give the backup or national writer a chance to hit the road. I also went home for a time during spring training or had the missus come down to Arizona.

    I never had children so I can't say how difficult that is, but I've seen the strain with other beat guys.

    Truth is, few married-with-children writers remain on the beat very long. Either that, or they get divorced. It's important to have a sports editor understand that you as a writer have a better chance of staying on the beat long-term if the paper can make accommodations for your needs during the long season. I've been fortunate in my quarter-century of doing this to have editors like this.

    And now the disclaimer: I'm divorced, though the issue was not my job or being on the road.
  3. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    Hank nailed it pretty well. I will add that it takes a special woman to be married to a sports journalist. The mistake made by many is that they tend to be married to their jobs or beats. That is a big mistake whether you are covering the pros or preps. Family comes first.
  4. CarlSpackler

    CarlSpackler Member

    When I was an intern in a MLB press box the first thing I noticed was that all the guys were either single, divorced or in a marriage rocky enough to sometimes warrant distressed phone calls during a game. Then again maybe that's what all marriages are like. Can't speak from experience there.
  5. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Agreed. Hard choices there. Marriage isn't for everyone. Neither is that kind of a beat.

    I've seen more than one marriage torn apart by sports jobs that weren't even that stressful. Only think I can say is the two parties need to have some heart to heart talks and, if they can't reach an agreement, then one will have decide where his/her priorities are.
  6. Tucsondriver

    Tucsondriver Member

    Tough life. Dream beat would be non-traveling for the most part, with maybe some divisional games and pennant race stuff. 3-6 short road trips would be cool, 15-plus probably unbearable. Hard enough maintaining a social life when I traveled fulltime. Can't imagine what it would be like for someone with a spouse, let alone kids too. Much respect for those who can keep it together, and their spouses too.
  7. Screwball

    Screwball Member

    One other thought: In the old days, baseball beat writers covered almost all the games with the knowledge they would be off all winter, except for the winter meetings. The beat is 24-7-365 now, thanks to free agency, the Internet and Twitter. Some papers lean on writers to take time off during the season so they can be available all winter.
  8. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    This is very relevant. I remember years ago our baseball writer the fact that he built up massive amounts of airline miles and hotel points and had a month off to use them (he'd take vacations to places like Hawaii). Now it seems like the beat that never ends.
  9. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    There are ways to get opportunities to use those Marriott points and other perks. There are also ways to get days off. For example, get away home games and the first games back from a road trip are always days for the back up guys. All-Star breaks are great for the back up guys too. Thanksgiving Day to the second week in December is good for a vacation.
  10. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    I really don't think I would like covering one beat year round. I understand there are advantages, such as familiarity with sources and such.

    But normally by the time a season ends, I'm pretty darn worn out with that sport and the people and am eager for something different. Just me, though.
  11. accguy

    accguy Member

    You're also seeing more and more papers go to a split-beat situation where it is somewhat difficult to know who is the primary beat writer and who is the backup.

    If you split the road trips, it makes it more bearable for the people involved. Also means they get less comp time and are more available in the offseason.
  12. Screwball

    Screwball Member

    Those are days the beat writer is traveling, to the first city of the road trip or back from the last city of the trip. Neither one should be considered a day off.

    Absolutely not. That might be the busiest time of the winter, with the run-up to the winter meetings and the meetings themselves.
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