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Please pick my first game story apart

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by Jay Sherman, Jul 4, 2008.

  1. Jay Sherman

    Jay Sherman Member

    First gamer at my new gig. Please, criticize, pick it apart, etc. Names and teams have been changed for obvious reasons. Thanks in advance. BTW, it was a game that ended in a tie due to darkness (the fields don't have lights).

    For the second time in less than a week, Northeastern battled from being down multiple runs to tie the game late.
    For the second time, much to Northeastern manager Mike Reston's dismay, the game was a tie, this time 8-8, leaving Northeastern and Stoverton to make up the game at a future date.

    According to Reston, the game will be made up on Thursday, two days after Northeastern has to replay a game with Hanover which also was tied earlier this season.

    Both Stoverton's and Northeastern's coaches voiced their displeasure with the rule that forces both teams to start from scratch.

    "It's frustrating. Pitching is at a premium. It's just like rainouts. At least with rainouts you don't play the game. Here, we've burned one kid five innings. For [Stoverton's] sake, they are going to play four days in a row. We're going to play three out of four days," Reston said.

    Stoverton came out to an early 6-2 lead thanks to a four-run third inning, as five straight players reached base safely.
    Centerfielder Ryan Stough sparked the run with a solo home run, the second of the night for Stoverton.

    A costly error in the top of the sixth inning allowed Northeastern to score two runs on a Nick Wallin single, knotting the game at 8-8.

    Though the tie was a disappointment for both ball clubs, Reston found solace in his team's ability to battle from down four runs.

    "We battled back. Our bats didn't quit. We scored some runs and we capitalized on a mistake," he said.

    There was no shortage of offense from either team, as both clubs combined for 30 hits and 16 runs.

    All of Stoverton's players in the game reached base safely with hits, including six players with multi-hit performances.
    On the other side of the diamond, first baseman Brian Bristol went 4-for-5 with an RBI, and Nick Wallin finished 3-for-4 with an RBI.

    Stoverton's Kevin Stevenson finished 4-for-4 with two RBIs and a home run in the designated hitter spot before relieving starting pitcher Jared Stiffler in the fifth inning.

    Both Bristol and Stevenson, the most dominant offensive players on their respective teams, pitched in relief.

    Northeastern starter Kurt Sinder finished the night allowing 15 hits and five earned runs in five innings. Bristol relieved Sinder in the sixth inning, finishing with no earned runs, two hits and a strikeout in two innings.

    "[Bristol] did a great job. I'm happy with his pitching. Any time he can come in and step up and shut the other team down, that's a good thing," said Reston.

    Stevenson also allowed three earned runs on the mound in three innings of duty for Stoverton.
  2. Appgrad05

    Appgrad05 Active Member

    Documents accord, people say.

    In an effort to be slightly lyrical (for the second time ...) you've lost your nut graph -- that the schools have to start over, at the beginning. That's your story, especially since all these stats are apparently for nothing.

    You probably have too much stats, as well. Trust readers can read a box score.

    Overall, though, it flows well and I didn't really stumble at any point.
  3. Xodus

    Xodus Member

    This is pretty strong for a first attempt at a gamer. It reads well, but like App said, the most important part is that this game has to be played all over again, not that they played twice.

    Keep up the good work.
  4. Stone Cane

    Stone Cane Member

    player quotes
  5. Jay Sherman

    Jay Sherman Member

    Yeah, the player of the game left as I was interviewing the coach. I thought he was behind him still in the clubhouse. I've since written a gamer and made sure to talk to the player FIRST and the coach SECOND. Worked much better.
  6. boxand1

    boxand1 New Member

    Use "according to" for documents, "said" for people.
  7. Stone Cane

    Stone Cane Member

    find another one

    never turn in a gamer without player quotes

    god, i freaking hate gamers with just quotes from the coaches

    player quotes breathe life into gamers
  8. deskslave

    deskslave Active Member

    Try to avoid extra words whenever possible.

    "Reached base safely with hits" = "had a hit."

    "Stoverton's Kevin Stevenson ... in the designated hitter slot" = "Stoverton designated hitter Kevin Stevenson."

    "Stevenson also allowed three earned runs on the mound." Where else would he have allowed them?

    "Northeastern starter Kurt Sinder finished the night allowing" = "Northeastern starter Kurt Sinder allowed"

    "There was no shortage of offense from either team, as both clubs combined for 30 hits and 16 runs." Meh. Do you really need to say "no shortage, blah, blah, blah?" I'm sure at some point there was, anyway. Someone probably struck out with a runner on third or something. Also, no need to say "both." Just "the clubs" or "the teams" combined is fine.

    Also: "Centerfielder Ryan Stough sparked the run with a solo home run." I wouldn't call it a "run." One, that's a basketball term. Two, it's confusing because, obviously, run is also a term in baseball, but a much different one.

    And yeah, it sucks that the player of the game left, and it's good that you've adapted your routine, as it shows you learn from things. But find another player. You can always ask him about the player of the game's performance as well. If it's a pitcher (doesn't sound as though it was), grab the catcher. Ask him how he handled the guy, etc. If it's a hitter, grab the other team's pitcher. Ask how difficult it was to get him out.

    Oh, and I know this wasn't in the story, but the game ended "because of" darkness, not "due to" it. Copy editor pet peeve.

    You might want to follow up with a story about all these ties at some point, too. Why aren't they playing at fields with lights? Failing that, why not start the games earlier? Failing that, why not suspend the game and start again later?
  9. SoCalScribe

    SoCalScribe Member

    If you get in the habit of getting quotes from multiple players before you try to find the coach, I think you'll find yourself using a lot more player quotes than coach quotes. Plus, you can always get the coach on his cell phone on the bus or in his car or wherever 15, 30, 60 minutes later if you have time.

    You will usually overquote coaches, anyway, in a prep setting via your notebooks, stories on college recruiting, whatever. So whenever possible, keep them out of your writing. They'll get their share anyway and most of them would rather the players be quoted than them because it might reduce their voicemail quota just a tad.

    The best way to make sure you always have the right quotes is to devise a plan before the game's over. Who's going to head straight to the bus/locker room? Probably the visiting team, possibly the home team if it got blown out. Can you get one or two quotes out of a kid before the postgame huddle with the coaches? Where is the team bus in case you need to pull a kid off the bus? Which players are likely to linger on the field talking to family? Get a handle on all these factors and you'll find postgame a lot less stressful.

    Lastly, from a purely selfish standpoint, the more players you talk to, the less time you'll end up wasting trying to do a feature on a kid who turns out to be a bad talker. You'll find some gems and rule out plenty of duds with one or two sentences after a given game.
  10. You can also "freeze" players or coaches before you do any interviews. Say you want to grab the player of the game first. Before you do, or as you do, say to a few others, "John, Mike, Coach Smith, can I talk to you after I'm done with Steve here?" They'll stick around, and you won't have to silently panic during your Steve interview as you see everyone else you need getting into cars.
  11. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    I know you mentioned it in your intro, but you never say in the story that the game was called because of darkness. I read through it and was wondering why they stopped playing? Did that happen with their last tie, too? That needs to be in there somewhere.
  12. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member


    Something I always do when I'm covering a new team... I will immediately go talk to a coach, then ask him to grab some of his seniors or star players who may want to be quoted. The coach can get whoever you need in like 10 seconds. Whereas it would take a new reporter a few minutes to run around looking for the right kid. If you can't see the jersey, sometimes there is no way to know who is who.

    Coaches will be very helpful.
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