I have been writing off and on since high school and was finally on again in 2007. I was very lucky to know someone who needed an article for a local paper and a star was born (ok, maybe not a star, but definitely a prospect). When said paper got credentials for the local Minor League team, the Portland Sea Dogs, I got one of the two press passes. It was like being handed the keys to the summer home, and as my father once told me "How can you get started if you, well, don't get started?" The bonus obviously is that the Red Sox are the team's parent club, and they have a bit of a following around the country (I should say "Nation" just to make Hank Steinbrenner ill). At the very least it will be nice to know enough about one of the September call-ups that whomever I am watching a game with compliments my knowledge. Regardless, this was a chance to what I love, go to baseball games and get paid for it, and so it began.
My first day was a June 7th game between the Akron Aeros and Sea Dogs. Akron has former Yankee first round pick Bronson Sardinha, and the Sea Dogs had former Twins pitcher Dave Gassner on the mound. I got to the park at 3:30, a little bit confused, a little bit lost, and a little bit excited. I walked by the players parking lot and asked the attendant where I should go in. He pointed me in the right direction, and after a quick right I was in the stands watching batting practice. The first thing I noticed and put in the mental file was "who gets to choose the BP music", and I promise that question will be answered this year. Other thing that I am going to do is interview one of the players and their host family that they stay with and get a feel for that, hopefully get into the Radio Booth at some point and sit in on an inning. Obviously there will be some game coverage, but when you write for a weekly paper you need to think outside the box in lieu of writing a summary to a game that may be 4 days old when it goes to press. I was a little disappointed that noone outside of the parking lot attendant asked to see my press pass, because I felt like I had to show it off, but at least I must not have looked like I was completely lost. I watched batting practice from the first and third base sides, because I could, and then made my way up to the press box. I happened to be the first one in their, so I made sure to find a spot where I wouldn't be sitting in anyone's regular seat. I got connected to the internet and I was off. The press box wasn't as hustly and bustly as I thought it would be, but there was still plenty going on.
The game itself was interesting, as the Sea Dogs blew a 10 run lead and lost in the longest 9 inning game in Hadlock history. I also managed to catch Big Brown lose the Triple Crown, discovered how official scorers decide a play, and got free dinner (I love free dinner), so all in all it was good night. As I headed home, I couldn't help but think of all the times as a kid when I wondered what it would be like to cover a baseball game. For once, I knew the answer.