Spring Training was great. I learned a lot, met new people and got to sit back and watch some baseball. However, with joy comes pain. Some parts of the week were more enjoyable than others, but the experience is about everything that happened; not just the good, not just the bad, but everything that contributed to the overall experience.
One of the biggest things I learned from this experience was the atmosphere and ways of the clubhouse. It’s one thing hearing about MLB clubhouses from former journalists, but it’s another thing altogether being in one yourself. I had the opportunity to visit the Minnesota Twins’ clubhouse before their game against the Pirates. One of the hardest things to do was walk up to the first player to ask them some questions. However, after the first player, it became increasingly easier each time; I built confidence. Another crazy part of it was being face-to-face with someone like Joe Mauer, who’s had such a great career in the bigs.
One of the frustrating parts of getting into the clubhouse, however, was finding out where to go and when to be there. I got to the park at around 8:45 a.m., because I had no idea when the clubhouse would open. I assumed that it’d be better to get there earlier rather than later. I asked about five different people where I should go to get my credentials, and it seemed like they all sent me in a different direction. Apparently, the credential people were running late that day, so the entire day’s schedule was pretty confusing. I found talking to some of the other journalists was extremely helpful, though.
One thing I’d improve was how much research I conducted on each player. While I had prepared questions for some of the players, I wasn’t ready to ask questions to everyone in the clubhouse. Having some sort of knowledge about everyone there would have made my life a little bit easier.
Another thing I would’ve done differently was to make sure I got all of the information I needed from an interviewee at the ballpark. I found a couple at the Red Sox-Yankees game. One was a Yankees fan, and the other was a Sox fan. They had an interesting backstory, so I thought I’d pursue a story about them. I found them at the end of the game, so they were in a rush to leave the stadium; I wasn’t able to record any of the information they shared with me. We exchanged numbers, but they ended being busy for the rest of the week. If I were to do this again, I’d get the interview done and recorded in person rather than contacting them at a later time.
My favorite part of Spring Training was chilling and watching some baseball. I hadn’t been to a game in a few years, so it was nice to have a week full of games to watch. It was also nice to get to know some of the classmates better. While Fort Myers was fairly bland, it was fun to hang out with Danny. He’s quite the storyteller. He almost had me with his “worst-hotel-of-all-time” story until I remembered that I was there, too.
The least enjoyable part of the week was dealing with hotel WiFi, driving all over the state of Florida and being trapped outside of the Yankees and Red Sox game. However, most of this doing was my own fault, so I now know to plan trips ahead well in advance rather than at the last second.