I’m not alone in that I’m a sports fan who greatly misses sports right now. The spread of the coronavirus epidemic has left stadiums empty and pumped the brake on sports. This hiatus makes me relish the opportunity I had to cover Spring Training two weeks ago — before the world changed — even more.
I covered four games in four days as part of the UF College of Journalism and Communications’ #GrapefruitGators immersion experience. I watched the past two World Series’ winners play and saw the fan fallout that followed the Houston Astros around South Florida in the form of raucous boos. And I had the opportunity to experience three different minor league stadiums, none of which I had ever been to.
I’m at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter for Astros-Cardinals. Here’s your starting lineups for both teams:#GrapeFruitGators pic.twitter.com/jZtk8wLfhA
— Kyle Wood (@Kkylewood) March 3, 2020
These experiences enhanced my experience as a general sports fan and a student journalist. I had the opportunity to report on the Marlins’ poor fan attendance and the fan reaction to the Astros cheating scandal. Luckily, I had beautiful weather each day I was out reporting and I was thankful for professor Esterline for allowing me to knock my reporting out early in the week and attend a journalism conference in New Orleans.
This experience came highly recommended from two older friends of mine and it lived up to that vaunted reputation. I hope it can be expanded to other sports in the future.