Four games, four ballparks, six teams, and two coasts, what a hectic, crazy fun week it was. I ended up driving over 800 miles over the week. I listened to the entirety of A Tribe Called Quest’s discography. Midnight Marauders! What an album. And I got media credentials for the most talked-about team of the offseason.
To future students, I’m talking about the Houston Astros.
With how fast the newsfeed updates, there’s a chance some of you may not know what I’m talking about. Seriously as I write this, the Texans, Houston’s football team, agreed to what might be the worst trade in NFL history. Already the Astros are old news in their city. Anyway, google Astros sign-stealing scandal, to understand why I would never have believed that my credentials would be approved.
Somehow they did, and I was terrified. The Astros game was the last game of my trip, and so far, I was thrilled with how it was going. My first three games were great, and I was proud of the work I was putting in. However, I was sure the final game would ruin the experience. In my imagination, I would be the youngest person in the press box, surrounded by weathered, chain-smoking, jaded sportswriters, who had no time or patience for a college student, especially with a story this big unfolding.
But I couldn’t have been more wrong, the seasoned writers were kind and helpful, and there were plenty of people my age working in the press box. I learned a lot from them and from the several rookie mistakes I made during the day. Here are some tips that I hope help those who come next.
- Your press badge probably won’t be ready when you get there, but don’t stray too far. I arrived at 1:00 p.m. as per the email. Security told me the passes would be available at 3:00 p.m. So, I went to my car and did some research on the team for the next two hours. It turns out, they were ready well before that, and the clubhouse was open from 2:30-2:50, which I missed.
- Which brings me to my second tip: ask for the itinerary. I missed the open clubhouse because I didn’t think to ask if there was a set time. I learned my lesson and asked around. That’s how I learned that Manager Dusty Baker was speaking to the media at 3:20, when the press box opens, and who would be available to interview after the game.
- Starters only play the first couple of innings, and some will do clubhouse interviews as the game is going on. In this game, starting pitcher, Lance McCullers Jr. retired after two innings and was available to speak in the fifth. There will be an announcement in the press box when he’s ready, and half the room races to the clubhouse.
- My final tip, bring your laptop and camera with you. In my first three games of the trip, I paid for my own ticket and had to use the general entrance, which has stringent rules on what you can bring. But with the credentials, you use the media entrance and can bring all your equipment. Inside the press box, the sound of typing on laptops overpowers the crowd, as every writer races to get their work out. Honestly, they hardly watch the game. There’s a guy who announces every player’s stats as the game progresses, so the writers can fill their box sheet and continue writing without looking up.
I had a great experience, and I’m excited for any student reading this preparing for their trip. I hope my tips help.