Lauren’s Look Back To Spring Training


Through the University of Florida’s journalism school, I got the opportunity to cover the MLB Grapefruit League’s spring training over spring break. I was fortunate enough to experience the week alongside one of my close friends Bryce Mitchell. Bryce and I committed to the Fort Myers area, where we focused particularly on the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins. The teams played at JetBlue Park at Fenway South and Hammond Stadium, respectively.

After attending four games, I came to learn that everyone has a story and there’s no need to focus solely on the game itself. I did my feature story about a few of the ushers at Hammond Stadium, who were beyond genuine above everything else. Their names were Bruce, Kevin and Paul and they were all from the Twins home turf, Target Field, in Minnesota. I was touched hearing about their experiences throughout the years as ushers in both locations, as well as their grace surrounding the Twins program and fan experience.

Above all, I am most proud of my timeliness of production throughout the week. Initially, I was worried that all of my ideas would get piled up and I would not be able to produce a story or two from each game. I proved myself very wrong. After each adventure in the sun, Bryce and I would sit in my kitchen and pound out our story idea for that day. It was extremely rewarding to look back after the week and read the final products.

If I could do this experience over again, I wouldn’t put so much pressure on myself to execute my so-called plan. Prior to the week, everyone created a coverage plan that consisted of story pitches for each game, credential or not. Since I worked so hard on creating that coverage plan, I had a hard time straying away from it even when there may have been an even better pitch right in front of my face. Sports games are very unpredictable, and you don’t know when a story will present itself. It is a good idea to come prepared, and I don’t regret that part. But, I think it’s a good idea to let the day tell you what you should cover rather than walking into the day with a coverage plan.

My biggest struggle throughout the week was not receiving credentials, and that result discouraged me at first. I had my hopes really high at the beginning, envisioning myself talking to all of the MLB players, coaches and staff. When I realized those hopes would not be fulfilled, I doubted my ability to embrace this experience to its fullest. However, I think it was more beneficial for me to not have those credential opportunities. I was challenged to step out of my comfort zone and talk to people that I would not usually think to, and dig into my creative roots. It also encouraged me to think positive and make the most out of any experience in the future. I know that life is going to throw me curve balls, but it is up to me to adapt and manufacture my best work. Bryce really helped me in this way. We were both in the same boat as neither the Red Sox or the Twins granted us credentials. Nonetheless, I think we both wrote impressive stories and had a ton of fun along the way.

Listening to former Gators who either went down the spring training experience road or work in the professional baseball business helped me the most in preparing for the week. Chris Kirschner, staff writer for The Athletic, was one of our guests. He helped calm my nerves as he was a super relaxed individual, even though he writes for one of the biggest names in major league baseball, the New York Yankees. Kirschner gave the class a lot of insight and advice as to how to approach the players, which prepared me for the event that an opportunity like that were to present itself. Though it didn’t, I feel like I have a good grasp of how to handle myself when talking to big names and programs that I would internally put on a pedestal.

The biggest lesson I grasped from this experience is to never let an opportunity pass you by. I was highly intrigued by the idea of traveling to watch baseball over spring break, but I thought the odds of me actually getting into this type of program was slim, and I wasn’t going to apply. I proved myself wrong yet again. Even though it did not go perfectly by the book, I am so extremely glad I put myself out there and got plenty of exposure to the idea of covering major league teams. I would not have wanted to spend my spring break doing anything else.

I hope future students enrolled in this experience keep a blank canvas throughout the week. Don’t get your hopes too high, stay confident, embrace the moment and the opportunities you’ve been given thus far, and HAVE FUN!

About laurenhalpern

Check Also

Aidan’s Spring Training Experience

Looking back on the week I spent on the Spring Training experience has made me …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *