Michaelea’s MLB Spring Training Experience


A college dream of mine came true last month when I spent spring break covering Major League Baseball’s Grapefruit League Spring Training. Over the course of a week, I traveled to four different ballparks, saw nine different teams, attended six games, and made unforgettable memories.

Being an Orlando, Florida, native, I mainly stayed close to home and attended three games at Publix Field at Joker-Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida. I ventured out to Tampa for a few days to check out the Atlanta Braves at CoolToday Park and had the privilege of getting a tour of Tropicana Field before a Tampa Bay Rays game.

I learned so much throughout this experience. I learned about the process of getting credentials, the history of the Grapefruit League, and gained insight from industry professionals with the Tampa Bay Rays. This experience was the perfect opportunity for me to apply what I have learned in the classroom to the real world. I practiced live tweeting, created photo content, sharpened my writing skills, and conducted an interview.

Conducting an interview with Detroit Tigers pitcher Alex Faedo was the biggest thrill of my week. I thought I did really well throughout the process of interviewing him for a feature story on his upcoming season. Reporting has always pushed me out of my comfort zone, so being able to trust the skills that I learned in my classes to conduct a successful interview is something that I am very proud of.

The research we did in class leading up to spring break helped me the most throughout this experience. Knowing information ahead of time about the team’s media staff and players made it easier to connect with them. I believe that pitching ideas from our research helped me get credentials with the Tigers and the interview with Faedo. It made the process go smoother, and I felt more relaxed knowing about his journey since he got drafted.

I got lucky and didn’t encounter many struggles. If could do this experience over again, one thing I would do differently is to visit to more ballparks. It was incredible to see the different stadiums and learn about the history behind them. Getting to see more of them would have made an already great experience even better.

To any future student who gets this opportunity, my best advice to you is to go with the flow. I didn’t end up following my coverage plan at all. Each game and atmosphere are so different that you can’t anticipate what the best content for the game will be. Your access will also be different each day, so take advantage of it when it comes.

I took the approach of going to each game and seeing what felt right, whether that ended up being a game recap, social media coverage, or a day to walk around the ballpark. Find what works but most importantly, live in the moment and enjoy the games.

This was an opportunity that caught my attention during my freshman year. Looking back on it as a senior, I can safely say that it was one the best things I did in college and is a memory that will last a lifetime.

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