A Spring Training To Remember – Jose Tovar


The Spring Training Experience is one to remember.

From the uncertainty of not having guaranteed credentials to the hassle of driving over 1,000 miles in just five days, this baseball trip was filled with challenges, lessons and countless memories.

Writing stories and finding different angles by talking to fans, players, employees and ushers was rewarding. Considering we were going into the experience with blindfolds on, I believe we did a great job finding ideas outside the ballpark.

Taking the trip was eye-opening, too.

In the five days I stayed in South Florida, I learned about the importance of Spring Training for the local communities. Typically, residents of these areas have few entertainment options across the year. But when the teams come to town, it all changes: businesses bloom and housing projects arise.

I believe this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, at least while you’re in college. Having front-row access to how teams, stadiums and players operate is a privilege many students will never have.

So for that reason, take advantage of the clubhouse access to practice your interview skills. In the pressbox, talk to industry professionals and team employees to learn more about their jobs and expand your network.

Also, try to look for the Gator connection. That was one of the things that stuck with me when we had Chris Kirschner, the Yankees beat writer for the Athletic, and Jordan McPherson, the Marlins reporter for the Miami Herald, in class.

Their insights were helpful when we were preparing for the trip. It was also great to catch up with former gators in the evening meet-ups.

My advice for future Grapefruit Gators would be preparation and balance.

Try to plan most aspects of your trip. That includes finding good stories and arranging your lodging and transportation in advance. Having a general idea of how your trip will look is crucial.

However, learn how to adjust to last-minute changes. The plan you had in mind may not always pan out, so always be prepared for adjustments. Go to the stadium with two or three ideas just in case one of them falls out.

And don’t forget an umbrella or sunscreen because you will need it.

Overall, I think the experience was very well structured, considering it consisted of about 20 students. It was insightful and filled with networking opportunities, so I will remember my time in this experience dearly.

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