Sunday, May 31, 2009

Baseball beat tips

By Anna Kim

Baseball has always had a rich history of journalists and stories, from Peter Gammons to Red Smith. I have always been fascinated by their schedules, stories and place in chronicling the sport. Today provided a great opportunity to talk to one baseball beat writer who lives that life today, Joe Smith of the St. Petersburg Times.

He offered interesting perspective on the day-to-day life as a beat writer of the Tampa Bay Rays. The clubhouse of a major league baseball team is a place that many people would love to be, and Smith shared what it was like to be there almost on a daily basis.

He also shared all the ins and outs of the job, the “organized chaos” and the hardships and rewards. It is worth noting that when he began his presentation, he started with the benefits. He develops relationships with players, receives access that many others cannot and all the while continues to develop a growing respect for the game.

And though he was candid about the difficulties inherent in the job, he never failed to reiterate the fact that he is always able to put those into perspective. At the end of the day, he appreciates the fact that he gets to do what he has a passion for: storytelling.

And for all the days and nights that he puts into his work, for the foul balls that hit his computer, he has covered a World Series and Super Bowl.

It was helpful to see his game scoring methods and hear the logistics of being a sports writer. But it was even more encouraging to see someone who says he simply enjoys what he is doing right now; especially since it is something we would all like to be doing in some fashion one day.

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