Sunday, September 26, 2010

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Reporting Live for Angel Stadium - Coral Marshall

Anaheim, CA - This Sunday morning came faster than most, not for the usual reason, because there is simply too much to do, but instead because I knew I would be representing AngelsWin.com at the game, going onto the field, speaking with players, and watching from the press box.

By mere coincidence I had run into Torii Hunter Saturday morning - he had an autograph signing that I was unaware of, but somehow managed to be at the right place at the right time. I went up to Torii and introduced myself, explaining that I would be a part of the media at the game on Sunday. He looked shocked as he said “you’re going to be there - it's going to be hot” I replied with “I know, especially in business clothes”.

So, when Sunday arrived, and I couldn’t sleep in, I got out of bed early to “suit up” and finish preparing myself for the game. With a list of questions, an audio recorder (as per Chuck’s advice) and my laptop, I was off to fulfill every Angels’ fan’s dream of interacting with the guys one on one while on the field.

Walking into the ballpark felt different. I got to park in a different area. And instead of purchasing tickets I got press credentials. Instead of sitting in a stadium seat, I set up my laptop and then made my way down to the field. Today the ballpark looked different because, for me at least, it was.

The press box, where I’m currently sitting, is full of writers and media personnel from various outlets. Four sets of tables, which are also four rows high, are packed with people watching and enjoying baseball, while talking about other sports. While these individuals are all highly involved in the game, there is no cheering in this section- even with the Angels scoring 3 runs in the bottom of the first with Torii and Bobby Abreu each doubling- and more importantly, no booing with AJ Pierzynski currently at the plate. While the rest of the fans use their fan appreciation day commemorative photos as fans to try to keep some of the 97 degree heat off of them, the press booth is comfortably shaded- and even has its own food station so that the media doesn’t have to miss the game.

I spent the two hours directly before the game started on the field, absorbing the culture of the team, while interviewing and speaking with various players. The first player on the field was Torii, as he did his stretches and running Joel Pineiro came up to me and compliment my sunglasses “I like your glasses… that’s style”. While I’m still not sure if he was kidding, the sunglasses are bright turquoise, I told him thank you and was pleased that my first player interaction had gone so smoothly.

Once Torii was done warming up he came over to me and said “you said you would be here” and kindly gave me a few moments of his time to ask some questions on behalf of AngelsWin.com.

While I waited for other players to finish their work outs I took the time to speak with two security guards who work the dugout and media areas. They informed me to have their position you have to commit to over 50% of the home games, and be very dedicated to the team. They noted that Aybar was the funniest of the players (he was wearing a “que preguta?” t-shirt with a question mark on the back and the athletic trainers face on the front).

General Manager, Tony Reagins, also spent some time in the dugout signing autographs for some of the kids present at the game. He also took a few moments to speak with Angelswin.com.

AW: “How would you describe your management style?”

TR: “I try to get as many opinions as possible […] so that I can make an informed decision.”

AW: “Most people describe you as a ‘proactive’ manager, how does that make you feel?”

TR: “you want to be proactive as opposed to reactive […] we try to look 5 years ahead”

AW: “Since you try to look 5 years ahead, where do you see the club this time next year?”

TR: “Playing in October.”

AW: “That’s what we like to hear, thank you for your time.”

While the Angels haven’t lived up to expectations this year, management has a clear goal in mind of where the team should be, and thankfully that is aligned with the vision of the fans.

After speaking with Mr. Reagins I had the opportunity to talk with Dan Haren, who had just finished warming up and was joking around with fellow pitcher Scott Kazmir. Soon afterward Ervin Santana came over to the dugout, where many fans were asking for autographs. He agreed to sign a few baseballs but was then bombarded with other paraphernalia as a storm of hats, baseballs, and batting helmets came flooding into the dugout- Ervin was kind enough to sign them all.

While the stadium was different this morning, I have a strong feeling that it will forever be different for me from this date forward as I had the chance to speak with some of the most revered players in baseball on a professional level and come one step closer to my (and many others) dream of being part of the baseball media.
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