A Rare Breed
Working in media relations requires a special breed. The early mornings, the late nights and ridiculously long hours are enough to drive someone crazy. Combine all that with the often unusual job duties and you have a very odd looking, seldom understood animal known as the media relations staffer. This creature is one that runs on a strict schedule with a set routine, yet their behavior is unpredictable, even to their own kind. If you ever find yourself confronted with one of these life forms, be careful…they might have all the answers to your baseball questions. How might you recognize one of these beasts? See the list below for an ode to my media relations brethren.
You know you work in baseball media relations when…
…you’ve seen the sun rise over the ballpark.
…you’re familiar with medical terms like ulnar collateral ligament and medial meniscus.
…your email inbox lights up every time a rumor hits the Internet.
…the 700 WLW Radio hotline number is on your cell phone speed dial.
…all gift-giving occasions involve something with a team logo, regardless of your friend or family’s team preference. A sponsor’s logo is more than likely stamped on it.
…5 p.m. is the new 12 p.m.
…if it’s not in the press box dining room, it’s not in your diet for the duration of a homestand.
…your friends outside baseball place you on the DL when the season starts – the Distracted List.
…it’s unlikely you’ll eat while sitting for about six months – seven if you’re lucky.
…an eight-hour day feels like a half-day.
…you go through shoes faster than a tank of gas walking between clubhouses/around the stadium.
…your favorite road teams are ranked based on the speed with which the coaching staff posts the lineup.
…the cleaning/night staff doesn’t hide their laughter when you’re still there.
…the lights have been shut off for the night while you’re still at your desk.
…the first three shortcuts on your Blackberry or iPhone are MLB, ESPN and the team you work for.
…you know who wrote an article by reading the first sentence – not the byline.
…you have used a bat and ball to practice putting during downtime in the office.
…the first thing you think of when a major story breaks is how that team’s media relations staff will be sleepless that night.
…the day after the All-Star Break is the longest day of the year.
…you sub an ellipsis for a period in all writing…the way notes are done.
…you hum the National Anthem without realizing it’s in your head.
…you twitch when someone sticks an ‘s’ after RBI.
…calculating what you pay for the amount of time you’re actually in your apartment becomes shocking.
…all of your favorite places in the city for lunch, dinner or drinks are within four minutes of the ballpark.
…after 16 hours at work, the first thing you do when you get home is flip on MLB Network or ESPN to see if they reference anything from your postgame notes.
…you can tell who is on SportsCenter just by listening.
…you can identify umpires from the press box by their silhouettes.
…you’ve heard a legendary announcer pronounce your name and have gotten goosebumps.
…you cringe when people think you don’t work in the off-season.
…a vacation is a weekend when the team is on the road (unless you’re traveling).
…you know more about your own copier than the repair guy who comes in to fix it weekly.
…your worst nightmare is press box Internet failure.
…you spend all night/day putting together the gamenotes only to have someone ask you a question that is answered on page 1.
…you spend all off-season putting together the media guide only to have someone ask you who wore number 43 in 1987.
…it’s all worth it.
Special thanks to Rob Butcher (Cincinnati Reds), Lindsey Van Ess (MLB) and Dave Lezotte (Clinton Lumberkings — http://lumberkings.mlblogs.com/) for assistance in contributing to this story.