The gates for the media open wide and it is time to start reporting on the game. As reporters from the likes of MLB.com, ESPN and Fox Sports surround me; there I stood, a kid from DeSales University. As I parked my car in the media lot the security guard looked at me and said, “fans can’t park here.” I told him I’m press and he replied, “O a new guy, you will get used to things quick.” I’m not sure what he meant but I got out of my car and made my way to the desk to get my passes. As soon as I get in, I saw my name at the top of the list. I am handed my pass and was directed to the main concourse.
I immediately walk down to the field and began to mingle with other members of the press and bump into players like Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay. Man, these guys are huge. I wanted to ask Ryan what it’s like to be able to lift a tree and not flinch. I thought better of it though. A few minutes later Chase Utley and Placido Polanco came out and then the rest of guys began their day. Roy Halladay was the first to take BP and let me tell you, for a guy that played in the AL and barely picked up a bat, the guy can hit.
I must admit that I was a bit out of my comfort zone when I first walked in and was standing next to some of the best reporters and athletes in the world. I didn’t let that stop me from introducing myself though.
All the players were in the midst of their stretches and BP when suddenly a young kid was standing right next to me. Now obviously this couldn’t be a member of the media, right? He was actually a boy from the Make A Wish Foundation and he got to come and spend some time with Chase Utley. He seemed pretty nervous but I must admit it was truly a privilege to be able to watch this wish come to life. Chase spent some time showing the boy how to swing and spent some time just talking to him and his family. They must have taken 50 pictures in 5 minutes but hey, who wouldn’t?
This was one of the moments where I felt truly privileged to be able to do this job. I am being given the opportunity to talk and spend time with athletes and celebrities that people idolize. This was the second such encounter of being with someone who is making his or her wish a reality. The other was with the band From First To Last. Seeing these kids who have been through so much making their one wish to spend time with the people I get to work alongside, really puts things into perspective.
Some never realize how lucky they are but tonight I did. I got to be on field with major league baseball players and watched the game from the press box. That is a dream to most but is my reality.
After watching the players take BP and shag some fly balls, Brian Schneider walked over and it was time for me to go to work. I got 15 minutes to sit down with Brian for a 1 on 1 interview. From questions about his debut to today, we discussed everything. Schneider also discussed DeSales, as that is his old stomping ground.
After the interview, I made my way up to the press box to watch the game and mingle some more. I met people from every aspect of the business; from TV to radio to the newspaper. Everyone knew that I was the new guy as well, as I at many times found myself lost in their world. Things got much easier when everyone went to get some dinner.
Then it was time to, Play Ball! The starters were, Jamie Moyer for the Phils and Derek Lowe for the Braves. What was scheduled as a great matchup turned into BP for the Phillies. They knocked around Lowe for 7 runs. Jamie Moyer did not disappoint however. He threw a gem.
Everyone in attendance was a part of history, as Jamie Moyer became the oldest pitcher in major league history to throw a complete game shutout. He only allowed 2 hits. Old Man River sure didn’t act his age tonight. He gave up no walks while striking out 5. The game flew by at a speedy pace of 2 hours and 17 minutes. I don’t care where you are, that’s a fast game.
One thing that made the night even better was the fact that, I wasn’t the only person making their debut of some kind. The Braves had 2 players making their Major League debut, so we were all in the same boat. Brandon Hicks has been in the game as a pinch runner but tonight he had his first at bat as a big leaguer. Jamie Moyer struck him out however. Craig Kimbrel made his Major League debut in relief, throwing an inning of 1 hit ball, while striking out 2 in the process.
The entire night was a wonderful experience that I will never forget. I met some people that will be incredibly beneficial to me during my career and I cannot thank the Phillies and Brian Schneider enough.
I owe the entire Phillies organization a huge thank you and I can truly never repay them for the opportunity that they gave me. I look forward to working with all of these fantastic reporters and athletes again in the future.
Don’t worry, this isn’t the last that the Phillies have seen of me!