Baseball Behind the Scenes with Meredith Perri

"Tommy La Stella girlfriend" is still the leading search term to get to my blog [it's actually tied with DIY wine cork shadow box, hollaaa]. I realize that using that term will keep me pretty high on that list, so I'm actually making it more of a search term to lead you to my blog... Anyways, without further ado, I want to introduce everyone to the lovely Meredith Perri, who has agreed to be my first ever interview for my Baseball Behind the Scenes series!

I met Meredith because we were both Job Seeker Journalers for Ben Hill down at Winter Meetings. Mostly I met her because I'm a total creeper + recognized her in the hotel. I obviously have zero shame, but I'm glad I probably creeped her out, because now we're great friends! 
baseball winter meetings
here's a picture of the two of us being adorable.
Where did you go to school + what was your degree? I just graduated from Boston University with a degree in journalism and a minor in history. 

What made you choose baseball? I grew up in one of those baseball families. In 1994 -- when I was two -- the Hudson Valley Renegades opened up a stadium about 30 minutes from my house. I was there when that team won the NY Penn League in 1999. I had my 10th birthday party in the right field concourse even though my birthday is in March and the season starts in June. My brother and sister both worked for the team. I also made it to at least one game (usually more like eight) each season until I was 16. I can distinctly remember when I was in the fourth grade thinking that I wanted to write about minor league baseball for the rest of my life. I watched the Mets every day, but there was something about the minor leagues and the awe that the players had about playing the game. Then in the sixth grade my father brought home a copy of the Mets media guide. My brother, who is seven years older, and I took turns at the dinner table finding little facts to quiz each other on, and when I went to bed that night I took the book upstairs and started to read it cover to cover. I wanted to know everything about the team. It was 2004, and this new kid David Wright was having a pretty solid rookie season. After maybe a week or two I told my parents I wanted to become a beat reporter covering the Mets because I loved finding the random stories in that media guide and telling people about them. Now that I'm 10 years older, the dream is still the same -- although I would take writing about any team. I love this idea that my words can have an impact on people whom I will never meet. The idea that one day I could write an article that means so much to someone that they save the newspaper clipping and find it years later all tattered and browned with age -- that's the real dream. 

What is your favorite part of the job? Right now I cover the Cape Cod Baseball League, so I have to say that my favorite part of the job is watching these college-aged players try to turn the sport they adore into a career. The other day I was at Fenway Park covering the league's workout and watching those players react to being on a Major League field was incredible. They were kids again for a minute -- sure, they were trying to turn a children's game into a professional job by impressing scouts, but they took pictures and felt the grass. They had respect for the opportunity they were given and you could see it in their eyes. 

What is the best story you have from working in sports? We're going to have to switch over to hockey for this one. I loved my time at Boston University, but they don't have a baseball team. They do, however, have one of the most storied hockey programs in college hockey. Covering the BU men's hockey team for the independent student-run newspaper The Daily Free Press is the goal for anyone in the sports department of the paper. It has it's challenges though -- including the fact that you have to pay your way to any and all away games. So, back in February the team traveled out to Notre Dame for a two-game series. My friend Kevin, who also covered the team, and I made the trip to South Bend to cover the games. I remember waking up at about 4:45 in the morning because we were going to take mass transportation to the airport. We got there and everything was great and on schedule. That lasted about three hours. We got on the plane and as it started to take off and pick up speed, the plane suddenly came to an abrupt stop. The pilot came over and said that they had a crew coming to check out the plane because a light had popped up on the dashboard. Minutes later the pilot came on again and said it was a false alarm. Alas, the same thing happened when we tried to take off the second time. That light was for one of the engines. We were forced to get off the plane, but we couldn't get on another flight for hours. We were definitely going to cut it close at this point to make it to the game at this point because we were flying into Chicago then driving to Notre Dame. We eventually got onto another flight, but there was a lot of fog so even that one was delayed. We landed in Chicago at the time the game started. We got to Notre Dame with three minutes left in the contest. Thankfully, we had followed the game on Twitter - well I did, Kevin was driving. The sports info director was completely understanding of the situation, and when the game was over he explained to the coach what had happened. We still wrote up a story - in part thanks to the coach giving very detailed answers. I was so happy there was a second game that weekend because if we had flown all that way to miss the only game... well let's just say I would have thrown a few fits. 

What has been the coolest experience from working in sports? I'm finding it really hard to pick one experience, but I think I'll go back to the summer after my sophomore year of college. I was interning for SportsNet New York in the digital media department and covering the Mets for I did an interview with Justin Turner about Twitter, and it was my first time talking to a professional athlete. I don't know if it's my coolest experience, but it was my most memorable because I was actually doing what I had set out to do eight years earlier. I told people I would cover the Mets one day, and I really was. 

Bonus: I can think of very few jobs where you can get the kind of adrenalin rush that covering sports gives you. You are always under pressure to come up with something unique and to keep the reader entertained -- all on deadline. When you find out that the piece you wrote gave someone goosebumps though, man, it gives you the kind of euphoria that will last for days.

Meredith just wrote a great piece about a day in the life of a Cape Cod player here, or catch up with her here, on Twitter, and on Instagram!

1 comment :

  1. What a cool job! I'm not a big sports fan, but Joey is and he loves baseball. Playing, watching, coaching - he does it all. He had dreams of playing professionally when he was younger but he's actually really happy being able to coach younger generations to help them pursue their sports dreams.