The Life of an InsidethePark Intern

Interning isn't always a glamourous thing to do, but for Sean Duade it was like a dream come true to be able to intern for InsidethePark.com and spend the summer at the ballpark. Given the opportunity to break into sports journalism by reporting on the Tacoma Rainiers this season, Duade writes in with what it's been like as a rookie journalist trying to break into the business.

My name is Sean Duade and I am fortunate enough to be an intern for InsidethePark.com here in Tacoma, home of the Triple-A Rainiers.

I originally applied for the position while on winter vacation from the University of Puget Sound. At that time, InsidethePark veteran writer, Jason Churchill, got back to me on what was probably the best day of my life and told me that the gig was mine. That is if I was willing to watch free baseball games and talk sports all day. I said that it sounded just about like the best job I've ever heard of, and signed on.

Unfortunately, as of yet, I haven't contributed as much to the site as I would like to (in fact this will be my first published piece – which is pretty cool). But I have caught a couple games with Jason, the ITP resident baseball addict.

During the second game I attended, ITP head honcho, Joe Kaiser, strolled up to the booth and said, "Hey, Sean, I want to get you some ink on the site. But, I want to start you out slow, give you a confidence builder… how about you give me 750 words; from the intern's perspective. Sound good?"

I said, "What do you mean, from the intern's perspective?"

He said, "Tell the folks that visit the website what it's like to be up in the press-box. Say what it's like to write about a professional baseball team."

"Wow, sure, no problem Joe," I replied.

Okay, so let me do as Joe suggested and tell you a little bit about my early-season on-job experiences.

Perhaps the most intimidating part of the job is visiting the players after the game, going on the prowl for interviews. Particularly for a college kid, who isn't just yet used to the post-game locker room scene, it can be a little overwhelming.

But for the most part the players are incredibly friendly and more than willing to be interviewed. At this moment, though, I still have yet to interview a player. Jason has repeatedly reassured me, quoting him, "You can do it."

Okay, so I don't know how to do an interview…yet. But what I do know is that the press-box is pretty sweet. In order to get up into the box though, you first need to be a credentialed writer, which thanks to Joe and Jason I am. The press-box itself is behind the batters box, 35 feet above the field. In the box, there are four or five rooms; one for the writers, one for the home radio announcers, one for the away radio announcers, one for scorers, and a bathroom.

The view of the field is a good one, and occasionally good enough to catch a foul ball. And good enough that Tacoma News Tribune Reporter Corey Brock swears that an A.J. Zapp foul ball nearly took his head off and broke a clock behind him.

Personally, though, I think the best part is sitting in the box and taking it all in. Like my first day in the press-box when reporter Tacoma New Tribune writer Corey Brock is three chairs down from me, looking through a pair of binoculars at the Tucson Sidewinder left fielder, Doug DeVorre.

He says, "That look like DeVorre, to you…? I guess they changed the lineup."

I silently wonder if the Plexiglas of the press-box windows has affected his sight at all. That thought, however, is quickly dashed.

"Hey I think I see Joe (Kaiser) in the third row. Why isn't he up here tonight?"

"Oh," Jason says, "Joe's watching the game with a couple friends tonight. He thought it was time we gave our new intern, Sean, the press-box experience. Corey have you met Sean?"

"Corey Brock, Tacoma News Tribune," said Brock, extending his hand towards me.

He then pulled the binoculars away and leaned across Jason to give me a firm handshake.

"Hi, Sean Duade, absolutely no one," I said. "Nice to make your acquaintance."

"No, no, no," says Jason, not taking a second to hesitate. "You have to say it like this: ‘Hi, Sean Duade, reporter with InsidethePark.com'. Otherwise no one's going to take you seriously."

Corey is still standing there, his hand extended, waiting for me to shake his hand correctly. "Oh, sorry. Sean Duade, reporter with InsidethePark.com."

"There you go," says Corey. "Nice to meet you."

Corey returns to his binoculars and returns to pondering the Tucson lineup.

Jason leans over to me, as the starting lineups are announced over the loudspeakers, and gives me a poke in the ribs and with an eyebrow raise says, "Hey ain't this cool?"

Yes. Yes, it is.

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