This past Thursday, I was incredibly fortunate to watch the Red Sox vs. Twins game from the press box. It was my first class for Sports Journalism, taught by long time Boston sports media member Michael Holley. Myself and seven other students were given access to Alex Cora’s pregame interview, watch batting practice on the field, and observe the game from the press box. I will share some of the biggest takeaways from this incredible experience.
The first box checked off was sitting in on Alex Cora’s press conference. Cora walked in and started just after 3:45. Now everyone knows the first rule of any Red Sox press conference; Jonny Miller asks the first question. Cora showed good poise with the media and even caused the room to laugh on multiple occasions. Some other media members were easy to identify, such as John Tomase, Pete Abraham, Alex Speier, and Guerin Austin.
The reporters had few interruptions of each other or with Cora. It was rare for two reporters to ask questions at the same time. Many, if not all, had their phones out to record what Cora had to say. Cora then ended the press conference by checking if anyone had anything else to ask before leaving the podium.
What was also unexpected was Tom Caron stopping by our area in the back of the room. Caron, who is enjoying his 24th year at NESN, gave us some words of advice before leaving the media room. We were off to the field.
Our group walked down the steps and onto Fenway Park’s hallowed grounds. What was really unique about this was that we were able to watch the Red Sox take batting practice; as the road team is generally on the field when fans enter the stadium. We were standing just a few feet away from J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts fine tuning their swings. What a field to be entering.
After talking to Kevin Gregg, the Red Sox Director of Media Relations, we headed up to the press box. It was quite a surreal experience. All of us not only had a great view of Fenway, but also of the professionals at work.
We sat in the top row of the press box, which gave us an interesting insight to what the writers are all doing during the game. We of course saw the standard information one would expect to see on a baseball reporter’s screen; Baseball Reference and the MLB app for instance. We also saw just how the job has evolved for sports writers. The Twitter tab was up on many devices for sharing news as well as checking in. I am curious how Fenway’s press box operated in 1949 or 1979 compared to 2019.
Thursday was nothing short of a surreal experience. I have seen many Red Sox games but none were quite like this. (It was also odd knowing I could not cheer or show much emotions aloud.) I am very fortunate that for this semester I am taking two sports journalism classes. I will make sure to keep you updated if I go through more unique experiences. (Keep your eye out next week for an article regarding Danny Ainge’s Friday chat with WBUR.)
Story by Chad Jones
Follow Chad on Twitter @shutupchadjones