After last week’s depressing monologue regarding the current state of the Milwaukee Brewers, I wanted to do something a little bit different for my readers. Thanks to Maria Sapienza and 540 ESPN Radio Milwaukee, I got to do just that.
Friday night, I got to play the part of an actual baseball writer as the Brewers took on the Reds. Media credentials, press box seating, locker room access…. the whole nine yards. If you’re looking for an in depth story about the thrilling 5-0 victory, I suggest you go to one of the articles written by the many writers I had the privilege to
meet stare at while mouth breathing. Instead what I bring to you, the loyal readers of my weekly musings, is a minute by minute account of my evening as a beat writer; a night where I was more desperate to blend in than at my high school orientation.
6:40 PM – I pull into the Media Parking lot with my bright neon blue parking pass and immediately start guessing who the owner of the silver Lamborgini might be. As I turn to park two spots away from it, I’m quickly directed underneath a bridge to the writer’s parking lot, a quarter mile away from the stadium. It’s pouring rain – I forgot a jacket.
6:50 PM – I finally make it to media entrance. We head through a TSA-like screening process. When asked my last name, I confidently utter “Petrie”. “PEACHES?” he replies. Not the start I was looking for.
6:55 PM – I enter a part of Miller Park that had previously only existed in my dreams. We are walking around the area underneath the 1st base side seats, which includes the media room, batting cages, and home clubhouse. We stop and talk to a clubhouse attendant named Greg. I’ve now crossed the 10 minute threshold and am starting to get more comfortable. I even make a baseball related comment to Greg that draws an affirmative head nod in agreement. Confidence growing.
6:56 PM- The clubhouse door opens. Jean Segura walks by. Subtle head nod from Jean. Not so subtle dry heave from me. Confidence gone.
7:05 PM- The National Anthem is now creepily echoing through the empty halls of the concourse. After a quick peak in the media room we head to a mysterious elevator that takes us up to the loge level. I expect the elevator to open into this luxurious press box area for media personnel only. It opens to the loge level concourse where I’m now being judged by fans for being the only guy in site with a bulky laptop bag. Thankfully the press box is only a short walk away.
7:10 PM – With a bit more pep in my step I use a quick flash of my credentials to walk right into the press box, and take my seat in the back of three rows. The box is about 20% full. I see a number of beat writers who I’ve frequently tweeted at over the years, but decide against a “Hey, I’m @RPetrie10” introduction. Besides, the game is starting and I’ve got a team I need to pretend to be indifferent towards.
7:30 PM – Brewers up 2-0. I’ve quickly learned that the proper reaction to the Brewers scoring is to put your head down and tweet away. As I’ve already decided against live tweeting in the interest of this article, I pull out my phone and try to sneak as many pictures as possible.
8:00 PM – Still 2-0. The perks of being a credentialed member of the press start to roll in. First and foremost- free and unlimited ice cream. I wasn’t planning on getting crazy tonight, but game on. I walk back to my seat, ice cream pouring over the sides of what was meant to be a junior sized sundae cup, at which point I’m greeted by a staff member who hands me a free Brewers t-shirt; it’s free shirt Friday, and even media members get to take home souvenirs. I’m not even wearing mine and I’ve somehow managed to get ice cream all over it.
9:13 PM – Mental Note: Standing during the seventh inning stretch is allowed. Singing Roll Out the Barrel is aggressively frowned upon.
9:16 PM- Domingo Santana hits a home run in his Miller Park debut. Given the attention he will be given in the locker room after the game, I’m hoping I can try out my interviewing skills on Will Smith while nobody else is around.
9:36 PM – First trip to the bathroom. Discover my fly is down. My initial reaction of utter horror is quickly replaced with gratitude that I didn’t make this realization after the Craig Counsell interview.
9:52 PM – Brewers win, 5-0. Heart beat starts to increase steadily. Elevator down to the clubhouse is broken, the long walk down the stairs begins. Palm sweat visible.
10:04 PM – Sitting in the media room with six other writers. Counsell walks in, sits down, takes questions. Suddenly all my baseball knowledge is gone. My internal dialogue is a combination of self-loathing and attempts to recall my sophomore year business comm professor’s tips for preventing your voice from shaking. Interview ends as quick as it started. Pit stains forming. Questions asked = 0.
10:08 PM – We finally make our way to the home locker room. Some rapid fire observations from the clubhouse:
- I have no sense of time, and have forgotten how to breathe. The amount of effort I am putting in to trying to look effortless is exhausting.
- The 20 seconds before a player interview is more awkward than the interview itself. Imagine eight people walking directly towards you sticking a microphone in your face, followed by 10 seconds of pure silence as everyone waits for the camera to turn on, followed by the first round of questions where we all just forgot about how awkward the last 20 seconds were. The players stare hopelessly past the media as they long for the interview to end and their sense of personal space to be restored.
- Media members stand around with one of two poses. Hands in pockets or arms crossed. I got ballsy and went with one hand in the pocket and the other hand alternating between a five-o-clock shadow scratch and a gentle tug of the collared shirt. It worked.
- Scooter Gennett has a tie dyed hoverboard, which he claims “beats the shit out of walking.” Logan Schafer took it for a spin, which led to the only words I muscled up the courage to say all night to a member of the team: “Hey, is that thing hard to ride?”. Promotional Sunday Cycle mugs and t-shirts with my new favorite phrase forthcoming.
10:38 PM – Just as soon as it had begun, it ends. I take my first breath in what feels like hours. I need to be alone to hide the grin on my face as it was apparently “scaring the player’s kids.” We return to the press box to “edit soundbites”, whatever the hell that means. I pull up The Squeaky Curd and try to figure out how I survived the evening without throwing up. I take a couple of last minute pictures now that I’m in the clear, and the night comes to an end. I’ve officially made it.
The Sunday Cycle began as an overly optimistic Facebook post two years ago after the 2014 Brewers got off to a hot start. From there, it found a new home in The Squeaky Curd, and has been a staple of my Sunday evenings during baseball season ever since. While it has been a particularly difficult year to recap, I could have never imagined getting the chance to live a day in the life of an actual baseball writer. It made me feel like a kid at a baseball game again. It was truly awe inspiring. For most of those around me Friday night, it was just another day at the office. For me, the humble writer of an emotionally charged weekly Brewers recap, it got to feel real for a night, and that is something I will never forget.