Kid Reporter Riley Neubauer recently attended a Yankees-Phillies game at Yankee Stadium. What was it like to cover a game as a member of the media? Riley takes us behind the scenes.
For a 1:05 p.m. game on June 24, I arrived at Yankee Stadium at 9:45 a.m. I walked up to the press gate, picked up my SI Kids credential, and headed up to the press box. You wouldn’t believe the view of the field from there! The press box is located behind home plate near the second deck of seats. It looks like a theater with desks. You can see the whole field from there, and even though you are a little on the rightfield/third base line, you have a clear view of rightfield.
The main press box holds 119 members of the media. The press box is near the scoreboard operator, announcers, and a press cafeteria.
After checking out the press box, I headed down to the field. Now, you might be wondering why I arrived at 9:45. I arrived that early so I could interview Phillies star Ryan Howard at 10:15 (you can read that article by clicking here). At the same time I was interviewing Howard in the dugout and on the field, there were other players being interviewed.
You wouldn’t believe how much bubblegum there is in the dugout! There are three tubs of 300 pieces each, and the players eat about half during a game. There also is a large caddy with individual bags of sunflower seeds, which are usually gone by the end of the game.
With a press pass, you can go into the clubhouse, but Kid Reporters are not allowed in there because the players might not be properly dressed. I was able to look down the tunnel (accessed through the dugout) to the clubhouse and other facilities and see some players taking batting practice. They were in the indoor cages because the previous night’s game had lasted until about 12:20 a.m., and all the players were tired.
About 40 minutes before the game began we left the dugout to go back to the press box so we could watch the game. The press box was quieter than I expected. The reporters were writing their stories while the game was being played to make sure they remembered all the details and also to make sure that they were able to meet their deadlines.
After the game, reporters go down to the clubhouse to try and get quotes from players to incorporate into their stories. No one in the press box is supposed to show any favoritism to teams or players. After all, if you are writing about a team and you like the other, then you might not say such nice things about the team you are writing about. It was a new experience for me to be at a baseball game and not be allowed to wear a team shirt and/or cap. I could not cheer because I couldn’t show favoritism, and also I couldn’t disturb people writing their stories.
There were some really nifty things about being in the press box. First, it had a TV screen with the actual coverage of the game; I noticed that TV coverage is delayed by seven seconds. This means that the person arranging the TV coverage has time to choose the proper angle for each play. Second, the press box has its own announcer who gives the press extra details.
For example, if a player is injured, the press is the first to receive the report from the team after the player has been taken from the field. Also, the press box announcer tells reporters when a new pitcher is warming up in the bullpen. Third, the two teams that are playing prepare handouts about their players and teams for the press to read. These handouts contain fun, interesting, and strange facts that members of the media can use to help make their coverage of the game more interesting.
I had a fantabulous time spending the day reporting from Yankee Stadium and watching the baseball game in the press box. Although I never let anyone in the press box know, I was rooting for the… Oops! I can’t tell you that.
Photos: Riley Neubauer