9 Cliches Your Local Sports Writer Will Include In His First Article From Spring Training
“The job of a sports writer isn’t easy” claims hundreds of columns I’ve read over the years. These men watch and write about baseball for a living which sounds like a step above working in a hospice. It must be awful.
With spring training beginning this week, we’ll be reintroduced to those men who waddle the corridors of baseball stadiums and hang out under team buffet tables before games. Today, many of those men will file their first spring training article of the season and it will be a whole lot of nothing.
Here is just an idea of some of the cliches, comments and column-filling you’ll see in newspapers tomorrow and for the next month.
It's not a spring training article without a mention of the weather which seems irrelevant since spring training is held in warm weather locations on purpose as opposed to say, Chicago in February. The weather report will lead every spring training story for the next however long spring training lasts. It could take up to two paragraphs depending on the weather in the city the writer left behind to cover the team. It's similar to the time honored tradition of your parents calling from vacation to ask how the weather is in the town they've left.
Mom: "Oh, it's cold there? It's 70 and sunny here."
You: "Odd. In Florida? HANG UP AND GO DO OLD PEOPLE THINGS! It's Florida, I'm sure Janet Evanovich is doing a book signing right now. Find her!"
Anyone reading an article about baseball is probably very unfamiliar with the actual sounds of the game. Thankfully, sports writers are there to record each crack of the bat, chirp of a bird enjoying the warm weather and utility outfielder retelling a scandalous tale about dry-humping a local college girl at the exact moment his wife called to see if he got into town since she hadn't heard from him in hours. Oh the sounds of baseball! America's pastime.
Did you know grass smells different in spring training? It does! It smells like unicorn farts and the middle finger of that monkey-looking kid in One Direction. It's delicious. You could almost eat the smell. Pour a cold one, take a knife and fork, and just chow on the smell of turf. Just hope it's not "fresh cut grass" because you're olfactory senses may explode.
Players arriving to spring training
They came by boat, by rickshaw, walked thousands of miles barefoot to make it to Port St. Lucie in time for crotch stretches! These men, making millions of dollars, arrived to a designated destination on time. True heroes. Hopefully someone on the team has a "dog ate my plane ticket" or "name of my dead cousin wasn't dry on my forged birth certificate yet so I had to take a later plane" tale so the beat writer has a story to file.
A personal travel story
Pitching rotation questions and bench depth issues can wait -- how did this reporter get to Fort Meyers?!? "I had to take a connecting flight to get here and got breakfast on the 11-hour drive to the hotel. I also forgot to pack a sweatshirt and the morning was brisk. Look at the perk in my 'years of stadium eating' man-cans and you can tell it's cold. This isn't easy living people." We like to read about baseball but we must discuss all of the sacrifices this guy makes for his job. This isn't all warm weather, day baseball and late night rub-in-tugs. This is work!
What time he got to the ballpark
He was there at 7am. Before the players. Because that's when all the big news happens. Before anyone gets to the park.
The fans and the town
People have shown up to see a professional sports team. Unless you're the Marlins. People go to spring training, according to writers, because of the "smaller crowds" and "easier access to players" and not because it costs $11K to go to an actual MLB game and this is the best they can afford.
Even better than the fans are the people in this town. The town that's home to the ________ restaurant. Go over to ________ restaurant and say hello to ________ the owner. Tell him you read about his place in my articles. If you're ever in this amazing town for any reason make sure to visit __________ and say hello to _________ or else ___________ won't comp me meals from ___________.
"Time of day" from "place"
Good morning from Clearwater! Good afternoon from Sarasota! Good evening from Viera! Good mid-day from a town that looks eerily similar to the opening credits of the Golden Girls!
Please keep reading for weather and sound updates and oh we're in luck they are about to cut the grass.
This is the best team the manager, coach, owner, peanut guy, lady who goes to every game because she's lonely, Conway Twitty, the manager's mistress, other writers, the grounds crew, Conway Twitty's roadie and the old man in the ticket booth who can only work the "cash only" register has seen in quite some time. This team is "refreshed and ready to start anew" and "put the problems of last season behind them" with exactly the same squad as last season minus a couple guys management couldn't afford to sign.
This is 100% bull crap. This team is going nowhere according to the hundred articles this guy filed from the end of October until last week. The optimism isn't for the benefit of the suffering fans, it's more for his own sanity. Who the hell wants to admit they're going to have to watch, travel with, cover and discuss a basement dweller for the next six months? You've got to feel bad for this guy.
You've got to feel worse for the people who'll have to read his work.