July 2010

TP19: A Mid-Season Update

Forty-three home games ago, I had little idea of what to expect throughout this season. Upon finishing the school year, I ambitiously dove into a job with an organization I had only known from a media perspective (which quickly changed). As the days passed, I became offended when anyone would insult the team because seeing how hard the people work behind the scenes to make everything happen, really altered my views. When I originally began this blog, close to four months ago, it was meant to capture what it would be like to work for a professional baseball organization, the only team in Canada. However, it’s become a place that I’ve been able to share my experiences of seeing invaluable moments of baseball first-hand, from a perspective I never anticipated I would have had before. 
The Home Opener for example was unreal: 46,000 fans at Rogers Centre; playing catch with Alex Bilodeau warming him up for his first pitch; or being handed a microphone to promptly interview some of Toronto’s biggest names in Sports Media on camera. The photographs I captured help tell the story but it’s the memories that I have – the events I witnessed and participated in – are what really stand out in my mind. My favourite, has been Father’s Day: an emotional monologue from Johnny Mac to twenty-five sons and daughters with their Father’s (after his father had passed days prior); cut-to nine-innings later, witnessing his homerun on an 0-1 pitch as tears were streaming down his face. That moment, like many other moments in sports, will be remembered in the minds of all fans present. 
Like any profession, there are proud moments and moments that people would like to forget. Like Stock Brokers on Bay Street or Lawyers on University Ave., I’ve seen good days and bad days for the Blue Jays this season at Rogers Centre, who come to work to do one thing: Win. On the contrary, I’ve also seen other days when wins and losses haven’t really mattered at all. 
Before I knew it, my job in the office grew to be a lot busier than I expected, which didn’t offer much time to write (I’ve had a story drafted about MLB Beat Writer Jordan Bastian for over a month now that I’m determined to finish). Though I tackled bigger topics on my blog that allowed for some true storytelling (read: emotional tidbits that I couldn’t help but share), I was reminded of how important the human interest side is, of professional sports. These days, with the quick click of a mouse (or track pad) the latest scores and updates can be found on the internet and the top scores and transactions constantly scroll across the bottom of Sports television channels. Once in a while there’s a story that’s told about a player and shared, that allows for a different perspective than before, but that story – about why a player loves the game or how he began playing – is always present, regardless whether or not it’s told. That human interest side connects people and takes these players down to a relatable level, providing insight about their lives and who they are when they leave the field. I believe there should be more of that within sports, not only because it’s relatable but those are the stories that (personally) I love telling and sharing with others. 
Working for a professional team has given me insight into that. I’ve been given a lot of responsibility in the past four months like organizing and executing contests, being a co-executor on promotional days like Jr. Jays Saturdays and Fan Fridays and even being the personal security guard to the 1993 World Series Trophy for the past weekend. There have been sleepless nights and tiring days and I’ve had moments of madness that nearly made me lose my sanity, but I enjoy what I do because I’m starting to see things from a perspective that I hadn’t until this season. I love baseball; I’d play catch with anyone who asked and being here, part of this team makes me realize that there’s a bigger picture and these baseball players are real people. They’re fathers and husbands when they leave the field like I’m a daughter and a girlfriend when I leave work too. Not to mention, the people that make game days possible work their butts off to do it and don’t sleep much while they do. 
I’ll be starting a video series within the week and I’ll be posting more frequently moving forward. The Jays are playing better than anyone expected four months ago and with thirty-five  home games left in the season, it’ll be interesting to share what this whole experience has been like once the end has arrived. For now, thanks.