To celebrate the eve of the Vernal Equinox, I went to Viera, Florida, which is the Spring training home of the Washington Nationals, to watch the game between the Nats and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
For those who may have come in late, last year I was a credentialed reporter covering the Nationals from RFK Stadium writing for the mighty Alexandria Times. It was great fun watching a completely different group of professionals - sports writers - do their stuff.
For all of my working life I have dealt with political reporters. Something happened before the game in Florida which will illustrate the difference:
The General Manager of the Nationals is named Jim Bowden. Prior to the game three reporters were chatting with him in the dugout about the battle for the left field starting spot between two players, Ryan Church and Chris Snelling.
At one point, after talking about their comparative batting skills (Snelling is having a hot Spring; Church is not), a reporter asked Bowden whether he had any doubts about their defensive abilities. He said, "They'll catch what they can get to."
I waited patiently for one of the writers to ask the next question which, to a political reporter, would have been obvious:
"When you used the phrase 'catch what they can get to' were you saying you think they both are too slow and there will be balls hit to center field which they would have caught and should have caught had they been fast enough?"
Had this been a political interview, it would have descended into a shouting match between NBC's David Gregory and Tony Snow about whether the White House had lost confidence in them because they were too slow - not in their ability to catch up to a tailing line drive - but too slow in dealing with the firing some US Attorneys.
Dear Mr. Mullings:
Enough, already. We got the metaphor.
The Baseball Writers Association
Another difference between political and sports reporters is that political reporters don't interview their subject while the interviewee is naked. Well, maybe not ever, but certainly not with a dozen other reporters and technicians leaning in with digital voice recorders and TV cameras.
When I played Little League baseball I played right field (because I had the athletic ability of a Slurpee) and pitcher (because I was the team's only left-handed player and my coach thought you needed to have at least one left-handed pitcher).
I worked and worked on my wicked curve ball by throwing a Spaulding (called, on Long Island, a spawl-DEEN) rubber ball against the brick wall of Hillside Grade School.