FORT MYERS, Fla. -- One of the reasons I was eager to pinch-hit alongside colleague Gordon Edes for a few days on our Red Sox coverage was the opportunity to be exposed to how reporters cover a different sport. I also thought it would be interesting to see what type of differences there were, from a media perspective, between football and baseball.
One day in, the main thing that stands out is access.
In baseball, reporters have a lot of it.
We started Thursday at 8 a.m. with an hour in the clubhouse. At 9:30, Red Sox manager Terry Francona met with reporters for about 20 minutes in the third-base dugout. Soon after that, Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez held court with reporters in the first-base dugout. Shortly after 11, the Sox clubhouse was open again until noon.
Then came the quicker-than-normal game (1 p.m.-3:30 p.m.), followed by a Francona press conference, and another open clubhouse. Because it was spring training, starting pitcher Tim Wakefield spoke with reporters shortly after his outing, while the game was still taking place.
One of the thoughts I had leaving City of Palms Park at night was that media members -- from a players and manager/coach perspective -- are more a part of the daily routine in baseball than football. I was told there was similar access, maybe curbed back a little bit, during the season.
In football, a regular day during the season would consist of a morning press conference with Bill Belichick and then a 50-minute window of access in the locker room. On game days, there would be no access to coaches or players before the game.
So it seems like in baseball, media members have more opportunities on a daily basis to truly get to know the people they are covering. The days covering baseball also seem much longer, and it obviously makes a difference that each day seems to revolve around a game, which is different than the one-game-a-week routine in football.
I went up to a few Red Sox to introduce myself, explained that my background was in football, and it was my first day chipping in on the Sox. As the clubhouse was closing after the Sox' 6-4 win over the Marlins, outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury looked in my direction and asked how the first day went.
I thought it was nice that he asked the question. I told him it was a lot to digest and that I'd be happily sticking with football.