I can say this because I have been to the promised land, and I have eaten of the free food and drunk of the limitless coffee that awaits the sports writer in the inner sanctum of sports – the press box.
Every sports fan, as he sits in his ergonomically-formed plastic fold-down seat eating a five dollar hot dog, wonders what it’s like to sit comfortably in the plush press box enjoying the best view in the house and working a job that many consider a dream job. I can’t count how many times at a Braves game I’ve wished I was Skip Caray.
So what’s the press box like behind that door that says “Press credentials required”?
Sorry to dangle the unobtainable grapes over your head, but the press box is pretty sweet. There’s a fridge full of Cokes, a hot pot of coffee and a few boxes of pizza on hand to keep the sports writer well-fed, comfortable and ready to report the coming of the next superstar of the diamond or the gridiron.
Such freebies would constitute a conflict of interest for many news writers, but they’re an assumed part of the sports writing world.
Before the game, the team’s box staff compiles stat sheets on both teams. These pages of useful information are waiting for the sports reporter when he takes his seat, making his job just that much easier.
As I sat watching the a baseball game from the press box lately, I reflected on the privileged access granted to reporters. And I felt grateful to be a journalist, even if I’ll never be the next Harry Caray.