Week 2 of WVU news was my first experience with the real-world problems one would have in the industry. West Virginia Baseball’s season was starting up as the weather warmed, and I wanted to do my next story following their awesome finish and high expectations for 2017. They won 17 of their last 21 games, and came within a gasp of the NCAA tournament.
I pitched my story on Monday and got approved; everything was going according to plan. I’m close with the Baseball SID, and shot him a text asking when the next media session would be. For most sports, a brief time with coaches and players is provided once a week where all types of media can come and get the scoop, from writers at newspapers to students doing reporting for a class. With calling games for WVU women’s soccer for three years, I was at Dreamswork (their practice facility) every Wednesday of the fall semester at 2:30 sharp for the inside info. I was able to build rapport with everybody. The only problem was that baseball wasn’t having a session this week, and I didn’t have a backup plan.
The coaching staff wanted to eliminate every distraction for the baseball team that week as the grind was really starting to begin. They’re a relatively young team that wasn’t playing their first home game until 2 weeks later. I understood Men’s and Women’s basketball still playing meant that most outlets could be fine with just covering them and could leave baseball for later on. Fortunately, I could grab head coach Randy Mazey in his office Tuesday Morning, but I wouldn’t be able to access players. I had to think on my feet, and come up with an angle that was interesting, and worth telling.
As previously mentioned, West Virginia Baseball was on fire towards the later half of the season. Fans and students were energized by the success we had in arguably the hardest conference in the country. Instead of talking to players about what they were hoping to accomplish, I spoke with students who were patiently waiting for the season to begin. I spoke with the student radio baseball announcer and got his side of the story, a completely different, but interesting perspective. Mixed with the Head coach and B-roll, it turned out great.
I had to think and act fast just like someone in the field would have to. I couldn’t get an extension, and I was challenged to make something out of not much. This week was an amazing learning experience and reinforced the idea that there’s always a story if you look hard enough. A stressful situation evolved into very nice product. ESPNU picked up the package for the 2nd week in a row.