Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

Warming Up for Winter Warm-Up

Back before Christmas, before Santa even had a chance, the St. Louis Cardinals knocked him out of the competition for the best Christmas surprise.  An official email popped up in my inbox from THE CARDINALS inviting Cardinal Diamond Diaries to be one of five blogs invited to COVER Winter Warm-Up.  Very cool.  Very, very cool.

Sorry, Santa.

Since then, I have attempted to balance the happy dancing with some serious planning.  This is, afterall, more than just an amazing opportunity for close-up Cardinal watching.  I have to somehow temper my giddy fan side and do this thing right.  Make a good impression and not irritate the trolls, you know.  ;)

So how does a gal who started a website to chatter about baseball, her team and the players we all love actually prepare for and conduct herself at an official media event?  The Cardinals are entrusting me with press credentials, and I certainly don’t want to mess that up… not even for a sneak hug attack on David Freese or the chance to size up Matt Holliday’s hunky forearms in person (True confession: I have this crazy need to know if his massive forearm circumference is bigger than my fingertip span.)

Sure, I’ve had some practice with minor league press credentials.  I’ve met players, coaches, press guys and baseball folk while covering and photographing AAA games here locally.  (Yes, I am still tickled about those experiences too, but work with me here: I’m trying really hard to sound “professional.”)  However, THIS amazing opportunity with the BIG club has left me quaking in my wooly socks – between moments when my wiggly excitement takes over again.

So, to try to keep some of these anxious thoughts from rattling around in my brain, I’ve been reaching out, asking for help from those with more experience, those who know more about the process… those who are actually good at this sort of “professional baseball writing” stuff.  Will they steer me right?  Settle my nerves? Give me good pointers?  I’ll let ya know.

One of the boxes on my checklist is researching BBWAA guidelines because, per my email invitation, I am required to follow said rules.  While I haven’t actually learned much from the BBWAA website, some of my “expert” advice has included these important recommendations:

"not BBWAA approved attire"

1) “Don’t show up wearing Cardinal red”

2)”….not even red underwear.”

I’m guessing these hints are from those elusive BBWAA guidelines?

Another confession: I have never before attended a Winter Warm-Up event.  So, like many fans, I am looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere, mayhem and what I assume to be (from photos of prior WWUs) suffocating crowds.  But this year I will get the chance to experience firsthand what WWU gives Cardinal Nation: a brief touch of Cardinal baseball during the long baseball-less winter.  It is a welcome reminder that Spring Training is right around the corner. So, I hope to be able to share a fresh look at Winter Warm-Up from a newbie perspective.

How come nobody looks happy to be there? photo from STLtoday.com

And while I’m confessing  my thoughts today:  I am crazy worried about blending in and speaking up at the press interviews.  (Yes, those are two very opposing stances… see my anxiety here?) On the other hand, I am super excited to meet writers and media personnel whose real job is covering the Cardinals throughout the year.  And I will admit to being just a tad curious to see what happens when “bloggers” (a.k.a. “new media”) and old school sports journalists are left in a small room together for a few days.   I love those real-life psychology lab experiments…  ;)

I am happy to report that my camera has been invited too.  So, there will be photos. (yay!)  And while I am working through all the jitters, I am also very mindful that this is an experience for which I am very grateful, and I plan on fully enjoying every moment, every experience and every glimpse of Mr. Holliday.  Wait, that wasn’t professional…  forget that last one.  ;)

So, if you have any advice or any questions you’d like for me to try and sneak into the player press interviews, I would LOVE to read them.

….9 days ‘til WWU! Maybe I’ll see you there?

5 responses to “Warming Up for Winter Warm-Up

  1. Gina Bennett (@bennettgina) January 5, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    YAY!!!! WTG Erica! I can’t wait to read your blog and see your photos. You think about the team much the way I do. This will be my 3rd WWU. I will be attending with my 18 y/o nephew Josh. He is a die hard fan of new and old Cardinals. WE will be there all three days open to close. He is getting David Freese, Mike Shannon, Ray Lankford & one other paid autograph I can’t remember. Of course he’ll get as many free ones as we can. We will be wearing Cardinal Red as do most fans, though the pros I’ve seen don’t. I mainly go to take pictures of Josh getting the autographs and of any other player I can get. I will tweet you when I’m there, I’d love meet you in person. You will have a blast!!

  2. Erika Lynn January 5, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    Thanks, Gina!
    That sounds like fun! I look forward to hearing about your WWU autograph adventures! See you next weekend! =)

  3. Andy Gustavson (@ajgmets) January 6, 2012 at 12:13 AM

    Hey Erica Congrats & Have Fun..It really is a madhouse..though possibly less so with the subtractions of the 1st baseman, manager and the circus that was McGwire 2 years ago.. Like any good Mets fan living in STL, I’ll probably make my way down to the WWU a day or 2 ..:) With any luck we’ll find a way to say hi again…in any case..don’t be intimidated or cautious..based on what I’ve seen in some of the previous years..(I’ve been to more than 10 of these over the years) in the press interactions ..anything goes, from players being asked about their facial hair preferences to the kinds of pranks they play on each other. Personally I want to get Beltran to sign some of my Mets paraphernalia..LOL btw Happy New Year !

  4. Pingback: Winter Warm-Up, Day 1 « Diamond Diaries

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