By MIKE ASHMORE
Special World Series Coverage exclusively for TIP YOUR CAP
BOSTON – Started from the bottom, now…well, you know the rest.
The “Live-Dream-Be” mantra of Digmi would seem to apply to my own incredible journey of lucking into a job covering the Somerset Patriots back when I was 20 years old starting in 2003, and turning that into a career where I’ve been fortunate enough to cover some of the biggest events in sports, including the last six World Series.
LIVE? Oh, I have. I’ve lived through some incredible moments, including those experienced over the last few days at Fenway Park, which was actually the site of the first World Series I got to work back in 2013. Having a few of these under my belt now, I think I was able to really appreciate getting to come back to what may very well be the best stadium in baseball for the biggest games of the season.
What’s it like getting to do it? Even from the moment you pick up your credential, there’s an incredible, surreal feeling…maybe it’s from spending the year covering the game on the smaller stage of independent baseball, or maybe it’s still not believing something like this could happen to you after all these years, but there’s still a feeling of relief when that credential is actually there. That this isn’t a dream. That it’s real. You’re really getting to do this.
Walking through the concourse and then getting your first look at the field – and yes, I’ve been there before, but there’s such a “larger than life” feel to Fenway – and it all starts to settle in.
After that, though…it largely becomes a job. There’s so much happening around you at such a big event like that, but it’s all mostly just noise. About two rows behind where some of us lesser-known media folk were sitting in the auxiliary press box in right field, SportsCenter set up their set for the night. Anybody who’s anybody in baseball is seemingly just trying to blend in – hey, there’s Tony Clark just strolling through the concourse…well, there’s Rob Manfred just hanging out before the Roberto Clemente Award press conference in the interview room – and you’re really trying to do the same, even though you’re more “nobody” than “somebody.”
But you’re there.
DREAM? I genuinely never did dream this big. I don’t think I really knew what I was getting into when I took this on 16 years ago. 2,312 games later, and I’m still not sure I can ever really wrap my head around everything I’ve been able to accomplish.
Friends would joke around with me earlier in my career and say one day I’d get to do a World Series, one day I’d get to do a Super Bowl, one day I’d get to do a Stanley Cup Final…and I’d laugh them off. Not to be humble, but because I genuinely never thought I’d get to be a part of anything that big.
But there I was the past two days, shoes in the dirt at Fenway Park at a historic and somehow first World Series meeting between the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers. With all the storylines heading into the week, there was no shortage of things to write about; Babe Ruth being on the last Boston team to face the predecessor to the Dodgers back in 1916, LA manager Dave Roberts authoring one of the greatest moments in Red Sox postseason history with his dramatic stolen base back in 2004, and all the rest.
BE? Be in the moment. Sure, that history is great. Truly, it is. It’s impossible to look anywhere in Fenway Park – and I made sure I took the time to explore as much as I could, from the concourse to a pre-game walk out to the Green Monster – and not be overwhelmed by over a century of baseball having been played there.
But I wanted to be in the now.
Even from my spot deep behind Pesky’s Pole, I was glued to the Game 1 showdown between Chris Sale and Clayton Kershaw. Of all the postseason pitching matchups at Fenway Park over the years, that would have to rank up there as one of the most anticipated.
Every pitch, every swing, every…everything. I worked hard to be in a position where I could be there myself to see it all, and I wanted to soak it all in.
Live. Dream. Be.
Don’t be afraid to do any of it. You never know where you might find yourself because you chose to live your dream and be yourself.