Reporters in the press box don't have a team. There is a famous book in the baseball writing world that is titled, "There's No Cheering in the Press Box." I remember a time when that was actually said in press boxes, as a rule. Reporters cover the team. Deadline is going to arrive whether the team they cover wins, loses, or draws, and the only thing they're cheering for is the chance to right a story that people will remember, win, lose or draw, and really a draw would be a story that people would remember. That doesn't mean that Game 6 was just another day at the office or that the 2005 game in Houston was just another day at the office when we all had to scrap our stories and write about the series coming back to St. Louis after Albert Pujols' home run. There may be professional claps from the press box when Pujols returns because of the career he had in St. Louis, but not advocacy of what he's going to do in his next at-bat or celebration, but professional courtesy. These kind of questions always set me up for failure because it's a little like the butterfly asking the mosquito, "Why do you bite?" Not everyone is wired for a rooting interest, and for some of us it's the profession not to have one. I'm sure there are similar examples of things in your profession that fit your personality that you could explain to me -- and that's why we chase the jobs that we do.
Earlier today, at the Monterrey airport, I was approached by a fella from St. Louis and asked if I went to the games this weekend. I told him I did. He asked me if I was there to cheer on the Cardinals. I said I wasn't., He asked where I was from, and I said St. Louis.
"What is wrong with you -- not cheering for the Cardinals?" he said.
"I enjoy the game. I like the game of baseball, not one team, or any team," I explained.
"But not cheering for the Cardinals?" he said.
"I like baseball. That's what I go to see, and I enjoy the game."
I get it. It can be tricky to understand, and it is not for everybody. But it is for some people. I'm one of those people. I don't need a rooting interest in a game to enjoy a game. I can watch any baseball game and enjoy and find interest in it and not offer a peep or a cheer at all -- just enjoy the game. I like it that much, and that has been the case for a long time. Some people need a rooting interest in the game -- and I dig that passion, I respect it. But I don't necessarily share it. Maybe, as the gentlemen suggested, that's a character flaw. Thank goodness there is a way that I can turn that character flaw into a career, I guess. I just don't think there's anything wrong with being able to enjoy a game, even a dramatic one, and appreciate the game and the challenge of trying to write about for people who do care deeply, deeply, deeply about it. I care deeply about providing them the coverage that meets their passion.
Please don't confuse the lack of cheering in the press box for lack of interest in the game or a lack of passion in the coverage.
It's quite the opposite.