Tuesday, August 23, 2016

On the Beat With Tampa Bay Rays Coach Rocco Baldelli

While on our annual baseball trip, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tampa Bay Rays Coach (and former player) Rocco Baldelli.  From the moment I was approved for Media Credentials at Tropicana Field, Rocco was my main target.  I couldn't be happier with the outcome.
As usual Chuck Gekas and I arrived very early on game day.  Because our excitement doesn't die down, we always arrive at earliest time allowed.
The entire staff of the Tampa Bay Rays could not have been any nicer.  Each team and stadium has different rules.  This was our first trip to Tampa, but we were made to feel at home.
We checked out the clubhouse, the press box and other usual off-limits areas.  This is one of my favorite parts of being a part of the media.
Of course the best part is walking onto the field.  I am not ashamed to say that the little kid in me still loves this.  It is especially cool this early because the stadium is empty.
We watched some batting practice and talked to some members of the local media.  We saw Rocco in the outfield and waited until he headed to the dugout.
Rocco invited us into the dugout to talk to him.  He could not have been any more gracious wuth his time.  I am always grateful for the time and consideration of anyone we interview.  It is always extra special when that person talks a bit more off camera.  Rocco talked to us both before and after our interview.
In the interview, we talked about his transition from playing to coaching.  While injuries derailed his playing career,  the setbacks did not stop Rocco.
We also talked about some of his favorite cities to visit.  He had some interesting picks.  It's always refreshing when the person doesn't just pick the usual big cities.
Lastly, I had to ask him about Joe Maddon and the Cubs.  Rocco is very familiar with Maddon, of course.
I really appreciate the hospitality of the entire Rays organization.  I especially am thankful to Rocco for giving us a great experience.  It's times like this that I truly love what I do and I soak in every minute of it.

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