Frequent Mug readers will almost certainly recognize Audrey Snyder as MLB.com's new Associate Beat Reporter for the Brewers, taking the job Jordan Schelling held last summer. Audrey's been on the job for a few weeks now and was kind enough to answer some questions for us about her background, how she ended up in this job and what she's learned so far.
KL: Tell me a little about your background. Where'd you grow up? Have you always been a baseball fan? If so, what team did you root for as a kid?
AS: I was born and raised in Downingtown, Pa. It's about 40 minutes outside of Philadelphia. I'm heading into my senior year at Penn State University so during the school year I'm in central Pennsylvania and don't get home too often even though Penn State is only about three hours away from Downingtown.
I'll be the first to admit my baseball ties are really strange. No, I am not a Phillies fan and I'm always the first to admit that the only Philadelphia team I care about is the Sixers. I used to have family in Atlanta so I'd spend some time every summer or during spring break in Georgia so I grew up on the Braves. I'm sure the TBS connection helped too since I could catch most games when I was in Pa. My first game was at Fulton County stadium when I was one and then of course I've been to Turner Field many times since then. Now the creation of Directv, MLBTV and smart phones have been beautiful things and even though it drove my high school teachers crazy because I was always checking baseball scores during classes, I just always enjoyed following the game.
Follow the jump for more.KL: How'd you end up working for MLB.com?
AS: I'm a double major at Penn State where I'm studying print journalism with an emphasis in sports writing and reporting, as well as secondary education English. I always enjoyed writing and would watch sports and talk about sports 24/7 so I really started pursuing sports journalism when I was in high school. One of the main reasons I went to Penn State was because it has a specific sports journalism program and has one of the best student newspapers in the country. I started working with The Daily Collegian (Penn State's student newspaper) as soon as I got on campus, kept working my way up through various beats in the sports section and ended up covering PSU football last year. I've had several friends from The Collegian intern with MLB.com so I always knew about the program and wanted to get my resume and clips to a point where I felt I'd be a serious internship candidate with MLB.com as well. I applied this fall, interviewed in November, was offered in the internship in the winter and found out I was coming to Milwaukee in January or February. It's a 10-week program but I got out here as soon as I could when school ended and will end up working for 11 weeks and being here for almost 12.
KL: Coming into this job, how much did you know about the Brewers? What have you had to learn?
AS: I grew up on the Braves and a healthy dose of the NL East so in comparison I only knew a fair amount about Milwaukee in the very beginning. Part of this internship, or any job in sports writing really, is about learning as much as possible so when you start the transition is fairly smooth. It helps that I was able to watch all of the games online since the start of the season so even while I was at Penn State in between classes, (during some lectures), during homework and during work I was able to get familiar with the team. I tried to read as much as possible about the Brewers and really about baseball in general because sometimes I have to cover the opposing team for a series so that tests your knowledge. I'm constantly learning things every day and that's where it's great to have other people on the beat who've covered the team for a long time that can help with me certain stats or players, some of which were around before I was born, that may have something to do with what I'm writing about.
KL: What, if anything, about life on the beat has surprised you?
AS: There really haven't been too many surprises so far. The one thing I always hear from professors, former writers and whoever else is that baseball season is a grind. I knew coming in there would be long days, six and nine game homestands and a lot to write but I've been here a month and each time I'm at the park it's just an awesome experience. I covered the Pirates short season single-A affiliate the summer after my freshman year of college so I was used to returning to the park every night and have some familiarity with that routine. It also helps that my schedule during the school year (especially football season) is so jam packed that I'm used to writing a few stories a day. It's also cool that I have some time when I'm not working and the team's on the road to check out the city. Before being assigned here I had only been in Wisconsin three times (all for Packers games) so I have no family in the area but it's definitely a fun city and a nice change of pace.
KL: Who's been your favorite interview to this point?
AS: This is a tough one because the Brewers overall are a pretty relaxed, easy going clubhouse. There are a lot of personalities in there and comedic relief always makes my job more fun so I can't pinpoint just one. But, I do have some interesting stories in mind and some personality profiles coming up in the near future that might help show readers what I'm talking about.
KL: How much of the other stuff that's written about the team do you read?
AS: Basically all of it. To become a better writer you have to read as much as possible and especially when you're like me and you're 21 years old and trying to break into the industry, the more you read, the better. The beauty of this job is that people always structure their stories differently and it's fascinating to read each writer's story since everyone has his or her own style. Some days you leave the park and think about little things that you wish you would have included or maybe this sentence should've been higher in the story or reworded and that's part of the beauty and the curse of this profession. Every day there's a new opportunity to write a story and some are more fun to craft than others, but it's all part of the job.
KL: What's it like to watch games from the press box? Do you find yourself watching things differently than you would from the stands?
AS: It's fun because by the time you get through pregame player interviews, the manager's interview, watch batting practice and file pregame stories it's like some days the game is almost the last thing on your mind because you've been working on and off for about four hours before the first pitch. But once the game is underway I'm observing what's going on, looking up stats that I may need in my running story and just taking in the whole atmosphere. You're always thinking and taking notes about what's going on during the game but at the same time I'm enjoying every minute of it because I've wanted to be a sports writer for a long time and to have an opportunity like this is amazing.
KL: What are you looking forward to this year? What are you hoping to take away from your time with the team?
AS: I'm interested to see how this Central race plays out. Obviously by the time I leave in early August there will still be a lot of games left but I'm so used to reading, writing and watching what this team's up to almost every day now that transitioning back to school probably won't be as exciting. I've found that with any sport I've ever covered I'm always interested to see what happens the following year and with certain players and stuff so even in the offseason, I'll be curious to see what moves the team makes.
I feel like I've taken so much away from this internship already just in one month. I've learned so much by watching and interacting with the reporters on the beat and continuing to practice writing on deadline and stuff has been great for me. I hope to provide readers with some interesting and insightful stories before my time in Milwaukee is up.