On Tuesday July 16th, the Red Sox invited me to job shadow the Red Sox public relations (PR) team before the game for a behind the scenes Fenway experience. I was able to interact with several members of the PR staff for the Red Sox. The PR staff is in charge of connecting the media to their sources: players, coaches, general managers, and more. As an aspiring professional sports reporter, shadowing the PR staff gave me an interesting point of view. The PR team is involved with nearly everything around the ballpark.
When I arrived at Fenway, I ran into NESN sideline reporter Jahmai Webster:
Abby Murphy, a member of the PR staff who was key to making my visit possible, met me and my dad at Gate D. Abby introduced me to Kevin Doyle, who passes out game notes across the park. Kevin gives them to the media for their broadcasts and articles. He also delivers them to the coaches and players for game preparation. He even is responsible for delivering them to the suites of team owners and President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski.
Today he brought me along as he passed these out. First, we went to the NESN studio outside Fenway, where I met Tom Caron of NESN. He had walked up to the Fenway gates to save Kevin a trip.
After that, we visited the Red Sox and Blue Jays clubhouses. Kevin dropped off a few in the locker room and quickly stopped by the managers’ offices to drop one off. I learned later that the quick drop off is intentional as the PR staff tries to avoid disrupting clubhouse activity. They also allow players privacy by avoiding photo and video during certain hours. It was cool to stop by there though, as I had never even seen the clubhouse doors before.
Next stop after a quick elevator ride was Fenway’s baseball operations offices. Dave Dombrowski’s suite was next to these offices, closest to the field. Dombrowski was busy but Kevin dropped the game notes off at his door in case he needed them later. Kevin and I also went inside Sam Kennedy’s suite to drop off game notes for the team owners. Kennedy wasn’t there but the door was open and a member of the Red Sox staff was preparing food already for Kennedy and his guests.
Kevin and I also stopped by the legends suite where one former Red Sox player is hosted every night. For this game, it was two time AL pennant winner and former outfielder Fred Lynn that would be hosted.
The last stop was the press box where game notes were printed and lineups had just been released. This was only the beginning of my experience though. After spending some time with Kevin, I headed downstairs and joined Kyle Montemagno for Alex Cora’s pregame press conference.
Cora discussed Cashner’s debut, Chris Sale’s struggles, and the status of injured players Nathan Eovaldi, Mitch Moreland, and Brian Johnson among other things. To see the press conference live and sit with all the members of the press was surreal. Until today, I watched the coverage on NESN but this made me feel like an official press member.
Once the Cora press conference was over Kyle took me out on the field to watch batting practice. Though a lot of media members showed up for the press conference, many went back up to the press box to write pregame articles based on Cora’s comments as opposed to going outside for batting practice. That allowed me to have a great view near home plate to watch the Sox players.
I spent a little bit of time at the credential pick-up booth during peak pick-up time. Credentials reserved passes for the game for media members as well as friends of players and staff. The Blue Jays had just announced that Jacob Waguespack would be called up to start, so at the last minute, several members of the Waguespack family hurried over to the game. Many people who didn’t have reserved passes came to the credential booth thinking they could pick up tickets there. They told me this happens many times throughout the day.
Towards the end of my afternoon, I joined Kyle to take a closer look at the game notes, which he helped create, and then we stopped by the press box to join the rest of the Red Sox media.
Check out this short video from outside the press box where I had the opportunity to do a live Fenway “stand-up” to recap my experience:
After this incredible afternoon, the Red Sox made sure I was able to enjoy the game with my entire family, including my cousins and grandparents who had just flown up from Florida on game day.
I’d like to thank Abby Murphy, Chris Cotillo, Kevin Doyle, Felicia Rutigliano, Kevin Hausmann, Kyle Montemagno, and the rest of the Red Sox public relations staff for helping set up this unbelievable experience for me, one I will never forget!